Sarasota Lifestyle

Plant Some Seeds at One of Sarasota's Eight Community Gardens

Community gardening is a lesson in both people and plants.

Below is a re-post from Sarasota Magazine and we loved the topic so much, we just had to share it with you!
By Giulia Heyward  5/30/2019  Published in the June 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Community and school garden coordinator Mindy Hanak tends a zucchini plant at Bee Ridge’s garden.  IMAGE:  KAREN ARANGO

Community and school garden coordinator Mindy Hanak tends a zucchini plant at Bee Ridge’s garden.

IMAGE: KAREN ARANGO

On a cool morning, with a fistful of dirt in each hand, you might notice that your neighbor has a knack for growing Japanese eggplants. Maybe there’s a new gardener quietly tending to hopeful- looking zucchini or a seasoned gardener making even the most stubborn vegetable flourish. Community gardening is a lesson in both people and plants, and with public gardens scattered across Sarasota, getting your hands a little dirty can pay back in spades.

For Marcia Freeman, 81, community gardening is a part-time volunteer job. In 2012, the newly retired writer and school teacher was a founder of the Culverhouse Community Garden, a 10-minute bike ride from her home. “I didn’t even know that community gardens existed besides victory gardens in World War II,” she says. As one of the volunteer managers for Culverhouse, Freeman spends 15-20 hours a week working with fellow volunteer gardeners. In her own plot, she’ll grow anything besides tomatoes or melons because she doesn’t want to deal with the squirrels.

For Freeman, one of the biggest advantages of community gardening is the access to organic produce. But the benefits of urban agriculture extend beyond healthier food. From improving air quality and soil biodiversity in a metropolitan area to providing greater food security in food deserts, community-based gardening fosters a shared sense of purpose.

“You’re getting a lot out of that window of time,” says community and school garden coordinator Mindy Hanak, who works for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UFIFAS). There are eight community gardens in Sarasota County, and the UFIFAS extension oversees all but the Orange Blossom garden. Each volunteer gardener pays a $25 annual fee for a plot. “These gardens are very much volunteer-driven,” Hanak says. UFIFAS hosts workshops on agriculture for novice gardeners.

Peppers growing in a community garden.  IMAGE:  KAREN ARANGO

Peppers growing in a community garden.

IMAGE: KAREN ARANGO

Unlike in most other U.S. communities, Sarasota County’s community gardens are located on public parkland. UFIFAS acts as a liaison for organizers to find a location. Hanak says the Sarasota system runs with support from residents and local government that is rare to find. “There’s a recognition [by Sarasota County] that this is important for people,” she says.

For residents interested in starting a community garden, Hanak recommends first checking to see if one nearby already exists. If residents establish a need, UFIFAS provides a checklist for residents looking to form one.

A proposed garden should be a quarter-acre and be able to sustain a minimum of 15 plots. Organizers need to raise an estimated $10,000 to cover the cost of tools, fencing and access to water. UFIFAS will help with finding grants, and neighborhood associations may also contribute. If a well is needed, the price tag can quickly increase. At least 20 residents must commit to use the space from the get-go.

You don’t need experience to get involved. “There are people who move to Florida, try a tomato plant and, if it doesn’t work out, they might never grow again,” Hanak says. But at community gardens, planting seeds side-by-side with other gardeners is a way to learn gardening skills while socializing and getting out in the fresh air. “Community gardens are just a nice thing to have,” she says.

Summer Gardening

It’s hot and steamy. Here’s what to plant.

Sweet potatoes A great source of vitamin A and C, this root vegetable can stand the heat, and you can plant them through the end of June. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences recommends planting Centennial and Beauregard varieties; for small gardens, plant Vardaman. Sweet potatoes take three to four months before you can harvest them, but the young leaves of the plant make tasty greens throughout the summer.

Southern peas (also called black-eyed peas, cowpeas and field peas) A favorite in Southern dishes, these legumes need warm soil and full sun. They love the heat and thrive even during droughts. Harvesting begins about 75 days after planting. They’re also a good summer cover crop.

Okra A member of the hibiscus family, this vegetable—another Southern cuisine staple—should be planted in late summer. Okra is easy to grow and must be harvested when the pods are two to three inches long, about two months after planting. It’s such a pretty plant that it brightens up the garden.

Eggplant Another heat-loving vegetable, the colorful eggplant also loves full sun. Make sure to put a stake near the plant since it can grow up to six feet tall. You can begin harvesting about three months after planting. IFAS recommends planting the varieties Black Beauty, Dusky, Long, Ichiban and Cloud Nine.

Cover crops If you don’t want to plant edibles, keep your soil healthy and weeds and pests at bay by planting the cover crops of sun hemp and Southern peas.

For more information, go to UFIFAS’s Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021. For classes and workshops, go to ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com.


Community Gardens in Sarasota County

Bayou Oaks Community Garden

3530 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota
Setting: Urban
Total plots: 18
Year founded: 1997

Bee Ridge Community Garden

4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota
Setting: Urban
Total plots: 31
Year founded: 2013

Culverhouse Community Garden

7301 McIntosh Road, Sarasota
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 69
Year founded: 2012

Englewood Community Garden

1390 Old Englewood Road, Englewood
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 18
Year founded: 2012

Laurel Community Garden

509 Collins Road, Sarasota
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 24
Year founded: 2000

Nokomis Community Garden

234 Nippino Trail, Nokomis
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 26
Year founded: 2001

North Port Community Garden

12255 Durango Ave., North Port
Setting: Suburban
Total plots: 40
Year founded: 2011

Orange Blossom Community Garden

1822 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota
Setting: Urban
Total plots: 65
Year founded: 2008

Interested individuals can contact UFIFAS at (941) 861-9900 or sarasota@ifas.ufl.edu.

Below is a map showing the 8 Community Gardens in and around Sarasota.

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Restaurant Report! Umbrellas 1296


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Admittedly, Umbrellas has now been in place for a few months already but it still felt brand new to me as I had yet to visit! Located in the historic space next to the Sarasota Opera House, the vibe is chic but with some pretty color and personality. This spot is one of the couple in town that never seem to house any one business for long (looking at you former-Rustic Grill/Darwins/everything else & also former location of The Table on Hillview, since reincarnated too many times to keep track of) and we’ll see if Umbrellas is an exception…so far I’d give it about 50/50 shot of still being around in a year or two.

I visited twice, once for happy hour and once for lunch. At happy hour, I made the very un-happy discovery at my 6:08pm arrival that happy hour only goes until 6:00 :-/ Drinks are half price during happy hour and run about $14 each the rest of the day. I had a traditional martini (it was fine but the blue cheese olives definitely came from a pre-stuffed jar - yuck!) and my friend had a glass of wine. The bartenders were cheerful and attentive, but the place was so loud we had to relocate after one drink to be able to have a conversation. I didn’t love the whole experience but decided that to be fair I needed to return and actually try some food.

I went back for lunch the next day and at first we were the only table seated; not such a good sign! Our waiter was really nice but the food came out in a funny & weirdly-timed order, and my dining companion didn’t realize until that evening that the second course in his Savor Sarasota meal was completely omitted! He did return at a later date and brought back a very rich chocolate torte that was delicious. I loved the fried brussels sprouts, but one word of warning: the bucket of french fries is literally a large bucket completely full of fries. It was kind of fun but so excessive that it was almost strange. About 20 people could have dined on that amount of french fries and everyone would have been stuffed! Finally, even though lunch was way less crowded than happy hour, it was still very loud as the sound just seems to ricochet around the place.

Maybe it is a lingering negative feeling about the location - I felt that ROAST was absolutely the worst restaurant downtown - but I just wasn’t thrilled with my experience at Umbrellas. No one thing stood out as being completely horrible and meal-ruining, but the general feel for me was just mediocre. And, as cheap&crabby-old-lady as this will make me sound, when I’m having a $14 cocktail, I just want to really enjoy the whole thing: the atmosphere, the coldness of the drink, the company I’m with, etc. It was fine, but just not special, in my humble opinion.

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Even though I wasn’t crazy about the volume level inside, outside can be another story! There is a really nice courtyard where, once it is not a million degrees plus humidity out, I’ll return to check out some of the live music options Umbrellas features regularly: Jazz Jam on Mondays, Fridays ROCK!, Latin dancing on Saturdays, Ladies’ Night on Thursdays, Weekend Brunch, Jazz Thursdays and Gypsy Jazz on Sunday…

I hope you will give Umbrellas a chance and pop over for an early happy hour or dinner. It seemed like they were still working out some new-restaurant kinks so I’ll give it another shot once they’ve had more time to perfect their art!

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Coming soon downtown: EPOCH

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The second article in our series on new luxury construction happening downtown now

Rendering courtesy of EpochSarasota.com.

Rendering courtesy of EpochSarasota.com.

A reconnaissance visit to the EPOCH sales center recently was enlightening and I’m thrilled to share the info on this exciting new building! FYI: no matter how it is spelled, the name is pronounced EPIC (don’t ask me why, just go with it).

The quick & dirty:

  • EPOCH will be perched between Palm Avenue and Gulfstream at 605 S. Gulfstream Avenue (lot is clear now and work is underway)

  • 23 residences

  • Levels 4-10 will each feature and North and South condo (2 per floor), while 11+ are a full floor each

  • Residences range in size from 3681sq’ to 5655sq’ under air

  • Prices currently begin at $3,325,000 for a South Residence and soar to $6,599,000 for the Estate Residences

Even with all of the new construction currently underway and being announced recently, EPOCH stands out. What impressed me most was the level of customization available in this ultra-luxury building - future owners can move walls, reconfigure floor plans, and add architectural features, which is a concept that is very rare in condo buildings and is really only possible here because of the limited number available in the building. At also-intriguing-but-much-larger AUTEUR, (read our recent post about AUTEUR here) only future owners of the penthouse-level residences are able to customize structurally.

I was also struck by the thoroughness of the planning involved with the building. The care that was given both to features that you can see, such as ceiling height (here they measure to the drop ceiling, so height isn’t compromised when people add things such as built-in speakers, controls for automated blinds, etc. because the developer has already allowed for the space to accommodate them), and having the foresight to design the building so the floors are staggered with the neighboring condos (no waving out your luxurious kitchen to the resident of your same floor level next door here!), give the impression that ever detail has been thoughtfully considered to give the ultimate living experience to future owners. The structural choices that aren’t readily visible have also been meticulously orchestrated, including various construction tactics and materials that help eliminate noise and conserve energy.

There are also a number of amenities that each residence here will have that are practically unheard-of in existing construction and are also rare among the other new buildings downtown now:

  • Outdoor kitchens for everyone! Each will feature an electric grill and many possess an enviable nearly-2000sq’ of terrace.

  • Floors 11-17 each come with an enclosed 3-car garage. Yes, you heard that right…space for three vehicles and a door just like a garage in a single-family home, rather than spots in a parking structure that are open.

  • Designated storage space is already designed into each floor plan. The storage rooms are private to each residence, under air, and BIG!

  • The pool will be 70’ long and steam showers are a part of the amenity plan.

  • Let’s not even mention the stunning water views…there is absolutely nothing to obstruct the expansive bay vista, and the ingenious brise soleil will keep interiors cooler in the hours when the sun over the bay typically beat in strongest.



FROM THE DEVELOPER

  • Just 23 expansive residences on 18 floors with unobstructed views of Sarasota Bay.

  • Personalized 24-hour concierge services

  • Expansive window wall system and full-height sliding doors of optically clear, impact-rated, insulated, low-E glass that meet the latest Florida building codes.

  • Custom-outfitted elevators with secure key-code access to each residence, the Residents’ Club Level and rooftop terrace.

  • The brise soleil architectural elements of EPOCH enhance shading and breezes, creating an ambiance unique to each residence.

  • A concierge welcomes and sees to the every need of owners and guests. Here too is a mailroom and separate package storage room for secure deliveries.

  • The Residents’ Club Level features a social room perfect for intimate gatherings, catered celebrations, a weekly bridge game or an owners meeting.

  • The exquisitely landscaped pool terrace extends from the Residents’ Club, offering outdoor entertaining at the bar equipped with two grills and an ice maker, a 70’ pool with lap lanes, and a sun deck, spa, private shade cabanas, designer furnishings and lounge areas with fire tables.

  • The attention to detail at EPOCH extends to the garages — a fitting stable for owners’ automotive passions. Two spaces for north, south, and west residences and private three-car garages with roll-up doors for each full-floor home are included. Secure bicycle storage is also conveniently located on both levels.



For all of your downtown Sarasota real estate needs - in both the to-be-built and classic buildings - we have you covered! Please call us anytime for guidance on the right spot for you in fabulous Sarasota, and check back here for the rest of the NEW NEW NEW article series!

Just Arrived Downtown: 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop

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I like to scope the newest spots downtown and 99 Bottles is one you will not want to miss! Located at 1445 2nd Street in one of the retail spaces on the ground floor of The DeSota building, the cozy but chic beer & wine bar just opened this month. You may know the owner, Mark Tuchman, from his previous popular beer destination: Mr. Beery’s in Gulf Gate, but don’t worry, 99 Bottles is a HUGE upgrade in terms of the decor and vibe!

I visited with a few friends and two of us had wine and two opted beer. The wine list had plenty of choices (including Dom P by the glass, for those so inclined!) and the reds my friends selected were both luscious, fruity, and totally yummy. We also split a Night Swim porter and Barrel-Aged Bible Belt stout/IPA and both were great choices, especially the chocolatey Night Swim! We didn’t sample any of the food but the menu options had a nice variety and I’ll definitely give it a try next time.

What struck me most was the way everything seemed very well thought-out, from the design details like the pretty herringbone-style wood paneling on the bar and the bathroom tile that echoed it, to the shelves designed just to display the many beers offered by the bottle. Speaking of the restrooms…there are the most beautiful painted murals in there - unexpected and fabulous! When someone has put that much thought into the visual presentation, it really sets the expectation that the rest of the experience will follow suit and 99 Bottles did not disappoint! The staff was knowledgeable and everything ran so smoothly that you would have no idea that they had opened only days ago.

You heard it here first: 99 Bottles is an awesome addition to downtown so go check it out!

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99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop

1445 2nd Street in downtown Sarasota

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Create your own luxury lifestyle story - Auteur

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We like to be the first to tell you about new and notable happenings downtown, and the official opening of the Auteur sales center certainly is one to pay attention to! The ultra-luxury building, which is being developed by the same team that brought us Beau Ciel downtown and Orchid Beach Club, Aria, and En Provence on the barrier islands of Lido and Longboat, is truly not to be missed. We LOVE the chic and glam sales center itself, for starters, and the floor plans are unlike anything we have downtown now.

Allison at The View From The Top has just had the pleasure of working with one of the very first buyers of Auteur to make a reservation. Right now the building is available for reservations ($50k down for all but the highest floors, which command a deposit of $100k) and it is expected that these will be converted to contracts in mid-to-late summer. Auteur is expected to be delivered in 2022 but, for those who are planning ahead for their next move, now is the time to get in!


INTRODUCING AUTEUR

Rendering found on auteursarasota.com website

Rendering found on auteursarasota.com website

THE DETAILS

Auteur will be a 216’ tower with a projected 56 units priced from just under $2,000,000 to more than $3,500,000.  Residents of Auteur and residents of downtown Sarasota alike will benefit from the developer’s involvement in the community: when originally proposed to have over 85 units, the community of Sarasota voiced concerns.  The developers listened and reduced the number to 56, and by reducing the number of units, the builders were able to both set the structure back further from the street – adding aesthetic value - and increase the size of each home to an average width of 75 feet, something not commonly found in condominiums at any price point (even many single-family homes are on lots of a smaller width than this!).  Each residence will have a spacious, open floor plan and panoramic views of Sarasota Bay.

  • Four floor plans are available, ranging from 2915sq’ to 4219sq’

  • All feature approximately 500sq’ of terrace

The Location.

Auteur will be located at 1100 Boulevard of the Arts on the 1.25-acre site next to the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. The Hyatt parking garage will be torn down to accommodate the structure, and future parking for the hotel is incorporated into the plans for the building, though hotel and resident parking will remain decidedly separate. The close proximity to all of the current amenities of downtown and future The Bay project are a major draw for the building, especially since pedestrian overpasses at 41 are part of the plan! ;-)

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The Experience.

The features and benefits at Auteur are extensive and just exude the modern style of luxuriousness that discerning buyers today are seeking.  Coded access elevators will deliver owners to private foyers and interiors created by world-renowned designers.  Walls of glass span multiple rooms to create sunlit spaces where high ceilings and HUGE terraces add to the overall elegance of each home.  Kitchens come equipped with Sub-Zero® and Wolf® appliances.. and of course, each residence will be pre-wired with the latest smart home technology. Two sides of the Auteur building are expected to feature a vast assortment of fitness, social and general recreational opportunities. 

Other amenities owners will enjoy:

  • Attentive concierge staff

  • Tropical pool overlooking Sarasota Bay

  • Resort-style heated pool, spa and shade cabanas

  • Two assigned parking spaces per residence

  • Fitness center, message therapy, steam showers and yoga studio

  • Fenced pet play area and pet grooming facility

This is an addition to downtown that we at The View From The Top are seriously excited about and we think you will be too!



For all of your downtown real estate needs - in both the to-be-built and classic buildings - we have you covered! Please call us anytime for guidance on the right spot for you in fabulous Sarasota.

NEW SAGE IS ALL THE RAGE!

Ever since Ceviché departed in 2013, Sarasotans have wondered what is going to happen to the fabulous space located at 1216 1st Street, in the cool historic Sarasota Times Newspaper building. Finally, a new restaurant has opened its door here, still featuring 4 stories of dining space and the famous rooftop bar. Welcome to the scene, Sage! I had the opportunity to check out this swanky new world-cuisine restaurant recently and highly recommend you check it out.

Sage Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

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The Food.

The seasonal menu changes so often, it’s not even posted on their website. Their mission is to use fresh ingredients, unique flavors, and cooking styles from around the world to give their patrons the best dining experience. Bonus: They happily accommodate any dietary restrictions and many of their dishes are already gluten- and dairy-free. In addition to the exquisite flavors, their food presentation is some kind of work of art!

When I visited, I went straight to the fabulous rooftop bar - one of my favorites hang-outs from years past when Ceviche was there! - and I was certainly not disappointed! The vibe was sophisticated but not fussy and it was pleasantly busy but not so packed that I wanted to leave. The cocktail I had was delicious and my friends and I loved the various types of seating on the roof - bar, high-tops, and lounge areas and, of course, THAT VIEW is a major draw!

The Location.

As I said above, the building itself is a Sarasota historic landmark, formerly housing the Sarasota Times Newspaper. The 1st Street location is on the western edge of downtown, so it is easily walkable from the Bayfront condominiums, offering an alternative to Jack Dusty for dinner and a nightcap, as well as the Palm Avenue area of downtown. Also nearby: the Sarasota Opera and FST — which makes this a perfect pre-show dinner location!

The historic downtown building used to house The Sarasota Times.

The historic downtown building used to house The Sarasota Times.

Prime location right across from the bayfront in downtown.

Prime location right across from the bayfront in downtown.

The view from the rooftop bar overlooks the bright buildings of downtown. And you can even wave at the rooftop bar-goers on top of the Art Ovation Hotel right across the way!

The view from the rooftop bar overlooks the bright buildings of downtown. And you can even wave at the rooftop bar-goers on top of the Art Ovation Hotel right across the way!

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The Experience.

Despite the casual vibe of the rooftop bar, make no mistake, Sage is a fine dining establishment. The waitstaff is friendly, professional, knowledgable, and in uniform. Searching for the perfect place to grab drinks with the girls? The lively atmosphere on the top level is just right — absolutely beautiful décor with great views of the city that you can enjoy from beneath a mod chandelier or next to a roaring fire pit. And to top it off, pop star Pink has been seen there already, during her recent vacation to our area. ;-)

Sage Restaurant & Rooftop Bar | 1216 First Street | Downtown Sarasota | www.sagesrq.com | 941.445.5660

Woo hoo! More options at SRQ

Allegient Air just announced the addition of NINE non-stop flights out of our neighborhood airport. As a semi-regular traveler, I’m keenly aware of the benefits of flying local: a friend can drop me off without being put out for hours on end, I avoid parking fees, and I don’t have to be awake at 4 in the morning to get out on a 7:30am flight—So many positives! Check out all the new places we can go conveniently right from SRQ Airport starting soon!


Allegiant Announced New Nonstop Service from SRQ to 9 Cities

SARASOTA, Fla. Nov. 13, 2018 — Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) today announces nine new nonstop routes to Sarasota via Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) from: Asheville, North Carolina; Baltimore; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Nashville, Tennessee; Richmond, Virginia; and Syracuse, New York. To celebrate, the company is offering one-way fares on the new routes as low as $45.*

“We’re excited to announce this unprecedented expansion in one of the newest destinations in our network - Sarasota,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant vice president of planning and revenue. “Sarasota offers world-renowned beaches, museums and dining, and we’re so excited to bring even more visitors to this amazing city.”
 
The new year-round routes to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) include:
 

  1. Asheville, North Carolina via Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) – beginning 2/22/19

  2. Baltimore via Baltimore / Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) – beginning 2/22/19

  3. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania via Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) – beginning 4/3/19

  4. Syracuse, New York via Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) – beginning 4/3/19

  5. Cleveland via Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) – beginning 4/4/19

  6. Columbus, Ohio via Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) – beginning 4/4/19

  7. Richmond, Virginia via Richmond International Airport (RIC) – beginning 4/4/19

  8. Grand Rapids, Michigan via Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) – beginning 4/5/19

  9. Nashville, Tennessee via Nashville International Airport (BNA) – beginning 4/5/19

The new nonstop routes will operate twice-weekly and will bring nearly 160,000 passengers to the Sarasota / Bradenton area annually, contributing to visitor spending in the local economy. Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found only at Allegiant.com.
 
“Working with Allegiant, the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has developed into one of the region’s premier airports, further setting the Sarasota / Bradenton area apart and ensuring it remains competitive in a crowded market,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The past few years have brought with them an unprecedented expansion of routes, including Allegiant’s. The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau applauds their efforts to make the destination more accessible than ever before for our visitors. We look forward to welcoming even more visitors from these cities onboard Allegiant flights.”
 
 “We are very pleased with the success of Allegiant at SRQ,” said Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. “The airport has experienced substantial growth since Allegiant began service in April. The addition of nine new cities will provide our community with many more ultra-low-cost options and we look forward to the continued growth and success of Allegiant at SRQ.”
 
“These flights are serving some of our most important origin cities for visitation and will have a huge positive tourism impact for Sarasota county,” said Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota.
 
Allegiant offers a unique option to Sarasota-bound travelers with low base airfare and savings on rental cars and hotels. Travelers can book their entire vacation with Allegiant for less.

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If you are planning to winter in Sarasota, visit us during holiday vacations, or come during Spring Break, check out the convenient access point to all things paradise, SRQ Airport. And for all your real estate needs while you’re enjoying the Sunshine State, give me a call today.

Contact Us

allison@allisonwerner.com | (941) 961-3212

Feeling Like Fall

We all caught the first glimpse of fall this past weekend as the temperature dipped below 80 and the humidity left the air…at least for a few hours! It was, however, enough for those of us who love the fall season to start buying apple cider and thinking about our Halloween costumes. But just because we do not get the nip in the air that our northern cohorts receive this time of year, that does not mean we don’t do the fall season right. Take a look at some area activities to help you celebrate autumn!

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Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival

Fruitville Grove Fresh Farmers Market puts on a fun-filled Pumpkin Festival each fall! Bring the whole family to enjoy a wide variety of fall farm activities such as pony rides, a petting zoo, a wildflower maze, and of course pumpkin picking! Kids will love the mini-train rides, while kids of all ages ;-) will enjoy laser tag and bungee jumps. The festival runs from 10am-5pm every Saturday & Sunday in October.

Ghosts & Gruesomes Tour

Sarasota Suncoast Tours puts on their fun & spooky Ghosts & Gruesomes walking tour of downtown Sarasota every Friday & Saturday at 7:15pm this month. Experience the spirited and sinister side of Sarasota on this one-of-a-kind walking tour to learn more about the area and some of the residents who still call it home – many, many, many years later. The tour runs about 75 minutes.

A Sarasota graveyard explored on Sarasota Suncoast Tours.

A Sarasota graveyard explored on Sarasota Suncoast Tours.

Sights & Sins Trolley Tour

We love trolley tours. What better way to spend a chilly (😂) fall evening than with a cup of hot apple cider aboard a trolley with your closest friends hearing about local history, interesting trivia, and a few of the ‘Sins’ that happened here. Another gem from Sarasota Suncoast Tours, this Sights & Sins tour runs either 1.5 or 3 hrs on the air-conditioned trolley and covers from the Sarasota Airport to downtown & Lido Key.

Siesta Key Trick or Treating

Fun for the whole family, the Siesta Key Village businesses hand out candy in costume for a fun trick-or-treating experience. This event is fully open to and free for the public! Trick-or-treating runs from 3-6pm on Halloween, but stay all evening patronizing the wonderful establishments of the Village for some serious Halloween fun!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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Who doesn’t enjoy this nostalgic performance during the spooky Halloween season? We know we do here at View From the Top! Lucky for us, the Players Center for Performing Arts is putting on an outdoor adaptation of Washington Irving classic at the Sarasota Polo Field. Opening tonight and running through the end of the month, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will be a modern twist on the classic story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman.


Whether you enjoy the spook of the season or just the fun festivities, there are so many activities to enjoy this time of year in our area. If we can help you enjoy #viewfromthetopstyle-living in Sarasota in any way, please give us a call today. Happy haunting!

How To Be a Sarasota Foodie

The dessert table at the Haye Loft, above Euphemia Haye

The dessert table at the Haye Loft, above Euphemia Haye

In a time when information is at the tip of our fingers, when crossing the country takes but a few hours, and when indulgence is not a rare treat but an opportunity offered to many, we are deciding where we visit and where we live based on simple luxuries like high-scale food scenes, nightlife, and access. Sarasota itself is a budding food city, with many fabulous award-winning restaurants as well as local favorites that are worthy of your tastebuds! Here are a few places to go, if you want to do Sarasota like a foodie.

Major Award-Winners

Michael’s on East

This Sarasota staple fine dining establishment boasts the most national awards in our area. It is Sarasota’s only AAA 4-diamond award restaurant, but it’s not just the awards and accolades that make Michael’s special. Its attached piano bar and wine cellar bring in guests who come just for the experience and who stay for the food, and the happy hour prices make this fine dining experience accessible for most. They give back, too! A frequent sponsor of our local non-profits, Michael’s also donates proceeds to one of them every Monday.

Indigenous is located on S. Links Ave. downtown.

Indigenous is located on S. Links Ave. downtown.

Indigenous

When it opened in 2012, Indigenous came in with a bang, winning the Best New Restaurant award from Florida Trend right out the gate. Chef Steve Phelps is a two-time semi-finalist for the James Beard Best Chef - South award, the restaurant received a place on Zagat’s Best Restaurants in America list in 2013, and has landed on more Best Eats in Sarasota lists than we can came here. The ambiance of this restaurant is casual and chic simultaneously, featuring as many local, or indigenous, vendors as possible, from the wood used in the wine rack to the locally-sourced produce.

Food Network Accolades

Yoder’s

Featured on Man Vs. Food in 2009, this little Amish restaurant located just south of downtown has a reputation far louder than its comfortable dining room would suggest. The home-cooked comfort-food vibe makes you feel right at home. I, myself, enjoy the pies the most, but meat-eaters rave about their pot roast & fried chicken. A personal tip? Don’t be afraid of the name, just order the Shoofly Pie—a gooey and sweet molasses pie like nothing I’ve ever tasted before in my life. But really, any pie there will be the best pie you have ever tasted, even if you are a cake person. ;-)

Munchie’s 420 Café

Man Vs. Food was back in 2016 with a visit to the late-night Gulf Gate staple, Munchie’s 420 Café. Featured on the episode was a challenge to eat ghost pepper poppers, one we don’t suggest! But if you are craving literally every comfort food wrapped into one, Munchie’s is your place. My indulgence there is always the fries, as I’m a vegetarian so I don’t eat their sandwiches, but my foodie, meat-eating sister swears the Fat Sandy is where it’s at when you are searching for perhaps the most delicious thing you can put in your body at midnight: cheeseburgers, mac n’ cheese, chicken fingers, and mozzerella sticks on a sub roll. You read that right. It’s the king of good eats.

My Faves - It’s time you knew!

Bijou Café

I just love lunches at the Bijou, where the experience makes you feel like you rolled back a hundred years. Pour from the left, take from the right, white-glove service. The middle-of-downtown location is perfect if you work in the area. The nostalgic elegance coupled with modern European food creates a fine dining experience that you will enjoy in the middle of the workday or just before the opera on a Friday night.

Shore

This new essential place to eat on St. Armands Circle features a lot of what I love all in one place: a balcony view of a beautiful place (right on St. Armands), a good rosé, and seriously the best truffle fries in the world. It is true that I make special trips to Shore for the fries. The rest of their menu is nearly flawless, with fantastic tomato bisque soups and hot-weather friendly salads, but seriously—go try those truffle fries!

The Haye Loft at Euphemia Haye

It’s my party and I’ll eat dessert if I want to! Euphemia Haye’s dessert room has always been one of my favorite makes-me-feel-special places. The location on Longboat Key makes this a destination for me, but the dessert room makes it worth it. The fancy atmosphere is highlighted by the dessert bar, where everything from absolutely indulgent pies, bananas foster, and homemade ice cream are featured nightly. Invite some friends on your next big occasion—you won’t regret it!

Sarasota isn’t just a beach town, it’s a foodie town too. For all your Sarasota real estate and lifestyle needs, please give me a call today!

Resort-Style Living is #ViewFromTheTopStyle

Here at The View from the Top, we specialize in luxury & penthouse living in downtown Sarasota. However, Sarasota offers so many different ways to live in luxury that occasionally we branch away from downtown to spotlight a #ViewFromTheTopStyle neighborhood that we know our luxury-lovers would be able to appreciate. (See our previous blogs on West of Trail, Beach Retreats, Deer Creek & Lakewood Ranch.) One of the reasons many of us live here in Sarasota (aka paradise) is to feel like we are on vacation every day. If you want to take that to the next level, welcome to resort-style living.

We’re talking everything right in your neighborhood, well-maintained luxury amenities such as olympic lap pools, lagoon pools for sunbathing and lounging on a float, state-of-the-art fitness centers, top-notch safety & security, and easy access to regularly-needed places like hair salons, post offices, and markets. Ladies and gentlemen, meet VillageWalk, where they have done resort-style living right.

VillageWalk in Palmer Ranch

Located south of Clark Rd. off of Honore, VillageWalk is one of the largest and best-equipped communities in Palmer Ranch. While many PR neighborhoods feature public space, pools, and small fitness rooms, few do it on the scale of VillageWalk. Here’s why:The

  • Their gym is better-equipped than many professional gyms.

  • They offer two pools, one for relaxing, one for exercise, in addition to a spa, and ample outdoor space.

  • Six professional-quality, Har-Tru tennis courts are available for use.

  • Forgot one thing for dinner? Worry not! Stop by the convenience store right within the gates when you’re in a pinch.

  • The shopping district inside VillageWalk includes a salon, gas station, post office, and office space for residents. Talk about all-in-one!

  • The beautifully-maintained community features innumerable paths for biking and jogging through the picturesque neighborhood.

  • This neighborhood is perfect for worry-free lock & go! Ultra-secure manned gated entrance 24 hours a day means this is not only a very safe place to live full-time, but you can rest easy that your home away from home is safe if you are seasonal.

  • Maintenance-free living means no more yard work for you! 😍

All the Perks of Condo Living

If you like having everything you need right in one building, but desire a bit more breathing room on the weekends or when family is in town, VillageWalk can be a great alternative! All the amenities above mean you literally just have to worry about the inside of your home—easy peasy!

If you frequently feel like a hotel due to incoming friends and family who sadly only get to vacation here on occasion, put them up in your villa vacation paradise a mere 15 minutes away instead!

Sound like something you want?

We have good news for you! We are currently marketing a beautiful, totally updated & move-in ready villa in VillageWalk with a sparkling private pool out back! High-end finishes you’ve come to expect, resort-style living you deserve. Here are the details:

7546 Quinto Drive

  • 2 bed, 2 bath

  • 1,534 sq ft under air + additional exterior entertaining space of nearly 600 sq ft!

  • Recently updated kitchen & baths w/quartz counters & high-end finishes

  • Listed for $339,900!

If you or someone you know is looking to live more #ViewFromTheTopStyle, give us a call today. We may specialize in downtown, but we are delivering luxury lifestyles from all corners of Sarasota!

Sculpture Parks Here & There

Sculpture parks from around the world were recently featured on Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Defined blog. Take a look at 7 they believe you can’t miss, and one of our own special parks right in downtown Sarasota!


OPEN-AIR ART: 7 MUST-VISIT SCULPTURE PARKS

From giant roosters, deer, and hares, to mysterious shifting fog installations, some of the most exciting works of art are sited outside the traditional confines of a gallery in sculpture parks, giving visitors a whole new perspective on the pieces themselves and the landscapes they dominate—all while enjoying the fresh air and beautiful open spaces. Here are seven to put on your outdoor-art agenda.

1. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
West Yorkshire, UK

A huge reclining hare, an army of imposing tribal figures, and a tree made of iron are just three of the sights that await visitors at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. The brainchild of founding director Peter Murray CBE, the park covers 500 acres (202 ha). Works by Henry Moore, Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash, and James Turrell are scattered around the grounds (as well as that Sophie Ryder hare, Zak Ové’s figures, and Ai Weiwei’s tree). “Viewing sculpture in the garden can provide a very different experience to an indoor gallery,” says Murray. “The changing light, the seasonal variations, and the elements all contribute to the experience.”

The 16-foot-tall (4.9 m)  Caldera , by leading British sculptor Tony Cragg, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The venue’s indoor gallery recently hosted the biggest UK exhibition of his work to date. Tony Cragg,  Caldera , 2008. Bronze, 480 x 372 x 342cm. Courtesy the artist and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photograph: Michael Richter.

The 16-foot-tall (4.9 m) Caldera, by leading British sculptor Tony Cragg, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The venue’s indoor gallery recently hosted the biggest UK exhibition of his work to date. Tony Cragg, Caldera, 2008. Bronze, 480 x 372 x 342cm. Courtesy the artist and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photograph: Michael Richter.

This is also the only place where you can see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety. “Sited on the hillside, the work takes on the majesty of the trees as it absorbs the Yorkshire landscape, which had such a strong influence on Hepworth,” observes Murray.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the only place you can view Barbara Hepworth’s  The Family of Man , 1970 in its full form. © Bowness. Courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photograph: Jonty Wilde.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the only place you can view Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man, 1970 in its full form. © Bowness. Courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photograph: Jonty Wilde.

2.Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
If you were in London between July 2013 and February 2015, you might have noticed a huge blue rooster surveying Trafalgar Square. That particular bird—Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock—can now be found in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, but you can view its identical sibling (the work is an edition of two) at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, part of the Walker Art Gallery. The garden reopened in 2017 following a $10 million renovation and is home to works including Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen.

Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen’s  Spoonbridge and Cherry  (1988) takes pride of place in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Photograph courtesy the Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio. Copyright 1988 Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry (1988) takes pride of place in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Photograph courtesy the Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio. Copyright 1988 Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

3. Storm King Art Center
Cornwall, New York, USA
Just over an hour’s drive from Manhattan, Storm King Art Center was founded in 1960 by Ralph E Ogden and H Peter Stern. Originally a home for the works of the Hudson River School for painters, the park now spans 500 contiguous acres of wildlife-packed fields, former allées, woodlands, wetlands, and streams. More than 100 sculptures are dotted around the landscape, among them the futuristic, bright-red Iliad by Alexander Liberman, complete with its impossibly balanced cantilevered elements, and the rotatingFrog Legs by abstract expressionist Mark di Suvero. Storm King is currently staging two temporary exhibitions:Outlooks, a site-specific installation by Elaine Cameron-Weir, and Indicators: Artists on Climate Change, for which more than a dozen artists explore the impact of global warming through specially made sculpture, photography, and film.

Frog Legs  by Mark di Suvero (2002) at the Storm King Art Center rotates 360 degrees in order to give ever-changing views of the sky and surrounding landscape. Lent by the artist and Spacetime C.C., New York. Photograph: Jerry L Thompson.

Frog Legs by Mark di Suvero (2002) at the Storm King Art Center rotates 360 degrees in order to give ever-changing views of the sky and surrounding landscape. Lent by the artist and Spacetime C.C., New York. Photograph: Jerry L Thompson.

4. National Gallery of Australia
Canberra, Australia
Not all sculptures need to be solid, as the National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA) Sculpture Garden demonstrates every day between 12:30pm and 2pm. As the name suggests, Fog Sculpture, by Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya, envelops the garden in a mist that settles over its pond and pathways, shifting and moving with the wind. “The work is really intriguing because it acts very differently at different times of the year,” says Lucina Ward, senior curator, international painting and sculpture at NGA. “In foggy winters, the mist seems to continue onto the lake. On a hot summer’s day, meanwhile, it’s delightful to sit on a bench and have the vapor float onto your skin.” Also on display at the NGA isHeads from the North, by Dadang Christanto, a haunting work comprising 66 bronze heads staring out from the surface of a pond, and a life-sized model of Antony Gormley’s The Angel of the North.

Fujiko Nakaya’s  Foggy Wake in a Desert: An Ecosphere  (1982) uses natural elements to create a living sculpture. Water vapor, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 1977. © Fujiko Nakaya.

Fujiko Nakaya’s Foggy Wake in a Desert: An Ecosphere (1982) uses natural elements to create a living sculpture. Water vapor, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 1977. © Fujiko Nakaya.

5. Laumeier Sculpture Park
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
In 1968, Matilda C Laumeier bequeathed 72 acres of land to what would become Laumeier Sculpture Park. Today, it encompasses 105 acres, and is home to work from artists including Donald Judd, Jenny Holzer, and Tony Tasset, whoseDeer is a pensive and nervous—yet supersized—fawn ready to make her move. “I see the Laumeier as an intellectual playground,” says curator Dana Turkovic. “Artists use it as a platform, to add new voices to the conversation about public art in nature.” Laumeier also has an indoor gallery space, the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, which this fall will showcase the work of David Hutson.

Tony Tasset’s  Eye  stares intently back at visitors to Laumeier Sculpture Park in Saint Louis. Photograph: Alamy.

Tony Tasset’s Eye stares intently back at visitors to Laumeier Sculpture Park in Saint Louis. Photograph: Alamy.

6.Domaine du Muy
Le Muy, France
Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand knows a thing or two about sculpture: for almost 30 years he has staged exhibitions—and sold many works—at JGM Galerie (later renamed Galerie Mitterrand) in Paris’s hip Marais neighborhood. In 2015, Mitterrand and his son, Edward, opened a viewing space of a very different kind: one with no walls, and forests of pine and cork oaks as a dramatic backdrop. Situated 15 miles (24.1 km) inland between Nice and Marseilles, Domaine du Muy opened with an art trail of 40 pieces by contemporary artists spread across 25 acres (10.1 ha), curated in collaboration with Simon Lamunière, the brains behind Art Basel’s Art Unlimited section. The trail has been expanded even further for 2018, but pieces by resident artists Roman Signer and Claudia Comte remain.

Claude Lalanne’s oversized bronze apple,  Pomme de New York  at Domaine du Muy in the South of France. © Claude Lalanne. Courtesy Domaine du Muy. Photograph: JC Lett.

Claude Lalanne’s oversized bronze apple, Pomme de New York at Domaine du Muy in the South of France. © Claude Lalanne. Courtesy Domaine du Muy. Photograph: JC Lett.

7. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Copenhagen, Denmark
Knud W Jensen loved art and culture. He also held other people’s love of it in high esteem, which led to him founding in 1958 what would become the most-visited art museum in Denmark. Today, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art houses an extensive collection of works dating from the Second World War to the present day, in a series of modernist buildings and outdoor areas.

The stainless-steel and two-way-mirror glass piece,  Square Bisected by Curve  by New York-based artist Dan Graham, is on display at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Photograph: Kim Hansen. Credit: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The stainless-steel and two-way-mirror glass piece, Square Bisected by Curve by New York-based artist Dan Graham, is on display at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Photograph: Kim Hansen. Credit: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Its adjoining Sculpture Park is modeled on an English landscape garden and cannot be viewed in its entirety from any one vantage point. “Louisiana should make itself known as a place for sculpture,” said Jensen, in his book Mit Loisiana-liv (My Louisiana Life). Standout works includeTwo Piece Reclining Figure No 5by Henry Moore, The Gate in the Gorge by American sculptor Richard Serra, and House to Watch the Sunset by American-Swiss sculptor Not Vital.


We’ll go ahead and add #8 ;-)

Sarasota Bayfront, Sarasota, Florida, USA

Our own bayfront area in downtown Sarasota has a wealth of sculptural and art appeal, including its annual Embracing Our Differences exhibit, which is billboard-sized expressions of creativity from people of all ages. In addition to this special exhibit on display during the winter, the bayfront has world-renown Unconditional Surrender (center) statue, and several smaller sculptures scattered all around, many of which are by Sarasota local artists.

This year’s Embracing Our Differences display is calling for art very soon! To find out more about how to submit entries to be a part of this large outdoor exhibit, visit their webpage here.

  • Deadline to submit art: October 15, 2018

  • This year’s exhibit is open: January 19 to March 15, 2019

Art Ovation: 21st Century Speakeasy

By Molly Russo

When the Art Ovation Hotel opened in April of this year, it followed the Westin to fill a much-needed gap downtown in the short-term accommodations department. But its heart-of-downtown location, as opposed to both Ritz Carlton and Westin’s west-of-41 addresses, makes it a great option for visitors who come to the area for our wonderful downtown arts scene. Located on N. Palm literally across the street from Florida Studio Theatre and a few paces from the Sarasota Opera, Art Ovation is an aptly-named for this artsy sector of downtown, and it was no coincidence that Realtor Extraordinaire and myself stumbled upon it one evening while leaving a show…

Come for the Music, Stay for the Ambiance

On a rainy Wednesday evening, while strolling back to our cars after a Cabaret performance at Florida Studio Theatre (a summer and winter series that we love — find out more about it here), the sound of jazzy piano hit our ears as we watched a cocktail-attired couple exit the Art Ovation Hotel. Modern and angular busts greet pedestrians from the sidewalk and look like a futuristic Easter Island Head. This coupled with the Roarin’ ‘20s vibe we felt from the music meant we had to go in.

Art Ovation is stark, contemporary, and clean on the inside. A formal dining room is to the right, the hotel and gorgeous rooftop bar & pool are above (the latter closed due to the inclement weather during our visit), and a bar, nestled in the midst of wide room is to the left. We made for the bar and passed a gallery of bright paintings on the way, reaffirming the hotel’s commitment to the arts. The expansive front space, ideal for cocktail parties or dances I’m sure, currently held a band, well known among Sarasota’s live music scene, Hot Club of SRQ.

Elevated, Classy, & Artistic in Every Detail

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We pulled out our stools and took a seat, greeted immediately by a bartender clad in a crisp white oxford with an undone bowtie hanging around his neck. This uniform, worn by the rest of the wait staff too, added to the classy-but-undone atmosphere. This place could be both—and everything from the bartenders to scent of the lobby told you so. Needing to tidy up my hair after being caught in the rain, I was surprised when I entered the Ladies’ to be greeted not by music, but by the soothing sound of the Great Gatsby being read to me. What a touch; they thought of every detail.

The rest of the evening passed over a bottle of champagne (pink, of course) and polite conversation. The drinks were reasonable and the ambiance was very unique and very Sarasota, pulling upon the cultural influences of our city and marrying contemporary class with the stylish atmosphere of a speakeasy. We loved it, and will be back!

Art Ovation Hotel | 1255 N. Palm Avenue | https://artovationhotel.com/

Why Travel When You Live in Paradise?!?

Sometimes you just want to get away, but as we always say in my family, "Why travel when you live in paradise??" Few national vacation destinations can rival the white sands of our beaches, the rolling greens of our golf courses, and the seemingly endless sunny skies (at least until 5pm! 😉), so really, why try anywhere else? We are advocates of changing up the scenery every once in a while, however, so take a look below at some stunning homes that can function as your weekend getaway from the downtown lifestyle...

627 Emerald Lane, Holmes Beach

This canal-front home on Bimini Bay is a boater's paradise. The mid-century home was recently completely renovated and expanded, including the addition of a 10,000 lb boat lift. We love the seamless blend of island style with contemporary flair.

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 2,125 square feet under air
  • Listed for $1,549,000

 

101 Cedar Avenue, Anna Maria Island

This massive beach house feels like Nantucket or perhaps Margaritaville. The shiplap paneling and tongue-in-groove ceilings feel nautical and somehow both casual and luxurious at the same time. Stroll through the backyard path right to the sands of north Anna Maria.  Yes, please!

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 3.5 bathrooms
  • 2,828 square feet under air
  • 3,708 total square feet
  • Listed for $3,750,000

 

7251 Plovers Way, Siesta Key

This home on Heron's Lagoon feels like the most extravagant treehouse imaginable. Tucked into the rhythmic & lush greenery of south Siesta Key, this home has entertaining space galore inside and out as well as luxe high-end finishes that lend a 5-star experience every day.

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 3,000 square feet under air
  • 6,696 total square feet
  • Listed for $2,250,000

 

8325 Lindrick Lane, The Concession

When you really want to get away, head east to the luxury golf community of The Concession. Gorgeous mansions, award-winning golf, and quiet seclusion will make you feel like you're in a totally different world, all only 20 minutes from home! 

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 4 bathrooms
  • 3,646 square feet under air
  • 5,236 total square feet
  • Listed for $1,295,000

If you would like more information regarding any of the homes, areas, or neighborhoods featured here, please give me a call. We are downtown experts indeed, but we live and breathe Sarasota and its surrounding areas, and we can help you anywhere. Next time you are considering booking the flight, just remember, nothing measures up to paradise! ;-)

Downtown Favorite: Beulah

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By Molly Russo

Classic & Eclectic Dining

Beulah landed on the cuisine scene in 2015, opening its doors on Main Street near Osprey Avenue on the east side of downtown Sarasota.  The name doesn't give much away but when you enter this eclectic establishment, the smells of authentic Italian food drift in your direction and the vintage-y, Bohemian interior is a treat for the eye.  Mismatched tables and chairs and well-placed comfy couches coupled with the ornate décor and chandelier lighting made this feel cozy to me, like I had wandered into a very interesting old woman's house, à la Great Expectations. 

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Head in for Happy Hour...

The happy hour menu, which is available at the bar only (as many a Yelp-reviewer informed me prior to my visit), features a small array of appetizers, cocktails, beer, and wine for under $10.  Not a bad deal!  Try the Margherita pizza, mussels, or eggplant rollatine for a flavorful snack from 5-7pm with your drink, or the Caesar salad if you're trying to be good. ;-)

...or an Authentic Italian Meal

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Seeing as I was there for dinner, I did not partake in the happy hour menu, but moved right in for dinner.  A friend and I each ordered -- what else at an authentic Italian place? -- pasta!  She opted for the lasagna, which was so light, yet well-spiced; it reminded me of the fresh-made pasta an old friend from Italy had made me once upon a time.  Hands down, this was the best lasagna I've ever had (thank goodness she let me share a bite!).  I had the ravioli of the day, this particular day the flavor was mushroom.  It did not disappoint.  The ravioli were set in a white alfredo-type sauce and were simply mouth-watering.  We both cleaned our plates.

Though Beulah has been a part of our scene for a few years, this was my first time there.  The food was spectacular, the service friendly and professional, and the ambiance was just cool.  Brick walls juxtaposed with elaborate fixtures and artwork set a perfect stage for the new twist on old world cuisine.  I highly recommend Beulah for your next date night!

Side note: As I was writing this, an article popped up on the Herald Tribune naming Beulah's Aperol the cocktail of the summer.  Check out their article here.

 

A View from the Garden

People love their penthouses, but let's face it, the View from the Top isn't for everyone!  People who desire seeing more green than cityscape or those who want a more spacious feel over height might choose to live in a lower-level residence.  Let's check out some cool garden- and courtyard-view condos in Downtown Sarasota, where there are stunning views of more than just the water!  

(Some of these are not actively for sale at this time but we couldn't resist sharing them with you anyway!)


1000 SF of Terrace in Orange Blossom Tower

What a unique find!  At Orange Blossom Tower, which resides right next to 1350 Main in the heart of downtown and where each residence encompasses an entire floor, there is one extra-special condo on the 3rd floor, which includes a whopping 1000+ sq'  of outdoor space on two separate terraces.  This is a case of lower floor = more space!  With nearly 4,000 sq' of interior space, plus fireplace (inside) and fire pit (outside), there is truly no end to entertaining options in a home like this.  

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 3,954 sq ft under air
  • 4,936 total sq ft including exterior space
  • Sold for $1,599,000 in 2015
 

Private Open-Air Terrace in Sansara

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Who says the top has more fun?  This 2nd-level condo in luxurious Sansara has one thing those higher floors do not: a stunning open-air terrace, which gives you the feel of pushing back the pocketing sliders right out to your backyard!  Nearly 2,800 sq ft of living space open up wide to the nearly 2,500 sq ft of terrace, complete with gas grill, fire pit, and covered pergola seating area.  All we can say is "Wow!"

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 2,794 sq ft under air
  • 5,379 total sq ft including exterior space
  • Sold for $2,249,900 in 2017
 

Endless Green in Burns Court Villas

Looking for lush and fragrant grounds to greet you every day?  Look no further than Burns Court Villas, a private enclave of 23 townhomes which share stunningly landscaped space and a warm, Mediterranean aesthetic.  All of the villas have cozy courtyards, but we love the whimsy vibe of this 2,000 sq ft townhome with a large wrap-around terrace.

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2.5 bathrooms
  • 2,013 sq ft under air
  • 2,483 total sq ft including exterior space
  • Sold for $995,000 in 2017
 

Sweet Solitude in Library Mews

How do you get the feel of a spacious single family home in the center of downtown?  Library Mews, that's how.  The rarely-available, 11-unit townhome complex is situated on Cocoanut north of Main St, and despite its ultra-urban location, it has the excluded aura of sweet solitude.  This 1,490 sq ft townhome boasts nearly 700 sq ft of exterior living space, including a terrace and a rooftop patio.  

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2.5 bathrooms
  • 1,490 sq ft under air
  • 2,141 total sq ft including exterior space
  • Currently listed for $649,000 (click to view listing here.)
 

Four Stories of Fun in Marquee En Ville

Things we love about Marquee En Ville: 

  1. The space.  Every townhome is over 2,200 sq ft.
  2. The 4th floor.  Paradise is the open-air covered patio with outdoor kitchen overlooking the city.
  3. The price point. These adorable townhomes have yet to hit the $1 million-dollar price point, and in fact, none have sold for more than $800K in the past 5 years!
  4. The location.  You can see the front of it from Fruitville so it's easy to tell your friends how to get there, and you are only minutes on foot from the opera, restaurants, Whole Foods, and more!
  5. There are actually 2 on the market right now!  
2 bedrooms | 3.5 bathrooms | 2,290 sq ft  3,050 sq ft total including exterior space  Currently listed for $659,000!    (click to view listing.)

2 bedrooms | 3.5 bathrooms | 2,290 sq ft

3,050 sq ft total including exterior space

Currently listed for $659,000!

(click to view listing.)

2 bedrooms | 3.5 bathrooms | 2,320 sq ft  3,000 sq ft including exterior space  Currently listed for $775,000!    (click to view listing.)

2 bedrooms | 3.5 bathrooms | 2,320 sq ft

3,000 sq ft including exterior space

Currently listed for $775,000!

(click to view listing.)

There are a wide variety of options in Downtown Sarasota, from buildings ideal for boaters to ritzy high-rises to garden townhomes.  I can help you whatever your lifestyle desires may be. :-)

Bazaar on Apricot & Lime

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You Heard it Here First

Vigilantly looking for the newest to-do in downtown, we recently heard about a brand-new market that you simply MUST know about!  The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime is an indoor market full of local and independent (indie) vendors of art, handmade gifts, baked goods, collectibles, clothing and jewelry.  It features live music from 12-2pm, story time on Saturdays at 9am where every kid receives a free book, classes for kids and adults (such as Drawing with Paper, on June 29), and all sorts of other activities (such as Mommy & Me Sewing sessions, every Thursday in June for moms & kids from 6-9 years old).

Familiar Local Vendors

Some downtown favorites, like Keffie's Ecochic Boutique, and other vendors from around Sarasota, like Wild Ginger Apothecary from Gulf Gate, are making appearances at the Bazaar.  Here's a full list of vendors as of now:

  • Keffie's Interior Design & Ecochic Boutique - gift shop
  • The Gypsy Gardener - stationary, art, calendars, home goods
  • Goodbyes - gently used designer clothing & accessories
  • Blue Cat Vintage - artwork on the spot
  • Creative Hands of Sarasota - art & sculpture
  • Red Seed Studios - visual art
  • Holistic Treasures - healing crystal art & essential oils
  • Donna Lee - bags & accessories
  • Island Time Signs - handpainted art on reclaimed wood
  • Create Bakery - baked goods & gifts
  • Scattered Peaces
  • Steele View Art - one-of-a-kind art on reclaimed wood
  • Wild Ginger - apothecary, tarot readings
  • Life in Fantasia - handcrafted gifts
  • Karma Saw That - leather jewelry
  • Room Mates Gallery - visual art
  • The Cocktail Couple - vintage barware & glasses
  • Shipwreck SRQ - unique found home objects
  • LaraLu - jewelry
  • Every Child Inc - books
  • Bright Life - chakra balancing, feng shui, crystals, and active meditation
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When & Where

821 Apricot Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34237 (off of 8th Street, one street West of N. Lime Avenue)

OPEN: Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 9 am - 2 pm

Enjoy investigating the new Bazaar on Apricot and Lime!

Savor Sarasota Starts Tomorrow!

Plan your culinary adventure around nearly 100 area restaurants that are slashing their menu prices for Savor Sarasota.  Starting tomorrow, a wide variety of local restaurants will offer a special prix-fixe menu of $16/person for lunch and $32/per for dinner for a 3-course meal.  Savor Sarasota runs from June 1 to June 14 only so the time to get out and try something new in our area is now!  

Duval's Fresh Local Seafood

Duval's Fresh Local Seafood

Participating Restaurants

We can't wait to try many of these!  Here's a partial list of participating restaurants in the downtown area:

Tsunami Sushi & Habachi Grill

Tsunami Sushi & Habachi Grill

  • Brand-new Element Modern Mediterranean Grill
  • Mozaic
  • Beulah
  • The Coolinary
  • Prague
  • Bijou Café
  • Café Epicure
  • Evoq @ the Westin Hotel 
  • Jack Dusty @ the Ritz Carlton
  • Louie's Modern
  • Lolita Tartine 
  • The Blue Rooster
  • El Greco
  • Mélange

There are literally more than we can mention in this post, but suffice it to say that if you have a downtown favorite, it's on the list.  For a full list of all the Savor Sarasota restaurants, visit their website here.  

Savor Sarasota is county-wide so you can enjoy some of our best restaurants off of Main Street downtown as well!  Here are some we recommend checking out around the rest of Sarasota County:

Carmel

Carmel

University Park/Lakewood Ranch

  • Sophie's at Saks - UTC Mall
  • Capital Grille - UTC Mall
  • Carmel - Cooper Creek

Lido Key

  • One of our faves, Shore
  • Tommy Bahama
  • Crab & Fin
  • Café L'Europe

Longboat Key

Shore

Shore

  • Another personal favorite of Realtor Extraordinaire, Euphemia Haye
  • Harry's Continental Kitchen
  • Chart House

Siesta Key

  • Ophelia's on the Bay
  • Siesta Key Oyster Bar
  • Café Gabbiano
  • Miguel's

North Sarasota

Siesta Key Oyster Bar

Siesta Key Oyster Bar

  • Half-Shell Seafood House
  • Muse @ the Ringling
  • Rodizio Grill
  • Mona Lisa in The Meadows

South Sarasota

  • Off the Hook Seafood Co.
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House
  • Roessler's Restaurant
  • Mattison's Forty-One
  • Café Baci
  • Bravo Coastal Bar & Kitchen

Enjoy the opportunity this month to taste and sample many of our best restaurants!  Bon appetit!

Bayfront 20:20 Update

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The team from Sasaki Design Firm was back this week to present additional renderings of the future site, called The Bay Sarasota, what they hope will be a big destination and gathering area for our community.  If you're not up to speed on this exciting project, check out our blog on it.  

What Sarasota Wants

Original  Bridge the Divide  concept

Original Bridge the Divide concept

After the feedback received from the last public forum and surveying our community, a dynamic design proposal was "selected" out of three.  That's in quotes because while this was the highest-ranked proposed design, the firm based all their surveying on ASPECTS of each design, so they could incorporate individual items to suit our community's wants and needs.  The firm adjusted their newest renderings of Bridge the Divide, the selected "winning design," based on the feedback that our community cares about:

  • Public access to the waterfront
  • Connectivity with the rest of downtown across Tamiami Trail
  • Providing the community with a balance of diversified activities
  • Preserving the existing Van Wezel structure

The South End

The questions, concerns, and feedback of Sarasota residents mainly affected the northern section.  Consequently, the south end of The Bay is pretty much set, said the design firm.  The design includes some exciting features!

  • Destination play area
  • Kayak launch
  • Recreation pier
  • Pedestrian bridges across 41
  • Picturesque waterfront drive

The southern portion of The Bay will also offer parking under landscaping, opening up the view to more green space and hiding the unsightly cars, as well as offer builders "simplified phasing" -- current buildings will be able to stay in use as development continues to the north.

The North End: Up for Discussion

A key feature of the original Bridge the Divide concept was a performing arts structure that spanned both sides of a waterway.  In their redesigns, this is depicted in two different ways:

Option 1: The Bridge

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  • Performing arts building bridges over the canal
  • Restaurants on south side of canal
  • Boat ramp on north side of canal
  • Event lawn
  • Small amphitheater near existing Van Wezel site

Option 2: Canal District

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  • More waterfront dining than The Bridge
  • Walkable setting
  • Boat ramp moved to the north
  • Frame of performing arts building spans the canal, provides a scenic overlook & a pier
  • Large shaded amphitheater

Both feature a boat ramp, performing arts areas of various type (lawn space, amphitheater, and indoor halls), and parking under the landscape.

Your Input is Needed!

Again, Sasaki is offering Sarasotans the chance to chime in on what they want out of The Bay.  To offer your opinion, please take their survey here.  To find out more about The Bay, have a look at their website.

Homes for the Sporting Life

Our partners at Christie's International Real Estate recently highlighted Homes for the Sporting Life.  Here in Sarasota, the outdoor life is attainable in most any home, thanks to our year-round ability to be outside, but there are some neighborhoods where outdoor lifestyles were the muse of entire developments!  Have a look at Christie's best homes for the sporting life, and a few of our own, right here in SRQ!

Christie's Pick's for Sporting Homes

DEL DIOS RANCH

RANCHO SANTE FE, CALIFORNIA

$28,000,000

Sports enthusiasts of many stripes will appreciate the professional tennis court, premier equestrian facilities, and magnificent indoor pool and spa offered at the 61.24-acre  Del Dios Ranch , one of the largest available tracts in coveted Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Sports enthusiasts of many stripes will appreciate the professional tennis court, premier equestrian facilities, and magnificent indoor pool and spa offered at the 61.24-acre Del Dios Ranch, one of the largest available tracts in coveted Rancho Santa Fe, California.

LA DOLCE VITA

NEWPORT, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

PRICE UPON REQUEST.

Nestled within a desired and sheltered location in Newport, Australia,  La Dolce Vita  has exceptional amenities for aquatic sports, including a sandy beach, saltwater pool, boatshed with kitchenette, and a private jetty to accommodate a 40+ foot yacht, perfect for sailors.

Nestled within a desired and sheltered location in Newport, Australia, La Dolce Vita has exceptional amenities for aquatic sports, including a sandy beach, saltwater pool, boatshed with kitchenette, and a private jetty to accommodate a 40+ foot yacht, perfect for sailors.

THE ST. LAWRENCE ESTATE

PETITE-RIVIERE-SAINT-FRANCOIS, QUEBEC, CANADA

$1,295,576

Built with the thrill of outdoor recreation in mind,  The St. Lawrence Estate  provides effortless access to some of the most spectacular ski hills in North America: the home is nestled next to Le Massif ski area in Quebec, which boasts the highest vertical in Eastern Canada.

Built with the thrill of outdoor recreation in mind, The St. Lawrence Estate provides effortless access to some of the most spectacular ski hills in North America: the home is nestled next to Le Massif ski area in Quebec, which boasts the highest vertical in Eastern Canada.

RIVER OAK FARM

MAHWAH, NEW JERSEY

PRICE UPON REQUEST.

River Oak Farm  suits the sophisticated equestrian with its 20-stall barn, 14,000 square foot indoor riding arena, five paddocks, and private bridle trails.

River Oak Farm suits the sophisticated equestrian with its 20-stall barn, 14,000 square foot indoor riding arena, five paddocks, and private bridle trails.

SUNSET RIDGE

TELLURIDE, COLORADO

$27,500,000

The indoor recreation enthusiast will enjoy the activity wing of Telluride, Colorado’s  Sunset Ridge , equipped for billiards, ping-pong, and personal gaming, all the while admiring magnificent mountain views.

The indoor recreation enthusiast will enjoy the activity wing of Telluride, Colorado’s Sunset Ridge, equipped for billiards, ping-pong, and personal gaming, all the while admiring magnificent mountain views.

Our Picks for Sarasota Sporting Neighborhoods

Sarasota itself is a wonderful place for those leading "the sporting life."  With our weather, we're able to be outside and active year-round, and so many communities have gone out of their way to build that into their neighborhood's signature way of life.  If you need help finding the perfect neighborhood to satisfy your lifestyle needs, let us help you! 

We've got homes listed in two fabulous neighborhoods that support the sporting life.  Have a look...

The Meadows

Residents of the Meadows enjoy the three 18-hole championship golf courses, 14 miles of sidewalks and bike trails, a 1.7-mile fitness loop and 5,000 square foot fitness center to satisfy their active lifestyle.  If you want access to it all, have a look at our featured listing in The Meadows, 4305 Highland Oaks Circle!

Mote Ranch

This off-the-beaten path neighborhood is not as well known as its nearby contemporaries in and around North Sarasota, but it's proximity to the entertainment of Lakewood Ranch Main Street, the new shopping mecca of University Town Center, as well as Braden River & Ward Lake make it the perfect location for those who desire a quiet community with ample access to everything else!  The launch right from the neighborhood community area (which also includes a community center, pool, nature trail, and playground!) means easy access for kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards heading down the Braden River.  Check out our listing in Mote Ranch, 6520 Grand Point Avenue!

Hidden Gem: Korean Ssam Bar

Written by Molly Russo

Time to try something new...

We are always on the lookout for new and interesting places in and around downtown, and this week, I got the chance to visit Korean Ssam Bar, located just north of downtown on US 301.  If you enjoy Asian cuisine, you simply must stop at this small family-owned Korean restaurant!

With only about a dozen tables, Korean Ssam Bar is cozy.  Immediately upon walking in, the smell of delicious Asian food hit my nose, and the big "SUSHI" sign piqued my interest.  About half the tables were still full, even though I was walking in at 8:15pm for dinner, and throughout the course of our meal, there were probably just as many carry-outs as there were in-house diners.  (The restaurant has a great carry-out and food-delivery business.  You can find them on Grub Hub or Bite Squad if you want it brought right to you!)

Yes, we did pig out a bit.

Kimchi Seafood Pancake - yummmm!

Seeing as our dinner was kicking off kind of late, my two dinner partners and I literally ordered everything that looked good: we started with a seaweed salad, edamame, and one of their specialties, the Kimchi Seafood Pancake.  A skeptic of all but my safe-bet edamame (which, of the three ironically was my least favorite, simply because of its simplicity in relation to the other appetizers we tried), I sampled both the others hesitantly, only to be utterly blown away by the deep flavor.  The seaweed salad bore a consistency that I wasn't used to, but I adjusted quickly and thoroughly enjoyed.  As a gluten-free person, I shouldn't have even tried the kimchi pancake, but it came out looking like an Asian version of cornbread and smelling so sweet with a soy-based sauce for dipping that I just HAD to try it.  The pancake was subtly sweet and light, but had a toasty flavor that complemented the cooked-in kimchi and seafood perfectly.  It was absolutely delicious, and I highly recommend it.  (There is a non-seafood version of the Kimchi Pancake too!)

Generous portions, beautiful presentation

For dinner, the two ladies at the table each enjoyed a version of the Bibimbop Rice Bowl, which we were told by our server would have extra flavor due to being cooked in a stone pot.  The presentation was beautiful: a fried egg and your protein of choice (I had beef, my friend, tofu) poised atop slivered zucchini, carrots, and bean sprouts, which were served on a pile of rice.  The server brought over a Korean hot sauce and recommended we drizzle the sauce, then stir the whole beautiful pot up.  There was enough for both of us to have leftovers as lunch the next day, and both fresh and reheated, the Stone Pot Bibimbop was flavorful and mouth-watering.

The third person in our party ordered Beef Bulgogi, which was seasoned beef served with 4 sides: bean sprouts, spicy bean sprouts, daikon radish, and spicy kimchi.  We all picked at the sides, which they graciously refilled several times, and my partner finished his entire plate of beef, sharing one succulent bite with me.  We both would recommend this dish!

We finished our meal with mochi ice cream, which was smooth & creamy mango and strawberry ice creams wrapped in mochi and served artfully with chocolate sticks and a drizzle of fudge.  It was another beautifully-presented dish, decadent and interesting in flavor.  If you are not turned off by the glutinous nature of mochi, you should certainly give this a try!

Do we recommend it?

In short, I was blown away by this small hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant located in a strip mall on North 301.  The food was amazing and the service was impeccable, with the entire staff assisting each other in keeping glasses full, side dishes refilled, and making sure we had everything we need.  Next time you're looking for an adventurous meal, take the short drive to Korean Ssam Bar!

Korean Ssam Bar | 1303 N. Washington Blvd | Open for Lunch 11-2:30 and Dinner 5-9