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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

The holidays they are approachin’, so we at Laurel Park Management thought we’d pass along info on this weekend’s appropriately themed events and to-do options in case the spirit moves you. Enjoy!

Atomic Holiday Bazaar: December 10-11

Atomic Holiday Bazaar, Sarasota’s original annual Indie Craft Show returns for its 6th year. Shop local with unusual creators of hand made arts and crafts from Florida, the U.S. and as far as Central America! This is a craft show that won’t make you yawn or cringe!

click for more info

Gingerbread Festival: through December 11

Community Youth Development presents the Gingerbread Festival at Westfield Sarasota mall (Macy’s wing), where more than 125 houses created by youth groups, businesses and community organizations will be featured. This year there will also be gingerbread versions of iconic Sarasota landmarks as well as a Iron Chef-style gingerbread house decorating contest performed by professional and youth chefs.

click for more info

3rd Annual SRQ Santa Paws: December 10, 10am-1pm, Five Points Park

Bring your friends, family and four-legged friends to this must-see holiday pet extravaganza. Santa Paws will be available for kitty and canine consultation on Dec. 10 from 10 to 1 at Five Points Park and Santa’s little helpers will be capturing photos of the cutest pets to feature in SRQ: The Best Overall Magazine on Florida’s West Coast.

click for more info

Holiday Splendor at the Payne Mansion, Selby Gardens: through January 2

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Presents “Holiday Splendor at the Payne Mansion.” The Florida West Coast Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) will expand the scope of its popular Holiday Showhouse in the Mansion for 2011, decking the entire first floor with stunning holiday décor. Talented designers will transform Selby Gardens’ Museum of Botany & the Arts into a glittering Holiday Showhouse, even creating a kitchen on the sun porch.

click for more info

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There’s a Greek proverb that says, “A city grows great when men plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.” The idea, of course, is that for future generations to thrive present generations must be proactive. If done right, change in cities happens gradually. Better to plant a tree and let it grow than to install a full grown one. But think about it this way—if a few dozen neighbors got together and spent a weekend planting southern live oak seeds, Sarasota would be a city of canopy roads by the time our children are grown and having their own children. Such a simple act as planting seeds (and of course tending to the growing trees) would make Sarasota more beautiful, keep it cooler in the summer, encourage walking and bicycling (and hence sociability), improve air quality, and raise property values, among other benefits.

This post isn’t about planting trees, however. It’s about starting 2011 off right by renewing our commitment to ourselves, each other, and our city as neighbors and citizens. Those of us who live in Sarasota, whether year-round or seasonally, know how fortunate we are. Our humble hamlet has two top colleges (New College of Florida and the Ringling School of Art & Design), an opera house, a symphony orchestra, the splendid Ringling Museum and adjacent Asolo Conservatory of Performing Arts. We have gorgeous beaches (including Crescent Beach on Siesta Key, which has been named one of the world’s most beautiful), keys, a bay ideal for sailing, and several extraordinary urban parks including Island Park and Arlington Park. We have a botanical wonderworld in Selby Garden, a community-oriented thinktank in SCOPE, a homegrown weekly farmer’s market, and a quintessential American downtown anchored by Main Street, the Selby Public Library, and Whole Foods.

The list of Sarasota’s amenities goes on and on, but we’ve left out the most important one: us. The residents of a city are always its most essential and influential amenity, and the role of Sarasota’s citizens increases in importance as the economic crisis in Florida continues. Cities have less money to spend even as the issues requiring their attention increase. So it falls to us, the residents, to be more involved, more collaborative, more proactive. We at Laurel Park Management will continue to do everything we can to honor the gifts Sarasota gives to us all—we will continue to participate in local issues, communicate with our neighbors, and work to make Sarasota as good a place to live, work, and play as it can possibly be.

Won’t you join us? Will you make a New Year’s resolution to be the best neighbor and citizen you can be?

A recent article in Grist offers seven suggestions as to how such a resolution might be put into practice:

1. Plant something

Green, living things can radically change people’s moods and health. It’s an idea that biologist Edward O. Wilson explored in his book Biophilia, and it has been backed up in many studies since. A tree or a flower brings great happiness, and it can connect you to the people in your neighborhood. I have a small container garden outside my house, and people often stop to tell me how much they enjoy it.

2. Pick up litter

This one is dead easy. Sadly, no matter where you live, there’s likely to be litter. Maybe it’s blowing around on the sidewalk (that’s nearly always the case here in Brooklyn). Maybe it’s dumped by the side of a beautiful country road. Maybe it’s in the parking lot of your local mall. Maybe (I hate this) it’s on a favorite hiking path.

3. Get to know your neighbors

Really, even the irritating ones. I’ve lived on the same block for 10 years, and when I moved in, I had some ugly conflicts with the raucous (understatement) extended family that lives a few doors down. But I stuck to saying hello and letting them know I wasn’t going anywhere. Now they look out for my kid when he hangs out and plays on the street. I’ve been to the wakes of two of the family members in the past year. We care about each other in our weird, neighborly way.

4. Find out who your government representatives are

All of them. State, federal, city, town. Selectman, alderman, sheriff, dogcatcher — whatever they have in your part of the world. Then, when you have a problem, you know who to lean on to get it fixed. You are paying these people’s salaries. They work for you. Boss them around a little. You might be surprised how they listen to direction. {keep reading at grist.org}

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There are just those days when all you want to do is have a drink with some friends, eat some fresh fish, and watch the sun sink into the ocean while a steel drum band taps out a friendly rhythm. Thankfully, you don’t need to go to Kokomo or even Key West to get away from it all. Nestled on the southern edge of Island Park just a stone’s throw from Marina Jack, O’Leary’s Bar & Grille is Sarasota’s local tiki-hut ticket to paradise, a favorite haunt of residents and visitors alike.

This review from tampabay.metromix.com says it all:

Nestled near the fascination of Sarasota’s downtown skyline, exists another world inside Island Park. Children leaping through fountains shaped like turtles and sea animals. Reminiscent of Central Park, couples stroll and have picnics laying out large romantic blankets for lunch. Views of the Marina, sounds of acoustic and steel drums bring you to the entrance of O’Learys, come on deck. The scintillating view of the Sarasota Bayfront makes me feel like I am on horseback in Jamaica. Throw on your flip flops and come to a place that emits sparks.

For those who live in Laurel Park, the short walk or bike ride (a bike rack is provided on the west side of the restaurant) to O’Leary’s is a fine way to kick off an evening. Especially now in the late summer heat, when the evening breeze off the water goes awfully well with a cold margarita.

Open until 10 pm on Friday and Saturdays and 9pm Sunday-Thursday, O’Leary’s is located at 5 Bayfront Drive in Sarasota, (941) 953-7505.

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Sure, Laurel Park is a historic neighborhood known for its restored Arts & Crafts and Florida Cracker cottages and its proximity to Main Street and downtown Sarasota—not to mention Burns Square and the Sarasota Bayfront. And sure, as the epicenter of Florida’s cultural coast Sarasota is well known for its fine arts. But did you know that Laurel Park also boasts one of the best comics and gaming shops you’ll ever find? The Dark Side, located at 408 S. Washington Boulevard (in a small plaza alongside a yoga studio and barber shop, among several others) is both a comic book shop and the home of Sarasota’s biggest gaming community.

Creative Loafing recently tabbed The Dark Side the Best Gaming/Hobby Location on the Suncoast. Here’s what they had to say:

Looking for a great gaming and hobby destination that has something for everyone? Well, it is time to crossover to the Dark Side, Sarasota’s premier comic book and family gaming location. Visit the state of the art gaming center and play Heroclix, Magic the Gathering, Warhammer, Xbox 360, Star Wars, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, or anything your gaming heart desires. You’ll also find a huge selection of back issues, graphic novels, games and collectibles of all flavors.

The Dark Side provides parking in a rear lot accessed via Julia Place. Of course, if you are fortunate enough to live in or near Laurel Park you can always reach them on foot or bike. Their phone number is 941-363-0840, and you can find The Dark Side online at darksidecomics.com. If you, your kids, or your grandkids are comic book or gaming enthusiasts, The Dark Side is not to be missed.

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