Unless you have been living in a bubble somewhere I'm sure you have noticed all the cranes and construction going on Downtown in our little gem of a City, Sarasota. In all, some two dozen developments could result in as many as 1,566 residential units; 850 hotel rooms; and more than 50,000 square feet of retail space, according to City of Sarasota tabulations. Our already lively City is going to become even more attractive, and those of us who love Downtown will have even more to love! But first, let's take a look at all we have to offer already (which is the reason for all the new comers!). Now that tourist season is over, plan a "staycation" and spend the weekend exploring! The best part is that you can save the hotel fee and sleep in your own bed! That's a win - win in my book!
Friday 6:00 PM - The weekend has officially begun! To set the tone for your staycation getaway, valet park at the Ritz Carlton and have a sunset drink on the water at Jack Dusty! Try their signature drink, the Siren, Ketel One Vodka or Hendrick's Gin (my favorite), St. Germain Elder Flower Liqueur, Fresh Lemon Juice, and Prosecco. Serverd over grapfruit, cranberry and flower ice - as pretty as it is refreshing! In Greek mythology, the Siren is a beautiful creature that calls sailors towards the rock cliffs and ultimately their doom - my advice is to just have one cocktail here!
FRIDAY 7:00 PM - Head back to Main Street and park in the Palm Avenue Garage. From here you can walk the rest of the evening. If you are lucky it's First Friday, when all the shops and gallerys on Palm Avenue, and some throughout Downtown are open and most serving a complementary beverage. Start with Alan Gallop Gallery accross from the garage - where there is always a fantastic show in progress. When you have worked up an appetite, stop for dinner at Selva Grill; a local's favorite serving Peruvian cuisine and fresh seafood. After dinner head to Main and Lemon and enjoy some outdoor music and dancing at Mattison's City Grill. Don't overdue - we have a busy day planned tomorrow!
SATURDAY 7:00 AM - Don't waste a minute of the day! Head to the Sarasota Farmers Market, located on Lemon Avenue between Pineapple Avenue and First Street, and along State Street. You will find everything from fresh local produce to fish tacos. Take your time and stroll, have an empanada for breakfast along with a Java Dog coffee or Local Tea Company tea. Take time to chat with the vendors, all locals who love to share their stories. Keep your eye open for Phill, the manager, who will greet you with a smile and be happy to help you find what you are looking for.
SATURDAY 11:00 AM - TIME TO SHOP FOR FASHION! We will be happy to stash your Farmers Market finds away while you shop at Lotus for your Saturday night outfit! How abut a fabulous outfit from Alexis, designed and made in Miami, Florida, this is the perfect paring of Couture fashion and Florida style. Top it off with some fabulous jewelry from one of our collections; whether you love fashion jewelry or fine 14k gold and diamonds, we have plenty to choose from. For tomorrow, when you are chillin, you'll need one of our soft as butter Rails shirts too!
SATURDAY 1:00 PM - Getting hungry for lunch? The perfect casual Saturday lunch is a short walk from the Farmers Market! Head over to Nancy's Bar-B-Q on the circle at Pineapple and Ringling! Ribs, Brisket, Pulled Pork, Mac & Cheese, you'll think you have gone to Southern foody heaven!!! Tell Nancy Wendy sent you!
SATURDAY 2:30 PM - Time for your mani-pedi's! Head over to First Street for your pampering treat at Sarasota's hottest new spot, Paint Nail Bar. These girls really know how to treat a girl (and her man!) and will great you with a glass of bubbly and help you choose from a great selection of nail polish including Smith & Cult.
SATURDAY 7:00 PM - Set out for a cocktail and dinner at one of my personal favorites, The Bijou Cafe. Chef JP will great you, and if it's nice outside you should have a cocktail in the garden. Choose from one of his signature soups to start, and enjoy some of the freshest and most lovely presented dinners anywhere. The service is extremely attentive and warm, the wine selection amazing, and the desert menu is too tempting to resist. End the evening with an after dinner drink in the Gossip Bar while you swap stories with JP!
SUNDAY MORNING - Rise at your leisure and head out for breakfast at Station 400 on Lemon Avenue. Their fresh and hearty menu has something for everyone in a relaxed atmosphere.
Here are some suggestions for Sunday afternoon - all great pics, just find one that fits your mood:
Marie Selby Gardens - Take time to explore the fauna and history at a lovely bayfront garden. Always lovely is the Orchid room, and be sure to stop for tea at Local Tea's outpost!
Sarasota Bayfront Park - Bring the dog and take a nice stroll around the marina and along the bayfront. Beathe in the fresh air and remind yourself why you live here! Thirsty? Stop in at O'Leary's and have a cold one while you enjoy some live music outdoors.
Not finished shopping? Lotus is open 12-5 on Sunday, as well as many other shops Downtown including our neighbors The Herbarium, where you will find a fabuloius selection of Italian cosmetics, soaps candles and lotions.