Volume 3 | March 2021
March Piece Of Paradise:
John Ringling Causeway
John Ringling is credited with bringing the circus to Sarasota (thank you Circus Arts Conservatory for keeping the local circus alive!) and elite society to the Ca d'Zan. Did you know he also built and donated the first bridge from the mainland to Bird Key? Some of his connection to Bird Key is documented in this post from Sarasota History Alive. That bridge, constructed in 1926, was replaced with a new bridge in 1959 and with the current bridge in 2003. In addition to its transportation function, the John Ringling Causeway is a popular spot for walking, running, riding, and general recreation.
The recently-relocated Unconditional Surrender statue is among a variety of art installations in Bayfront Park. Most art pieces are accompanied by an informational plaque.
If your plan is to walk or run the bridge, you might as well park where the parking is easiest - at Bayfront Park. It was much faster finding a parking space on a Sunday morning than it was on a Saturday evening. This does mean adding some extra length to your stroll, but if you're ready to tackle the 65-foot climb of the bridge then a little extra distance is nothing to be afraid of. GreatRuns.com has recognized the Causeway as an iconic along-the-water experience with great views. That climb feels empowering during the Sarasota Music Half Marathon, when a peppy high school marching band at the crest delivers a much-needed boost of musical energy.
Concrete barricades separate vehicular traffic from pedestrian lanes on either side of the bridge (eastbound and westbound). Since the introduction of COVID-19, arrows have been painted on both pedestrian lanes to encourage one-way traffic. This does make for a less congested walk - but also might leave you feeling a bit like a salmon if you turn around on the bridge instead of walking the full distance both ways.
Some parts of the world are known for their excellent "people watching." For the pet lovers among our readership, we'd recommend Bayfront Park for bountiful dog-watching. Other visual past-times include gazing at boats in the mooring field or goggle-eyeing yachts in the marina (we like to find the best names). Our son enjoyed trying to spot crabs among the "living shoreline." It's also a great place to catch a fishing charter or evening cruise, or rent a kayak or pontoon boat.
Nothing puts the relaxing "ahhh" in "wahhhterfront" like a tropical cocktail (and maybe some appetizers) from O'Leary's Tiki Bar and Grill.
This visitor brought the fixings for a private beach at Bayfront Park.
Bayfront Park isn't the only park with a trail that connects to the John Ringling Bridge. At the foot of the bridge on the Bird Key side is the Ringling Bridge Causeway Park. The park frequently sees water waders and fitness enthusiasts. The pedestrian trail continues from the Ringling Causeway to St. Armand's Circle.
At the foot of the bridge on the mainland side is the Ernest "Doc" and Eloise Werlin Park. The focus of this park is a children's playground, but it is also a prime spot for throwing a line in the water. Hart's Landing sells live bait - and beer and wine. Bonus for the amateur angler: a fishing license is not required within the park.
Hart's Landing also frequently hosts live music on Saturday evenings. It is BYOC - Bring Your Own Chair.
One park visitor we passed by was sketching the John Ringling Bride. It truly is a sight worth capturing, especially at sunset.
A morning, afternoon or evening near the John Ringling Causeway is a sublime way to connect with the heart of Sarasota.
Nearby Considerations
For 18 years Embracing Our Differences has been soliciting art and quotation entries from around the world. These entries are evaluated, and the winners are placed on display in Bayfront Park. This year the campaign received nearly 16,000 submissions from 128 countries. The thought-provoking and inspiring winners are available for viewing through April 12.
Above and below, some selections from the Embracing Our Differences exhibit.
Homeowner Tip
Home Watch Certification
Although not regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, professional Home Watch providers are advocating for standards that will protect homeowners and protect the integrity of the business. Ask your home watch provider about their certifications and/or training. Coastal Haven Home Watch is a member of the International Home Watch Alliance and regularly participates in training and professional development.
Coastal Haven Home Watch of Sarasota delivers peace of mind when you're away, and a piece of paradise when you're here. Share your Sarasota pieces of paradise with us! We'll include them in an upcoming newsletter for other Home Watch clients to consider during their next stay in Sarasota.