When you live in Sarasota, there is a wee bit of a problem when friends and relatives come to town: Our little slice of paradise is just bursting with incredible things to do and see.
Talk about fabulous predicaments. Is an art-loving aunt arriving soon? A father angling to reel in a trout? Beach babies? Golfers? Sailors? An old college friend with a few kiddies in tow? Don't fret. There are ways to satisfy them all.
A sleek, 41-foot-long sailboat with 10 guests aboard glides effortlessly through Sarasota Bay on a beautiful, summer sunset cruise. A delightful, gentle breeze rolls in.
A woman in khaki shorts and a coral-colored polo shirt takes a small sip of a crisp chardonnay and gazes at the mesmerizing palette of colors of the sun as it begins to set. "It's a Wonderful World'' starts to play.
"Amazing," says the Nashville native, who has the good fortune to have relatives in Sarasota. "I'm going to do this again."
Welcome to Enterprise Sailing Charters. You won't want the cruise to end, but it must so that you can gear up for everything else there is to do and see in Sarasota.
2 Marina Plz, Sarasota,(941) 951-1833.
Art lovers will marvel at the Ringling Museum of Art's impressive display of European masterpieces from the 17th century Baroque period.
5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota,(941) 359-5700, www.ringling.org.
Stroll Palm Avenue art galleries on the First Friday Walks, when live entertainment brings a magical ambience to the art-filled area. The 30 or so artist studios and galleries at Towles Court Artist Colony will also enchant with an eclectic display.
More beautiful sights await you and your guests at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where the stunning orchid display house, the colorful koi pond, breathtaking views of Sarasota Bay and a massive Banyan grove will captivate all.
811 S Palm Ave, Sarasota,(941) 366-5731, www.selby.org.
Pre-teens to those well into their 80s will love exploring the scenic downtown and bayfront area on the way-cool Florida Ever-Glides Segway tour, where you'll ride around on what looks like a newfangled scooter. You lean forward to accelerate and lean back to slow down. It's really easy.
200 S. Washington Blvd, Sarasota,(941) 363-9556, www.floridaever-glides.com.
Then lean back in a lounge chair on the award-winning Siesta Key Beach, where the powdery, sugar-like sand is the star attraction, along with the shimmering hues of the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. The kiddies can build sand castles and romp in the gentle surf.
After they dry off, take the tots to Jungle Gardens, where they can feed a flamingo, watch alligator and bird shows and have a totally awesome time. 3701 Bay Shore Rd., (941) 355-5305, www.sarasotajunglegardens.com
Hunting for sharks' teeth at Caspersen Beach in Venice definitely should be on your to-do list, as well as casting a line from the Venice Fishing Pier.
Casting your luck on the greens is another lure, with so many golf courses to choose from that a friend once told me he couldn't wait to retire to Florida and play golf every day. At age 41, alas, he knows he is going to have to wait a few years. Until then he's content with his annual sojourn and, like you, I'm content to hole him up.
When the sun sets over beautiful Sarasota Bay, relax with your company at one of Sarasota's cool restaurants and bars. The Siesta Key Oyster Bar (Siesta Village) boasts a menu of fresh seafood and tasty margaritas any out-of-towner would love. Head to Mattison's City Grille for outdoor fine dining and live entertainment in the heart of Sarasota's downtown.
Whoever's in town and whatever their mood, Sarasota has many ways to take the guesswork out of your guest work.