Marina Jack Dining Experience
We went to Marina Jack's Portside Patio on August 22, 2013 for lunch. They are located at 2 Marina Plaza in Sarasota right on the bay. The views were breathtaking. As you wait for your meals you are able to look out and see fabulous views of the bay, the park, boats arriving and departing, yachts, buildings, and a dolphin fountain. The service was wonderful and the waitresses were very friendly. We sat in the front left corner under the shade but close enough to the water to have great views. We highly recommend their raspberry iced tea, buffalo chicken sandwich, avocado wrap, and mango daiquiri. It is a great place to get a great meal and then walk around the area and get photos. After the meal we recommend walking to the park with the fountain that you can see from the patio. It is a circle walkway where you pass boats docked and there are swings, seats, a playground, many cool trees, a fountain, and great picture opportunities. We recommend going there in the afternoon to enjoy the patio and sights before the rain in the late afternoon. We were there during the rain but we waited it out and then we were able to walk over to the park afterwards, since the rain lasts such a short time. Marina Jack also offers an indoor dining room, a deep six lounge, live music, a banquet hall, Marina Jack II lunch/dinner cruise, and a gift shop.
Siesta Key Beach
These pictures were taken on 8/20/2013 and 8/23/2013 at Siesta Key. The beaches have quartz sand that is soft on your feet and never gets hot from the sun. The beaches are very clean and the water is crystal clear. There are four lifeguard stands at the beach each a different color which can be seen pictured above which make it easier to locate your spot on the beach. We were in the water up to our shoulders and were still able to see our feet through the water. While in the ocean we could see schools of fish swimming by and fish jumping out of the water. The water was the perfect temperature. It is best to get to the beach early in the morning because daily between 3-6pm there is usually a downpour storm for a short time due to the weather in Siesta Key. Get out there and enjoy these beaches. There are plenty of public access points to the beach and there is also a main beach area that has a parking lot and snack pavilion with public restrooms. There are volleyball courts on the beach, lifeguards on duty all year round, picnic tables, tennis courts, and a soccer field. If you are bringing a cooler on the beach you are not allowed glass containers but it is legal to bring alcohol on the beach as long as it is in aluminum or plastic.
Siesta Key Sunset: Sunset Point
On a clear night on Siesta Key at Sunset Point you can see a beautiful sunset. This sunset pictured below was seen on August 23, 2013. We parked in Siesta Key Village near the shops and walked around town until dusk and then headed for the beach. There was a big crowd of people at Sunset Point waiting to see the sunset. We sat on the rocks on the beach, but recommend bringing a towel or chairs for a more comfortable experience. It was beautiful sitting on the beach taking in the sights, watching the ocean, looking at the birds flying around, and seeing people out in the water swimming and fishing. We stayed on the beach until around 9pm and we were able to take beautiful photos and have a very relaxing evening. This is definitely a sight worth seeing and a beautiful picture opportunity.
Sarasota Area Beaches
Check out the slideshow below which includes descriptions of all beaches in the Sarasota, FL area from yoursarasota.com.
Sarasota Bay Park
Here are pictures and a video of Sarasota Bay Park. The Sarasota Bay area is home to Marina Jacks, O'Leary's Tiki Bar and Grill, beautiful views, walking paths, beautiful picnicking spots, boat rentals, fishing opportunities, and much more. The Bay Park is located at One Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236 which is about a ten minute drive from Bentley Street.
SARASOTA, Fla. - This sophisticated city on the central Gulf Coast has all the charms and attractions of metropolitan life with the added advantages of warm weather and soft, sandy beaches. And then there are the sunsets.
As dusk gathers over the barrier islands, tourists and residents stop what they are doing and head for the beaches to watch one of the great natural wonders of the area, the setting of the sun into the Gulf of Mexico.
Each evening the show is different. Sometimes, if the sky is clear, the sun is a blazing ball that looks like it is burning its way into the Gulf. You almost expect to see steam rising as it sinks over the horizon. On other evenings, the display can last for an hour as clouds turn into coral-colored puffs.
The sunsets are only one of the things that keep bringing my wife, Pat, and me back to Sarasota. Unlike other winter vacation destinations that specialize in seashell stores and T-shirt shops, this is a place where art and culture mix with sun and surf.
You can wander under the banyans and live oaks of an urban botanical garden, see manatees, sea turtles, and sharks at a working marine laboratory, and stand in awe before a Dutch master's painting in a world-class art museum.
"It all stems from John Ringling," says Erin Thomas Duggan, public relations director for the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says the late circus magnate's passion for collecting art and donating it to the state attracted other like-minded artists and patrons to the area.
The city has a symphony orchestra, an opera house, ballet, and an entertainment venue that brings in big-name talent that ranges from Willie Nelson to Emanuel Ax. Plus, it has spring-training baseball.
Pat and I have vacationed in Sarasota several times over the years and we have always stayed on Lido Key, one of Sarasota's barrier islands.
We walk the beach to St. Armands Circle, a traffic rotary ringed with shops and restaurants. The complex, dating from the 1920s, was one of John Ringling's early developments to entice buyers for his vast real estate holdings. The circle, named for a French pioneer, is also the site of several community events including concerts and art and auto shows.
Over the years, we learned that late January can serve up cool mornings, so we take day trips early in the day while the beach warms up. This time we put the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the Mote Marine Laboratory, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art on our list of places to visit.
Selby Gardens, like so many of the large gardens now open to the public, including Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, started out as the private retreat of the wealthy. William and Marie Selby came from Ohio families who were pioneers in the oil business. William Selby was one of the founders of Texaco. The couple, who had no children, established a foundation to give scholarships to local high school students headed to college. After Marie Selby died in 1971, her wishes to preserve her home and gardens and establish a botanical research facility were followed, and the gardens opened to the public in 1975.
We started our tour in the conservatory, a greenhouse full of orchids and other tropical foliage. Intricate blooms are everywhere. A docent with an encyclopedic knowledge of the plants describes their native habitats and rattles off their genus and species names in rapid fire, leading us from epiphyte to bromeliad.
Outside, the gardens cover a 14-acre wedge of Florida's natural past in the heart of this modern city. A flock of white ibis, hunting for insects in the shade of an old banyan tree, walk by on stick legs. In a pool along the path, dappled koi the size of footballs rise to the surface, begging to be fed. A long-legged shorebird works the mud flats. Ducks kick up a ruckus in a palm-fringed tidal pond.
The few rays of sun that sneak through the thick canopy light up the Spanish moss like holiday lace. We are in a tropical time warp, suddenly transported into a Gulf Coast bound by mangroves with only a few glimpses of the green-blue waters of Sarasota Bay peeking through the thick foliage.
The white stucco house that was home to the Selbys is now a tearoom. It is a sizable house, but by the local standards of the very rich, it is a mere cottage.
Near the end of the tour stands the imposing Christy Payne Mansion with its columned portico. Payne was another oilman and fishing pal of William Selby's. His mansion was not part of the Selby estate and was purchased by the gardens in 1973. It is something of a Florida wonder in its own right.
As we enter the front door and pass through a hallway, we find ourselves in a two-story room with a breathtaking view of gardens, ponds, and palms. Two grand staircases sweep up to a second-floor balcony.
A docent explains that Payne combined a variety of styles when he built his mansion in 1934. She says that Sarasota had just been hit head-on by a hurricane and Payne wanted to make sure his house would stand. He built it on a foundation of train rails and used poured concrete in the walls.
February 03, 2013|By Dick Cooper, For The Inquirer
Hobie Sunset on Siesta
After a taxing 1200 mile road trip, we found a new home for my Hobie Cat on Siesta Key. What better place to sail than in the Gulf of Mexico off of the number 1 beach in the United States... Siesta Key? The water is so clear and you can see the white sand at the gulf bottom for quite a distance out. Sure beats the New Jersey shore this boat is used to sailing and the Pennsylvania lakes.
We sailed from the North Point of Siesta called "Sunset Point" all the way down past Crescent Beach, Point of Rocks, Turtle Beach and along the coastline of the gated community of Sanderling. Along the way we sailed very close to a dolphin (within 40 feet or so), the closest I've ever been to one in the wild.
As we navigated back up to the North end of the island, the sun was setting and people were gathering on the beach, as they do every night, sporting their cameras to witness sunsets that paintings are made from (and worthy of computer desktop wallpapers).
The shots above were taken by one local resident, Peter Wolff, via his smart phone. Thanks Peter! Quite a fun day of sailing and the happiest new home a Hobie Cat could ask for. -Jeremy
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