Volume 2 Issue 8 | August 2022

As a Home Watch provider, we want each of your return trips to Sarasota to feel as refreshing as the first. Our "Piece of Paradise" newsletters provide a brief glimpse into Florida homeownership, followed by a featured activity for your next visit.

Homeowner Insight

One of the most common issues Home Watch professionals see in unoccupied homes is water leaks. That's why we recommend turning the water to your house off when you depart for an extended period of time. With each Home Watch visit, we turn the water on and flush the systems - then turn the water off when we leave. If you have a service technician or pool repair person working on your property while you are away, remind them to turn the water back off when they have completed their work.

August Piece Of Paradise

Circus Menagerie

The murder mystery trolley tour exposes Sarasota's more mischievous, playful side.

We really wanted to love Discover Sarasota's newest tour, the Murder Mystery Trolley The local tour provider offers a true variety of custom, quirky, research-based and unique-to-Sarasota experiences. This completely aligns with the atmosphere of their gift shop, which would be a great place to find a souvenir to gift to your next house guest.

Our theme for this month is "circus." The most obvious attraction falling into that theme is the Ringling Museum, whose campus includes the Circus Museum. But that's for another newsletter. We were in the mood for something a little goofier, a little more laid back. Less literal than Discover Sarasota's "Circus Secrets of Sarasota" tour. So we landed on a murder mystery event titled "Who Killed the Circus Queen?"

We had two couples planning to join us and after reviewing the email confirmation, agreed that the instructions to a) arrive at least half an hour before the 7:30 start and b) enjoy complimentary beer or wine, meant 7-7:30pm would be a great time for us to catch up with one another. Unfortunately when we arrived at 7pm we heard "Last call!" for the bar, and our other friends (who were finishing their dinner nearby) received a call at 7:08pm asking when they would be arriving because the tour was about to depart. Turns out other customers had arrived as early as 6:15pm and were pressuring for the tour to begin. Several of us had volunteered to "participate" in the act, without realizing it meant there would be seats assigned that broke up our group. While the 90-minute tour narrative kept the evening moving, it didn't allow breaks for conversation with other passengers.

Complimentary beer and wine at "Dolly the Trolley's" home base sounded like a great way to start things off.

Our takeaway: if you want to enjoy this experience with friends, arrive with extra time to socialize and maybe pass on testing your acting chops. Although - the acting was fun. Another option is to plan to enjoy the activity solo, or arrange for an early dinner or after-tour drinks with good company. (Why didn't WE do that??)

We don't think we're spoiling any secrets by introducing you to our Trent and Sofanda (the bearded lady).

If you do choose to take on a role, it will be assigned to you upon arrival. You will receive a name, a costume accessory or two, and the instructions/script for your character. There is also a great singalong moment for everyone - even non passengers - to enjoy as you drive through downtown...

And if you correctly identify the murderer, their motive, and their means at the end of the tour, you will be handsomely rewarded. Or at least recognized by the actors.

Similar Considerations

The Big Top Brewing Company at Cock 'n' Bull outdoor space includes yard games, picnic tables, a stage, strung lights and shade canopies.

We did eventually get those drinks, albeit a different day, different location. Big Top Brewing Company at Cock 'n' Bull on Cattlemen Road aims to stay loyal to Sarasota's history as a circus and arts community. Check the event calendar before you go to find out if they'll have live music or other special bookings. The month of July featured the release of four new beers, each with an invitation to bring a dog of a specific breed to meet like-minded dog owners over a frosty glass of liquid gold. The very large outdoor space is perfect for taking in some tunes and Southwest Florida temps, while the indoor bar has a cozier atmosphere that feels both modern and rich.

Favorite beer this visit: the Big Top.

We also enjoyed a more traditional connection to the circus thanks to the Circus Arts Conservatory's Summer Circus Spectacular at the Asolo Theater (also on the campus of the Ringling Museum). For a very reasonable price, children young and old can experience the thrills of balancing acts and aerialists, the the laughs delivered by Chris the Clown.

The Circus Arts Conservatory is an amazing institution in Sarasota that is dedicated to keeping the circus arts alive. In addition to their shows, they run the Sailor Circus Academy for youth aged 8-18, partner with Sarasota High School to offer circus arts in the high school curriculum, conduct recreational classes and host summer camps.

Learn more about our Home Watch services, Florida homeownership, and activity ideas in and around the Sarasota area on the Coastal Haven website.
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