I think weekend trips are the best. They allow you to escape for a few days, rediscover your sense of curiosity, and add a little wonder to your world. Just a short excursion can be amazingly stimulating and provide renewed energy and focus. This spring, I have been fortunate enough to plan weekend trips to both new and familiar places — a sort of personal reward for making it through my crazy busy start to 2015, and a wonderful way to reconnect with family and friends.
Two weeks ago, I experienced Sarasota, Florida, for the first time. I haven’t seen my family since Christmas, so I was thrilled to spend a weekend with my grandparents, who have spent this especially bitter winter in more comfortable climates. While a frequent visitor to the Sunshine State, this trip marked my first visit to Siesta Key, the #1 Beach in the United States (according to Trip Advisor and an adoring tourist population). Although Cocoa Beach remains my favorite for sentimental reasons, Siesta Key does not disappoint, with its powdery white sands and crystal clear waters. Warm seaside breezes also make for an amazing beach day with family.
In addition to scenic drives along the keys, dinners on the waterfronts, and several trips to the pool, the highlight of my trip was visiting The Ringling, an amazing treasure trove of circus lore, fine art, gardens, architecture, and entertainment history. The compound was built by John Ringling (of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fame), and his lovely wife, Mable, in the mid-1920s when they moved the winter quarters of the circus to Sarasota. Their estate became famous for its Italian influences and rich focus on culture and philanthropy. I cannot recommend it enough.
More of my Sarasota hit-list: Gidget’s Coastal Provisions (cute and classy souvenirs), the Unconditional Surrender statue (worth a drive-by), Marina Jacks (live music and dancing), and the BeachHouse (also live music, beachside).
This weekend will take me in a very different direction: New York City. Stay tuned for highlights of what’s sure to be a wild, action-packed adventure!