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Sarasota, Florida Community
 

The Sarasota Community offers Amazing Performing Arts and Culture, Music and Theater, The World’s Finest Beaches, Fine Dining and Entertainment, Events and Festivals, Family Activities, Nightlife and Dance, Nature Activities, Outdoor Parks and Recreation. Sarasota is one of the Top Class Fishing and Boating Communities in the World with Stunning Architecture and has Once Again been Nominated as one of the Top 100 Places to Live In the World.

Sarasota Florida has the many advantages of a quaint small town community with the tempo and beat of a large town population and pace.

We invite you to visit our small town with a big heart; please bring your checkbook, you might want to stay.

I have broken down the Sarasota, Florida Community into 15 different segments for your viewing pleasure and convenience. I have lived and worked here for 16 years and have truly found Paradise, I hope you can do the same.

 

  1. The Neighborhoods 
  2. Architecture 
  3. Festivals 
  4. Performing Arts and Culture, Music and Theater 
  5. Circus 
  6. Circus Culture 
  7. Boating and the Marina Jack 
  8. Golfing 
  9. Fishing and Water Sports 
  10. Beaches
  11. Sea life, Nature and Preserve
  12. Outdoor Parks and Recreation 
  13. Nightlife 
  14. Dining 
  15. Shopping District 
  16. Family Activities and Travel 

 The Neighborhoods of Sarasota, Florida
  
 

In the 1910's, Sarasota became a magnet for wealthy Americans, who invested their money contributing to Sarasota development. One of them, John Ringling and his Wife Mable, settled his circus here and guaranteed the flow of visitors and money into town for decades.

 

John and Mable Ringling

 

Sarasota, also now known as the "circus city", is a city that combines the art, the historical, the modern styles, and the wild. Downtown presents a great example of this combination. Circus master Ringling had a strong passion for art and this impacted downtown Sarasota. Along with historical buildings that date from the city’s foundation, it boasts a theater and arts district that includes theaters from experimental to opera, art galleries, particularly along Main Street and Palm Avenue, trendy restaurants and cafés at Herald Square and Southside districts. 
 

Ringling helped develop the city in unusual ways. For example, he used his circus elephants to help build the first bridge from the mainland to St. Armands Key, which he developed as a commercial and residential center. Ringling’s mark on the community doesn't end there; Sarasota is filled with circus motives in its architecture, schools programs, and activities for entertainment.
    


Many other circuses followed the Ringlings, and Circus became an integral part of the social and economic life of Sarasota, giving our area its unique identity.

The city has changed tremendously since the early 1900’s when John Ringling settled his circus in the area, $250,000 up to $10,000,000 condos have been built in the past few years. As part of this rapid development, new communities were created adding a modern look to this paradise haven in South Florida.

 

In rapid process of renovation, West of the trail is the most expensive area in Sarasota. It boasts a variety of homes, including Mediterranean style houses, modern homes, bay front mansions and country style homes.

 

More modest neighborhoods are Forest Lakes with houses built in the mid 1960’s and 1970’s, and Southgate developed in the 1950's with ranch style homes.

 

With beautifully maintained yards and gardens, Gulf Gate is a charming, older neighborhood located east of Tamiami Trail.

 

And of course you have the stunning World Class “beach communities”, Lido Key, Siesta Village, Venice, and Casey Key.

  

The Laurel Park / Washington Park area is considered a "Front-porch neighborhood."  It is not only walkable to downtown Sarasota, with its myriad of art galleries, restaurants, boutique shops, Whole Foods and coffee shops, book and news stores, but also to the bayfront, with its wonderful collection of public sculpture/art along the  bayfront park to the marina. The art colony at Towles Court is very close by, with its wonderful third Friday night walks, and it's small, intimate galleries, as well as excellent restaurants. Burns Court is also nearby, with its interesting shops, and the Citrus Cafe -- a favorite place for lunch.  It is very much a neighborhood, which is part of what makes it so appealing.

           



Sarasota's average year-round temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit makes beach-going and all outdoor sports like golf and tennis everyday activities. The city has 1,000 restaurants to choose from, a symphony orchestra, an opera company, many live theatres and comedy clubs.

 

 Sarasota, Florida Architecture

In and around the downtown area, Sarasota historic neighborhoods add their unique architectural styles to the enchanting flavor of the city. With craftsman bungalows and Mediterranean revival style houses, Laurel Park was built between 1900 and 1926 by circus performers, city officials and downtown business owners. Named after its privileged location on a hill on Sarasota Bay, Bungalow Hill was born in 1921. Most of its houses boast the area’s popular craftsman bungalow style.

McClellan Park is Sarasota's first suburban community. With houses ranging from the '40s and '50s to the '60s (craftsman bungalows, Spanish style and Tudor Revival houses) this neighborhood reflects the urban changes of the city.

 

Indian Beach/Sapphire Shore. In the 1920's, rich New Yorkers created what they intended it to be the "ultra-exclusive residential area" on Sarasota Bay. There are many beautifully preserved historic homes, such as the palatial homes of three early Sarasota developers: John Ringling, Charles Ringling and their good friend Ralph Caples. In this neighborhood, you will find the amazing Venetian-style Ringling Museum, Cá d’Zan , "House of John" a mansion built by John Ringling, when he settled his circus and his home in Sarasota in the early 1900s.

 

Did you know that Sarasota is known world-wide for its modern architecture, from the mid-century "Sarasota School of Architecture" period to today? Young visionary architects have been drawn to Sarasota since the early 1940's, wanting to build their dreams in this lush tropical environment. Many architects have early works here, including Paul Rudolph, Victor Lundy, Bert Brosmith, Edward "Tim" Seibert, Gene Leedy, Mark Hampton, Jack West, William Rupp, William and Ralph Zimmerman, Frank Folsom Smith and Carl Abbott. Contemporary architects include Guy Peterson, Seibert Architects, Carl Abbott and Toshiko Mori. Modern Sarasota Architecture Tours are private, guided tours to see Sarasota's modern legacy throughout Sarasota and its beautiful barrier islands. Sometimes tours travel to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Florida Southern College or to study important work in other parts of Florida.

 

 Sarasota, Florida Festivals



The film festival, the wine festival, polo season and offshore boat races are just a few of the special events that take place during the year. And if you just want to get away and relax, you can enjoy many outdoor restaurants and cafes, where you can sip your favorite beverage and watch the world pass by. 

 

 Sarasota, Florida Performing Arts and Culture, Music and Theater



Sarasota is home to Florida West Coast Symphony, The Sarasota Ballet of Florida and The Sarasota Opera. Add more than 10 theaters, museums showcasing international art from Ruben’s masterpieces to Asian art; 30 art galleries; no wonder Sarasota is known as the cultural capital of Florida's west coast!

 

The Historic Asolo Theater housed at John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art is Florida's State Museum, and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall are the two main venues for theater, music and dance. Recently remodeled, Asolo Theater is America’s only 18th century European Theater. It features concerts of classic music, film screenings, family activities, and other musical programs.

 

An 18th-century treasure in a 21st-century venue, the Historic Asolo Theater is a work of art in its own right. The palace playhouse was created in Asolo, Italy in 1798 to honor the 15th-century exiled Queen Catherine Cornaro of Cyprus.  In the late 1940s, the theater was dismantled and brought to the Ringling Estate in Sarasota. From this important stage sprang much of the theater, the opera, and the music that distinguishes this Gulf Coast city as one of the nation’s leading cultural centers. Today the theater features a diverse performance schedule including theatre, dance, film, music, and lectures.

Known for its architecture and great acoustics, Van Wezel Hall features a diversified season that includes symphonies, classical and modern dance companies, comedy, country music, jazz artists, opera, rock’n roll and Broadway shows.

 

 Sarasota, Florida Circus 

Following its circus tradition and committed to continuing the legacy, Sarasota houses its own ring, five-star international circus. You can't miss Circus Sarasota, their hallmark family show. Check their website at www.circussarasota.org for updates on the shows. 
 

Also, for more than 60 years, Sailor Circus has thrilled audiences around the globe with outstanding feats performed by students from Sarasota, Florida. More remarkable than their abilities is the fact that they are all children. As performers in America’s oldest youth circus, these children are recognized as major contributors to the circus legacy in Sarasota. PAL Sailor Circus is a non-profit organization with the goal of helping our youth develop life management skills, self-discipline and gain confidence while learning through the circus arts.

 

The Sailor Circus now in its sixth decade of operation has grown from a small high school gymnastics class in 1949 to the present spectacular 4 ring youth circus production known worldwide as the Greatest "Little" Show on Earth. Students from the 4th through 12th grades in Sarasota and surrounding counties have an opportunity to experience the performing arts in a circus atmosphere. Dedicated students practice 20 - 30 hours a week and are trained by volunteer coaches who are retired circus performers, sailor circus alumni and enthusiastic parents. More than 200 volunteers donating over 25,000 hours of their time each season to PAL Sailor Circus demonstrates strong community involvement.

 

 More Circus Culture in Sarasota, Florida
      

In 1911, John Ringling and his wife Mable purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in Sarasota, Florida.  Today, that investment welcomes visitors from around the globe with fine art in a historic mansion, two circus museums and a jewel-box of a theater.  Circus magnate John Ringling, one of the richest men in the USA in the 1930's, built The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to house his art collection. In October 1931, “The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art” was officially opened to the public. This museum, a structure that looks more like it belongs in Europe (or at least in a larger American city), houses the largest collection of Baroque art outside of Western Europe. On the grounds are Ringling's home and a circus museum. Millions of dollars have recently been invested in the entire facility, and the largest art library in the southeast United States is being built.
 
 

 Marina Jack and Sarasota Florida Boating
In Sarasota Florida boating and sailing are a not just a means of transportation, it is a way of life. With direct, no bridge access to the Gulf and a deep water harbor, Marina Jack’s is located in the heart of downtown Sarasota where the attractions and entertainment are unlimited. The marina includes full amenities, 316 annual boat slips, fuel dock, ship’s store and ground transportation. The marina is host to Sarasota’s largest charter boat fleet including fishing, diving, sailing, cruising, and boat rentals. Sarasota’s downtown area & St. Armands Circle offers world-renowned shopping, dining, arts, architecture, museums, aquariums, and more. Come visit one of the most popular destinations on the west coast.

 
 

 Sarasota, Florida Golfing

Sarasota is a dream golf destination for amateurs and professionals. It's no wonder! It offers more than 1,000 holes at public, semi-private and private courses. Its fame began more than a hundred years ago when John Hamilton Gillespie, a Scottish colonist, built the first golf course in Florida here in Sarasota. The nine-hole course was located in the heart of today's downtown near today's Golf, Links and Gillespie Streets. Nowadays, there are more than 30 public, semi-private and private golf courses throughout the county. You can play in the historical Bobby Jones Golf Complex designed by famed architect Ronald Ross in 1927, or in private golf community at upscale Misty Creek Country Club built in 1989. Four local courses are in the top 100 places to play in the whole state.

 

  Fishing and Water Sports in Sarasota, Florida   

 

 
Fishing and water sports are your second top option for outdoor activities. Snook, tarpon, cobia, and jack cravelle are some of the catches in these waters. You can board any of the fishing yachts that will take you off-shore. You can always do some key sailing, windsurfing, boogie boarding, snorkeling or ride motor scooters that you can rent at the beaches. Don’t forget about Kayaking, Paddle Boating, Sail Boating or Surf Biking.

 

 Beaches in Sarasota, Florida
 

Sarasota, Florida is the home of many wonderful and popular beaches like Lido, Longboat, Turtle and Siesta beach. Siesta Key has many wonderful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, where you can play, relax, or walk along the water's edge. Siesta Public Beach is renowned for its breath-taking sunsets, easy-going waves, and gorgeous, crystal-white sand. The sand is 99% pure quartz, soft and cool on the feet, and many visitors compare it to baby powder. No matter how hot of a day, the sand always stays cool to the touch. Among the many awards it has earned are: “The Whitest and Finest Sand in the World” (The Great International Beach Challenge, 1987) and “The Best Sand Beach in America” (The Travel Channel, 2004).

You can go to the most popular beaches or stroll down the streets in downtown enjoying the storefronts and historic buildings. But why not do something different for a change? Why not drive to Casey Key for a splash of wild nature and faraway past?

While Casey Key will taunt you with the wild experience of bare beaches, you'll be surprised to arrive in Osprey, an old Florida community with a hometown feel. While in Osprey, you can visit Historic Spanish Point, a 30 acre nature preserve that contains 5,000 years of history. The place will take you on a subtle trip from history to present.

From there, you can go to the springs at Warm Mineral Springs the only hot mineral springs in all Florida. Yes, take a dip!

There, you can visit The Crowley Museum and Nature Center, a wildlife reservoir that you can walk following nature trails. From its observation tower you can enjoy a spectacular view of the marsh and Myakka River.

And to have your daily share of sand and sea, go to Nokomis Beach, near Albee Road. Here surfers, you can do part of your show.

 

 Sea Life, Nature and Preserve of Sarasota, Florida
 

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, the National Center for Shark Research and mammal rescue facility, and Selby Botanical Gardens offer great opportunities to learn, relax and enjoy for those interested in ongoing efforts to preserve the natural beauty that brought folks to Florida in the first place. Docked at the famous Mote Aquarium, the Sarasota Bay Explorers offer pontoon cruises around the bay area. The trips, which usually take about an hour and a half, are guided by a marine biologist and are as fun as they are informative. Sarasota Bay Explorers also offers guided kayak trips. Selby Botanical Gardens is one of the few botanical gardens in the world that is set on a wide bay. One can sit amid flowers and enjoy the most spectacular water view imaginable. Truly a slice of paradise! Sarasota Jungle Gardens features 10 acres of lush tropical vegetation, winding jungle trails and entertaining, educational and exotic bird and reptile shows throughout the day. The “Kiddie Jungle” features a tree house, haunted tree, tiger swings, slide and a custom wooden train for the children to play on.
 

 

 

 

    Sarasota, Florida Outdoor Parks and Recreation 

At nearly 30,000 acres, the Myakka River State Park is one of South Florida's largest tourist attractions. The park offers narrated airboat trips daily, which take visitors exploring throughout the park.

Oscar Scherer State Park. A large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes this park one of the best places to see Florida scrub-jays, a threatened species found only in Florida. The park protects scrubby and pine flatwoods that were once widespread throughout Sarasota County. Fifteen miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek, a blackwater stream that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, Freshwater and saltwater fishing are available along the creek. Anglers can fish along the shores of Lake Osprey, which is also the park´s swimming destination.

 Sarasota, Florida Night Life.
  
Jazz, theater or dancing? If you are a jazz lover, Sarasota is the city for you. There are jazz concerts in churches, theatres, auditoriums, parks and at famous St. Armand's Circle.

The Jazz Club of Sarasota offers a collection of concerts and festivals throughout the year. These include The Sarasota Jazz Festival, Joys of Jazz in December, their popular Saturday afternoon series Jazz Club Jams, and Jazz at Noon. You can check their annual calendar at www.jazzclubsarasota.com .

If you prefer to have dinner and still be part of the show, Golden Apple Dinner Theatre is what you are looking for. It is a first-class Broadway theater (they have produced more than 270 plays and musicals since their opening in 1971) that you can enjoy after a delicious and tasty dinner in a friendly candlelit setting.

Or, try ballroom dancing at any of the most popular dance centers such as Sarasota Dance Center, Ballroom Sarasota, Gotta Dance or The Dance Palace, the perfect destination whether you are a novice or a pro!

 

  Sarasota Florida Dining
The Sarasota restaurant scene has all the usual national chains and fast food joints, but part of the fun of Sarasota is the local cuisine. The city of Sarasota has 1,000 restaurants to choose from and many people have suggested that visitors to the area are driven by Culinary Tourism and enjoy the local cuisine of the finest restaurants.  Southwest Florida restaurants have garnered more "Florida Trend" and "Zagat" awards than anywhere else in the Sunshine State.   

 

 

 

   Sarasota Florida’s Shopping District, St. Armands Circle
  

Sarasota has long since been a vacation attraction for the rich and famous. One of which was quite influential to this area and called Sarasota home. John Ringling, of the circus world, is that man. When John Ringling purchased a group of islands off Sarasota in the 1920s, he had plans for a major tourist attraction with elegant shops, world-class restaurants, and the finest of hotels. Although Ringling did not live to see it, his dream is a reality today and has become a destination for world class visitors, better known as St. Armand's Circle on Lido Key. There are Superb exclusive shops, galleries, exotic boutiques, sophisticated restaurants and nightlife all located on St. Armand's Circle. St. Armands has their pick of talented local artists that display clothing, artwork, jewelry and unique eclectic vintage gifts that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. With local and European flairs, the St. Armands district boasts gourmet chocolate, fresh deli products, fresh squeezed Florida orange juice, custom built antique furniture, coastal home accessories, African gifts and art +more.  Some of these shops are contemporary international galleries that showcase the original works of world renowned artists, as well as the finest contemporary painters, sculptors, glass artists, and ceramists in the world… you will not be disappointed shopping on the circle.

  
Wyland Island Art

 

 Family Activities and Travel from Sarasota Florida...Just to name a few...

 

Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone. This is a hands-on discovery center for young and old kids. You can dig for fossils, play with lasers, and get up close and personal with the slimiest members of the reptile kingdom at this center. G.WIZ is located in the Blivas Science and Technology Center.

Sarasota’s Classic Car Museum. Founded in 1952, America's third oldest automobile museum provides an informative glimpse at the cultural impact of this wonderful machine. Exhibits include numerous audiovisual displays, fascinating artifacts, and more than a hundred vehicles. And if that's not enough, there's also an extensive collection of antique musical instruments, games, cameras, and Santa Clauses. Guided tours are available.

South Florida Museum. The South Florida Museum traces the state's geologic and cultural history, ranging from prehistoric fossils to the recreated dwellings of Florida's earliest Spanish settlers. The complex also boasts the Bishop Planetarium, where shows are given daily, and the Parker Manatee Aquarium.

     

Marina Jack Dinner Boat Cruises. Marina Jack introduces unparalleled dining in a spectacular facility. Theater seating offers panoramic views over the marina, downtown, Sarasota Bay, Big Pass and out to the Gulf of Mexico. Menus incorporating the best of Marina Jack favorites along with the most current fresh seafood dishes are offered daily for lunch and dinner. The dining room features breathtaking architecture, a stunning lounge area, saltwater aquarium and dramatic use of fiber optic lighting. An open-air raw bar adjacent to the Deep Six Lounge adds to the excitement, offering casual dining and cocktails dockside.

And as John Ringling used to say at the circus “That’s not all folks”…

Traveling to areas around Sarasota is easy, with quick access to Interstate-75.  Tampa and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Florida Aquarium, Dali Museum, St. Pete and the islands and other attractions, are only an hour north of Sarasota.  Disney World's many attractions, near Orlando, are only 105 miles away, about a 2 hour drive.

Florida is the premiere attraction state in the United States. Florida has more theme parks, entertainment centers, resorts, sports venues and vacation destinations than any other area in the country - and probably in the world.  Family Activities are Virtually Endless.

               
               
            Busch Gardens and Sea World  And the The Kennedy Space Center

                   

         
Universal Studios

 
 

Walt Disney World is only 2 hours away from Sarasota, Florida

The true foundation of Sarasota is the “location” with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico, sunrises and sunsets to write home about and the enjoyment of outdoor sporting as a way of life. The secondary layer is the “mix of magic” that allows the average artisan a home environment that is second to none and the professional business a space and place to flourish. The third and final layer is the proximity to and the availability of “affordable housing” for the most and the masses that so desire to live in paradise while they work.

Once again Sarasota Florida has been nominated as one of the top 100 places to live in 2010. I believe in the beauty and strength of our community. We are truly one small gorgeous community that lives, loves and grows like a large population.

For more information on how you can purchase property in Sarasota, Florida please contact me.

Maureen E. Marcus

Marcus Real Estate

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Sarasota, Florida 34233

Cell 941.445.2661

Fax 941.922.0472

Contact

Certain information and photos courtesy of:

Awesome Florida .com

Mote .org

Ringling .org

Ringling Arts Festival .org

Simply Sarasota .com

Sarasota Gov .net

Sarasota fl .org

Sarasota .com

The Towles Court .com

Travel .Yahoo .com

Google

The Trip Advisor .com

Visit St. Armands Circle .com

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