About Ocala~

While looking online I found this awesome youtube movie featuring the highlights of the “Horse Capital of the World” in Ocala, Florida. I think you will enjoy seeing this.

Click here to view this short movie.

Ocala has so much to offer, with continuous growth, a thriving downtown, beautiful horse farms, shopping, golfing, hiking, bike trails, camping, canoeing, tubing, zip lining, River Cruises, and so much more.

If you are looking for well manicured home sites or rural acreage, Ocala has it all. I can sell any home in Marion County, and it would be my pleasure to assist you.

Teresa Fikaris, Buyer’s Agent

Fontana Realty  



Please note: this movie was made in 2008. Since then the Chamber of Commerce has moved to a new location…. for more information you can reach the Chamber at: 352-629-8051

The Live Oak International Driving Event

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Thank you Midge Koontz with Keller Williams for providing these awesome photos in the slide show.

I’m looking forward to attending the Live Oak International Driving Event this year…. I’ve never been to this event before, so hopefully this year I will finally have the opportunity to go. I’m not sure what all to expect, but it should be awesome.

Ocala, FL is considered the Horse Capital of the World. We have over 600 working farms throughout our county. There are so many horse related events that take place each year. So take your pick and see for yourself by attending one or all of the local events and let me know what you think. Or maybe I will just see you there!

Combined Driving Competition welcomes leading drivers, trainers, coaches and owners from Europe and North America. The event draws  thousands of people to the area each year.

The Tentative Schedule is:

Thursday, March 22, 9am FEI Driven Dressage

Friday, March 23, 8am Preliminary and Intermediate Driven Dressage

Friday, March 23, 5pm Jumping Speed Class

Friday, March 23, 6:30pm Horse Fever Auction. Tickets are required and may be purchased from Marion Cultural Alliance.

Saturday, March 24, 9am Driving Cross Country Marathon

Saturday, March 24, 2pm Jumping Grand Prix

Sunday, March 25, 9am Driving Obstacle Class, Classic Car Show, Coaching Demonstration

Concessions and a Vendor Village will be open during the entire competition. Tailgating is available for the Driving Marathon Saturday. To reserve a Tailgating space contact 352-207-3615. Admission is $10 at the gate for adults and $5 for Seniors and children under 12. It is strongly suggested that spectators bring lawn chairs as seating is very limited.

For additional information and updates, please refer to http://www.liveoakinternational.com/.

Looking to purchase a home… I can sell any home in Marion County… call me today for more information regarding all your Real Estate needs.

Teresa Fikaris, Buyer’s Agent

Fontana Realty


Cell: 352-208-5874

Going the extra mile with a smile!

OCALA HISTORY- Cross Florida Barge Canal

Not long ago I met with a local Historian, Betty DeBary. She briefly mentioned something to me about the history of the Cross Florida Barge Canal that was supposed to run through Marion County. She also mentioned that some of the supports for the bridge are still there. They are located in the median right behind the Sherriff’s station on 441 (in the wooded area). I always look when I’m going that way to try to see them through the trees. Sometimes it’s very hard to locate them, and at other times I can see them clearly. They are still there, three in all, as a reminder of what could of been if the project wasn’t stopped. I cannot even image what our county would of been like if they had succeeded.

One of the bridge supports, in the US 441 median

 The Cross Florida Barge Canal was a canal project to connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean across Florida for barge traffic. Two sections were built but the project was cancelled, mainly for environmental reasons. It is now a protected green belt corridor, one mile (1.6 km) wide in most places. Named after the leader in the opposition against the canal, Marjorie Harris Carr, it is known as the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.

Green on map indicates area not completed. Red on map indicates completed project.

About 28% of the 107-mile project was built—the cross-country section from the St. Johns River to the Oklawaha River, part of the route along the Oklawaha, and a small section at the Gulf of Mexico end up to the dammed Lake Rousseau.

Photo on right:

One of the two completed sections of the Barge Canal, looking west from the SR 19 bridge south of Palatka.

The idea of such a canal was first proposed by Philip II of Spain in 1567. It was repeatedly considered over the years but found to be economically unviable. Secretary of War John C. Calhoun once again proposed a canal in 1818 in order to solve the losses due to shipwrecks and piracy. The Florida Railroad, finished on March 1, 1861, served a similar purpose, connecting the Atlantic Ocean at Fernandina to the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key.

In the 1930s, regional politicians lobbied the federal government to fund canal construction as an economic recovery program, and president Franklin D. Roosevelt allocated emergency funds in 1935. Local opponents of the canal protested that the canal would deplete Florida’s aquifers, and work was stopped a year later.

Work was reauthorized in 1942 as a national defense project, with dams and locks to protect the underground water supply. Support for the project from Washington was sporadic, and funds were never allocated to USACE to actually start construction.

Planning was once again given the go-ahead in 1963 with support from president John F. Kennedy, who allocated one million dollars to the project. The next year, Lyndon Johnson set off the explosives that started construction. It was hoped that the canal, along with the St. Johns-Indian River Barge Canal, would provide a quicker and safer route across Florida by 1971.

Opponents subsequently campaigned against the canal on environmental grounds, and the project stopped again in January 1971. It was officially cancelled in 1991. The right-of-way was turned over to the state and became the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, named in honor of the woman who led opposition to the canal. Carr had died the prior year, age 82.

Go here to read the full story:


This is also where Ocala Waterway got it’s name. Wow! How different things would be if this hugh barge canal ran through our beautiful county.  Thank you Marjorie Harris Carr for standing up for what you thought was right in the face of what seemed to be an impossibility.

Looking to buy or sell…. I can help!

Teresa Fikaris, Buyer’s Agent (REALTOR) Cell: 352-208-5874

Fontana Realty

Cattle Drive – A Tradition Returns

OCALA, FL– It will be a return to yesteryear on Feb. 18, 2012 as Ocala once again sees a herd of cattle driven down its streets.

Beginning at 10 a.m., some 35 head of cattle will be driven from the 800 block SE Osceola Avenue to the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2200 NE Jacksonville Road.

About 15 professional cowboys, led by Southeastern Pro Rodeo representative Ruben Lamb, will be participating.

City Councilman Daniel Owen, who has helped organize the event, said he envisions the cattle drive being an annual event to coincide with the Southeastern Youth Fair and Florida High School Rodeo.

“In the 1940s and early 1950s this was a tradition in our community and we are hoping to re-establish it,” Owen said.

The event will require rolling road closures, including East Silver Springs Boulevard, NE 14th Street and Jacksonville Road. None of the road closures will last for more than five minutes.

The best viewing locations, in addition to the livestock pavilion, will be between SE 5th Street and SR 40 on Osceola Avenue and on the Watula Avenue side of Tuscawilla Park. The drive is not expected to last for more than an hour.

Looking to purchase home… I can help!

Teresa Fikaris, Buyer’s Agent (REALTOR) Fontana Realty


Cell: 352-208-5874

River Cruises

Have you ever gone on a River Cruise? It’s always so relaxing and so enjoyable to see nature and the wildlife. Check out these River Cruises….

The Anhinga Spirit

  • Te Anhinga Spirit offers trips down the Ocklawaha River in the company of an  experienced local captain. The trip can be tailored to your specific needs,  whether it is to fish, learn about the environment or for a special occasion.  Facilities are basic, but the 24-foot pontoon boat has sun and rain protection  and a bathroom on board. It has a six-person capacity.

    16275 NE 149th Ave, Fort McCoy, FL 32134 352-546 5718 captainerikasfloridaboatcharters.com

Monkey by Robin McCallum

Glass Bottom Boats

  • Spot crawfish, snails, turtles or even an alligator on a glass-bottom boat on  the Silver River in Silver Springs. A cover protects you from the sun and rain.  The water is almost 100 percent pure allowing for excellent views of underwater  life. The captains are licensed by the US Coast Guard licensed and steer the  small boats through seven major spring formations. They will also point out  fossils in the area that date back 70 million years.

    5656 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Silver Springs, FL 34488 352-236 2121 silversprings.com

Fort King River Cruise

  • The Fort King Army stockade, a Seminole Indian village, a riverboat dock and  train depot dating from the 1880s and an authentic Florida homestead are some of  the sights you’ll see on the Fort King River cruise in Silver Springs Nature  Park. The area has 10,000 years of history and interactive exhibits and a  working archaeological dig help put it into context. Boats are basic but  comfortable with sun protection.

    5656 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Silver Springs, FL 34488 352-236 2121 silversprings.com

Lost River Voyage

  • The Silver Springs Nature Park offers sights of osprey, heron and basking  alligators as it drifts past tall, bald cypress trees. The cruise includes a  stop at a wildlife post where naturalists can answer questions and offer  information about breeding programs and wildlife rehabilitation. The boats are  simple, but comfortable, small river cruisers.

    Gator by Robin McCallum

    5656 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Silver Springs, FL 34488 352-236 2121 silversprings.com

Silver River Spirit

  • The Silver River Spirit offers a free cruise in a very basic, glass-bottom,  eight-man boat. The 3.5 hour tour takes in three miles of the Silver River  departing from the Ocala Boat Club in Silver Springs. Cruises are seasonal and  can get booked up, so early online-booking is advisable. Time is allowed for a  free lunch and swimming, and there are towels on board for passenger use.

    9570  NE 28th Ln Silver Springs, FL 34488 352-236 3227 glass-bottom-boat.com

On a lazy, lazy day, can you think of anything better to do than cruise down a cool river? Captain Mike’s Lazy River Cruises offers guided boat tours down the Withlacoochee River. What better way is there to view great wildlife and great scenery than from a relaxing seat on a boat ride? The tours are from a covered pontoon boat with very plush seating. They leave from Stumpknocker’s, a favorite local restaurant,so passengers can have dinner before or after their cruise. The rivers in Florida offer some of the best bird watching in the U.S. The River is much as it was when the Indians canoed it a hundred years ago. There are many varieties of birds such as herons, egrets,hawks, and eagles,along with many other types of animals especially our ALLIGATORS.

Captain Mike has been voted the best tour guide by the local community year after year. He has certificates in Eco-tourism and enjoys sharing his knowledge of the rivers, their history,as well as the wildlife and native flora.

In business since 1997, Capt. Mike’s is already known for offering one of the most scenic and informative boat tours in Florida.

Tours from Stumpknockers restaurant on Hwy 200. Please do not call the restaurant.  Call Captain Mike for reservations or info. 352-637-2726

Looking to buy or sell…. I can help!  Teresa Fikaris, Realtor

Fontana Realty

Cell: 352-208-5874

Meeting all your Real Estate Needs!


Historic Home~

I came across this beautiful home listed in the Historical District that I wanted to share. Click here for more information.

This beautiful, historic two-story home is located in the heart of Ocala within walking distance of downtown!  Built in 1901, it features 4 bedrooms, 3½ baths, 3657+/- SF  and has been completely renovated.  It now has a new kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances, new baths, new roof, new electrical, new plumbing, new foundation piers, and restored molding, while maintaining the original character of the home.  Other features are high ceilings, classic staircase, three fireplaces and gleaming hardwood floors.  The private backyard was updated as well with a beautiful pool, waterfall, flagstone deck, and attractive landscaping.  A wraparound porch, covered and open patios offer lovely places to relax on this .43 acre corner lot in the Historic District. MLS#368821

Looking to buy or sell….. I can help! Teresa Fikaris 352-208-5874


Boutwell Home Inspection

Kevin Boutwell has been doing home inspections for me and my clients for years. I highly recommend Boutwell Home Inspection to anyone needing a professional home inspection. His work is detailed and precice. Kevin does a fantastic job giving you peace and assurance that the home you buy is a sound investment.

Boutwell Home Inspections, LLC  

Kevin Boutwell

Kevin Boutwell-CMI  5145 NE 7th Place Ocala, FL 34470  Office: 352-351-8476 Cell: 352-875-1367

FL State Lic. # HI51 NACHI #08051413

Complete Home and Insurance Inspections

Making your Investments worth while!

Your Home

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments that you will make in your lifetime. Boutwell Home Inspector, Kevin Boutwell offers you a total thorough inspection of the home and property you are considering, giving you peace of mind based on the outcome of his detailed report.

Inspection includes the following:


Additional inspections available at your request for addidion charges:

  • Mold Inspections
  • 4 Point Insurance Inspeactions
  • Wind Mitigation Inspections
  • Certified Roof Inspections
  • Pool & Spa Inspections
  • Water Testing
  • Commerical Properties, Farms, Ranches
  • WDO (Wood Destroying Organisms) inspections
  • Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections

Reports are done the same day and emailed to you!

~Click on link to view Boutwell Home Inspection video clip~


Testimonial from past customer:


Would highly recomed Mr. Boutwewll to anyone who is buying a home. Goes way beyond his call of duity. Very knowledegeable in the field of inspection. You won’t be sorry you hired him.

By Mike Harrison in Ocala, FL


Looking to buy or sell…. I can help!                                                      

Teresa Fikaris, Buyer’s Agent~ Fontana Realty


Cell: 352-208-5874