New Year's in Sarasota with Elvis and Capt Jack
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On the morning of December 31, 2011, we made the drive of about 2 hours from Orlando to Sarasota on the gulf coast of Florida. The first thing we did on arrival was to drive across the Ringling Causeway from the city to St Armand's Key and Lido Beach. This has always been one of my most favorite places in Florida. The white sand and blue water are striking and the weather was just perfect the whole weekend.
After checking in at our hotel around 1:30 we then went to the Ringling Estate. Sarasota is America's circus city. It was the home of John and Mabel Ringling. John was one of the five brothers of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. (my mom's family was distantly related to Bailey) Sarasota is still the home of the circus and they winter here.
In the evening we attended a concert at Robart's Arena on Ringling Blvd., with Dwight Icenhower, a top notch Elvis impersonator who also does Elton John. Another well-known Roy Orbison, impersonator, Jesse Aron,also appeared. They were all fantastic and it was a fun New Year's Eve with dancing too.
The next day, January 1, we went to the Sarasota Marina to get photos of the huge statue of the famous WWII photograph.
We then drove across the Skyway Bridge to St Pete (known as the bridge that goes to sea). We stopped to see the famous Don Cesar hotel and then went to St Pete Beach. All the west coast beaches have white sand and we stopped at several including Treasue Island for lunch and then Indian Rocks Beach. Last stop was Clearwater Beach. I hadn't been there in several years and was a bit disappointed at how tacky touristy it and Big Pier 60 have become. But it was here we met Capt Jack so I guess that made up for it. My friend wanted his photo taken with Jack and I tried to discourage him but he talked me into it and by the end of the photosession Capt Jack and I are now friends on facebook.
On the drive home we crossed Old Tampa Bay via the Courtney Campbell Causeway where we stopped for more pics. It was a really nice way to start what I hope will be a much better year than 2011 was.