Wellen Park Living | Summer 2023

Page 1


David and Dennis Valentino, along with partner Mark Costanzo (not shown), are thrilled to be launching the Banyan House and Claw and Co. restaurants in Wellen Park.


49 Cyclists of all skill levels can enjoy the multimodal trail system in Wellen Park. 52 The Venice YMCA Yoga dream team brings their expertise to Wellen Park. 56 Jessica Haworth shares her story as the franchise owner of the Paint Nail Bar in Wellen Park. 60 Rick LaBerge takes us through his life and career as an avid photographer. 62 A new farmers market brings food and fun to Downtown Wellen Park. 64 Prodigy Early Learning and State College of Florida are making education accessible for all ages. 68 Satchel’s Last Resort Rescue and Sanctuary and St. Francis Animal Rescue of Venice share the importance of human-animal relationships. 70 When help is needed, the Wellen Park Rotary Cub rises to the challenge.


The Rotary Club of Wellen Park meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 6pm at the Wellen Park Welcome Center from 6-7:30pm. Come by to see how you can support their community efforts.


9 Villani & Co. pairs thoughtful cuisine with an extensive shelf list. 14 Two new restaurants, The Banyan House and Claw & Co. are bringing flavor to the Wellen Park community. 18 Boost your summer glow with skin treatments from Naples Soap Company. 20 The picture-perfect event venue, Solis Hall offers everything you need to make your big event a memorable one. 24 Eva Worden of Worden Farm talks about the importance and responsibility of being a steward of the land.

Welcome to your new friend: Wellen Park Living. You’ll find stories about the people behind fun-loving experiences in the neighborhood and beyond, sips and forkfuls of scrumptious food and crafted beverages and ways to soak in the abundant outdoor adventures just around the corner.

An inside look at The Banyan House and Claw & Co. WORDS BY KATE WIGHT
Valentino brothers, David (left) and Dennis (right) are keeping it in the family with their two new restaurants in Wellen Park.
EXPLORE Brotherly Business


DAVID VALENTINO SEEMED DESTINED TO GO INTO THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY. In the 1980s, his parents moved their family from New Jersey to the Western Highlands of Scotland where they bought a small hotel with an attached restaurant. David and his five siblings, including brother Dennis, all pitched in to run the family business. “I would go to high school and I would come home and wait tables or cook in the kitchen,” David recalls. “My brother would help my mother do breakfast before he went out to school. So it was very much a family affair. I have beautiful memories of such a lovely chapter in our lives.” David’s parents persisted in the restaurant business. After they moved back to the United States, they settled in Florida and eventually opened Donato’s, which would become a Port Charlotte mainstay. Their children, in the meantime, had decided to explore other careers.

“I actually became a corporate attorney. So I got about as far away from the restaurant business as you can imagine,” David laughs. “My younger brother Dennis became a lieutenant in the fire department.” When their parents decided they were ready to retire from the restaurant business though, David and Dennis returned to their roots. “We’ve been best friends

our entire lives, and we were longing to have a project together,” David says. “So we went into Donato’s together, and that restaurant just celebrated its 27th anniversary.” Now David and Dennis have become successful restaurateurs in their own right, expanding beyond Donato’s. They started by opening Bocca Lupo, which serves coal-fired pizzas influenced by the Neapolitan-style pies introduced to New York and New Jersey by Italian-American immigrants. There are now three Bocca Lupo locations, including one in Wellen Park. They also opened Prime Serious Steak, a classic steakhouse with locations in Venice and Port Charlotte. Along with partner Mark Costanzo, David and Dennis are also excited to introduce two brandnew restaurants to Downtown Wellen Park. Claw and Co. serves authentic New England seafood in a casual takeaway location, while the Banyan House offers a more elevated dining experience. The team was drawn to Downtown Wellen Park for its unique energy and sense of community. “What makes a community is small businesses and churches and little league teams and family organizations and schools,” David says. “And nothing represents the flavor of a community more than restaurants.” WPL





& Co.

While The Banyan House offers an elevated dining experience, Claw & Co. takes a more down-to-earth approach. Claw & Co. is part of The Yard, a section of Downtown Wellen Park devoted to fast casual dining. Like the other restaurants in The Yard, Claw & Co. is located in a retrofitted shipping container, which gives the space a unique, modern industrial vibe.

The Valentino brothers and partner Mark Costanzo had already been considering opening a restaurant specializing in New England seafood. The Yard offered an opportunity for them to bring this concept to life. All three men are married to women from New England, so they knew that authenticity was paramount when planning their menu. The team at Claw & Co. sources their seafood from places like Bar Harbor, Maine, and pays close attention to the details. Their Maine lobster roll is comprised of cold Maine lobster, celery and homemade mayonnaise in a toasted brioche bun with the split top that is traditional in New England. The crispy golden fish and chips are made from battered flaky white haddock, which any Mainer will tell you is the only appropriate fish for the dish.

While there is no room available for indoor dining in The Yard, you can find outdoor seating in the courtyard area. The Yard is conveniently located by the Great Lawn and the Grand Lake, so you can also take your lobster roll to go and enjoy the beauty of Downtown Wellen Park.

The Banyan House

“The Banyan House is what I would describe as an elevated dining experience,” David Valentino says. “We try to stay away from using the expression ‘fine dining’ because that can feel stuffy and old-fashioned. People want beautiful food, but they don’t want to be in a place where they feel they can’t have a conversation or laugh or use their real voice. So what we’re trying to do is serve very elevated cuisine, but it’s going to be in a room that is comfortable and where people feel welcome.” The interior design of The Banyan House is reflective of the natural beauty of its surroundings. The airy, light-filled restaurant features large windows so diners can enjoy the spectacular view of Grand Lake. The bar is topped with green and brown marble which has an organic feel. Two large banyan tree sculptures give a nod to the restaurant’s name.

Concepts like ease, accessibility and flexibility were kept in mind in designing both the physical space of the restaurant and the menu. Patrons can enjoy more traditional dining at a table, or grab a seat at the bar or in the lounge to have a cocktail and small bites with friends.

“When you’re feeding the community, you want them to be able to come for different types of experiences,” David explains. “So you really want to be versatile in the way that your guests see you.” The Banyan House serves New American cuisine with an emphasis on sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients. One example of their innovative cuisine is the Florida Citrus Carpaccio. This refreshing appetizer consists of thinly-sliced Florida citrus served with housemade ricotta cheese, smoked sea salt, pepper Italian arugula and a tangy ginger kombucha vinaigrette. Entrees like the Maple & Cider Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop with charcoal-roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized Brussels sprouts and apple-bacon jus strike the perfect balance between homey and high-end.

BELOW Stacked salad; chili dusted diver scallops with braised bacon and street corn polenta; dish photography courtesy of Omayra Stylianoudakis.

Beauty ofBourbon

Tommy Villani of Villani & Co. on what it takes to cultivate a world-class drink list.

VILLANI & CO. IS A CHIC AND CONTEMPORARY RESTAURANT LOCATED IN WELLEN PARK. This eatery boasts food that is fresh from the farm and sea, as well as a carefully-curated list of libations. Owner Tommy Villani shares how he brought this restaurant concept to life and gives us some insights on putting together a one-of-a-kind drink menu.


York and has years of experience in not o nly operating phenomenal kitchens but also opening new concepts. We landed on a concept that we consider to be high-end contemporary American with a strong focus on fresh sustainable seafood and locally sourced products. We wanted to provide a wow factor with our Raw Bar as well, providing a well-rounded experience from the moment you walk through the door unrivaled by any other restaurant in the area.

You focus on sourcing sustainable and loacl products for the dishes on your menu. How does that ethos translate into creating cocktails? VILLANI When possible we are focusing incredibly hard on providing the best and freshest products for our seafood, chops, and produce. Doing this, really allowed me to focus on creating a very vibrant, fun, and eclectic craft cocktail list along with one of the largest and most interesting shelf lists in southwest Florida. Your shelf list is very diverse, but your bourbon menu is particularly vast. How did you develop your expertise in bourbons?

What inspired your concept behind Villani & Co. and what would you like diners to take away from their experience? TOMMY


The perfect bottle is waiting to be poured for you at Villani & Co., boasting an exclusive list of wines. 19790

Wellen Park Blvd. Suite 101, Venice, FL 941-584-4434

villaniandcowellen park.com.

VILLANI Villani & Co. is a concept that Executive Chef Mike Leopold and myself have been working on for over 2 years now. After we had an immense amount of success opening Irma’s Tacos in the West Villages Marketplace, we knew that the quickly growing demographic of Wellen Park could and would support a high-end big-city culinary concept. From the beginning, I had an image of what Villani & Co. would look like in my head. White brick contrasted by black walls, chandeliers that would immediately draw your eyes to them, show-stopping contemporary art, and of course our amazing backlit bar with over 100 different types of bourbon, whiskey and scotch. Having an amazing executive chef such as Mike made pairing the culinary side of this concept even easier. Mike graduated top of his class from the Culinary Institute of America in New

VILLANI Sometimes, sheer numbers make for an awesome selection. However, we took the time to truly find a wide variety of flavor profiles, years, and brands to round out the list. As we continue to grow with our distributors, we anticipate the opportunity to provide even



the most difficult-to-obtain bourbons to our customers on a regular basis. Carrying a large selection of these distributors’ products allows us access to these hard-to-get products and in turn an even better customer experience. We want to be the destination for every customer to find great products that they love or will fall in love with every time they visit. As for my own background, it is honestly more focused on tequila and mezcal. My love for tequila stems from years of visiting Mexico and

learning from some of the most knowledgeable tequila experts. However, the parallels between tequila, bourbon, whiskey and scotch can be much more than expected. The close attention to detail, distilling, history and pride help make all of these products both intimate and special to each producer. This falls in line with our desire to provide an amazing product in every aspect of our business from food to cocktails and even service. WPL


With over 100 different types of bourbon, whiskey and scotch, there’s a cocktail for everyone at Villani & Co.


WhistlePig PiggyBack 100 Proof Bourbon

WhistlePig PiggyBack 100 Proof Bourbon is a small batch bourbon aged 6 years. To the nose, it has a fragrance of caramel corn and oak notes. It carries a palate of maple and vanilla with a finish of herbal tea and a hint of honey. WhistlePig is a unique new brand that boasts zero generations of family tradition behind their brand allowing them to be completely off the grid and very progressive in their distilling process.

Maple Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Our Maple Old Fashioned has quickly become one of the most popular drinks on our Craft Cocktail list over the first couple of weeks. The Maple Old Fashioned allowed us to combine our love for bourbon with our passion for an amazing culinary experience. The drink is comprised of Woodford Reserve Rye, orange bitters, and organic maple syrup. We combine the sweetness of the syrup with the smokiness of the flamed orange twist to create a truly exciting cocktail experience. Also, don’t forget the candied bacon, because who doesn’t love bacon with their maple syrup?

Jefferson’s Ocean

Jefferson’s Ocean is a unique bourbon that smells of crème brûlée, sweet tobacco, and sea spray to the nose. Its flavor boasts caramel, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and a hint of espresso. The finish is long and smooth that coats the palate with notes of classic Cracker Jacks and sea salt. Jefferson’s Ocean is truly unique in the fact that it is aged at sea traveling aboard ships that visit ports all over the globe. Churned by the constant motion of the sea and coupled with extreme changes in temperatures of different climates, Jefferson’s Ocean is one of the most unique bourbons you will find.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN | SRQ MEDIA Kentucky Florida Mule Villa-Rita Pineapple Jalapeño Maple Old-Fashioned


CLOCKWISE With summer on the way, we’ve assembled a fun collection of lively new scents with this limited edition soap stack. Scents include lemongrass, orange, eucalyptus, aloe and pear. Fan favorite Honey Almond Soap. Rediscover that fresh, youthful look with the help of Vitamin C.

Glamorous Suds

Beautiful, healthy skin finds a home with Naples Soap Company.

NAPLES SOAP COMPANY, the newest addition to the Downtown Wellen Park shopping area is now open and ready to help you find the perfect gift for someone special or for your own self-care needs. With a full line of premium skin and hair care, including natural soaps, bath bombs, face care and body butters, all made with natural and organic ingredients, Naples Soap Company products are not only beautiful–they actually work.


gathering Special Place

The picture-perfect event venue, Solis Hall offers everything you need to make your big event a memorable one.







WELLEN PARK, sits a one-of-a-kind event venue surrounded by live oaks and never-ending sunshine. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows that provide breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscape while allowing for amazing natural light to shine through, Solis Hall provides the perfect space for any celebration, including wedding ceremonies, receptions, cocktail parties and corporate events. Designed by Khoury Vogt, a Florida-based firm recognized worldwide, Solis Hall is a visually striking, beautiful, white iconic building, offering the perfect backdrop for a memorable celebration and photographs. The rental hall itself can host up to 150 guests for a seated dinner, and with three outdoor terrace areas and Canopy Green creating a perfect flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces, 225 to 250 people would be quite comfortable at a cocktail reception or ceremony.



Wedding dreams become reality at the Wellen Park Wedding Expo taking place August 26th. With an amazing selection of wedding professionals ready to help you plan your perfect day in Downtown Wellen’s premier wedding venue, Solis Hall, you can sit back and watch your perfect day unfold before you. A wide choice of wedding professionals will be on hand to help you find the perfect gown, invitations, photographer, music, menu, honeymoon destination, favors, entertainment vendors and much, much more. Whether you are planning a glamorous production or an intimate affair, there is something for everyone at the Wellen Park Wedding Expo. For information on renting Solis Hall, visit wellenpark.com/venues.


Banyan House Catering at Solis Hall

At Solis Hall, Banyan House Catering will be able to accommodate everything from a casual business breakfast to an elegant, seated wedding service. “We truly have the capacity to tailor each event to the needs of our hosts and their vision for the event, with an array of culinary offerings that spans everything from traditional to modern and incorporates a multitude of approaches and ethnicities,” says Banyan House owner, David Valentino. ”We have over a dozen suggested packages and that is only the beginning of where our hosts can take their event. We offer fully-themed parties, complete bar services, passed hors d’oeuvre hours, and interactive stations from meat carvings to sushi to fresh mozzarella bars and so much more.” With pre-dinner hors d’oeuvre choices like mini beef Wellington, lollipop lamb with chimichurri and seared ahi tuna, your cocktail party will be the talk of the town. With culinary delights and exceptional service from the Banyan House catering staff, you’re sure to make the best impression on your event guests.



The Banyan House Catering, offering exquisite, upscale modern American cuisine, is the exclusive caterer for Solis Hall. With an expert team of food and beverage professionals, they will be on hand from start to finish to help plan a delectable menu. And because they are located directly next door to the venue, they are very familiar with the area, the residents and the events occurring. This should make for a seamless experience that may not often be the case when outside vendors are brought in to cater an event. Aside from the caterer, a preferred vendor list including florists, photographers and entertainers will be provided.

Solis Hall will be open and available for rent as soon as June of this year, according to Christine Masney, vice president of marketing for Wellen Park. It is her hope that it will be a place of joy for residents as well as those living outside the area, just as the new downtown area has been, only in a more private venue for them. WPL For information on renting Solis Hall, visit wellenpark.com/venues.

Flowers Make the Space

“Bringing smiles and connections to people for a living is just so wonderful,” says Chante DeMoustes, of Tropical Interiors Florist in Sarasota. Her shop specializes in building unique floral arrangements to create emotions around life’s most precious moments. “It’s amazing how we can deliver these memories through events for our friends, family or small community to enjoy. Flowers bring a feeling of home, a sense of peace, comfort, happiness and joy, and can trigger memories that make any event unforgettable,” she adds. Summer, in particular, is a season of celebration and is filled with color. DeMoustes likes to incorporate tropical greens like monstera leaves, palm leaves and ti leaves, or tropical flowers, like orchids, birds, gingers, proteas or heliconias. These flowers are known for their brightness and vibrancy. Some other fun ideas that she likes to bring into any special event are whole fruits in vases or pieces of fruit in any arrangement. This year’s fall floral trends, according to DeMoustes, tend to be filled with fresh and dried combinations. The traditional fall color palettes are orange, yellow, gold, burgundy, brown, ivory, deep purple, or maroon. Tropical Interiors Florist, 1303 53rd Ave. West, Bradenton, FL 34207, 941-758-6966, tropicalinteriorsflorist.com

EXPLORE farm Mindset Learn how a local organic farm is access to food and knowledge. WORDS BY
BELOW Eva Worden, Ph.D. and Chris Worden, Ph.D., owners of Worden Farms in Punta Gorda.


FARMING IS FREQUENTLY A FAMILY BUSINESS AND WORDEN FARM IS NO EXCEPTION. Chris Worden, Ph.D. and Eva Worden, Ph. D were both exposed to agriculture at an early age. Chris comes from a multi-generational farming legacy in Pennsylvania, while Eva’s family has a tropical fruit grove in Homestead. Now they run their own venture, Worden Farm in Punta Gorda, with the help of their two sons.

Chris and Eva first met at the University of Maryland where they were both in the process of pursuing Master of Science degrees in Horticulture. Chris would go on to earn a Doctorate in Crop Science from the University of Connecticut, while Eva earned a doctorate in Ecosystem Management from Yale University. With their years of education and experience, opening an organic farm seemed like a natural progression. They established the 85-acre Worden Farm in 2003, the same year they welcomed their first son. “I think that a big part of founding the farm was to be able to create a life on the land and to be stewards of the land,” Eva says. “We wanted to grow food for ourselves and our neighbors and community that was organic.” While Chris and Eva both have impressive sci-

entific backgrounds, it’s their deep connection to the land and the community that has made their farm a mainstay in southwest Florida for the past two decades. They have an unparalleled appreciation for the natural world and an unprecedented respect for their place in it.

“Part of my research at Yale involved the concept of the human ecosystem,” Eva explains. “There was a time in history when there were landscapes that were untouched and unaffected by humans, but that time has passed. At this point, humans are part of every ecosystem on the planet. Rather than being separate from the natural world, we are a part of it and are responsible for our actions. We need an awareness of natural systems in order to be good stewards.”




The team at Worden Farm is passionate about helping the community access their food. In addition to their presence at local farmers markets and their members-only onsite farm stand, they’ve been distributing farm boxes for over two decades. For $38 a week, you get a half bushel of fresh local organic vegetables throughout the growing season. Farm boxes are distributed to over a dozen pickup sites each week, including the Wellen Park Welcome Center. Enrollment for the Worden Farm Box Membership is now closed for the 2022-2023 season, but you can sign up on the Worden Farm website to be notified when next year’s signups are open.

This philosophy has spread beyond the boundaries of the farm. Chris and Eva are incredibly invested in their community, donating materials and knowledge to several school and community garden projects. They also donate fresh produce to food assistance programs in the area. Dozens of local organizations have benefited from their support.

Every crop grown at Worden Farm is USDA-certified organic, an impressive feat when you consider that fewer than 1% of farmland

in the United States meets that criteria. Chris and Eva offer consulting services to growers interested in exploring organic farming. It’s just one more way that they are democratizing knowledge and access. “People really benefit from good, healthy food,” Eva says. “We just want to provide a solution to problems that can be fixed with healthy food or with information that we have that we can share. We want to pass the flame so someone else can carry a torch in their own context.” WPL

To learn more about Worden Farm and its mission, visit wordenfarm.com.





















1,501 sf | 2 Bedrooms | 2 Baths

An attached villa, the Anclote is a new floor plan designed by Mattamy Homes to reflect the wants and lifestyles of today’s home buyers. O ered in Sunstone at Wellen Park, the two-bedroom, two-bath home blends open and airy gathering areas into an expansive, yet cozy space, highlighting outdoor living on a private covered lanai, and versatility with a flex room for a home o ce, den, hobby room, or third bedroom. The Anclote floor plan emphasizes natural light, privacy and spaciousness. The model’s open floor plan features a great room, dining room and kitchen, easily accommodating a generously sized sectional sofa, a formal dining room and a large island with stools cozied up to the breakfast bar. The kitchen is perfect for any home chef or meals on-the-go, and showcases on-trend painted cabinetry with crown molding, warm white Carrara breve quartz countertops flecked with gold and brown, and a brick-set glass subway tile backsplash. The owner’s suite o ers a walk-in closet, a linen closet and a spa-inspired bathroom with two sinks set in the vanity’s quartz countertop, pale blue walls and sand-toned tile on the floor and in the frameless glass shower. The guest room is in a quiet wing o a hallway conveniently located near a full bathroom and linen closet.

homes WELLEN
MATTAMY HOMES Sales Information 18130 Wellspring Court | Venice, Florida | 941.205.7051 | MattamyHomes.com
*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice. MATTAMY


SINGLE FAMILY | FROM $672,999 2,061 sf | 2 Bedrooms | 2 Baths

A coastal palette dominated by water and sky shades of blue, taupes reminiscent of sandy beaches and sun-washed wood finishes highlight the two-bedroom, two-bath Angelina, a single-family executive model home in Lennar’s Wellen Park Golf & Country Club. Spanning 2,061 square feet under air, the home features a popular open-concept floor plan between family room, gourmet kitchen and dining room, and sliding glass doors flowing from the family room and owner’s suite to a covered lanai. The Angelina also o ers a twocar garage and a den, currently home to the neighborhood’s sales center. The model illustrates the bundled golf community’s executive homes nestled along lakes, preserves and the 18-hole Gordon Lewis-designed golf course. Views are introduced from the foyer, which has a tray ceiling, a statement-making chandelier and a driftwoodinspired console. The foyer opens to the spacious main gathering areas accented with octagonal tray ceilings in the family room and dining room. Columns define the formal dining room which has a washed-wood table. The adjoining kitchen o ers ample counter space, a pantry and a large island with a double sink, dishwasher and casual dining at the breakfast bar. A closet in the den allows the multifunctional space to also serve as an extra guest room and shares a full bath with the secondary bedroom that is filled with sunlight from a bay window. The Angelina’s owner’s suite enjoys private access to the covered lanai. It has a walk-in closet, a storage closet and a generously sized bathroom with a soaking tub positioned under a window, a separate shower and an extended vanity with dual sinks and a built-in makeup table.

LENNAR HOMES Sales Information 17121 Jadestone Ct. | Venice, Florida | 941.740.6524 | Lennar.com
Lanai Owner’s Suite Bath Kitchen Family Room Dining Room Entry Foyer Bath 2 Bedroom 2 2-Car Garage Den Laundry 24' x 12' 14' x 17' 10' x 21' 19' x 21' 13' x 14' 12' x 12' 19' x 20' 12' x 12'
*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice.



2,697 sf | 3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths

Sam Rodgers Homes’ 3-bedroom, 2-bath Destin model in Gran Place blends coastal and modern farmhouse aesthetics. Showcasing over 2,697 square feet of living space, the home has a den, features an open concept floor plan melding kitchen, oversized café and living room, and is shown with a bonus room and the third bathroom which expands under air square footage. Stepped ceilings visually define the expansive main living area’s individual spaces which flow through sliding glass doors to a wrap-around lanai o ering multiple seating areas, a TV and full outdoor kitchen. The gourmet kitchen’s oversized two-toned island epitomizes modern farmhouse style, featuring a white paneled front bookended by contrasting black-painted supports for the cantilevered quartz countertop. A wet bar with glass cabinets and a built-in wine cooler is located by the baseball-themed den, accessed through glass double doors in the living room. The den features a stepped ceiling and can be reimagined as a formal dining room. A built-in dry bar o ers a wine refrigerator, bottle storage and open shelving against a white subway tile backsplash. The master suite spans an entire wing, the bedroom overlooking the lanai and pool while the tub in the bathroom’s boxed bay window gazes to the front. The ceiling above the metal canopy bed is adorned with white beams inset into a framed tray with sides painted a warm brown. The suite o ers two spacious walk-in closets. The bathroom features two vanities with quartz countertops, a linen closet and frameless glass-enclosed shower with tile to the ceiling. The bonus room, a bedroom and a bathroom are tucked behind a painted barn door o the café. The bonus room option adds approximately 235 square feet with a full bathroom with a full height shower and frameless glass enclosure.

SAM RODGERS HOMES | Sales Information 18075 Home Run Drive | Venice, Florida | 941.621.9307 | SamRodgersHomes.com
*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice. SAM RODGERS HOMES NEIGHBORHOOD


VILLA | FROM $457,995

1,804+ sf | 3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths

The largest of three attached villa home designs floor plans in Toll Brothers’ gated community of lake and preserve homesites, the Dunnet caters to both full-time and seasonal residents who want the convenience of a low-maintenance lifestyle enhanced by private amenities. Inside, a sunlit open floor plan creates an expansive main gathering space blending a casual dining area, great room, and kitchen that’s well- suited for both entertaining in style and everyday living. Sliding glass doors open the great room to a covered lanai, advancing the area’s coveted indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The kitchen provides plenty of counter and cabinetry space, additional storage in a pantry and a freestanding center island with double sinks, a dishwasher, and a breakfast bar. Homebuyers can also personalize the kitchen to their needs by adding an oven wall and a separate five-burner cooktop. The primary suite is a private oasis, enjoying a secluded location in its own wing. The bedroom is filled with sunlight from a picture window overlooking the backyard. The bathroom o ers dual-sink vanities, an oversized shower, a linen closet, and a generous walk-in closet. The Dunnet’s two guestrooms are set apart from main living areas, have sizeable closets, and fulfill a variety of scenarios such as a quiet home o ce, a den, hobby room or exercise room. They share a full bathroom in the hallway which also o ers a large closet and a laundry room.

TOLL BROTHERS Sales Information 12665 Pinnacle Lane | Venice, Florida | 941.628-7086 | SolsticeAtWellenPark.com
*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice. TOLL BROTHERS NEIGHBORHOOD




2,207 sf | 3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths

Open and airy, the Endless Summer IV by Neal Communities features at its heart an open and welcoming common living area encompassing the kitchen, breakfast nook, great room and formal dining room. Cooking up a meal in the beautifully equipped kitchen with island and walk-in pantry is a pleasure. If you want to dine al fresco, add an outdoor cooking wall on the large lanai, entered through sliders in the great room. The intimate breakfast area is great for beginning your day or catching up with friends over your favorite refreshments. The opulent master suite features two walk-in closets and master bath with a French door entry, dual sinks, walk-in shower, and a private water closet.

*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice. NEAL COMMUNITIES | Sales Information 1 Golf View Drive, Englewood, Florida | 941.214.9760 | NealCommunities.com NEAL COMMUNITIES NEIGHBORHOOD

Welcome home to the Gasparilla II, specifically designed for the ultimate Florida lifestyle. Boasting 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, this home features an open concept floorplan with soaring 12’ ceilings allowing for an abundance of natural light to flood the home and creating a bright and airy atmosphere. Enjoy seamless indoor-outdoor living with the large sliding glass doors that lead to your spacious covered lanai that is perfect for entertaining and family gatherings. At 3,618 square feet, this home is generously sized and includes an upstairs bonus room, providing additional living space and endless possibilities for customization. Whether you’re looking to unwind in a cozy bedroom or entertain guests in the expansive living areas, the Gasparilla II is the ultimate home for any discerning homeowner. Additional customization options include a 5th bath, a 5th bedroom in lieu of the den, extra-wide 16’ sliding glass doors, and more.

not exactly reflect the
to change without notice. HOMES BY WESTBAY | Sales Information Model Sales O ce Coming Soon | 941.231.6966 | HomesbyWestBay.com GASPARILLA II EVERLY
fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes
and may
offerings of this home. Prices subject
SINGLE-FAMILY | PRICING COMING SOON 3,618 sf | 4-5 Bedrooms | 4-5 Baths First Floor Second Floor HOMES BY WESTBAY NEIGHBORHOOD


EVERLY 11'-4" C.H. Fixed Transoms

11'-10 C.H.

10'-4" C.H. 9'-10" C.H.

SINGLE-FAMILY FROM THE HIGH $1 MILLIONS 3,723 sf Under Air | 4 Bedrooms + Den and Bonus | 4 Baths 11'-4" C.H. 12'-0" C.H.

10'-8" C.H. 10 4" C.H. 10'-10 C.H.

10'-0" C.H. 9'-4 C.H. 10'-4" C.H.

The Haven Fixed Windows Fixed Window

11 4" C.H.

*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice.

LEE WETHERINGTON HOMES Sales Information Model Sales O ce Coming Soon | 941.236.5909 | LWHomes.com Suite 3 12’-0” x 12’-2” Bonus 18'-9" x 15'-3" Master Suite 14'-1" x 18'-4 Outdoor Living 31’-8” x 13’-0 Den 11’-0” x 12’-11” 3-Car Garage 21’-8” x 29’-0” 11 4" C.H. 12'-0" C.H. 11'-4" C.H. 9'-10" C.H. 9'-10" C.H. Great Room 18'-0"± x 19'-8" Dining 11'-0"± x 19'-8" Entry Foyer 9'-10" C.H. 9'-10" C.H. 12 0" C.H. © 2023 Le e Wether ingt on Home s Suite 2 12’-8” x 12’-0” Bath 2 Bath 3 Tr an so m Powder Bath Fixed Windows 24o10o SGD 12'-0" C.H. @ Peri te 16'-8" C.H. @ Ridge 12 0" C.H. @ Perimete 9'-10" C.H. 9'-10" C.H. Transoms Above 8o10o SGD 12o10o SG D Pantry 9'-4 C.H. 8'-0" C.H. Key Drop Furniture Niche Coats Linen Tech Broom Laundry Florida Basement 9'-4" C.H. 9'-4" C.H. Li Furniture Niche Linen Casita Bath Suite 4 14'-1" x 11'-5 11'-4" C.H. 11'-10 C.H. 10'-4" C.H. Outdoor Dining 17'-0" x 22'-10" 11 4" C.H. 11 10" C.H. 9'-10" C.H. 10'-4" C.H. 9'-10" C.H. 9'-4" C.H. 8'-0 C.H.
The Haven is the epitome of luxury Florida living. The vast great room has cathedral ceilings with decorative beams and 24’ of pocketing sliding glass doors opening to the spacious outdoor living area. It has room for the whole family and extended stay guests, with 4 private suite bedrooms with ensuite baths. Enjoy a view of the pool from the bonus room with disappearing sliding glass doors or retreat to the den for some privacy. The 3-car garage with Florida basement, linen, storage closets and large walk-in closets give you a place to keep all your valuables. You will want to make this home your very own Haven. 9' -1 0" C. H.

With sun-filled interiors, a flowing floor plan and screened lanai, Mattamy Homes’ Largo paired villa lives like a single-family home with the benefits of a low-maintenance lifestyle. The awardwinning home design– beloved for its kitchen and generous storage space–spans 1,431 square feet under air and o ers two bedrooms, a study, two baths, laundry room and a two-car garage. The Largo model boasts modern textures and clean-lined furnishings that bring in natural elements. This model features a Tuscan exterior style with stacked stone accents, a barrel-tile roof and covered front porch. The airy dining room, kitchen and great room flow seamlessly and create a space ideal for entertaining, while 12-foot-wide sliding glass doors extend the living space outdoors. The kitchen – one of the Largo’s most popular features, provides plentiful storage and cabinetry, a center island with a breakfast bar for quick meals, and granite countertops.The owner’s suite is accented by a tray ceiling and crown molding. The suite o ers an oversized walk-in closet and a beautiful bathroom with a walkin shower and a linen-hued painted vanity with two sinks and a granite countertop. The Largo’s second bedroom is in the front of the home and overlooks the porch, and is conveniently located adjacent to a full bath, which is perfect for family or guests.

sf | 2 Bedrooms | 2 Baths
MATTAMY HOMES Sales Information 11721 Renaissance Blvd., Venice, Florida | 941.208.6375 | MattamyHomes.com *Brochure fl oorplans and
are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice.




2,201 sf | 3 Bedrooms | 3 Baths

One of Lennar’s popular single-family floor plans. Located in the national homebuilder’s new Antigua neighborhood of only 177 homesites with water and preserve views, the Marsala has three bedrooms, three full baths, a den and a two-car garage. The Marsala waits to introduce its grand gathering areas, welcoming guests to an elegant foyer and a long hallway before opening to the spacious great room and kitchen filled with natural sunlight. The great room’s generous size makes entertaining a breeze, easily accommodating a dining area and a large gathering space with ample room for a sofa, loveseat and TV. Sliding glass doors extend living outside to the lanai which has a chic brick paver floor and provides venues for dining and sitting. Chefs appreciate the kitchen’s wide layout and appointments with white Shaker cabinetry, quartz countertops, a corner walk-in pantry and a center island that doubles as a breakfast bar. The Marsala balances its openness with cozy retreats for bedrooms and the den. The owner’s suite has a large bedroom with a king-size bed, two walk-in closets and a spa-inspired private bathroom with a luxe soaking tub, separate shower and dual-sink vanity. The model’s two guestrooms and den are located o the foyer hallway. An en suite bedroom has a private bathroom with a shower. The second guestroom o ers a walk-in closet and is shown as an inviting mother-in-law suite. It shares a full bathroom with the den.

LENNAR HOMES | Sales Information 11490 Burgundy Lane | Venice, Florida | 941.621.9324 | Lennar.com
Den Bath 2 Bath 3 Laundry Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 2-Car Garage Great Room Lanai Owner’s Suite Bath Walk-In Closet Walk-In Closet Kitchen Entry Foyer HVAC VAC o ed r 2-Car ra R t re ite e alk-InClose alk-In a loset Kitchen 25' x 9' 24' x 16' 13' x 11' 14' x 15' 11' x 11' 12' x 12' 20' x 20'
*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice.




3,231 sf | 5 Bedrooms | 3 Baths

There is so much to love in the Monte Carlo home floor plan boasting over 3,200 square feet of living space. The first floor formal living and dining areas are perfect for celebrations, while the inviting open kitchen with island connects to the family room for more casual entertaining. The first floor also has large bedroom/full bath for added leisure space, ideal as an o ce or media room. Owner’s suite features two walk-in closets and large bathroom. The second floor bonus space is an ideal spot for the play or media room. Enjoy relaxing on the covered lanai or tinker with your toys in the 3-car tandem garage.

LENNAR HOMES Sales Information Model Sales O ce Coming Soon | 888.808.6829 | Lennar.com LAUNDRY KITCHEN REF P ANT R Y BREAKFAST NOOK 12' X 9' LANAI 14' X 19' GREAT ROOM 12' X 11' BEDROOM 5 CL D W WH A/C STOR A GE UP FOYER 12' X 12' DINING ROOM ENTRY 21' X 39' 3 CAR GARAGE 12' X 12' DW BATH LIVING ROOM ARCH ARCH A R CH A R CH ARCH A/C 12' X 18' OWNER'S SUITE WIC WIC OWNER'S BATH 12' X 12' BEDROOM 4 10' X 12' BEDROOM 3 CL 12' X 12' BEDROOM 2 13' X 18' BONUS ROOM WIC OPEN TO BELOW BATH DOWN CL ARCH ARCH ARCH A R CH 9405-MONTE CARLO First Floor Second Floor *Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice. LENNAR HOMES NEIGHBORHOOD

The Mystique is a versatile new construction floor plan that o ers 2-5 bedrooms, well-suited for family time and entertaining. The beautiful home design features an open kitchen with a center island that overlooks a bright gathering room, perfect for entertaining and everyday living. This home is truly personalized to fit you and your lifestyle. Whether you want an extra bedroom or more garage space, a flex room or enclosed den, or maybe you want more family space with a loft. The options are endless with the Mystique. And, at the end of the day, you can escape to the private owner’s suite featuring a spa-like bathroom and with a large walk-in closet.

homes WELLEN PARK PULTE HOMES | Sales Information Model Sales O ce Coming Soon | 941.265.6300 | Pulte.com/Sarasota
SINGLE-FAMILY COMMUNITY COMING SOON – JOIN THE VIP LIST 1,889+ sf | 2-5 Bedrooms | 2-4 Baths MYSTIQUE LAKESPUR OPT. DROPPED TRAY OPT. DROPPED TRAY OPT. DZ OPT. DOOR S OPT. SINK OPT. TRAY OPT. SINK P L WIC L OPT. PATIO 13'-8" x 10'-0 O. BATH OWNER'S SUITE 14'-1" x 16'-0 LAUN ENTRY FOYER STORAGE 10'-1" x 15'-5 CAFE 11'-0" x 12'-0 KITCHEN HVAC BA. 2 2 CAR GARAGE 19'-8" x 20'-1 BEDROOM 2 11'-9" x 11'-2 FLEX 12'-2" x 10'-0 GATHERING ROOM 12'-6" x 18'-9 COVERED LANAI 13'-0" x 10'-0 SQ FTG Mystique Floor plans, Elevations and Options will vary from Community Community and may not reflect current changes. Dimensions shown are approximate. (c) Copyright 2023 Pulte Home Company, LLC. First Floor 1,889-3,037 40'-0" 74'-0" TerraWalk *Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice. PULTE HOMES NEIGHBORHOOD


1,682 sf | 3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths

A single-family home with three bedrooms, two baths and a den, the Patriot o ers 1,682 square feet catering to indoor-outdoor living with a custom pool and covered lanai. The model highlights the floor plan’s flexibility, showcasing the den as a second gathering destination with a desk and sectional sofa and delegating a guest room for at-home fitness with an exercise bike, TV and plenty of space for yoga and resistance training. The foyer provides a secluded location for the den and flows into the great room featuring tray ceiling with a gray inset. The adjoining kitchen has white cabinetry, gray countertops, stainless-steel appliances and an island with a trio of acrylic and antique brass stools. Sliding glass doors open the dining room to an alfresco outdoor sitting area furnished with a loveseat, chairs and a cocktail table overlooking the pool and a preserve. An expansive sundeck provides a secluded spot for two chaises next to the pool’s raised wall, clad in blue tile and featuring three sheer descent water spillovers. Blush tones accent the bed wall and bedding in the master bedroom, a large space with a king-size bed flanked by 42-inch nightstands. The suite also o ers a walk-in closet and a bathroom showing a double vanity sink option, frond-patterned wallpaper and a walk-in shower, and a fourth bedroom as well as several bath configurations.

NEAL COMMUNITIES | Sales Information 18217 Vizcaya Court | Venice, Florida | 941.960.7782 | NealCommunities.com
for representation
only and may not exactly reflect the offerings
to change without notice. NEAL COMMUNITIES NEIGHBORHOOD
PATRIOT WYSTERIA *Brochure fl oorplans and photos are
home. Prices subject


3,004 sf | 3 Bedrooms | 2.5 Baths

The Ravenna is a stately and elegant home, made for luxurious comfort, spacious entertaining and daily relaxation. With 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths across 3,004 square feet of living space and a 3-car garage, this home can be customized and designed to reflect your unique taste and style. Unwind daily in the Great Room, the center and heart of the home, which connects to the dining area and gourmet kitchen. The Club Room is the perfect space to enjoy sports, watch movies or setup a billiards table. A separate den with double French doors is included, and can be used as an o ce or additional living space. The Master Bedroom includes 2 walk-in closets, separate vanities, a luxurious soaking tub, walk-in shower and private water closet. The two remaining bedrooms are located by a second full bath. A powder room is located beside the Club Room. Additional options for this home include a fourth bedroom as well as several bath configurations.

*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice.
NEAL SIGNATURE HOMES | Sales Information Model Sales O ce Coming Soon | 941.584.8363 | NealCommunities.com NEAL SIGNATURE HOMES NEIGHBORHOOD



1,848 sf | 3 Bedrooms | 2 Baths

Encapsulating 1,848 sq. ft. of living space the Sandcastle II is Neal Communities’ largest villa home design with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a 2-car garage. A large island and plenty of counter space can be found in the well-appointed kitchen, overlooking the spacious great room and dining area. A separate den is tucked away between the second and third bedrooms, ideal for enjoying drinks with friends and family during the evening. Any time of the day, you can retreat to the master bedroom featuring an oversized walk-in closet, dual sinks and separate water closet. A scenic outdoor lanai completes this floor plan.

only and may not exactly reflect the
of this home. Prices subject to change without
WELLEN PARK *Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes
NEAL COMMUNITIES | Sales Information 21209 Wacissa Drive, Venice, Florida | 941.214.9190 | NealCommunities.com NEAL COMMUNITIES NEIGHBORHOOD


2,762 sf | 4 Bedrooms | 3 Baths

The Silver Sky II model builds up the anticipation, creating an elegant first impression by guiding guests from the foyer to a gallery embellished with a painted white brick wall. It opens to the spacious great room and kitchen with views sweeping through pocketing sliding glass doors to the covered lanai’s inviting alfresco sitting area, the custom pool and spa, and the nature preserve beyond. The chef’s kitchen o ers wall ovens, a stainless-steel double refrigerator with bottom freezer, a cooktop with a white hood and a walk-in pantry with a glass door. The sink and dishwater are located in the oversized island, which is illuminated by a trio of white and gold pendants and provides seating for five on barstools upholstered in plush blue. Nestled in a sunny corner overlooking the pool and lanai, the dining room features dark woods paired with white chairs and saturated hues of chartreuse. Sliding glass doors extend the great room out to the lanai, where four barrel-backed chairs create an intimate sitting area. The pool o ers a sun shelf for chaises and a dramatic built-in spa flush with the water surface. The suite includes two walk-in closets and a well-appointed bathroom with split vanities and a large walk-in shower. The Silver Sky II also o ers an open leisure room o the entry gallery, shown in the model as a stylish home o ce with a desk, bookcases and drum chairs accented with nailhead trim.

*Brochure fl oorplans and photos are for representation purposes only and may not exactly reflect the offerings of this home. Prices subject to change without notice. NEAL COMMUNITIES | Sales Information 12589 Meribel Street | Venice, Florida | 941.241.2359 | NealCommunities.com NEAL COMMUNITIES NEIGHBORHOOD


3,412 sf | 3 Bedrooms | 2.5 Baths

The elevated contemporary style of this house is apparent upon entrance into the foyer, where you are greeted with saturated color and warm wood tones. With 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths across 3,004 square feet of living space and a 3-car garage, this home can be customized and designed to reflect your unique taste and style. Unwind daily in the Great Room, the center and heart of the home, which connects to the dining area and gourmet kitchen. The Club Room is the perfect space to enjoy sports, watch movies or setup a billiards table. A separate den with double French doors is included, and can be used as an o ce or additional living space. The Master Bedroom includes 2 walk-in closets, separate vanities, a luxurious soaking tub, walk-in shower and private water closet. The two remaining bedrooms are located by a second full bath. A powder room is located beside the Club Room. Additional options for this home include a fourth bedroom as well as several bath configurations.

homes WELLEN
are for representation
only and may not exactly reflect the
of this home. Prices subject to change without notice.
PARK *Brochure fl oorplans and photos
WARRINA EVERLY JOHN CANNON HOMES | Sales Information: Model Sales O ce Coming Soon | 941.876.5224 | JohnCannonHomes.com JOHN CANNON HOMES NEIGHBORHOOD


Whether you’re in the mood to exercise, socialize or be entertained, you’re invited—there’s always something going on in Wellen Park.


Luminescence Festival

May 26, 2023 Enjoy an evening of illumination and jazz music in Downtown Wellen. Join your community to place hundreds of glowing luminaries in a moment of reflection and celebration at the ceremonial opening of Downtown Wellen’s Grand Lake. Discover new possibilities and opportunities for growth and take a moment to personalize your luminary in remembrance of loved ones.

Health & Wellness Fest

June 17, 2023 This health and wellness event will feature live entertainment, yoga classes throughout the day, fun activities for the family, and so much more!

Great American Picnic

July 1, 2023 Kick-off your Independence Day weekend with Downtown Wellen’s Great American Picnic! Join us for this family-friendly event and chill out in your chairs or spread out the blankets and enjoy live entertainment all afternoon and into the evening.

Amplitude Music Fest

August 12, 2023 Finish off the summer with a bang! Or should we say a tune? Join us in Downtown Wellen for a day packed with a multitude of different musical artists playing your favorite tunes.

Solis Hall Wedding Expo

August 25, 2023 Join us at Solis Hall, Downtown Wellen’s one-of-a-kind wedding venue, for a wedding expo featuring an amazing selection of wedding professionals ready to help you find the perfect gown, invitations, photographer, music, menu, honeymoon destination, and much more!


Walking Group Meet-up

Saturdays 9-10am Join us for the Wellen Park walking group meetup. This group meets in Downtown Wellen Park in front of Kind Vibes Outfitters every Saturday morning. No RSVP or registration required. The group will start at 9am, come and go as you please.

Cycling Group Meet-up

Saturdays 10-11am Join us for the Wellen Park cycling group meet-up. This group meets in Downtown Wellen Park in front of Kind Vibes Outfitters every Saturday morning. No RSVP or registration required. The group will start at 10am, come and go as you please.

Running Group Meet-up

Mondays 6-7pm The best way to end a Monday is with a run! Join us for the Wellen Park running group meet-up. This group meets in Downtown Wellen Park in front of Kind Vibes Outfitters every Monday night. No RSVP or registration required. The group will start at 6pm, come and go as you please.

Zumba on the Lawn

Mondays 9-10am In partnership with the Venice YMCA, you are invited to ‘shimmy’ the pounds away! A new year a new you. Join us on the Great Lawn area for a ‘fabulous and fun’ Zumba class. All ability levels are welcome for this free outdoor class. Please note all participants are required to read and accept the fitness waiver, which is available when you reserve your spot.

Wellen Wednesday Cornhole & Live Music

Wednesdays 6-9pm Join us for Wellen Wednesdays every Wednesday night in Downtown Wellen

for cornhole and live music. Play a game or two with your fellow neighbors. Live music from 6pm9pm. Cornhole tournament draw time will be precisely at 6:30pm.

Friday Night Live Concert Series

Every Friday Join us every Friday evening at 6pm for our Friday Night Live Concert Series! Enjoy an evening at The Great Lawn featuring live music and more for the perfect way to wind down the week and head into the weekend!

Yoga on the Great Lawn

Saturdays 9-10am The Be Well Fitness Series brings you Yoga on The Great Lawn in Downtown Wellen every Saturday. Classes are complimentary (subject to change).

*Please bring a mat and a towel. This will be an outdoor class. All ability levels are welcome. RSVP to reserve your spot! Please note all participants are required to read and accept the fitness waiver, which is available when you reserve your spot.

Friday Night Live Concert Series

Fridays 6-9pm Join us every Friday evening at 6pm! Bring your lawn chairs and blankets down to enjoy an evening at The Great Lawn featuring live music and more for the perfect way to wind down the week and head into the weekend!

Saturday Night Live Concert Series

Select Saturdays Join us select Saturdays at 6pm for our Saturday Night Live Concert Series! Enjoy an evening at The Great Lawn featuring live music and more for the perfect way to enjoy the weekend!

For more details on these and other Wellen Park events, visit: wellenpark.com/events



Wellen Park cycling enthusiasts




DREAM AND IT GETS BETTER EVERY YEAR,” says Eric Johnston. If anyone is qualified to make that assessment, it’s him. Johnston has called the area home for nearly a decade and is incredibly invested there. He runs several Facebook groups designed to unite the community, including Wellen Park Neighbors, Friends, and Family and Wellen Park Foodies. His latest page, Wellen Park Cyclist, was created as a place where he could share his passion for cycling. Johnston is a relative newcomer to cycling. In November 2020, the day after he turned fifty, Johnston went to a local bicycle store and purchased a starter road bike. It wasn’t long before he was fully immersed in the culture. “I started with one mile, then three, then five,” he says. “I loved it and just kept riding further. I now ride twenty miles every morning and do a long ride on Sundays of forty to sixty miles.”

Wellen Park was designed with wellness in mind, and that is exemplified by the ample trail system that weaves through the community. There are currently more than 21 miles of trails open to pedestrians, runners, and cyclists, and the system will eventually span 40 miles. At any time of day, you can see people of all ages enjoying the trails both on foot and on wheels. Because the trail system varies in length, you can enjoy it in whatever way works best for you. If you’re looking for a quick constitutional, try the 1.25-mile-long College Loop. If you’d like to take a leisurely bike ride, you can explore one of the longer trails like the 6.3-mile-long West Villages Loop. The trail system is interconnected, so you can even design your own longer route to customize your experience. The Wellen Park Cyclist Facebook page is also an excellent resource for more advanced cyclists looking for longer routes nearby, like the 18.5-mile Legacy Trail that connects Venice to Sarasota. Johnston has shared some informative videos of his more ambitious rides on the page. However, he credits the Wellen Park trail system for his newfound love of cycling. “The trail system was such an impactful discovery for me,” says Johnston. “It gave me a new way to fall in love with our area all over again.” WPL


Grand Lake Loop

Grand Lake is the centerpiece of Downtown Wellen, and the latest addition to the Wellen Park trail system is the Grand Lake Loop. This 3.2-mile-long trail winds around the lake and has quickly become a favorite destination of cycling enthusiasts like Eric Johnston. “I love the downtown lake trail and go there every morning as part of my ride,” Johnston says. Because he rides early in the day, he frequently gets to enjoy the sunrise. However, he says sunsets at Grand Lake are equally spectacular. Even though the Grand Lake Loop has plenty of human visitors, you’re likely to see wildlife there as well. In the morning hours, you may be lucky enough to spot a deer, and you’ll also encounter an impressive variety of birds.

Blue Heron Park Loop

Wellen Park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. When you cycle around the 1.5-mile-long Blue Heron Park Loop though, you may encounter some friendly furry faces. Blue Heron Park is home to Central Bark, a dog-friendly recreation area. Central Bark is equipped with agility stations, dog-sized water fountains, and shaded structures where your canine companion can cool down. If you have a large, energetic dog, get a biking leash and let them run off some energy while you travel around the Blue Heron Park Loop. Then take your pooch to Central Bark for a puppy playdate to celebrate their adventure.

TOGETHER outdoors
RIGHT For Eric Johnson, a good day begins with a good bike ride on Wellen Park trails.

Unityin Community

YMCA Yoga dream team brings their expertise to Wellen Park.

IN MANY WAYS, YOGA IS A SINGULAR, INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT, but there is undeniably a sense of community among yoga practitioners. That is especially evident when you see the partnership between Carolyn Gwozdziewycz and Michelle Worby who both teach yoga at the Venice YMCA.

TOGETHER mindbody 52 Together WELLEN PARK LIVING | SUMMER 2023
BELOW Carolyn Gwozdziewycz (left) and Michelle Worby (right) share their love for the community of yoga. PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN | SRQ MEDIA


Michelle first discovered yoga in 1991, after dealing with debilitating mobility issues caused by an arthritic illness. “My therapist at the time told me that the only thing that could ever give me a better quality of life was yoga,” she says. “It was so hard to start because I had a lot of locked-up joints, but I slowly progressed to the point where yoga was the thing for me.”

For Michelle, who had spent a few years confined to a wheelchair, yoga was a truly transformative experience. She continued taking yoga classes and shared her journey with one of her teachers who encouraged Michelle to become an instructor in her own right. When she started teaching classes, Carolyn was one of her students. “When I came down here to work ten years ago I started in Michelle’s

yoga classes and loved them,” Carolyn shares. “She was my inspiration to become a yoga teacher.”

Though Carolyn and Michelle teach separate individual classes, they often end up working together. Carolyn still attends Michelle’s classes, although she’ll often end up helping other students in larger classes. They have also teamed up to put on monthly yoga workshops at the Venice YMCA for the past year. “I was doing them by myself, prior,” says Michelle. “I’ve been at the Y for almost five years, and doing them by myself was a lot of work so I was happy to have Carolyn. I’m so proud of Carolyn and how she’s progressed. She’s a wonderful yoga teacher.”

Carolyn and Michelle are united in the belief that yoga can be beneficial to everyone, both physically and mentally.

BELOW Join Carolyn and Michelle for their weekly yoga class hosted on the Great Lawn at Downtown Wellen Park every Saturday morning from 9-10am.

“There are certain activities that you might notice a decline in as you start to age,” Carolyn explains. “But with yoga, we see an increase with everyone that comes to class. More mobility, more strength, calmness. There’s often a major improvement in people’s minds and bodies and their overall outlook on life because it opens up possibilities for them.” In addition to classes and workshops at the Venice YMCA, Carolyn also leads yoga classes on the Great Lawn at Downtown Wellen Park every Saturday morning, from 9-10am. If Carolyn isn’t available for a class, Michelle is always happy to step in.

“We sub for each other,” Carolyn says. Michelle jumps in. “We’ve got each other’s backs. She’s my best friend.” WPL


what I learned


GETTING A MANICURE AND PEDICURE ADDS A LITTLE SOMETHING SPECIAL INTO EVERY FINGER CLICK AND FOOTSTEP. Meet Jessica Haworth, the owner of the Wellen Park franchise of Paint Nail Bar, who shares what put her on the road to opening the franchise and why guests will love this new neighborhood spot.

What inspired you to want to open a franchise of Paint Nail Bar? JESSICA HAWORTH I was a loyal Paint customer for 6 years prior to making the decision to open my own. During one of my appointments back in 2018, I found out that they started franchising. From that

appointment on, I took in everything going on around me and wondered what it would be like to run my own. I have a background in business and marketing and have always wanted to own my own business so with that interest combined with my love for all things beauty, I was fasci-

Jessica Haworth, the owner of Paint Nail Bar in Wellen Park, shares what it takes to open a franchise. WORDS BY LAURA PAQUETTE

what I learned

Popular Nail Looks for the Summer

We do gel nails and offer an alternative to acrylics called Gel-X extensions which is really popular with our current clients. Gel-X extensions are a healthier and safer alternative to acrylic nails. These extensions can also be cut and filed into any shape and length after application. They last anywhere from 3-4 weeks. A favorite nail look is the classic French manicure and a popular design for 2023 is a twist on the traditional French manicure. Modernized takes on the standard white tips are popping up left and right. From bright colors to ombré nails, there are so many different modern spins on the French mani. Nail trends also depend on the season. For summer, bright and fun neon colors are in. We also offer elaborate nail art which is always fun around holidays.

nated. Fast forward to February 2020 when my sister and I were getting pedicures, she said, ‘Why don’t you open one of these? This is right up your alley.’ I knew that was my sign to do it.

What makes Paint stand out among other salons? HAWORTH The main thing people notice is that it doesn’t look, feel or smell like a traditional nail salon. We only use LED lamps because they don’t have the detrimental effects of UV lamps. We use hospital-grade sterilization, and all of our products are non-toxic and fume-free and we don’t use jetless tubs as they harbor a lot of bacteria. Beyond that the client experience is above industry standards and the relationships we create with our clients are something that you won’t get at a traditional nail salon. We have a really warm and friendly aesthetic, and it’s all about the relationships that we build with our clients. From our custom-built furniture to our odorless environment, staff development and engagement strategies, nails may be the trade, but relationships and client experience are the business. Our objective is to ensure that at the end of every service, every client feels that going anywhere other than Paint would not be possible because a new standard has been set.

Tell us about the process of starting the franchise. HAWORTH It’s been a journey, and there have been a lot of challenging times throughout this entire process. I think the most challenging part is the fact that I’m building out the salon from the very beginning because Wellen Park was not established like it is today. This whole thing has been a lesson in patience. I signed my agreement to own a Paint franchise in April 2021, and we decided on Wellen Park.

The downtown area wasn’t established yet; it was just dirt. Thankfully Wellen Park helped me envision it. We thought this would be the best area because it was growing and people were moving here in droves in 2020.

After that, the hardest parts have been having patience and the buildout process. I started with dirt and worked with an architect to get the space drawn up. From there, I had to find the right contractor to build out the space which proved to be difficult because around that time Hurricane Ian had just hit. I got my keys to the building a few weeks after the hurricane had hit, and general contractors were all busy with post-Ian recovery. The cost of everything has gone up since the hurricane, and I thought that we would have this space done in the summer of 2022, then December of 2022 and now it’s June or July of 2023. A lot of things that you don’t typically anticipate come up when you’re building something from the ground up.

What is one aha moment that you had throughout the process of setting up your franchise or tip that you’d like to share with others?

HAWORTH It is vital to have patience, perseverance and a positive mindset when opening a business. There were so many unexpected hurdles that I had to jump through during this entire process. I could’ve easily given up and gone back to my comfortable job and life that I had before deciding to take this on. Things get uncomfortable. I had to get very comfortable with being uncomfortable. WPL

Come out to experience the Wellen Park location of Paint Nail Bar this June or July. To learn more or to book an appointment, visit paintnailbar.com



A Life in Pictures

Wellen Park Resident Rick LaBerge chronicles his life through his camera. WORDS

“WHEN I WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD, I picked up the family camera while on a vacation up in the mountains and asked my mother if I could take a picture of that mountain – this is black and white film, mind you, back in the mid-’50s,” says Wellen Park resident Rick LaBerge. “She got it developed and said, ‘Who took this?’ She showed it to my uncle, who was a professional photographer and he told me, ‘Hey kid, you got the eye!’ He started teaching me and from then on, I was hooked.” Over the years, LaBerge parlayed that initial spark of interest into a lifetime spent behind the lens. A radio frequency (RF) engineer by trade, LaBerge spent his nights and weekends taking and developing photos, building his skillset over time. “In the ‘80s I quickly found out about Ilford Cibachrome. It was black and white film, but you could make color prints using the slide in the darkroom,” says LaBerge. “So I started doing that and ended up with my own overnight Cibachrome developing business – I was working during the day in the cable television industry and then working all night producing overnight prints for people. Eventually, I started demoing the product for Ilford Photo at photo shows throughout the Northeast.”

Later on, LaBerge transitioned to working for Wayne Laboratories, designing RF computer systems, but kept up with his photography and shot weddings for 25 years. “Wedding photography is not for everybody. You can be the best photographer in the world and you’re not gonna do weddings well unless you can do one thing–feel for the people,” says LaBerge. However, the grind of shooting weddings took some of the fun out of photography for LaBerge. On vacations, he’d leave his camera at home, not wanting to bring work with him on his time off. It was only when LeBarge reached retirement and moved down to Wellen Park from New Hampshire, that he rediscovered his love for photography. “The State College of Florida has a rookery that’s right across the street from my place. That’s where I get most of my nature shots,” says LaBerge. “I like to go around an hour before sunset, it’s very peaceful. I also love heading over to the Audubon in Venice – I get to meet a lot of fellow photographers there which is half of the fun.” WPL

Images courtesy of Rick LaBerge. To view more of his photography, visit Facebook.com/Rick.Laberge2

Looking ahead to the launch of the Fresh Harvest Wellen Park farmers market.

Keeping Fresh Local

FOOD MAY BE THE SINGLE GREATEST UNIFIER. It brings people together in a way nothing else does. Downtown Wellen Park is already home to several incredible restaurants where people can gather with friends and family. And beginning this May, people can also gather at the area’s newest farmers market, Fresh Harvest Wellen Park.

Fresh Harvest Wellen Park will feature a diverse array of vendors, with a heavy emphasis on locally-grown produce and locally-prepared foods. Local growers will showcase their finest fruits, vegetables, and herbs, while local bakers will sell delicious bread, cakes, and pies. Cottage industry vendors will have wares including jams and jellies, pickled and preserved fruits and veggies, and honey and maple syrup. Specialty purveyors will sell fresh seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and specialty cheeses. While the main focus of Fresh Harvest Wellen Park is on edible goodies, you can also expect to find some independent crafters as part of the market.

Not only will Fresh Harvest Wellen Park feature delectable treats for you to take home, but you can also enjoy breakfast onsite. Be sure to visit the food tent for tasty food and beverages from local vendors. Fresh Harvest Wellen Park will take place every Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm in the downtown area of Wellen Park, beginning on May 21. The market will operate rain or shine. WPL


Florida’s Freshest Fish Company

Florida is renowned for its fresh and delicious seafood, and Jeff Sims wants to make it as easy as possible for his customers to find the best of the best. “I wanted to build a business that made it more convenient to buy premium seafood while understanding what makes it a higher quality,” Sims says. Florida’s Freshest Fish Company sources the best local seafood from Miami, Ft. Myers, Charlotte Harbor, and Anna Maria Island. Sims also sources specialty seafood from farther-flung locales like Iceland and New Zealand. In addition to popular seafood items like Faroe salmon, Key West pink shrimp, and black grouper, Florida’s Freshest Seafood Company also carries homemade pre-prepared foods like cajun shrimp fish dip and jumbo lump blue crab cakes. Florida’s Freshest Fish Company will be one of the vendors at the new Fresh Harvest Wellen Park farmers market. To learn more about their goods, stop by and chat with the sales reps at the Florida’s Freshest Fish Company stand. They’re always happy to answer questions including the origins of each product and how to prepare it. floridasfreshestfish.com

Wild at Heart Flower Truck

There are many ways to help people. For years, Heather Moore helped people through her career as an administrator in the healthcare field. Now, she brings joy to people with the Wild at Heart Flower Truck. Wild at Heart is a mobile flower bar that travels throughout southwest Florida, bringing beautiful flowers to farmers markets, parties, and pop-up events. Moore sources her flowers from the Punta Gorda area and travels around in Willow, a cheerful red Ford Econoline pickup truck from 1962, helping people put together bouquets for a range of special occasions. “Fresh flowers bring smiles, good vibes, and positivity,” Moore says. “Flowers remind us to live life in full bloom.” Moore loves connecting with her customers and is thrilled to be part of the new Fresh Harvest Wellen Park farmers market. “I’m drawn to the Wellen Park area by the people we have met at events we’ve already attended,” she says. “The atmosphere is very inviting and family-friendly. The new downtown area has an appeal to many, as the design and culture are second to none.” wildatheartflowertruck.com

Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday from 9am-1pm at Downtown Wellen Park.

learning curve

Lifelong Community


A strong educational system teaches people how to be socially responsible, creates better citizens and helps communities thrive. In Wellen Park, opportunities for a better education will extend far beyond the standard K-12 school system thanks to entities like Prodigy Early Learning and the State College of Florida.

Denise Galluci, the president of Prodigy Early Learning, is incredibly passionate about education. “I’ve spent my entire life in the field of education,” Galluci says. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.” With Prodigy Early Learning, Gallucci and her team have created a unique curriculum that draws from a diverse assortment of educational philosophies, including Piaget, Vygotsky, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia. There are currently four Prodigy Early Learning centers located in Florida and Louisiana, with more set to open in

the next year. One of those new locations will be in Wellen Park. Prodigy Early Learning centers are designed with children from eight weeks to five years old in mind. The mission is to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning by nurturing the natural curiosity in each child through active learning, intentional interactions, and purposeful play. What sets Prodigy apart from other educational programs is its ability to adapt to the varying needs of its students.

“Our environment facilitates unique learning opportunities that are driven by and tailored to each child,” Gallucci explains. “Our student-teacher ratio is low so teachers are able to guide children rather than directing them all the time.” While the Wellen Park location of Prodigy Early Learning won’t open until 2024, applications for the center will open in August of this year for families who are interested.

To learn more, visit Prodigy Early Learning at prodigylearn.com and State College of Florida at scf.edu.

In Wellen Park, learning lasts a lifetime. WORDS BY KATE WIGHT

learning curve

While Prodigy Early Learning is laying foundations for future educational pursuits, the State College of Florida (SCF) is providing opportunities for continuing education for students of all ages. In addition to the credit courses o ered at SCF, residents can also sign up for non-credit courses through the Lifelong Learning and Workplace Development initiative. This program o ers a wide array of classes on subjects including languages, performing arts, personal enrichment, and much more.

Ron Serpliss is the Interim Dean of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development at SCF. He is particularly enthusiastic about the workforce portion of this program.

“Our main focus has been to really work on workforce development so we can give people the opportunity to improve their skills,” Serpliss says. This versatile program o ers students the chance to level up in their already-established careers or acquire the skills to pivot to a new career path. SCF o ers a wide range of courses

in professional development and hosts testing services for professional industry certifications. People interested in starting their own businesses can take advantage of courses in entrepreneurship. Many local adults, including retirees, are already benefiting from classes to increase computer skills and improve financial literacy.

“Our students are not all 18 years old,” Serpliss says. “There’s a wide variety of ages. We like having older students come in because they bring a wealth of information and history and experience into class discussions.” If you’re interested in learning more about these classes, you can visit www.scf.edu and look for the section titled Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development. Serpliss is interested in getting feedback from the community to see where else the program can go. “We’re seeing a lot of growth in Venice and North Port,” he says. “We’d love to have the ability to grow our programs and meet the needs of the community.” WPL




Satchel’s Last Resort Rescue and Sanctuary and St. Francis Animal Rescue share the importance of human-animal relationships.

PEOPLE SAY THAT EVERY HOME NEEDS A PET, AND EVERY PET NEEDS A HOME. The teams at Satchel’s Last Resort Rescue and Sanctuary and St. Francis Animal Rescue of Venice dedicate themselves to nurturing pets and placing them with their forever family. Unlike many shelters, Satchel’s takes in dogs and cats that are at risk, due to factors like their age, breed, medical conditions or behavioral issues. The majority of the animals come from owner surrender situations, but some also arrive at Satchel’s through assistance from other animal welfare organizations. “Some pets might need a bit more time and attention before they’re ready for their forever homes,” says Michal Anne Vande Woude, Satchel’s executive director. The organization credits the rescue’s volunteers for preparing the animals to meet their future families, by

helping them practice social skills. “I certainly believe that there’s a wonderful human-animal bond. Dogs with traumatic pasts come in frightened and terrified and might not act how they normally would, but with time and patience they learn how to trust and can become amazing pets and companions,” she adds. Through senior-to-senior adoptions, older pets and owners form special connections, giving each a new lease on life. However, it’s not just the animals who benefit from being adopted; many pet owners feel that they were also rescued by their new best friend.

St. Francis, which specializes in helping cats, goes above and beyond to find kitties a new home and provide a loving sanctuary for those who, often for medical reasons, must live at the shelter. Because there are people who are willing to care for and support a cat but lack

the financial means to do so, the shelter provides veterinary care, food, litter and other support to fosters, allowing many pets to live in a real home. Shelter manager Lisa Voigt notes that there’s been an uptick in the need for emotional support animals in recent years. “We live in an older community, and oftentimes I have recent widows and widowers who are home alone. An animal companion really can make them a lot healthier because they have something to wake up to and that relies on them. Many people in older generations had dogs, but as they age it’s harder to take dogs for walks. Cats are more self-sufficient and are good for companionship,” she says. No matter what type of animal someone adopts, their bond with their owner will last a lifetime. WPL

Simba’s Sanctuary

Pets, just like people, need patience and love in order to reach their full potential. For Simba, a tabby cat at St. Francis Animal Rescue of Venice, finding his forever home was a waiting game. Rescued from a hoarding situation, Simba was a shy kitty who needed time to feel comfortable around new people. He warmed up to shelter manager Lisa Voigt, who noticed his potential. “He was adopted twice, but both times was brought back for being too shy,” she says. When Mike Hoisington and his wife adopted him, they gave him the time he needed to come around. “Since the day he came home, he’s been sitting on the couch watching TV with us,” adds Hoisington. “He doesn’t stop purring and he’ll lick you to death.” According to Voigt, Simba has even learned to play with toys, a rare behavior for cats who haven’t been taught to play, proving that he’s found his perfect home. St. Francis Animal Rescue of Venice, 1925 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, sfarvenice.org


A Home for Howie

After Blanton Rowan and her husband, Carl, lost their previous dog, they were eager to share their love with a new furry friend. The pair decided to adopt an older dog and give it a second chance. Through Satchel’s Last Resort Rescue and Sanctuary, they met Howie, a Pit Bull mix who had been in the shelter for five years. Howie’s past experiences were unknown, but he often growled at men to keep them at bay. During his stay in the shelter, volunteers muzzled Howie and took him on fun excursions, allowing him to socialize in a process called positive muzzle training. Blanton and Carl got to know Howie while he wore his muzzle, giving him the time to open up and trust them. When the pair took the muzzle off, Howie behaved like a gentleman, and they adopted him. A loving and cuddly couch potato, he enjoys life with his new family. The Rowans still muzzle Howie when they take him out to stores because it allows both him and others to feel safe. “I can’t say enough positive things about a muzzle. When you’re not scared, they’re not scared. Dogs with muzzles get to participate, they can drink and have treats. The dog relaxes, and suddenly you get to know this animal.” Satchel’s Last Resort Rescue and Sanctuary, 8101 Coash Rd., Sarasota, satchelslastresort.org


RotaryTo the Rescue

When help is needed, The Wellen Park Rotary Cub rises to the challenge. WORDS BY BARBIE

CATHY CAMPBELL, FOUNDER, SERVICE AND FUNDRAISING CHAIR OF THE WELLEN PARK ROTARY CLUB operates with a mission to help people. Originally from New Jersey, Campbell relocated to Florida in 2019 and joined Rotary shortly thereafter in 2020, during COVID, via Zoom. Rotary, a service organization that works to help community members, is made up of a network of volunteer–problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change.

In the past, Rotary was more of a gentleman’s club that focused on meeting and getting to know one another–not really as much a service organization as it currently is in our area, according to Campbell. The Rotary Club she initially joined here was the Charlotte Harbor Sunset Club, meeting in Punta Gorda, but she really wanted to have a local club for the vast amount of people moving into the area, as she thought they could really do good work for the community. She first started to think about opening a Wellen Park branch in December 2021, but things actually started taking shape in May 2022 and the Wellen Park Rotary Club officially came to life in February 2023. The newly formed club is 100 percent volunteer-based and serves the Wellen Park neighborhoods and all of North Port as well. Most of the current volunteers are business people, but a few

retirees are also stepping up to join.

“We’re always looking for service projects, whether it’s to help the elderly or kids or just people with their homes,” says Campbell. In late September, the Club found such a project. After Hurricane Ian, the Rotary Club sent a disaster trailer out to help people who were displaced and who needed help. “We got them rooms, we did all sorts of different things to help them get back on their feet,” she says.

And just a few weeks later, the Wellen Park Welcome Center hosted the “Thanks 4 Giving” Tree asking for donations of gift cards from local grocery stores to help with Thanksgiving dinner for those in need. Campbell said Publix worked with the satellite club, providing the turkeys at a discounted rate after more than $825 was donated from mostly Wellen Park residents. Club members delivered the turkeys with fixings and provided 75 dinners for children at the Gene Matthews North Port Boys & Girls Club, as well as for participants at Pregnancy Solutions in North Port.

“It feels good knowing the children will have a hot meal for Thanksgiving,” said Rotary member Ginger Miranda in an interview with The Daily Sun. “Hurricane Ian hit adults hard, I can’t imagine how children who have lost so much feel after the hurricane and leading into the holidays. We are here to help them.”

Currently, the Wellen Park Rotary Club is working on a fundraising event with Wellen Park Development for the concert series on Friday nights. By selling beer and wine, they help to raise money for their club to help fund their service projects and continue to do good work in the community. For a holiday celebration, on Memorial Day weekend, there will be a fundraiser for first responders. Participants will be able to purchase a six-foot-tall American flag from the Club. “We’ll put the flag in the ground for them with a name tag and they can come and view it amongst all the other flags. We are also hoping to have other clubs in the area help us out because the more flags we have the more beautiful it is,” says Campbell, hoping to make a big presence in the area for the holiday.

In the future, the Club plans to partner with Grand Living at Wellen Park to host meetings. “We want to really attach ourselves to this independent and assisted living community because we feel like it’s going to be underserved,” shares Campbell. “People want to help children and don’t really want to help the elderly, so we just feel like it’s a perfect opportunity for us to give back.” WPL

The Wellen Park Rotary Club meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at the Wellen Park Welcome Center from 6-7:30 pm. To learn more, contact Cathy Campbell at 609-865-9200.


parting shot


Refreshing summer cocktails blossom from the Villani & Co menu, including the modern Kentucky Florida Mule.


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.