Volume 3 Issue 5 | May 2023

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

It's time for the annual reminder that June 1 marks the beginning of Hurricane Season. The good news is there's no need to wait until a storm is approaching to start preparations! We can help move outdoor items inside at any time, leaving one less worry on your mind if a hurricane is on the way. It's more than the big stuff (patio furniture, grills) - outdoor items include planting pots and watering cans, wind chimes, and other miscellaneous yard decor that can become high-velocity flying objects during severe winds.

May Piece Of Paradise

Historic Spanish Point

The portico, reflection pool, and sunken gardens are an iconic image of Historic Spanish Point.

Some claim Florida's history begins with the arrival of "a mouse" in Orlando, but a visit to Historic Spanish Point quickly corrects that perception. Primarily described as the 1920s estate of Chicago heiress Bertha Honore Palmer, usage of the site has actually been dated as far as the B.C. era.

The admissions counter is housed in what was, until a couple years ago, a vacant gazebo.

Although we have been to Historic Spanish Point on multiple occasions, this was our first visit since the 2020 acquisition of the site by Selby Gardens. Right away we noticed some changes. The "Seeing the Invisible" virtual art exhibition is one example of a welcome effort to bring new life to the grounds on a regular basis, inviting repeat visitors. The exhibit will remain at the campus through September 30, 2023. One word to the wise: download the app on a reliable internet network prior to arriving at the park.

Much of the path is unshaded - bring sunscreen and/or a sun hat.

We were told at the admissions counter that the total trail distance is about 1.5 miles. Our schedule limited us to a 2-hour visit, which felt slightly rushed. We would recommend allowing 3-4 hours for a leisurely walk that generously allocates time to read about and appreciate the surroundings.

For those who prefer a shorter visit or simply less walking, golf carts offer transportation between destinations on the campus.

Exhibits include historic structures, expansive flora, and a butterfly garden. Each attraction is accompanied by signage that explains its significance. Visitors can read about shell middens and burial mounds of the Native Americans who settled here, the pioneering life, the Palmer influences, and current efforts of Selby Gardens to sustain the site into the future. Docents are also stationed at select times and available to answer questions.

Visitors can walk into a partially excavated shell midden and follow the path of a primitive aqueduct system.

The butterfly garden, while small, is the first butterfly garden we've visited where butterflies actually landed on us. Check out this video for a glimpse of the butterfly activity.

The Magic was docked by the reconstructed packing house.

Although our visit was on a Saturday (thank you, Bank of America "Museums on Us" program!), we're itching to go back on a Wednesday or Friday so we can experience a narrated boat tour on The Magic.

Nearby or Similar Considerations

Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant on Tamiami Trail is a family-owned business run by a 4th generation local fisherman..

When reflecting on the bountiful sea life that has nourished local populations for thousands of years, it seemed fitting to feature Sarasota's historic Walt's Fish Market - oh yes, and one of our client households enthusiastically recommends it! We agreed with their suggestion to include it in our newsletter. They report that Jesse at the fish counter is extremely insightful when it comes to helping them choose which fish to purchase and how to prepare it. Jesse wasn't there during our most recent visit - but we'll ask for him next time!

We haven't bought fish from the market but have enjoyed the restaurant on multiple occasions. According to their website, Walt's is one of very few restaurants in Florida that sells seafood caught and bought on the same day. It's worth noting that during season, wait times can reach up to 2 hours. To save time, make your first visit during a less popular time of day/year. Another popular restaurant with an Old Florida feel is Owen's Fish Camp, which experiences similar wait times.

Walt's sells fish caught by owner Brett and his network of local fishermen .

Learn more about our Home Watch services, Florida homeownership, and activity ideas in and around the Sarasota area on the Coastal Haven website. For additional photos and information on this month's featured attractions, follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts.

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