Facebook

25 February 2015

A Whistle Stop Tour Of The Sarasota-Bradenton Area

Scott likes to talk about how we do “guerilla tourism” – we see a lot in a short period of time. We get in and out fast. I’m not really sure that’s what “guerillas” do and I know it isn’t what “gorillas” do (anyone a fan of Captain Ron?), but it’s the expression we use for our approach to sightseeing. The other day we did a bit of “guerilla tourism” and saw the Sarasota area in about six hours. Of course, we didn’t see anything in-depth, but we enjoyed driving around and doing a little bit of exploring on our whistle stop tour. 

We had started off our day at the De Soto National Memorial and then headed over to the barrier islands. As usual, we didn’t have a clue what we would find, but we do like islands, so off we went. Our first stop was Anna Maria Key at the very top near the Sunshine Skyway Channel. At first, when we were driving up there through Holmes Beach, I was feeling pretty underwhelmed by the place. All we could see where lots and lots of bland, generic looking apartment/condo buildings with glimpses of the beach from time to time. Yawn. 

And then we got to the heart of Anna Maria Key and that’s when things got quirky. I love quirky. I’m not sure what it was about Anna Maria, but the buildings were older, the colors were brighter, folks were walking and biking around with energy and best of all they had a cute little tiki bar. Who doesn’t love sitting outside on the water underneath a tree and sipping an overpriced beer? 

Anna Maria Tiki Bar

We like watching boats. It was fun to see this cat go through the drawbridge. Amazing how much fun it is watching a drawbridge go up as a bystander. And how annoying it is when you’re in a car waiting to get across.

Anna Maria Drawbridge

We loved this old-fashioned trailer court. Made us want to pull Scamper in and stay a while.

Anna Maria Trailer Court

After Anna Maria, we headed down south along Longboat Key. We saw more of the generic, bland apartment/condo buildings and lots of enormous new-build houses. The kind of houses that make you realize some people have more money than taste. Scott kept muttering “monstrosity” under his breath each time we passed one. He would get all excited every time we spotted an old, tiny bungalow sitting among them. I guess we’re old fashioned that way – we like houses that stand the test of time. We really admire the owners who don’t cave into peer pressure and raze their bungalow and put a monstrosity in its place. Maybe they have more sense than money.

After driving through the rest of Longboat Key, we headed into Sarasota in search of Ethiopian food. If you want some doro wat deliciousness in Sarasota, Queen of Sheba is the place to try. That’s doro wat on the bottom of the plate – a spicy chicken dish with a hard boiled egg. Miser wat is on the top of the dish. It was okay. Personally, we like our lentils to be cooked a lot longer until they’re practically mush. You can’t really see it too well, but underneath is injera – a flat Ethiopian bread that you use to scoop up the food with and put in your mouth. If you’re going to try Ethiopian food, keep in mind you eat off of one plate. So, please, wash your hands before digging in. Queen of Sheba had hand sanitizer on the tables to make things easier. First time we’ve seen that. 

Queen of Sheba

What goes better with Ethiopian food than Ethiopian beer. They have a number of different ones you can try.

Queen of Sheba Beer

After eating, we checked out the Sarasota Bayfront and daydreamed about one day anchoring our boat in the bay.

Sarasota Bayfront

All of the punters were in from their fishing charters. It seems like such a splurge to go on one of these things, but everyone looks like they had a good time. I think that’s because they caught a lot of fish.

Sarasota Fish

The obligatory photo op at the Sarasota Bayfront.

Sarasota Statue

After drooling over boats and fish, we drove out to the southern barrier islands. It was more of the same until we got to the bottom of Fiesta Key and saw the Turtle Beach Campground. It was one of the places we had been calling with the hopes of getting a spot there, but never had any luck. Such a great little place right on the beach to watch the sunset. We actually tried them again a few days later and they did have a spot. But it turned out it was $60 a night which seems expensive for a county campground. We had read somewhere that it was only $30 a night. (My how our views on what a reasonable rate is have changed – before we hit central Florida, we would have thought $30 was outrageous.) Turns out that’s the summer rate. We passed and went to the much cheaper Babcock-Webb Wildlife Preserve instead. $3 a night vs. $60. Easy decision.

Sunset Turtle Beach

PS - I just re-read this post and realize it is one of the most boring ones I’ve written. Sorry about that. To make up for it, here are a couple of really bad alien jokes.


Why don’t aliens celebrate Christmas? Because they don’t like to give away their presence.

What did the alien say to the cat? Take me to your litter. 

PPS -  I just re-read the alien jokes and realize they don’t really help matters. 

PPPS – Is anyone still out there reading this? If you are, you must be a fan of boring blog posts and inane alien jokes. You are now my new best friend.

We did our “guerilla” thing in the Sarasota-Bradenton area on 4 February 2015.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!

21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Glad someone appreciated the jokes. Scott just rolled his eyes.

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed the local color report, and the pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad you liked it Jim! It was a great day out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like quirky, too. It's so much better than bland and boring apartments and condos. That Ethiopian food looks delicious. I've been wanting to try some but have never had the chance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Michele. We've been surprised at all the cities we've been able to find Ethiopian in. Maybe there's a restaurant near you?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  5. Yes, this was not as an exciting post as usual. But it was a post... What jokes? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you secretly loved the alien jokes ;-)

      Delete
  6. You sound a lot like us .. much prefer the quaint, little homes over the obnoxious, big homes. A lot of them are big, but that's all you can say. I can imagine us living in one of those cute little trailer parks ... so much better looking (colorful and cleaner) than the ones here in Louisiana. I wonder how much one of those costs to buy/rent?

    I enjoyed this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cheryl! I bet those trailer parks are pricey - right on the water in Florida, I can't imagine that comes cheap :-)

      Delete
  7. I enjoyed your post also and the jokes! My husband and I just bought a 13' Skamp camper last year and we LOVE it! We live in MN and can't wait for Spring to head out to some State parks for weekend camping. We are currently dreaming of living in our little skamp camper and traveling around like you do- may have to wait a few years yet, we still have a little while before retirement age :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow - someone enjoyed the jokes! Scamps are great little campers aren't they! Being up in MN, you must really be wishing Spring would come around soon. It has been soooo cold this year up north. Maybe our paths will run across each other - we always get excited when we spot another Scamp!

      Delete
  8. haha guerrilla tourism? That's so funny he calls it that. Where in the world did that come from? Like how soldiers will do a surprise attack and leave quickly... maybe? Anyway it's pretty funny. I'll ask my husband if he wants to use the term too ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has a lot of cute and original expressions - the guerrilla tourism one is definitely one of my favorites!

      Delete
  9. Of course we are still here reading your blog!!! I'm with you on the "old fashion little trailer court." I think it is perfect and quaint....I would live there in a heart beat!!
    Thanks for the tour and jokes....both were better than you thought!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We saw some other trailer courts like that one in our travels in Florida - so adorable!

      Delete
  10. When I retire...I want to live in a trailer park like that one...too cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if they have a waiting list to get into it - cute place in a popular part of Florida.

      Delete
  11. Sooo cool! Love the look of that fish. I have a friend in Sarasota, should really visit sooner or later!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a really interesting area. Wish we would have had more time there.

      Delete

We'd LOVE to hear from you! If we're out on the water cruising, our internet access will be limited and it may take a while before we're able to respond to your comments and pay a return visit to your blog, but please know that we will once we can get connected.