When in Sarasota, my husband and I sometimes like to visit Bayfront Park on Bayfront Drive. The famous statue of the sailor kissing the nurse is there. On the peninsula that creates the cove sheltering the marina is this very nice little park. Walkways meander under large trees and, along the way, many benches encourage people to sit and enjoy the view.
Sometimes little gems are easily missed, which is why in our travels we just had to turn around and explore. Owned by the Town of Longboat Key (west of Sarasota), Durante Park has a little bit of everything for nature lovers. Near the entrance is a botanical garden featuring many popular Floridian flowering plants. You can find hibiscus, bougainvillea, jacaranda, and wild coffee to name a few. Beyond the garden is parking, restrooms, a playground, a pond with a fountain, a pavilion, and an open grassy area. Trails begin here, winding through several ecological systems by means of shell paths and board walks.
As part of coastal restoration, a wetlands system was created in the park. This provides food to many species as well as being a pollutant filter for Sarasota Bay. The upland coastal forest is also being restored. Mangrove forests and salt marshes are other ecosystems found in this park. The many trails are popular for joggers and dog walkers as well as naturalists.
We saw egrets, a cardinal, a yellow warbler, mangrove crabs, and possibly an ovenbird during the short time we spent there having a picnic supper. If you are in the area, Durante Park is worth visiting.
5550 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, Florida
Written By Lucy Noe
There it was, chained to a signpost with an owl on the handlebars, and a flamingo on the back fender, its frame wrapped in bark. It’s little things like this that make Sarasota great. Does anyone ever ride this bike, we wonder, or is it an art statement? Will we ever know?
Written by Lucille Noe
I had heard of a place in Sarasota, Florida called the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy and so I decided to check it out. It was pretty cool and I wrote an account of my adventure for you, but I was in a goofy mood that night......
I had long heard rumors of the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, but I had always held such fanciful tales as nothing more than mere superstition of the lower classes. When I then saw on my medium’s crystal ball (I believe those in the northern kingdoms call it an internet browser) that such a place in fact existed in the kingdom of Sarasota, I knew I had to see for myself if the other tales about it were also true.
Finally I arrived in front of a small building with a dolphin statue out front and took the second-to-last parking space at 1:24 according to my electronyc sundial. Opening the door and passing the threshold, I entered a room of fantastic magical creatures never before observed in the civilized world. There were stuffed cloth people and sculptures of coral, birdhouses, cats, and much more that was unidentifiable by me. There were paintings of all sizes and shapes hiding around every corner. A mysterious being soon greeted me and informed me of the Marietta grand law. First, I was told that under no circumstances was I to touch any object for any purpose, nor touch any other mortal such as myself without explicit permission. It seemed an impossible task, but I raised no objection as I feared greatly what unnatural powers this being might posses. Second, I was told that under no circumstances was I allowed to eat any object for any purpose, whether an object I found there or one I had brought in myself. I was greatly relieved that whatever else they might do to me there, at least I would not be on the menu. Still, I prayed to the spirits of art that the being could not sense my extremely edible nature. The being did grant that I was allowed to capture images with my electronyc eye, without which I would have no proof of the existence of such a magical place. (continue)