Sarasota In Style
Part I: Brunch and go, in style!
Just as Glasgow is known as Scotland With Style, to me, Sarasota is Florida With Style. Although Miami is the undisputed fashion capital of Florida, on the Gulf Coast, there's a subtler style set and thriving cultural community that flourishes in the sunshine and on the endless miles of quartz sand coastline.
After detailing my favourite Florida outfits in my previous post, it struck me that there's so much more to Sarasota that I want to share with you! Did you know, for instance, that there's a Sarasota Ballet and a Sarasota Opera? Or that Bradenton and Sarasota both have an Annual Blues Festival? It's not known called the Cultural Coast for nothing!
So this is my personal guide to stylish Sarasota, taking you through from dawn (well... brunch!) til dusk and beyond... It's not exhaustive by any means, but I hope it gives you a flavour of this beautiful location, and perhaps some inspiration for your next sunny trip Stateside!
In Part I, I cover brunching, culture and days out. Stay tuned for Part II - beaches, shopping and nightlife - coming soon!
Now, I'm no food blogger, and I'm downright rubbish at photographing my meals - I'm usually salivating too much to stop and take the picture - but I figured it was worth sharing the odd one I snapped, if only to get your mouth watering!
If there's one meal Americans excel at, it's brunch! From the bottomless coffee pots, to pancakes and poached eggs, avocado tacos and loaded French toast, there's often too many delicious options to choose from. I have a particularly sweet tooth, but I love the mix of sweet and savoury that this nation does so well! Smoky bacon with maple syrup drenched waffles? What's not to like?
So here are some of my favourite brunch spots, in no particular order:
- Blue Rooster - the Sunday Gospel Brunch Buffet is not to be missed - Fourth Street, Sarasota
- Another Broken Egg - fab service and epic portions at this delicious chain - Lakewood Ranch
- First Watch - fashion-conscious crowd, delicious Huevos Rancheros - Main Street, Sarasota
- Keke's -homespun charm, French Toast you'll come back for! - University Town Centre
- Lila - stylish, vegan-friendly and freshly opened for breakfast - Main Street, Sarasota
Make a Day of It!
If you follow my Instagram you may have spotted just how much I love The Ringling! It's so much more than one museum.
Sure there's the Circus Museum, detailing the rich history of the American Circus, where John & Mable Ringling made their fortune; and the Museum of Art, featuring galleries of Old Masters and contemporary art from all over the world; but there are also beautiful gardens, a bayfront mansion and terrace, cafés and restaurants, the Historic Asolo Theatre, an education centre and regular, outdoor music events.
Come for the art, the culture or simply for the beauty that exists round every colonnade and cloister!
Here are some of my favourite images from my latest visit:
As you may know by now, I'm a chronic overdresser, but even I felt a little overdone in this pretty strapless Asos White stripy number! I did, however, feel a million dollars in it, and the fact that it matches these ornate doorways is, of course, no coincidence...
Refresh your palette with the modern style of this cool space, juxtaposed perfectly against the overwhelming Renaissance beauty of the adjoining museum loggias and courtyard.
Cloisters, colonnades and courtyards
On each visit, I matched my outfit to the pale blush walls of the museum. While this might be preferable for a budding blogger, it's not compulsory!
Wandering the Bayfront Gardens will not disappoint! Exotic foliage and ferns, Mable's manicured and sculpture-rich Rose Garden, bamboo and banyans are just some of the treasures you'll find within the grounds.
Frame your own vivid vistas in the sculpture gardens.
Rock the Ca' d'Zan
The opulent, bayfront, 56-room mansion that was home to John and Mable Ringling is a Venetian Gothic dream house! If, like me, you like embellishment and gloriously intricate detail in your clothes or architecture, this one is a treasure trove not to be missed.
Views like these...
From the view over Sarasota bay, to the shady palms and banyan trees, there's a rich diversity of flora and fauna in The Ringling grounds. Don't miss your chance to twirl, gaze or relax there. I recommend a whole day!
Bridge St Historic District, Anna Maria Island
Freaking out the natives!
Walking the full length of Bridge St, from the Circle to the tip of the pier, will uncover bountiful boho delights. This relaxed and charming area is full of fun shops, restaurants and bars with live music and it's only minutes from the beach, so you can make a day (and night) of it.
Dock of the Bay
There's nothing more relaxing than getting out on the water on a hot day. If you haven't found your sea legs yet, enjoy the same sensation out on the pier. The oysters at Anna Maria Oyster Bar are worth the stop-off en route back to dry land!
Once again in Karen Millen - a kaftan from some years back. Known for their tailoring, I also love the off-duty cruise wear. In fact, I loved this one so much I bought it in purple too! Frames by Quay Australia; H&M earrings last season, but here are similar by H&M.
Bradenton Beach is a little gem that I only started visiting in the last couple of years. It's flashier, sandier, more spectacular sister beach, Siesta, will be featured in Part II, but Bradenton has a cooler, more boho-chic vibe about it. Whether you enjoy bronzing on the beach (safely) or simply strolling along, for its views and surroundings, it's certainly worth a trip. Why not take in the sunset there? It's quite a show!
There are literally hundreds of days out and cultural experiences to explore around the Sarasota-Bradenton area. On previous trips I've visited the Dali Museum in St Pete's, enjoyed boat trips round Sarasota Bay, attended numerous Blues Festivals and even performed with my hubby at the local open mics! Here, I've simply picked a couple of my favourites from my latest trip in Dec/Jan.
I'd love to know where your favourite vacation spots are - please leave me a comment and I'll check them out. And if you've been to Sarasota, please let me know the places you frequent - I'm forever looking for great, recommended hangouts!
Don't forget to tune in for Part II...