Sarasota, Florida, is a city of 53,326 located south of Tampa on Florida’s Coast. File source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sarasota_Bay_and_waterfront,_Sarasota,_Florida_(2003).jpg

This attractive and relatively affluent city was once the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus which recently ceased performing after 146 years. For its size, Sarasota hosts an amazing number of cultural institutes; the Ringling Brothers Museum which showcases old masters and modern art; also an opera house, symphony hall, and numerous theaters and performing arts venues. The Bay front is a major magnet for locals and tourists.

I spent a week in the Sarasota area exploring the city and bay front with good friend Dr. Warren Melamed who enjoys spending part of each winter in the area. The below three pictures are the entrance to the bay front, the marina and grounds, and photographer Robert Capa’s famous 1945 VE Day picture of the sailor kissing his girlfriend which was captured in a fifteen foot high statue.

Nik Wallenda on high wire walking across Bayfront Drive.

Boating is very popular in Florida and the Sarasota area thus requiring application and enforcement of regulations and appropriate behavior.

I was particularly impressed by Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant and Tiki Bar which was established in 1918. John Ringling was a great force in the building of Sarasota but others like Walt Wallin, the first owner, played major roles too.

Some of Walt’s most popular items are the Mullet and Blue Crab Salad and fresh shrimp.

In conclusion, I am partial to cities that invest heavily in public art, a sign that the people believe that their home is so special that want to beautify it even more – Sarasota is such a place. Two particular statues that caught my eye are The Duffer (Royal St. Andrews, the Father of Golf) and the Butterfly Lady.

In retrospect, I ask myself why it took me so long to finally visit this lovely city and area.