This pier and wharf was built in 1911- 12 to provide dockage for ships from St. Petersburg and Tampa. HISTORIC ANNA MARIA CITY PIER has since withstood hurricanes and storms. It is 678 feet long. Over the years it has been a favourite spot for fishermen and folks out for a stroll. Pelicans and other sea-birds frequent the pier, as area bird-lovers provided roosts for them.
At the end of the pier, there is also a small restaurant featuring of course - seafood dinners.
Favorite thing: Take a stroll on HISTORIC BRIDGE STREET and experience the feeling of walking on the Main Stret of a laid back Caribbean Island. Enjoy interesting boutiques and restaurants like the Sun House Restaurant & Bar. You'll find unique lodging on this historic street like the BridgeWalk Resort. You can view the intercoastal Waterway at one end of Bridge Street and The Gulf of Mexico at the other. See the restored Bridge Street Pier. It is a section of the original Plank Bridge which was the only access to the Island from the Mainland for about 40 years. The restored Bridge is now a picturesque fishing pier. You will also discover a quaint clock tower located at the entrance to the pier.
A wonderful bird is the Pelican
His bill will hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I'm darned if I see how the helican
This humorous verse was by Dixon L. Merritt.
The Pelican is among the most ancient of earth's living creatures. There are a number of Pelican species in the world, but there are two distinct types in America. The one common in this area of Florida is the BROWN PELICAN. A very graceful bird when in flight, he looks quite clumsy when waddling across a beach or a dock, like this fellow in my pic.
I have always been fascinated with Pelicans. I'm always asking Hans to film them while in flight and as they dive bomb into the water to catch a fish. The Pelican uses his large beak/bill together with his pouch as a hand to feed itself- - perhaps the most effective fishing net in the world. Pelicans have a unique fishing technique. When it dives, it gulps fish and water into the pouch (up to seventeen pints of water is gulped in ) and when it surfaces, water is drained by compression through the tip of the bill, leaving the fish inside. Amazing isn' t it!!!
Sarasota county has so many beaches that you could sample a different one every day for three weeks! Here's the nitty gritty on their beaches from north to south:
Anna Maria Island:
Bean Point - The northernmost tip.
Manatee Beach - popular public beach
North Lido Beach
South Lido Beach
Siesta Beach - famous for its white, soft sand
Crescent Beach - to the south of Siesta Beach
Palmer Point Beach
With its quaint village shopping and rustic beach cottages, ANNA MARIA ISLAND was a pleasure to visit. We took a nice walk on the Anna Maria City Pier. Some were having a bite to eat in the little restaurant at the end of the pier. Pelicans were swooping down into the water looking for a meal. Folks were fishing. All-around nice surroundings and it was a beautiful day.
The famous towering Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay is visible from Anna Maria's north end.
Take advantage of the free island trolley. Ride as often as you like any day of the week.
Hans and I spent Tuesday afternoon on LIDO KEY. Lido Beach was wonderful. Not far from where we set up our towels, beach umbrella and chairs, there was the public swimming pool for those who find the Gulf of Mexico too salty. Also there was rest rooms, change rooms and a little kiosk selling pop and hot dogs. If you forget to bring a picnic, restaurants, ice cream parlours and a Starbucks are nearby at the trendy St. Armand's Circle on John Ringling Blvd.
Fondest memory: When I went to use the rest room facilities at Lido Beach, I saw the funniest thing. Two birds were hanging around the kiosk in hopes they would get fed. I have the funniest shots of them near the phone booth. It's as if they wanted to make a phone call. I wonder if they were calling collect!!! hehe!
Update: Thanks to VT friend Traveldave. He identified my two birds as a Great Egret (the larger one ) and the smaller one is a wood stork. Thanks Dave!!
Sarasota is home to three colleges: Manatee Community College, Ringling School of Art and Design, and my alma mater New College of Florida. However, it really doens't feel like a college town. Part of the reason is that even though it's chock full of them, each of these colleges is pretty small. New College is the smallest - but most notorious - with only about six hundred students registered at any given time.
Personally, I think its the best of both worlds: you've got the young people opening up interesting places and supporting some counter-culture, but its not crowded and there's no frats.
Fondest memory: New College, though I am amazingly biased, is the most amazing place on Earth. Visit and talk to the kids - you'll see.
My absolute favourite thing about Sarasota is the sunset on the beach. I know, that's totally corny, and I'm not usually a sunset-type, but . . . I dunno. My best memories are of sitting on the beach until everything goes dark.
I think part of the reason I like photography so much is it gives you a chance to really reflect on all the wonderful things that God does. I mean, when you're out walking around in the world, it's easy to miss them. My Sarasota sunset photographs are some of the most God-confirming ones that I have. Who else could make something so great?
Fondest memory: I was on the public beach at Longboat Key, where they have literally the best sand on earth, and I was just watching the coast line as the sun went down. These little girls were walking the shore with their mom and one of them kept swingling around like the sea grass. It was really nice to watch this little girl who was just so thrilled to be out in the world and dancing around.
Favorite thing: Sarasota is a city which is developing as an arts and culture center on the Gulf Coast. The gem of this small city is the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, which has an excellent collection, concentrating on Late Renaissance and Baroque painting and sculpture. The courtyard and gardens of the museum feature replicas of famous pieces in a setting which would have pleased the most aesthetic of Italian princes. The Ringlings may not have been an Italian princely family, but they were certainly serious and thoughtful art collectors.
Favorite thing: Sarasota is lucky enough to boast tropical sunshine, balmy breezes, clear Gulf of Mexico waters and island beaches covered with the world whitest sand. Findings of the remains of prehistoric men at huge shell mounds, called middens, date early man to have lived, hunted, fished thousands of years ago. South of Sarasota, at Warm Mineral Springs, 45 feet below the surface of the mineral-rich waters, the skull of a 10,000 year-old Paleo-Indian was found, representing one of the oldest finds of this type in this hemisphere. Archaeologists of this century have discovered remnants of early architecture and lifestyles in the shell mounds of the Calusa and Timucuan tribes, who settled the coastlines more than 2,500 years ago. The Timucuans inhabited the Sarasota Bay Coast for many years and then migrated northward; the Caloosas later moved into area around Sarasota and were headquatered around Charlotte Harbor.
Favorite thing: First European, Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida on Easter Sunday in 1513 near present-day St. Augustine at the Atlantic Coast, christening his discovery “La Florida”. It was in that same year that the legendary adventurer explored the tiny stretch of Anna Maria island a few miles north from the future Sarasota. A few miles away, near the mouth of the Manatee River Hernando de Soto came ashore in 1539. Three hundreds years later, a log cabin stood on land that would eventually be fronted by the Tamiamy Trail, a highway linking Tampa to Miami. This cabin was the home in 1842 of William H. Whitaker, the first permanent white settler in what is today the city of Sarasota. Whitaker married Mary Jane Wyatt, daughter of Col. William Wyatt, in 1851. They raised a family that would include Furman Whitaker, who became the first area native to became a doctor, practicing from 1896 until shortly before his death in 1945. Sarasota also attracted attention from British developers, who helped establish the city of Sarasota in 1880s. Later, in the 1920s, circus magnate John Ringling and his wife Mable made this unique area on Florida’s west coast their home and a trove for their legacy of art and architectural treasures
is an opportunity to enjoy a stroll along a trail that wanders
through an ever-changing landscape of cool, under-story jungle
growth and around open pond shorelines. As one meanders
through Sarasota Jungle Gardens, a magnificent and wildy
overgrown paradise, one wonders how such an abundance began.
the land was a swampy banana grove listed in the city records as
'an impenetrable swamp'. A local newspaperman, David
Breed Lindsay, purchased these 10 lush acres in the early 1930's
with plans to develop the virgin subtropical jungle into a
Conrad, was a friend of David Breed Lindsay. He owned an
adjacent nursery and shared Lindsay's dream. Conrad charted
streams, planned the lakes and provided many additional
plantings from his nursery.
thumbs intact, they brought in thousands of tropical plants,
trees and flowers from all over the world. These flourish
harmoniously with native species. All of the numerous plants
today are dispersed throughout the various areas of the Park,
Gardens of Christ, open lagoons, Tiki Garden and within our
dense forested jungle. Some of our prized possessions include
the rare Australian Nut Tree, a Bunya Bunya tree, the largest
Norfolk Island pine in Florida, Bulrush, Strangler Figs, Royal
Palms, Selloums, Banana Trees, Peruvian Apple Cactus, Staghorn
Ferns and native Red Maples, Oak Trees and Bald Cypress.
1936, noticing that a number of people were wandering through
the jungle, Lindsay and Conrad established an admission fee of
10 cents for children and 35 cents for adults. It was decided in
December of 1940 to open Sarasota Jungle Gardens as a special
place for local enthusiasts and tourists. In 1958, Eldon R.
Lindsey, of Atlanta, purchased the property. In 1965, Dr. George
Baughman, the first president of Sarasota's New College bought
the attraction, which was then sold to Arthur C. Allyn ( a
previous owner of the Chicago White Sox) in 1971.
the early years, some of the owners and their families lived on
the grounds, residing in what are now the snack bar/shell
museum. The Koi Carp pool, just outside the snack bar, was
originially a swimming pool connected to the estate house.
Eventually, a new admission building and gift shop were built.
& DIRECTIONS - CONTACT
Go to Lido beach, it's gorgeous. There are boardwalks and fabulous golden, clean sand. Watch for stingrays if you swim in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fondest memory: Collecting lovely shells with the kids to take home with us and then leaving them behind when we stopped at the taps to wash off our feet. Doh!
The breeze off the Gulf is theraputic. Have a camera on hand for the breathtaking sunsets.
You must spend some time on a beach....it is great in the morning, afternoon, evening and night.
Just, don't mess with the turtle nests! Downtown is beautiful, lots of interesting shops...small enough
Fondest memory: Get up early and have your coffee next to the water. From October to May I would give anything to
be able to do that rather than looking for my wool socks or fuzzy slippers here in northwestern Pennsylvania.