Residential Real Estate News, Reviews, Things To Do, Events, Neighborhood Information and Market Updates by Wes and Nicole Benwick

Dec. 4, 2017

Fun Facts About Hanukkah

We all SOME things about Hanukkah but what don't you know? 

 We know during December most people focus on Christmas, but for Jewish people Hanukkah is their biggest holiday. What do you know about Hanukkah? Here are some fun facts about this Jewish holiday.

  • Hanukkah begins this year on December 12th. It kicks off an 8 day celebration which is also known as "The Festival of Lights".
  • Hanukkah is Hebrew for "dedication".
  • The Menorah is a candelabra that has nine candles on it representing the eight nights of the holiday. The center candle is the one that lights the other eight candles.
  • Why isn't Hanukkah mentioned in the Torah? The events of Hanukkah happened after the Torah was written. It is however, cited in the New Testament.
  • What is gelt? It is the Yiddish word for coins, however the interesting thing about gelt is not that it's only a few hundred year tradition one knows who even started it! Nowadays, you may see chocolate "gelt" which look like chocolate coins as well. 
  • Dreidel was a copy of a game which was a copy of a game! The game was originally started by the Irish and English, which was then copied by Germans. 
  • Do you remember in 2013 when everyone was saying "Thanksgivukkah"? That was when Hanukkah and Thanksgiving were on the same day. The next time that will happen will be November 27, 2070. That is when Thanksgiving day and Hanukkah's first night will occur.
  •  Latkes are usually eaten during this holiday (and oh my GOSH are they good!). People eat them with sour cream, applesauce, etc. But why latkes? Potato latkes, along with other fried foods, are eaten to celebrate the oil in the menorah. To me latkes taste a lot like hash browns.  Here is a great latke recipe courtesy of Simply Potatoes:



1 20oz. pkg of Simply Potatoes shredded hash browns

1/2 cup Better n Eggs

1/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)

1/4 cup finely grated green onion

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder


In large bowl stir together Simply Potatoes, Better'n Eggs, flour, green onion, pepper, salt, and baking powder.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Cook 4 latkes at a time: spread 1/4 potato mixture for each latke into 3 1/2" cirlces in skillet.

Cook 4-5 minutes turning once. Repeat with remaining potato mixture and add oil to skillet as needed. 

Season with salt and pepper as desired.

*Enjoy your holiday season with your family and friends...all the best from us at









Dec. 1, 2017

Should I Sell My Home Over the Holidays?

Some say yes some say no! 

It's a "challenging" time to have your house for sale during any time. But to sell during the holiday season or to leave your home on the market during the holidays?  Some say yes keep it on the market because if someone does look they must be serious. Others say no because ...well, it's the HOLIDAYS and who wants to be bothered?

Pros of keeping your home on the market-

As stated those buyers could be serious ones, and as well, no matter what time of year, there ARE always people who need to move. Another good reason is this:with fewer homes on the market yours becomes even more appealing.  If it's not on the market, people won't know about it will not sell what is not FOR sale. To note as well, more people have time off during the holidays, therefore, more online shopping is happening and time to think about buying a new home. If you are traveling a lot during this time, why not have it on the market to show? It stays clean if you aren't there! ;) If you are going to be home, your Realtor can also put "blackout" dates in the notes. This is convenient for you if there are dates or times that simply will not work for you.

Cons of keeping your home on the market-

Yes it is a pain if you are super busy and someone wants to see your home while you're home may be in a rather chaotic state. You have decorations out, gifts even, and maybe kids that are excited about being off of school etc. WHO wants to be bothered with strangers in your home any day let alone during the crazy  It is ok to ask your Realtor to take your home off of the market during December; they can put it back on the market in January. 

Although it is true there are less buyers during the holidays, as the saying goes "You only need one!" If having showings doesn't bother you or you need to sell, then keep it on the market. If you are going to have family and friends over, or the whole idea of having people coming through your home is too much stress, have your Realtor take it off of the market until the new year.


Oct. 20, 2017

How to Have a Relaxing Thanksgiving

The two words "relax" and "holiday" are an a society we have put extreme pressure on ourselves to create a "Pinterest-Perfect" Thanksgiving dinner that is amazing beyond measure.  

It's almost a shame that some of us watch all of the home shows and want to emulate the hand-made decorations and 100% made-from-scratch meals only to feel stressed and defeated when it doesn't turn out well. (WHO has the time for all of that??) Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being THANKFUL and enjoying time with how can you relax instead of dreading this holiday? 

   Delegate. There I said it. Delegate to others the errands, chores, even bringing items like a part of the meal to your holiday event to save you tons of time and hassle. People want to help! (If they don't do you really want them at your home? ;))  First make a list of everything you would like to have at your meal and then grab a highlighter for the must-haves. Let's face it, home made paper turkeys at everyone's place setting is not a must. Next, ask those people who are coming to eat at your house to help you out! Have each person bring a piece of the meal! Why not? Then everyone can bring their best with one dish or dessert and everyone wins.  

  Worried about decor? Put those wonderful children of yours to work!!!  Ask your guests' children as well to come up with a centerpiece or place setting! Everyone loves a child's craft and they will love being included (and it gives them something to DO)!! Here are some cute ideas for children if they need some ideas.

If you don't have help from children here are some easy ideas if you want some decor on your table. Simply placing some colorful vegetables like gourds, pumpkins, etc., will work too!! 

For me having teenagers in the house, I worry about having a clean home when people arrive. It's a never ending daunting task so about a week or so prior to Thanksgiving I try to clean 2-3 places or "things" a day. Another (better) option is to hire a cleaning service for a total clean.  There are so many companies to choose from. I am sure if you put a post on Facebook asking for recommendations you would be handed plenty of references. can be something your children help you with to get the job done.

Let's remember that Thanksgiving, as well as the entire holiday season is all about being surrounded by family and friends and...being thankful. If you get wrapped up in the look of Thanksgiving you may as well not celebrate at all. This is the time to be with family and friends and enjoy a great meal made (or bought!) with love so enjoy the day to celebrate with the ones you love!


Oct. 10, 2017

Beachwalk Update

Beachwalk Update!

The hype is real. Beachwalk is coming along and people are chomping at the bit to buy. If you are interested in living in a resort lifestyle, this is the place for you. Who wouldn't want to be a part of what's the newest and best that St. Johns County has to offer? A private beach club, a FOURTEEN acre crystal clear lagoon, gated entry, shopping and restaurants all INSIDE your neighborhood? It is located in a great part of town with convenient access to I-95, I-295, SR-9B, Ponte Vedra Beach and the soon to be built shopping megaplex, called Durbin Park Town Center!



We have been to the Realtor events and have kept up to date on the progression of this community. If you are interested in finding out more about this incredibly unique area with TOP RATED schools and tons to offer call or email us and we will help you be a part of this amazing experience called Beachwalk.

When considering building you want an expert by your side who be there to help you every step of the way. Click here to read why YOU should have us by your side every step of the way. Contact us and we will inform you of much more that is going on here at Beachwalk. There are three great builders to choose from:


Vintage Estate Homes

Lennar Homes



 Wes Benwick Broker


Oct. 5, 2017

Friday the 13th-What's the Hype?

Well, it's coming.....but why does Friday the 13th cause us to worry?

Digging deep into its origin, it looks like there are a few theories why Friday the 13th freaks us out, but a big one was that it started a long long time ago with good ol' Adam and Eve.  Apparently that was the day when Eve gave Adam the fruit. Ironically it also the day Jesus was crucified. Others say the fear began due to certain tragedies occurring on that particular day. 

Another interesting theory about why the 13th has a negative connotation is that the number 12 symbols completeness. There are 12 months, 12 zodiac signs, 12 hours on the clock, etc. So the number 13 "throws things off" and is considered a breach of sorts to the rule hence being an unlucky day to do anything productive.

Of course the most famous horrors of this date are the "Friday the 13th" movies that began in 1980 and have terrified us for years.

Did you know there is actual phobia of Friday the 13th?

There is an actual fear of Friday the 13th and it is named friggatriskaidekaphobia-(can you say it let alone have it?).  If you think only a few suffer from this phobia, there is on average around 19 million who do. Most people whether they claim the actual phobia or not, will refrain from travel, driving, surgeries, etc. that could put the "spell" of Friday the 13th on them. 

Or maybe you are afraid of the number 13? We have all heard the number "13" is an unlucky number so it further feeds into the notion that Friday the 13th is just going to be an ill-fated unsuccessful day.  The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia. Some people avoid doing much of anything if it has to do with the number thirteen!


If you are superstitious and do not like Friday the 13th you probably will stay home. So, if you do decide to not "tempt fate" and stay in.....

why not do a binge watch of the ELEVEN

Friday the 13th movies?  (Wonder if they will make two more for kicks...).


Posted in News & Information
Sept. 21, 2017

Pumpkin Bread!!

Pumpkin Bread

Servings: Makes 2 loaves
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 65 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby's)

  • Instructions


    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease two 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (or use a baking spray with flour).

  1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl; use a whisk to mix well and set aside. 
  2. In large bowl of an electric mixer, at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until just blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in pumpkin. The mixture might look grainy and curdled at this point -- that's ok.
  3. At low speed, beat in flour mixture until well combined.
  4. Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. (If the loaves stick, run a plastic knife around the edges of the pan to loosen them.)
  5. Fresh out of the oven,the loaves have a deliciously crisp crust. If they last beyond a day, you can toast individual slices to get the same fresh-baked effect.
Posted in Kids & Families
Sept. 5, 2017

What to Know In Case of a Hurricane

Tis the Season:              

If you live in Florida you have been through some sort of weather that is hurricane related.  I wanted to write this blog because I am the type of person who will wash their car on a sunny day and it rains. So, if I write this blog with some tips to know in case Irma or any other hurricane wants to come our won't come at all. 

How to Be Prepared-

According to our local NBC station WJXT here is a great kit to be ready jussssst in case..


  • 1 gallon of water per person per day (additional water for bathing, etc.)
  • Store water in clean plastic containers


  • Purchase foods that require no refrigeration and little preparation, such as:
  • Ready-to-eat canned food
  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Snacks: cookies, cereals, etc.
  • Soft drinks, instant coffee, tea
  • Lots of ice (you can freeze your water supply)

For Baby

  • Formula, bottles, powdered milk, jarred baby foods
  • Diapers, moist towelettes and special medications


  • Newspapers or cat litter
  • Moist canned foods (to preserve water)
  • Plastic sheets to cover floor of pet's room


  • First aid kit
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Aspirin, non-aspirin pain reliever, antacid
  • Extra prescription medication (especially for heart problems and diabetes)
  • Ask your physician how to store prescription medication
  • Personal Items
  • Toilet paper, towels, soap, shampoo
  • Personal and feminine hygiene products
  • Denture needs, contact lenses and an extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Sun protection, insect repellent

Other supplies

  • Battery-operated radio, flashlights, non-electric can opener, extra batteries
  • Charcoal, waterproof matches, extra propane gas for grills (Use grills outside only!)
  • ABC-rated fire extinguisher in a small canister
  • Portable cooler
  • Plenty of absorbent towels, plastic trash bags
  • Wind-up or battery-operated clock
  • Tarp or sheet plastic, duct tape, hammer and nails for temporary roof repairs
  • Cleaning supplies such as chlorine bleach
  • Aluminum foil, paper napkins and plates, plastic cups
  • Can of spray paint (can be used to identify your home by insurance adjusters in case it's damaged)
  • At least one change of clothing per person, sturdy shoes, hat and work gloves
  • Pillows and blankets or sleeping bags

Download/print: The Weather Authority's hurricane supply checklist.

For more information on hurricane supply kids, visit: American Red Cross | Ready America


What to do if you hear you are in an evacuation zone:

 Stay informed. Watch the news- albeit draining I know, but better safe than sorry. If the authorities tell you should GO.

A LOT of people with Hurricane Matthew decided to stay put (ok, we did too), but one never knows when it comes to hurricanes.

IF you decide to stay, well, it's on you. If you have a generator great; if you don't-you may want to try and find one. Make sure you do have a safe place to go to if in fact it gets bad. The problem is two fold; if you stay you could sustain damage to your home while you are in it. Secondly, if something happens to someone in your home then any rescue emergency people would have a hard time getting to you. 

If you live in a mobile home? Yeah, you need to go...get in your car and head out. Low lying or flood prone areas? A no brainer-GO!

Basically, if you hear your home is in an evacuation zone listen to it. 

What should you take:

1. License/ID

2. Medicines 

3. Food and drinks

4. Portable radio (batteries)

5. Flashlight

6. Extra clothes, a few towels or blankets, etc.

7. Cash, credit cards, etc.

8. The safe-which holds your documents (insurance info, deeds, wills, etc)

9, Toiletries

10. Whatever is important to, DVDs, family items

Some other tips:

Just go to the gas station and fill up. Then hit the ATM and have that cash out in hand. If you are like a girl or boy scout and are always prepared-book a hotel room NOW.  These will sell out fast as the time approaches. 

All in all, sometimes the forecast is wrong and sometimes it's right. A hurricane is nothing to mess with, so stay safe!!!!

Posted in Helpful Advice
Aug. 15, 2017

Whiskey Jax

Whiskey Jax-A Definite Difference in Cuisine

  When Whiskey Jax opened its first location, it was in a spot that all other  restaurants had quickly failed. Some thought it was a sports bar, others  thought it was just another bar/restaurant with the same old menu items  doomed to fail like its predecessors. 

 But if you haven't been to Whiskey Jax at one of their two locations  (Baymeadows and now at the beach on Marsh Landing Parkway) you are  missing out on an extraordinary experience for your pallet.

 How is WJ different? Just try one of WJ's appetizers or meals. A popular  item on the menu are the Whiskey Blue Chips. WOW-a plate of kettle chips  with blue cheese tumbling over the chips and balsamic dressing drizzled all  over. Oh, and...bacon. Or perhaps the Crispy Avocado Fries are something  you'd like. The avocado slices are lightly breaded and served with their  signature bangin' Thai chili sauce.

 The lunch and dinner choices at Whiskey Jax are incredible. I could list food  after food but you really have to go and try some menu items. The meal  pictured here is their mango salmon...a half pound of salmon sitting on top  of their "dirty rice" with vegetables.  I personally love steak so I usually  order the Gastro Frites which is hanger steak cooked with amazing  mushroom gravy and blue cheese laid on top of a bed of perfectly cooked  steak fries. 

 I would be insane not to let you know about their brunch as well! Whiskey  Jax offers intriguing choices from their hash menu items served over home  fries to their unique way they prepare sausage gravy and biscuits. The  chicken and waffles is also a huge hit here.

 Whiskey Jax takes the "regular" menu items you see at practically every  restaurant and puts such a twist on them along with their own unique items  and that combination makes for a truly amazing dining experience. 

(pictured is their meatloaf and wedge salad..) 

If you ARE a sports fan, there is a bar area at each location as well, and there are multiple televisions that play most sports games; college and pro.  If you are an FSU football fan, the Whiskey Jax Baymeadows location hosts the FSU Alumni Association and many fans gather there to cheer on their Noles. The Beaches location hosts the Ohio State Alumni and it is always a HUGE turnout (there is a large amount of Buckeyes here in Jax!)

 Now let's move on to the bar at Whiskey Jax. There is a happy hour every day of the work week from 4-7p with really good deals (meaning, not just well drinks!). Every day as well there is something going on. For instance, Monday is Meatloaf Monday (and OH MY GOODNESS it was delicious!!!) along with Trivia Night. Check out their current nightly specials.

 Whiskey Jax also hosts bands at both of their locations which have great turn outs and are really fun for a night out.

If you are tired of the same ol' restaurants with the same food on the menu, you have got to try Whiskey Jax!!!

Posted in Places To Eat
Aug. 11, 2017

Tequilas-Mexican Delicioso

Tequilas--amazing doesn't describe it..

Tequilas may seem like any other Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville, but when I tell you Wes and I have tried a LOT of other Mexican places ...well, it's no joke.  

I always say "I could eat Mexican food every day." That is true and we can prove that by telling you not only do they all know us in Tequilas but they also know we don't ever need menus again.  We have also tried pretty much every other Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville and no disrespect to any of them but Tequilas is ALWAYS satisfying.

Some people who love Mexican food look for the best salsa, best queso, etc. Those are givens to us as well, and food is truly in the "mouth" of the beholder, but what we really love about Tequilas is more than the food; it's also the service.

Bar none, and not even counting just Mexican restaurants but ALL restaurants, the employees always have a smile on their face and excellent service.  You get sat down and right away get chips and salsa.  All of the staff are wonderful, and they are knowledgeable and friendly.

We have ordered many (that sounds awful but I am including our kids too!) of the items on the menu and never have been disappointed. From the burritos to the chimichangas to shrimp chiveche, all of their food is a big hit.

We always laugh (and appreciate!) that more often than not we can be in and out in less than 30 minutes.  They are just that quick with service and in the kitchen.  Honestly it's why we keep going back over and over..because it is consistently delicious and fast.

Tequilas is located in the Point Meadows Plaza on the end. Winn Dixie and Steinmart are also in this plaza. 

If you love Mexican food, you have GOT to try Tequilas. Here are their weekly specials.



Posted in Places To Eat
Aug. 2, 2017

Kitchen on San Marco

Great Place to Eat!

 When Wes and I are out and about we always like to try new places to eat. We visited the Kitchen on San Marco which is located at 1402 San Marco Blvd. in the historic district close to businesses and the Baptist Hospital.

Walking in you see a great wrap around bar with plenty of seating with booths and tables. The menu is small but wow, this isn't your normal place. 

What makes this restaurant different is that they use locally grown food in their cuisine. This restaurant is farm to table. They use locally grown fresh food which is why the menu changes. I ordered the beet salad and it was great. You could easily see the care they put into every part of each dish.

Wes got the grit fries. A little hesitant at first, but when it got to our table we were inhaling them! They look like large mozzarella sticks in a rectangular shape but they are grits mixed with cheese....amazing.  I mean LOOK at these!!

Although we did not drink here, Kitchen on San Marco is a gastropub (this means a place that serves high quality food) and can boast an extensive drink menu.  They have craft beers, a great selection of cocktails and wine. 

What also makes this place unique is that it supports the Culinard. They have professional chefs who teach students on site from the Culinard school. 

We not only enjoyed great food but great service. We were sat at a booth in the bar area and sometimes you can be neglected if you aren't sitting at the bar and the bartender is your server. Not here-the bartender was very knowledgeable and willing to explain any item we asked about and was on top of the service with help from what looked to be a manager and hostess as well. 

Wes got the hanger steak with risotto and I got a burger. You can definitely taste the freshness in the food and we are definitely going back to enjoy more of their tasty cuisine.

If you have been here share with us what you got to eat and drink!  We would love to hear from you! To see what is for sale in the San Marco area click here.

Posted in Places To Eat