By Jaye Clements
Photos by Sarasota Photography
Sarasota is known for its magnificent cultural experiences. The best of the best performances! We have it all…Opera, Symphonies, Theatre, Ballet, and more. It’s a mecca for the arts! We’ve covered the arts all season long. What’s going on when the snowbirds head home and many of the venues quiet down? What are discerning SRQ residents and our summer visitors to do?
Let’s begin with the Ringling Gardens! Did you know you can walk the grounds for free?
Every day, The Ringling Museum, offers free strolls to the public, on their incredible grounds. The gardens are located on a 66-acre estate on the stunning shores of the Sarasota Bay. The trails are filled with lovely Banyan Trees, lush ferns, bamboo trees, oaks, magnolias and more, providing a shady tropical walk, near the breezy bay.
Mondays you may enter the Museum of Art for free!
Enjoy the courtyard with a Renaissance style garden, including bronze and stone sculptures.
One of my favorite stops is the rose garden, designed by Mable Ringling in a wagon wheel layout, perhaps influenced by their trips to Italy. It’s an artistic landscape of roses and sculptures. The sculptures are cast stone, brought in from Europe, possibly Venice, Naples or Rome. It’s not just an ordinary garden but a 27,000-square-foot charming artistic landscape. If you love roses, you’ll love this garden!
This extraordinary historic estate includes the Ca’ d’Zan, a Venetian Gothic architecture, it reflects a spirit of romance and grandeur. It’s been described as the last of the Gilded Age mansions built in the US. This handsomely decorated 56 room mansion can be viewed inside with admission. (41 rooms and 15 bathrooms) It is full of original furnishings and art covering and area of 36,000 square feet with an Italian feel. The exquisite bay front terrace is made of gorgeous marble. The views from the outside are as impressive as the inside.
Current and upcoming summer Exhibits at Ringling Museum of Art: http://www.ringling.org/ExhibitionsSchedule.aspx?ekmensel=c580fa7b_44_200_btnlink
Now that the traffic has quieted down and the waiting lines have settled down at area restaurants, it’s time to get out and enjoy everything downtown Sarasota has to offer! Did you know downtown has dozens of art shops, fine dining, theatre, social scenes and lively nightclubs?
Every Saturday from 7 AM to 12 Noon. There’s a place in downtown SRQ called the “Sarasota Farmers Market”. If you haven’t been there already you don’t know what you are missing! Held in the heart of downtown SRQ, you’ll find many local artisans selling arts and crafts, area vendors peddling all sorts of foods, fresh local produce, native plants and flowers, entertainment and much more.
The Sarasota Farmers Market has over 70 vendors, with 5,000 square feet of fun for the whole family. The event is not only a place to pick up a few treats, but also a social gathering. It’s also pet-friendly! A place for residents and visitors to interact and enjoy the excitement of downtown SRQ! What a great way to encourage an economic boost to our area businesses! Located on Lemon & Main.
A few blocks away at the Historic Downtown Village (around the 1800 block of Fruitville Rd (across from the theatres outside parking lot) or 4th St., west of 301. There are many shops, set in quaint, converted historic homes. It’s small enough to walk to all the interesting shops. They are filled with an array of eclectic artistic goods. Browse around and enjoy the ambience of a small community of business owners, with everything from pottery making to hand crafted jewelry and many selections of art! Every forth Friday of the month they offer shopping from 5pm to 9pm with entertainment, food and wine. There’s a BBQ on hand and an ice cream truck for the kids!
Looking for more Farmer’s markets with all sorts of arts & crafts, fresh produce from local farmers, entertainment and more?
Every Sunday in Siesta Key Village:
Just like the one downtown, only a mini-version. Products include artwork, photography, handmade soaps, spices, fresh baked breads and pastries, food, coffee, dog treats, flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables. Dogs are welcome!
Lakewood ranch area:
Every Friday 9 to 1. The San Marco Plaza Farmers Market…. with fresh local produce, plants and flowers, teas, baked breads, olive oils and more. (Natures Way, downtown LWR, FL. 34204)
Every Saturday from 8am to noon. Join in on the Farmers market in Historic downtown Venice, on Tampa Ave., between Nokomis & Nassau Avenues.