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Posts Tagged ‘siesta key’

Sarasota Modern [click image for source]

Our last post spoke briefly about Sarasota’s rich tradition of modern architecture—in Burns Court, on Lido Shores and Siesta Key, and scattered throughout downtown Sarasota. In case you might want to go check out some of these landmarks yourself, below is some info on a self-guided tour. We can’t guarantee that the guides are still available, but we have definitely seen them around. Anyhow, happy hunting!

With a daily heat index in the triple digits here, an architectural tour that lets you stay in your air-conditioned vehicle sounds pretty good. That’s what Sarasota is offering now, a self-guided drive-by of significant buildings in Sarasota County that features the famous Sarasota School of Architecture, bracketed by older historic buildings and contemporary ones. • For $10, you get a map with more than 70 locations and an explanatory booklet. The estimated time for the tour is about two hours. • The catch is that many are not open to the public, such as the two residences shown, so you’ll only be able to see what’s visible from the street. Still it’s a nice introduction to an area that has some of the richest architectural history on the west coast of Florida. And now that many of the remaining Sarasota School of Architecture buildings, built from 1940 to 1970, have been torn down or are in danger of demolition (including some by its most famous practitioner, Paul Rudolph), this could be a chance to see them before they’re gone. • The map is available at the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau, 701 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, or it can be ordered online at toursarasota.com.

Lennie Bennett, Times art critic (info from tampabay.com)

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The morning sun wakes me. It is warm but no longer carries the burn of summer; the orange light is pleasant, inviting. I wake gradually, as does the dog. The cat is stretched out on the wood floor in a bath of warm light. He half opens a single eye to watch me walk across the apartment and out to the porch, the dog following, but he soon grows bored and returns to his sleep.

I brew a pot of coffee and sit on the front stoop, the front door left open. The dog noses through the garden and along the sidewalk and I find the morning news on the radio. It is still early, the slightest chill in the air, and the sun on my face is lovely. I lie back on the wide top step of the front stoop and soon the dog and the cat both join me. My wife is awake now. She pours herself coffee and watches us. She smiles and begins her own morning ritual, watering the plants, reading over a piece she wrote the day before. The dog watches, sees when she has finished, and licks my face.

We walk through Laurel Park. Down Hawkins Court, slowly to enjoy the wonderfully car-free brick lane. We see the brick paving revealed on Madison where the blacktop has worn away and talk of how wonderful it would be if all of Laurel Park was again paved in brick. I would get rid of the sidewalks and invite everyone to enjoy the street. There is a stretch on Oak where several houses, instead of being set back, are built to the sidewalk edge. The effect is friendly, cozy. I find myself walking there intuitively, whether it is the direct way or not.

On Main Street we stop at C’est la Vie for croissants and a second cup of coffee. We both studied French in high school, and even if I can’t find the courage to speak it I enjoy its music as the waiters and waitresses banter, sometimes with francophone patrons. Several people, tourists and residents, stop us to say hello to the dog as we walk down Main Street toward Island Park and the bayfront. She ignores them good-naturedly. Sometimes she looks up at us and smiles, in her way.

Passing Media on Main we reminisce about Sarasota News & Books, much as the old-timers did about Charlie’s. We speak of the characters we’ve known there. Of the memories that have yet to fade.

The dog knows we are nearing Island Park. She loves it there, as do we. Other dogs greet her and us, other dog owners do as well. She and I trace the seawall and look to the water for passing fish. On the west side of the park we wade into the shallows and the dog barks at seabirds, bites gently at seaweed on the rocks. We can see Bird Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key. Longboat Key to the north. Cars and bicyclists and pedestrians are crossing the bridge to St. Armand’s Circle.

As we near O’Leary’s we find an empty bench and eat our pastries. We sip our coffee. We watch people and smile when they look our way. We again raise our faces to the sun. The dog busies herself at the water’s edge and we listen with our eyes closed to her snuffling and the lapping of tiny waves. It is a beautiful day.

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You mean, besides the Arts & Crafts fest downtown, the triathlon on Siesta Key, or just good old-fashioned beachgoing? 🙂 Well, yes. We thought we’d let you know about two great offerings on tap in and around Sarasota over the next couple days—one for the family, and one the kiddies are better off sitting out.

The first—

Got bikes? Then grab the whole family to join Sarasota County and Carlton Reserve volunteer David Reynolds and his family for an off road wilderness bicycle ride through the beautiful T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve (Carlton Reserve) on Sunday, May 15, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. for approximately 1 to 2 hours. Expect to see lots of wildlife!

More information can be found here.

Then, on Monday, Ringling Museum of Art continues its Monday night movies series with the classic chiller Silence of the Lambs. For those who haven’t seen it, the Oscar-winning flick stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in iconic roles that you won’t soon forget…let’s just say eating Fava beans or sipping a nice Chianti will never be quite the same. Movies are screened at the historic Asolo theater beginning at 7pm and only cost 7 bucks. For more info, click here.

Have a great weekend!

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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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