The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 40 - June 24, 2009


The Londoner offers a taste of England

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/LOUISE BOLGER From left, John, Christina and
Jennifer Taylor welcome guests to The Londoner.

Just like people, homes become more interesting with age, the experience of living reflected on both faces and walls. So when you find a house with character accumulated over 80 years of living, it’s hard not to become intrigued. At least it was for Jennifer and John Taylor.

For eight years they and their daughter, Christina, lived in Manatee County and operated a beach resort on Longboat Key. They sold the resort with the intention of returning to London permanently. However, in a matter of just a few months the Taylor family found themselves back on a plane headed for the United States, and as they drove over the Skyway Bridge, they realized they were really home.

One day while driving through the lovely old streets in downtown Bradenton, John Taylor saw a for sale by owner sign in front of a large corner home that needed some serious tender loving care. Jennifer Taylor took one look at the dining room with built-in cupboards and envisioned a British bed and breakfast serving authentic high tea and lunch.

The house, built in 1926, presented the usual old house problems and then some, but the Taylors bought it, moved in and started bringing it up to date while still keeping the original charm. They opened for business in April 2008, and the transformation is truly spectacular, encompassing six English-themed guest rooms, all with private bath on the two upper levels. On the main level, the Taylors restored the wrap-around porch and the lovely entry foyer and stairway. There is a sitting room for guests off the main foyer and further back in the house are the tea rooms. The entire feel of The Londoner is formal without being stuffy, a gracious old world sanctuary.

Guest rooms are equipped with flat screen cable televisions and two remotes, Wi-Fi, fluffy robes, 600 thread count linens and imported toiletries. Breakfast is, of course, included and they are currently running a summer special of $99 per night except for July 4. Jennifer bakes the special English treats and Jill Baker, who lives on-site, takes care of the guests’ breakfast and other menu items.

The Londoner is also a special place for private dinner parties, showers and rehearsal dinners. The Taylors have hosted many weddings where the entire house can be taken over for the event. Guests can bring their own wine, champagne and other adult refreshments and The Londoner will not charge a corking fee.

Even if you’re not a guest at The Londoner, you can come in and enjoy their teas and lunches. Traditional English Tea is $16 per person and includes a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, cakes, scones with jam, lemon curd and Devonshire clotted cream. There are other tea selections to choose from as well as sandwiches, homemade soups and lunch specials daily.

There is plenty of on-site parking and you’re within walking distance of the Manatee River, the Twin Dolphin Marina, the main library, The Manatee Players Theater and restaurants. It’s a great place to stay if you’re in town on business, visiting a friend or relative at the Westminster Towers or Shores or are on vacation. The Taylors will provide you with information about Manatee County, beach chairs, beach towels or a picnic lunch. In addition, in an effort to support our soldiers, the Taylors donate gift certificates for a night’s stay at The Londoner through the Manatee Operation Troop Support (MOTS) organization.

During the renovation, someone stopped their car and said to Jennifer, "Thank you for breathing life into a beautiful old house." The Londoner B & B and Tea Room has certainly done its part to bring new life to downtown Bradenton. Stop in for a breath of fresh air in the British tradition.

The Londoner

Bed & Breakfast & Tea Rooms

304 15th St. W., Bradenton

Tea Room hours:
Monday through Saturday
11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Uncharted Territory?

Investment Corner

There has been a common theme in our conversations about the government and the economy recently, and it seems to cross party lines as well as income lines. The federal government is just spending too much money, we are mortgaging our future and our kids will not have it as good as we do today.

I happen to agree that spending is out of control, but I think the problem is not just the recent stimulus plan (more on why in a bit). The problem is the long-term growth of federal spending, which, surprisingly, grew more under Republican George Bush than his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton. Ultimately, this spending binge needs to be brought to a halt and then reduced.

Why am I not so worried about the recent stimulus spending which has taken place under Presidents Bush and Obama? Despite the consensus opinion that we are spending more than we ever have, I would respectfully point out that in relation to the size of the economy, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), we are not in uncharted territory. Since the ability to repay the debt is based on tax revenue, which is tied to the total of economic activity, the analysis of whether we have gone too far needs to be based on the total of economic activity, not the absolute level of dollars spent.

Presently, the level of the nation’s debt is about 80 percent of the GDP. This is a high level and is unsustainable at these levels for long periods of time. However, a review of history reveals that during another time of crisis, World War II, the level of government debt reached about 120 percent of GDP and was over 100 percent from about 1944 to 1949.

Obviously, there was no choice at that time. Fighting a major war on two fronts was costly, but absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of the United States and free nations around the globe. This time around, it’s a little more difficult. There’s no enemy physically knocking at the door, but this is a war of sorts nonetheless. It has been an economic battle to avoid slipping into a very serious recession, perhaps even a depression, with unemployment perhaps going much higher and the economic malaise lasting many years.

I have written previously that it is likely the treasury will end up making a profit on the various bailout programs put in place to support the financial services industry and the auto industry. But, let’s assume worse case that there is no profit and the loans and investments are just repaid at face value. That would be easier than the experience we survived in the decade after WW II. Remember that in WW II, the bulk of the money spent to fight the war was put into military equipment, much of which was blown up or scrapped after the war. Other than our freedom and some technology advancements, which eventually became used in industry and consumer goods, there was no economic return on the investment in the war.

This time around, if the firms repay the capital to the government, and many are getting ready to do that presently, that portion of the debt gets erased and does not need to be repaid from tax revenues.

Obviously, the overall plan will not prove to be perfect. Some things will succeed, and some will fail. But, I wouldn’t get too caught up in the level of spending without comparing it to the size of the economy, which determines our ability to repay it. After all, we used to get nervous about borrowing $5,000 or $10,000 to buy a new car. Now the average car loan is now well over $20,000, but our incomes are higher and we’re able to make larger payments than 20 or 30 years ago.

This crazy economic time will pass, and I suspect we will survive it. What we won’t survive is continued long-term debt levels if the governments don’t find fiscal restraint after the economy starts to improve. This is something to write your legislators about.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing..

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

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