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Old 11-24-2010, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,484 posts, read 18,429,780 times
Reputation: 2742

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Since we've had such good feedback and thoughts on the negative thread about the area I thought I'd start a positive thread.

I wanted to limit it strictly to the direct area as to not get off topic about the whole state.

So, I'll start it off. Siesta Key Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with it's power white sand, which is nearly 100% quartz. I know some people would disagree but I'd much rather have powder white sand in the winter than powder white snow. No matter where you are in Florida you're never more than 2 hours or so from the beach.

I love all the sunshine, warmth and bright sunny days. You know that the local paper used to give out free papers if the sun didn't shine. They didn't have to give out too many.

Florida is full of tropical foliage and is a great place for gardeners, year round. People can also enjoy outdoor sports all year long-hiking, biking, walking, kayaking, golfing, etc We have the huge Legacy Trail for walking and biking.

In southern Sarasota county there's Warm Mineral Springs and Little Salt Spring. Warm Mineral Springs is one of the oldest tourist attractions in FL and people come from all over the world to visit.

This area has a wonderful art community with Towles Court Artist Colony, the many art galleries around, every town has a local art center, there are art festivals going on almost weekly, Ringling School of Art & Design and many resources for artists.

For all you sports enthusiast Sarasota has Ed Smith Stadium: Ed Smith Stadium - Baltimore Orioles Spring Training and Charlotte Sports Park: Charlotte Sports Park - Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training

There are many cultural activities, festivals and music events in the area. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Asolo Theater, The Sarasota Opera, Concerts, Ringling Museum (which I believe is free on Monday's), Golden Apple Dinner Theater, Circus Sarasota, Sarasota Ballet are some of the many venues and events. Siesta Key and Nokomis Beach both have drum circles on various nights in the evening. Sarasota county has free summer concerts in the park.

Punta Gorda has the Florida Airshow where the Blue Angles fly. The Hibiscus Festival, The Redfish Fish Tournament many craft shows. Every city has their own farmer's market.

Punta Gorda Farmers Market: http://www.puntagordashopping.com/farmersmarket.html
Sarasota Farmers Market: http://www.sarasotafarmersmarket.org/
Siesta Key Farmers Market: http://www.siestafarmersmarket.com/
Venice Farmers Market: http://venicefloridafarmersmarket.com/

Boca Grande has the world's richest Tarpon Tournament every year. With so much water everywhere there are tons of activities related. There are lots of fishing guides, kayak tours, etc

Here are some of the many festivals in the area:
JAN Southwest Florida Heritage Festival
JAN Sullivan Street Craft Festival
JAN Sarasota Native American Festival
JAN Manatee County Fair
JAN-FEB Sarasota Jazz Festival
FEB Kids Art Festival at Woodmere Park, Venice
FEB Annual Sarasota Festival of the Arts
FEB Annual Wine & Jazz Festival in Punta Gorda
FEB Bradenton Beer Festival
MAR Sarasota Fair
MAR Sarasota Folk Festival in Osprey
MAR Sarasota Shamrock Festival
MAR Peace River Celtic Festival
MAR Spring Fine Arts Festival in Englewood
MAR Peace River Seafood Festival and Redfish Tournament
MAR Englewood Music Festival
MAR Englewood Fine Arts Festival
MAR Manatee Heritage Days
MAR Florida International Air Show
MAR & DEC Anna Maria Islands Art League Winterfest & Springfest
APR Sarasota Film Festival (http://www.sarasotafilmfestival.com/2010/ - broken link)
APR Annual Siesta Fiesta
APR Charlotte Harbor Kayak & Wildlife Festival
APR Venice Shark Tooth Festival
APR Charlotte County Nautical Flea Market and Seafood Festival
APR DeSoto Heritage Festival Seafood Fest in Bradenton
APR Florida Heritage Festival and Riverfest in Bradenton
APR The Kayak and Outdoor Festival
APR-MAY Sarasota Wine Festival
MAY Giving Hunger the Blues in Southside Village
JUNE International Theater Festival In Venice
JUNE Hibiscus Festival In Punta Gorda
JUNE Boca Grande Tarpon Tournament
JUNE-JULY Sarasota Offshore Grand Prix
JULY Fourth of July Freedom Swim in Festival in Punta Gorda
JULY Wildlife Awareness Festival
SEPT Englewood Pioneer Days
OCT Sarasota Blues Festival
OCT Sarasota Chalk Festival
OCT Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival
NOV Sarasota Medieval Fair
NOV Annual Downtown Venice Art Festival
NOV Festival Of Trees in Punta Gorda
NOV Family Music Fest in Osprey
Annual St. Armand's Art Festival Something nearly every month

There are many other festivals and fairs just a short drive away.

Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey has canoing, camping, hiking, birding, swimming. Myakkahatchee State Park in North Port has trails where you can bring your horses, you can hike along the trails. Myakka River State Park in Sarasota has tons of great FL wildlife, the Myakka Canopy Walk, which is a bridge that is suspended 25 feet off the ground. It extends 85 feet through the canopy and Myakka also has 38 miles of hiking trails. Manatee County has Little Manatee River State Park which runs right along the river. It has camping, hiking, canoing, etc. Don Pedro State Park you can only get to by boat and is like a private beach. I happened to have the great pleasure of living right beside it as a kid. Venice has Brohard Park (http://www.venicegov.com/Park_links/brohard.htm - broken link), one of the only dog friendly beaches around. Venice is also home to Woodmere Park a 36 acre park where you can let your pooch run and play under the big oak trees. These areas are a haven for photographers, bird watching and outdoor enthusiasts. Sarasota county has more than 200 parks, 109 athletic fields and 16 recreation and community centers.

Sarasota Parks: Parks and Recreation
Manatee County Parks: Manatee County Parks and Recreation - Manatee Chamber of Commerce
Charlotte County Parks: Community Services

Also for all the photographers and gardens, Selby Gardens is a must see. It has over 20,000 plants and displays and was named one of America's Top Ten Botanical Gardens.

The Sarasota area is also very kid friendly. We have GWIZ a science museum that caters to kids. The Children's Garden, a whimsical outdoor play area for children. Then there's Jungle Gardens, which is one of the oldest attractions in FL and has flamingo feeding, bird shows, alligators and many other various animals. Spanish Point is a historical site where they have Indian mounds, early pioneer homes and a lots of summer activities for kids. There are YMCA's in every city from Bradenton to Port Charlotte. Sarasota has Mote Marine Aquarium, which gives a wonderful look at the native sea life. They also to a great job with rehabilitating injured animals and returning them back to the gulf. Bradenton has the South FL Museum, Bishop Planetarium and the Parker Aquarium. Stop by and say "hi" to SW FL's very own manatee, Snooty. The Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota is a wonderful place to visit and see the amazing job Rosaire's do with the animals.

Many restaurants offer waterfront dining all the way down the coast. Speaking of restaurants, this area has lots and lots of wonderful, restaurants for any taste. Many mom and pop restaurants. You could spend a whole day out on St Armand's Circle shopping, browsing and stopping in at Kilwin's for some great ice cream. St Armand's has more than 130 shops, restaurants and galleries.

Here are a few of my favorite restaurants in the area:
Pho Cali
Euphemia Haye
Ophelia's on the Bay
Capt Brian's
Two Senoritas
Columbia
Crab & Fin
Yoder's
Casey Key Fish House
Bijou Café
Joto's Japanese Steakhouse
Blasé Café
Pacific Rim
Mar Vista
Sign of the Mermaid
El Toro Bravo
Lazy Lobster
Ceviche
Mattison's

And I have to add Sweet Tomatoes (for the kids) and Ophelia's (http://local.yahoo.com/info-14608433-ophelia-s-pasta-house-nokomis - broken link) (special doggie dining on the porch).

Downtown Sarasota is another all day event with the many eclectic shops and quaint restaurants. There are also some great consignment & antique shops if you make your way downtown. If you're looking to snag a bargain you can try the Red Barn Flea Market in Bradenton, The Sun Flea Market in Port Charlotte or The Dome in Englewood.

Sarasota and Charlotte counties have some of the best schools in the state and also have Pine View School for the gifted, which is one of the top in the nation.

So, folks as you can see there's A LOT to like about the SW FL area. Tell me what you like about living here

Last edited by SoFLGal; 11-24-2010 at 04:36 PM..
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Punta Gorda and Maryland
6,103 posts, read 12,025,425 times
Reputation: 1197
Great Post!! There are tons of things to do, and the weather is always great so you can enjoy them. All you gotta do is go out and participate.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
7,201 posts, read 10,421,471 times
Reputation: 5323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big House View Post
Great Post!! There are tons of things to do, and the weather is always great so you can enjoy them. All you gotta do is go out and participate.
These kind of things exist almost everywhere except the small towns. I don't think people lack things to do in FL, but it's that lack of "community" and lack of friends I've seen mentioned here and from people we know where we live. People move there and get homesick for their family. I've seen it happen here also. Unless I missed a few messages and I sometimes do, boredom wasn't an issue. No matter how many things you involved yourself in, if everyone you meet remains nothing more than an acquaintance, you will be lonely and feel isolated. You will lack that feeling of connection, of community, of belonging. And that's something well known to those of us who moved to TN from other states.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,484 posts, read 18,429,780 times
Reputation: 2742
Since this thread is positive thread why don't we get it back on track and talk about the positive things about FL? There's a negative thread right below this one where you can discuss your concerns.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,484 posts, read 18,429,780 times
Reputation: 2742
Quote:
Originally Posted by =^..^= View Post
These kind of things exist almost everywhere except the small towns. I don't think people lack things to do in FL, but it's that lack of "community" and lack of friends I've seen mentioned here and from people we know where we live. People move there and get homesick for their family. I've seen it happen here also. Unless I missed a few messages and I sometimes do, boredom wasn't an issue. No matter how many things you involved yourself in, if everyone you meet remains nothing more than an acquaintance, you will be lonely and feel isolated. You will lack that feeling of connection, of community, of belonging. And that's something well known to those of us who moved to TN from other states.
I think a large part of it depends on your personality. If you're a social person you're going to find friends no matter where you land. I have a ton of friends here. My parents (who are seniors) are also out living up life. My mom goes line dancing at the Eagles a few times a week, goes to concerts, goes camping with her friends, etc. My dad is into photography, and writing and has many friends who share his own interests.

I just sold a home to a retired couple a few months ago and got a call a few days ago and they were telling me about all the friends they have made since they moved here. And this morning I got a call from another senior couple inviting me over for a big Thanksgiving bash they're having. I sold them their home over five years ago. They will be having over 100 friends over for a big party.

So, again, if you put the effort in and want to make it happen-it will. If you're not comfortable with the situation, then I suggest you rent.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,484 posts, read 18,429,780 times
Reputation: 2742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nortport Jim View Post
So if we strongly disagree with a post we should remain silent?

You've certainly posted plenty of retorts in the other thread.
So, I found this great little gadget that CD provides. It's called the "ignore feature". If I put you on that list your posts disappear. It's pretty cool. You should try it
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Central Fl
2,902 posts, read 10,016,676 times
Reputation: 2800
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFLGal View Post
Since this thread is positive thread why don't we get it back on track and talk about the positive things about FL? There's a negative thread right below this one where you can discuss your concerns.
Excellent suggestion. There is no perfect place, and the forum is better served if we keep the positive posts positive, and the negative posts negative.

The best forums are balanced, truthful, and respectful. Do not allow every thread to be argumentative. It just ruins the forum.

Frank
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:51 AM
 
Location: St Augustine
973 posts, read 2,050,627 times
Reputation: 388
The place I miss most now I have moved is the Venetian waterway and trails where I used to bike and run. Enjoy it as it is hard to find a substitute.
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:22 AM
 
Location: N.H Gods Country
2,356 posts, read 4,090,327 times
Reputation: 1962
St Armands Circle is pretty neat. It's been a while since i've been there but i remember a neat little old fashioned ice cream place. The Harley drags at the Bradenton drag strip were always a good time. Warm Mineral Springs is ok. It was a little run down the last time i was there.
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
1,645 posts, read 2,672,522 times
Reputation: 801
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFLGal View Post
And I have to add Sweet Tomatoes (for the kids) and Ophelia's (http://local.yahoo.com/info-14608433-ophelia-s-pasta-house-nokomis - broken link) (special doggie dining on the porch).
Not to derail, but...

Sweet Tomatoes, while not just a Florida restaurant, is not at all just "for the kids." I would hazard a guess that if everyone--adults and kids alike--would go here when they get hungry (rather than fast food or TGIF or whatever), everyone would be in much better shape. It is also an AWESOME deal at something like $7.00 for all you can eat.

And Ophelia's brunch is EASILY the best brunch we have had in the area. It might seem expensive at $25, but we're talking all of the breakfast foods, king crab legs, lobster bisque, a carving station, salads, and an excellent dessert table. Nice service, too. It's a real no-brainer if you're hungry and looking for a nice spot on a Sunday.

Plus a free mimosa or Bloody Mary.

I'm not even hungry right now and still I had to bring it back to food again.

<sigh>
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