Volume 2 Issue 6 | June 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

June 1st officially marks the beginning of Hurricane Season in the Atlantic, and this year Mother Nature wasted no time testing the storm readiness of Gulf coast residents. Potential Tropical Cyclone 1 blew into town June 3rd.

Thankfully the impacts were minimal, but it did offer a good trial run for our home watch clients. We made several visits to help ensure homes were ready. In addition to mounting hurricane shutters, basic preparations for absent homeowners include clearing any outdoor items that aren't tied down.

Should you find yourself in town during an approaching storm, review the All Hazards Disaster Preparedness Guide and other materials published by Sarasota County government.

June Piece Of Paradise

Sunset Cruise

A number of commercial and personal watercraft bee-lined with us toward the south end of Lido Key to catch the sunset.

The kids were gone and our monthly newsletter was calling... what activity to feature this time? We returned to one of the classic beauties Sarasota is known for - the Gulf Coast sunset. There are a number of tour operators who offer a sunset cruise. We've previously ridden with Siesta Key Watersports, and this trip tried Fun Boat Tours. Both tout the likelihood of spotting dolphins along the way, and allow passengers to BYOB. Still on our list is to ride the bigger LeBarge Tropical Cruises. Of course when it comes to the sunset, they all view the same one. And our boats were all in the same area (oh yes, and the Cruisin' Tiki, too!) when it was time for the sun to go down.

The Airstream trailer is an easy landmark to spot when checking in for the Fun Boat cruise. Drinks are available at the Spearfish Grille (next door) and there are tropical colored bar stools and lounge chairs to relax in while waiting for the tour to begin.

The boat captain/tour guide delivered a down-to-earth narrative, with a boost of "fun guy" energy, that included bits and pieces of local environmental and historic trivia - red mangroves, Audubon efforts, Bird Key, celebrity owners... and we did see dolphins within our first 3 minutes in the Intracoastal Waterway. (We also saw this football celebrity - can you figure out who owns a house on the cruise route?)

We're fairly confident the sightseeing and speaking points are consistent from one cruise operator to the next.

Before taking our final position for the sunset, the captain pointed the bow toward the horizon and invited interested parties to pose for a photo with the gorgeous background. The first mate snapped the pics. It was a nice memento for passengers.

"Fergalicious," "Wobble," and "YMCA" were some of the songs that provided entertainment.

One piece that set Fun Boat Tours apart from other operators was the onboard activities after the sun went down. Karaoke began - but with only one pair of volunteers, the approach turned to a group singalong and ultimately ended as a dance party. All was wholesome enough that the kids in the front of the boat could participate.

At the end of the cruise, the captain plugged their neighbor the Spearfish Grille and said anyone who mentions they had ridden with Fun Boat Tours would receive 10% off their order. We can attest that the menu at Spearfish is worth a visit, with or without the discount!

Grouper cheeks for an appetizer, followed by Hogfish and Lobster Mac & Cheese, at the Spearfish Grille.

Nearby Consideration

No longer a rose garden but still beautifully landscaped.

Phillippi Estate Park, on the shore of Phillippi Creek, offers a beautiful setting for learning some history, listening to music, browsing fresh produce, admiring architecture, appreciating manicured grounds or breathing in the fresh sea (tidal creek) air.

Download the "Florida Stories" app from the Google Play or Apple Store to enjoy a self-paced audio walking tour. Or catch a free docent-led tour of the mansion during season. Also during season are weekly farmers' markets on the grounds, and a brown bag lunch concert series in the gazebo. The park is rounded out with a playground and fishing dock. It is a popular destination for family occasions and other special events.

"Friends" of the park (a volunteer group) have been fundraising for years to restore the Edson Keith Farmhouse. And it's looking better each time we visit!

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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