Saturday, January 28th: Deborah and I left our car in EZ Airport Parking at Pearson to fly to Sarasota. Our friends Arlene and Michael had invited us down to stay for a week with them in their condo in the Longboat Key Club. Michael picked us up at the airport and told us that the previous week the sky had been overcast. We arrived in bright sunshine, which stayed with us virtually for the week.
Lots of walking on the beach and lots of great meals – with amazing wines from Michael’s cellar.
We toured the outdoor art exhibition in St. Armand Circle (from Mr. Google: “In 1893, Charles St. Amand, A Frenchman and first resident of the island, purchased for $21.71 three tracts of land totaling 131.89 acres. He homesteaded the land, fishing in the waters of the Gulf and Bay, and, along with other early pioneers, raised produce which he brought by boat to the market at City Pier in Sarasota. In later land deeds, his name was misspelled ‘St. Armand’ and this spelling has persisted to the present day. Visionary circus magnate John Ringling purchased the St. Armands Key property in 1917 and planned a development that included residential lots and a shopping center laid out in a circle.”)
Walking around the Circle, we saw the disturbing sight of the Trump bus.
Over the course of the week, we dined in several of the Circle’s restaurants – Le Calonne, Columbia, Crab and Fin, and Shore. As well as a great lunch in The Old Salty Dog – and restaurants in the Long Boat Key Club, Latitudes and Portafina. Our hosts also had a dinner party for our friends Liz and Klaus, and we lunched with them a few days later. Outside The Old Salty Dog restaurant, Don Fleming, a local author, had set up a table to sell his murder mysteries. In solidarity with a fellow crime writer, I purchased a copy of Sarasota Sunrise. He had an interesting signature.
Tuesday, January 31st: Michael drove me over to Norman’s Liquors (5200 Clark Road, Sarasota), which has a huge selection of wines and spirits. I found here a bottle of Malt whisky I’ve been searching the everywhere for – Scotland’s smallest distillery, Edradour.
Wednesday, February 1st: We visited The Ringling Museum and marveled at the miniature circus created over 60 years by the late Howard Tibbals. Perfect scale models (3/4 inches to 1 foot) of an entire circus with big top, circus train and circus animals.
After lunch in the museum’s restaurant (which serves Michael David wines from Lodi, California, under the Freakshow label),
we visited the art museum of old Italian masters collected by the Ringling Brothers.
Thursday, February 2nd: Arlene had secured tickets for a concert by David Foster and his wife Katharine McPhee. Amazing show at the Van Wezel auditorium.
February 4th: Our Air Canada flight home was delayed two hours because of technical problems with the incoming aircraft. It was also complicated by the fact that eastern seaboard airport flights were shut down while the US dealt with the Chinese balloon. And when we got to Pearson Airport, the EZ Airport Parking shuttle that was meant to take us to our car did not show up. We waited 45 minutes then had Information call the company. Eventually, a driver arrived. We got home at 4:30 am for a rousing welcome from Rosie the Rescue (our dog sitter had moved in to look after her while we were away).