so here goes. ten reasons why i love sarasota – even when it’s 95 degrees outside.
beach, beach, beach. oh, beach, i love you. from lido to siesta, turtle to longboat, you are magnificent and i worship you. my favorite times to dig my toes into the sand? summer nights after 6 p.m.; anytime on sundays from october-april. don’t forget to wear your 'screen.
the shopping. st. armands circle, siesta key village, westfield southgate mall, main street…there are some great little stores here in sarasota. my faves? the main street trio: lotus, stitch and samba.
the restaurants. if i had it my way, i’d never cook; i’d just go to a new restaurant every night. for breakfast, try c’est la vie (main street) or the broken egg (southside village). for lunch, the sarasota olive oil company is one of my favorite stops – the paninis are delicious and they make great iced coffee; yoder’s, an authentic mennonite restaurant located in an authentic mennonite section of the city, is also amazing (save room for a slice of butterscotch cream pie). and for dinner, i’m partial to mattison’s city grille (main street), canvas café (laurel park), café epicure (main street), blasé café (siesta key), cork/the bottle shop (st. armands circle) and the old salty dog, which boasts some of the most spectacular water views you’ll ever see. it’s located on city island right before you hit longboat key. stop by selva grill, ceviche’s rooftop bar or siesta key oyster bar (skob) for an after-dinner drink. there are many, many, many more, too, you guys. this town? it’s restaurant mecca.
the arts. from theater to the opera to the symphony to tons of galleries, sarasota has it all. the john and mable ringling museum of art is definitely worth a visit. so is marie selby botanical gardens. (confidential to my future husband: let’s get married there.)
the drive up longboat key to anna maria island. try to time this so you do it at dusk, when a golden glow falls over everything. you’ll see sweet beach houses on one side of you and the glittering gulf of mexico on the other.
sarasota news and books. this little independent has a great selection of titles, friendly employees and a café. you’ll see a whole range of humanity outside, from college kids to senior citizens with their dogs to businesspeople reading the paper. i love it.
burns court cinemas. this tiny movie theater, nestled in quaint burns court, shows some of the best new indie films out there. you can order beer and wine with your popcorn and tickets are cheaper than they are at “regular” movie theaters. love.
the mix of people who live here. from young 20-something professionals to corporate go-getters to retirees, sarasota is not the city where your great aunt mary comes to retire, contrary to popular belief. i'm so happy to always be meeting people around my age who are out and about.
the parks: bayfront, laurel, the one under the ringling bridge, etc. if you go to bayfront park, stop by o'leary's, in the marina jack complex, for a strawberry daiquiri and a basket of really delicious, just-greasy-enough curly fries. yum.
ok, so this may be a bit of a cop out, but it's worth repeating: the beach. the beach, the beach, the beach. love.
(photo of boats at marina jack/bayfront park by moi.)