Thursday, July 1, 2010

Vacation in Paradise!

Mike and I took a couples vacation to Sarasota, Florida over Father's Day weekend. We flew to Tampa on Friday June 18th and rented a convertible (!) to drive the approximately 50 miles south to Sarasota. We arrived at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sarasota and immediately unpacked, took in the view from our balcondy (complimentary upgrade!) and hit the town.

Our first stop was St. Armand's Circle, a small boutique shopping district near the beach. We shopped for souvenirs and scoped out places to eat lunch and dinner over the weekend. Then we drove the couple blocks to Lido Beach and sat and watched the sunset. Dinner that night was at the Salty Dog. It was directly on the bay and had nice scenery, but gross food. That was surely a dissappointment as I planned to eat good seafood every single meal if I could help it!


Saturday morning we got up bright and early and went fishing with Captain Charlie to fish in the Bay and the Gulf. Cap. Charlie was so fun and friendly and a really good teacher. I hadn't fished in years and years, so I wasn't sure if I could do it. But we did! I caught several bait fish in the bay (4 on one line my first cast), and a king mackeral in the gulf and a trout in the bay. I even got a little bruise on my tummy from stabilizing the rod when I was reeling the king mack in - ouch! Mike caught a spanish mackeral and some bluerunners as well as a trout I think.

We were wiped out after fishing and I was starting to get a little seasick and a storm was brewing over the Bay, so we bid farewell to our fishing captain and had lunch at the hotel and took a dip in the saltwater pool. Then it was nappy-nap time! That sun really takes it out of you. After our nap we drove to a seafood resauarant favored by the locals Phillipi Oyster Creek Restaurant. Holy mackeral it was so delicious! It was a traditional floridian seafood shack; long shared picnic tables, adjacent to a creek, HUGE menu and scrumptious food. I had lobster, shrimp and scallops sauteed in butter and thought I had died and gone to heaven in the sea. Then we drove around in the convertible with the top down all around town because it was nice out. We were definately loving the feeling of Sarasota. Very laidback but with tons of things to do if you wanted to. It didn't have a very touristy feel, which we both liked. It's called the "Cultural Coast" of Florida because of it's abundance of art museums, botanical gardens, live music venues and other performing arts activities. After grabbing an ice cream cone at St. Armands Circle and calling Claire in St. Louis we turned in for an early bedtime. Vacationing is exhausting!

Sunday morning was Father's Day and we decided to go to the beach. Lido Beach was just a short drive away and after a beautiful breakfast, we rented some chairs and an umbrella so Mike wouldn't spontaneously combust in the sun and chilled out. Perfection! We snorkeled in the clear, shallow water and even saw several dolphin swimming not 50 yards away from us. We collected lots of beautiful shells for Claire and some of my clients back at work. Then we dried off and had lunch at the Crab and Fin, one of the premier restaurants in town. We thought lunch would be more affordable than dinner and we were right. I had a delicious authentic Caesar salad with an achovy on top! We were going to go to the Botanical Gardens, but it was too costly and almost closing, so instead we hit up a Tiki Bar in the Bay called O'Leary's. We met a fabulous older couple named Dave and Gerry who had moved to the area from New Hampshire a few years ago. They were a riot. Gerry was proud to tell us they had "six children...all very successful, doctors, lawyers, alright?!" We chatted for quite a while and they gave us their calling card in case we "ever need anything". They were super sweet. Meanwhile, 3 margaritas later, this little lady needed to take a walk around the bay to sober up! Mike took me to Columbia Restaurant, the oldest eating establishment in Sarasota since 1905. They specialized in Spanish food and it was ridiculously good! I was a little tipsy and didn't even know what I was ordering, but a beautiful red snapper with red peppers and rice appeared on my plate and I was a happy senorita!

I can't remember what we did that evening, it's all a blur...

Monday was our last day in Sarasota : ( We checked out of the hotel, which we found to be lovely and the staff was really gracious. Beautiful fancy room and free gourmet breakfast every morning. I had researched that the Ringling Art Museum was free on Mondays, so we went there to check it out. The estate is where the Ringling Family retired in the 1920's. The lush grounds feature a mansion, several museums including fine art and circus exhibits and a performance art theater. After that we had lunch downtown, which reminded us of Clayton, finally had some authentic Key Lime Pie (it was yellow, not green!) and made the trek back to Tampa.

I was seriously bumming that we had to come back to St. Louis and considering running away to join the Ringling Museum Circus exhibit. But Mike was my rock and let me bitch and moan and got me a huge fountain Diet Coke as soon as we got invasively frisked and xrayed by the Tampa International Airport. What the heck?! We had a fabulous time and can't wait to return.


Thanks to Grammy, Nana and Pop. They made this trip possible by watching Claire and Brody. It's so nice to get away and have some adult time (although we talked about Claire nonstop) and know that your flesh and blood is safe and sound with your family!

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Isn't Sarasota a lot of fun? I'm so glad you went on this trip (you look so happy and beautiful!!) and that you posted such great photos, Liz. I will call you later this week, too. I am in a MUCH better place (and will likely be more fun to hang around).