Sarasota: Sunshine, Beaches & Delicious lunches

Our month-long getaway trip to Florida continued after we checked out of the Charter Club of Naples Bay after a delightful week’s stay there with our friends, Barb and Bill. Sarasota is about 120 miles north, so we had a nice leisurely drive up the Tamiami Trail, passing through familiar spots such as Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood, and Venice. It was a good “moving day” as it was overcast and rain predicted to set in for the afternoon and into the next morning.

IMG_8067Our next residence was the large and popular Sun Outdoors RV Resort just a few miles east of Sarasota, conveniently located near I-75. The place is truly amazing! Not only is it a wonderful spot for those with RVs of all shapes, styles, and sizes, but it has an abundance of Park Model Homes for rent, which is what we had for our two-and-a-half week stay. 

The place has been there for quite a while, and has been maintained perfectly over the years. This was the first time for us to stay here, and we weren’t certain what to expect going in. As it turned out, we weren’t disappointed in the least. From the moment we checked in and found our nice park model home with an excellent location, we felt comfortable and ready for a pleasant stay.

Late that week, we were joined by Carolyn’s brother, Skip, from North Carolina, and our niece, Kim, from Nebraska. They’d spend a week with us, and it was fun having them join us for our daytime jaunts and tasty lunches at someplace different each day.

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It was an easy choice to make for our first lunch that week as we decided on our favorite place to eat in IMG_7132Sarasota—Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar. Carolyn and I never miss having a grouper sandwich here whenever we’re in or near Sarasota. Kim was familiar with it—in fact, she’s the one who introduced us to it many years ago—but this was Skip’s first time there. It has been a long-standing tradition that we eat there. As always, we weren’t disappointed!

During the course of the week with Kim and Skip, we visited other familiar places and also discovered some places we’d never known of previously. One favorite was to beautiful Siesta Key and its beautiful Beach with the white, powdery sand and endless blue skies and sunshine overhead.
IMG_8020 Another traditional place we always stop at—at least once, often more—is Mixon’s IMG_8040Groveside Market, just north in Bradenton. There’s always cold, fresh orange juice to sample, and the orange swirled soft-serve ice cream cone is a must. 

The four of us enjoyed discovering a spot we’d never been before: Anna Maria Island, near Bradenton. We patiently worked our way through the long, slow line of traffic out to the causeway and to the island and were rewarded with another lunch at another new establishment. The name alone was worth the stop: The Ugly Grouper. It was good to sit under the open-air roof of rusted galvanized steel and enjoy the shade and refreshing breeze that made the Florida heat comfortable.

Of course, when we weren’t out enjoying our old haunts around Sarasota/Bradenton, we spent many delightful hours right there on the Sun Outdoors property. The huge pool and surrounding deck could accommodate many, many people, old and young alike!

Another day for lunch, it was time to visit the Sarasota Brewing Co. Bar & Grill. Kim had left us the day before, and Skip would be leaving the next day, so it was just Carolyn, Skip, and me for that day’s lunch out.

What was surprising about this out-of-the-way establishment was that it was a fine place with a wonderful cold IPA brew and one of the best burgers I’ve ever had! We shall return.

After Skip pulled out to head back home the next day, Carolyn and I continued to enjoy our one remaining week at Sun Outdoors. And after our time was finally up at the RV resort, we packed and took care of all of the “check out” tasks and were on our way to the next leg of our Florida trip: Ormond Beach, over on the other side of Florida, near Daytona. Getting there was half the fun, as they say. I’ll tell you about that next time.

See you then…IMG_8035