Three days in Naples, Florida was more than enough, so it was time to get back into the rented Jeep and head north. Next stop: Sarasota.
After the sprawling suburb that was Naples, we were looking forward to a bigger city – we do love a big city. We were going to have to wait some time, though, since Sarasota, although its downtown does sport a high-rise or two, isn’t really a city either. With a population just shy of 58,000, Sarasota was incorporated as a town in 1902. A few older buildings remain in the downtown area, including a mission church.
We checked into the Westin which is, in fact, located downtown, and walked the urban landscape. It didn’t take long!
The Westin itself is a very pretty, modern hotel. It did, however, have a few “issues.” The elevators were a nightmare – the waits were horrific. And the entire place seems to be understaffed. From the single person at the front desk to the fact that our room wasn’t cleaned until 5 pm the next day (after we called twice) to the wait staff running around the restaurant at breakfast like chickens with their head cut off. All in all, they do have a management problem.
The following morning, we headed across the bay to St. Armand’s Circle, a collection of restaurants, bars and shops.
We then carried on to see the beach through a residential area of laid-back, sometimes quirky little houses until we reached the beach.
A long stretch of white sand, the beach is located along an outer island that can only be reached, as we did, by crossing over a series of bridges that connect a series of keys. It was the weekend, the sun was shining, and the beach was busy.
Then it was time to stop for some rehydration (a beer) at ChaCha Coconuts, a funky little bar on St. Armand’s…
…before we headed back across the bridge toward our home-away-from-home. By the time we arrived back at the hotel, we had walked 15.5 kms. All in a day’s vacationing!
Spending two nights in Sarasota was a good way to see the city. But more than that would have been too much. Next stop: downtown Orlando!