Area Information

November in Sarasota

By | October 24, 2016



With cooler fall temperatures, it’s a great time to get out and enjoy all that the Sarasota area has to offer. Here are just a few of the many events going on around town during November:

Date Event or Activity Location Click Link for

More Information

Nov. 4th Music on Main Lakewood Ranch Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Nov. 4-13th Cine-World Film Festival Sarasota Sarasota Film Society
Nov. 5th 15th Annual Ferrari’s On The Circle Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association
Nov. 5th “Let Freedom Ring” Free Concert Bradenton Manatee Community Concert Band
Nov. 5th Pinecraft Christmas Craft Festival Sarasota
Nov. 5-6th 29th Annual Downtown Venice Art Festival Venice
Nov. 5-6th


Nathan Benderson Park Rowing Festival Sarasota Nathan Benderson Park
Nov. 5-6th 5th Annual Stone Crab Festival Cortez Cortez Stone Crab Festival
Nov.5-6, 12-13, 19-20th Sarasota Medieval Fair Sarasota Sarasota Medieval Fair
Nov. 11th Sarasota Veterans’ Day Parade Sarasota
Nov. 11-14th Sarasota Chalk Festival Venice Chalk Festival
Nov. 11-15th Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition Siesta Key Siesta Key Crystal Classic
Nov. 12th Festa Italiana Lakewood Ranch Festa Italiana
Nov. 11-13th Symphony on the Sand Anna Maria Island Symphony on the Sand
Nov. 12th 15th Annual Art Show & Sale Lakewood Ranch Creative Arts Association of Lakewood Ranch
Nov. 12-13th St. Armands Circle Fall Art Festival Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association
Nov. 12-13th 100-year Anniversary Celebration of Phillippi Estate Park Sarasota Phillippi Estate Park
Nov. 17th Riverview High School Kilties

Fall Concert

Sarasota RHS Kilties
Nov. 11-13th and 18-20th 10th Annual ArtsHOP Weekend Anna Maria Island ArtsHOP
Nov. 19th 4th Annual Venice Blues Festival Venice Venice Blues
Nov. 19th Mixon’s Harvest Festival Bradenton Mixon Fruit Farm
Nov. 19-20th Sarasota Fine Arts Festival Sarasota
Nov. 21st Ringling by the Bay Sarasota Ringling Museum of Art
Nov. 23rd Thanksgiving Eve Party:

“Main Street Live”

Bradenton Realize Bradenton
Nov. 26th Light Up Siesta Key Village Siesta Key Siesta Key Village Association
Nov. 26th Venice Holiday Parade Venice Venice Holiday Parade
Nov. 26th Sarasota Farmer’s Market Sarasota Sarasota Farmer’s Market

Call us when you are ready to make your move! To search for homes in the area go to Search for Sarasota Homes. We’re here to help you every step of the way…call us today!


Read more »

Real Estate Prices Continue to Rise in the Sarasota Manatee Market

By | October 20, 2016


real-estate-paperThe Sarasota Manatee Board of Realtors reports that total closed sales in September in the two-county area are up 2.6 percent over September of last year, with single family sales up 3.8 percent, and condo sales down just under 1 percent. Single family home sales in Manatee County posted a 13.8 percent increase, while condo sales in Sarasota County were up 3.3 percent over last year. Sales were down year over year by 3 percent for Sarasota County single family and down 6.2 percent for Manatee County condos.

While inventory in the two counties is up 19.8 percent from last year at this time, levels have been declining since the end of the season, a typical trend each year. Single family home inventory in Sarasota increased by 19.2 percent, while Manatee experienced an 11.1 percent increase, year over year. Sarasota condo inventory increased by 39.4 percent and Manatee County increased by 14.9 percent.

Both counties saw an increase from last year in median sales prices for single family homes with Sarasota experiencing an 11.3 percent jump to $249,000 and Manatee a 1.1 percent increase to $269,000. Median sales for Manatee condos increased by 13 percent, to $178,000, while Sarasota condos experienced no change, remaining at $192,500.

Distressed sales continue to become more insignificant in the market, with only 96 recorded in September this year, accounting for only 5.8 percent of all sales, compared to 200 in the same month last year, when they accounted for 12.4 percent of sales. The reduction in distressed sales accounts for some of the increase in median prices, as those sales are typically priced below market for similar non-distressed sales.

A seller’s market remains in both Sarasota and Manatee County. According to September 2016 data, Sarasota single family homes are at a 4.2-month supply and condos are at a 5-month supply. Manatee County single family homes are at a 4-month supply and there is a 3.8-month supply of condos. A balanced market is considered to be a 6-month supply.

To read the full press release and view the statistical charts visit Sarasota Manatee

Read more »

Lakewood Ranch Tour of Homes

By | October 18, 2016



From October 21st to November 20th, experience life in Lakewood Ranch during the annual home tour featuring more than 50 stunning model homes throughout the community. Some of the communities featured are The Lake Club, Country Club East, Bridgewater, Esplanade, Mallory Park, Indigo, Harmony, Arbor Grande (villas), Del Webb (over 55 community) and the Waterfront at Main Street (condos). Even if you’re not in the market for a new home it’s a great way to check out the latest in design and home décor.

The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, Lakewood Ranch Community Activities and Lakewood Ranch will kick off the Tour of Homes on Friday, October 21st at Main Street. This block party will supply lots of family fun. Yesterdayze will fill the air with country, 60’s medley, motown and surf music. The DJ will keep you dancing as they play today’s Top 20 hits. Grace Community Church will supply the kid’s zone. All proceeds will benefit the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, a local non-profit that is focused on building a stronger more successful business community in Lakewood Ranch. Guests are welcome to bring chairs, but please leave coolers at home. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a short leash. For more information visit Don’t miss the fun at this FREE event!


Read more »

The Origin of the Name Sarasota

By | October 7, 2016

origin-name-sarasotaResidents of Sarasota have long speculated about the origin of the name. A plausible sounding daughter Sara was invented for explorer Hernando de Soto, who landed in the Manatee River in 1538, complete with a tragic love story to dramatize a 1916 “Sara de Soto” pageant. The pageant (scene pictured above) became an annual week-long celebration climaxed by a circus parade, and declined when the Barnum & Bailey winter camp was moved to Venice in 1960. But Sara is not a Spanish given name, and there is no known historical basis for the story; it is probably just a pleasant myth.

A more recent speculation is that the name may have meant Point of Rocks or Place of the Dance, but there is little or no linguistic or historical basis for this hypothesis. The true story is more interesting.

The Original Form “Zarazote”

An early Spanish map on sheepskin that turned up in London when Florida passed to British possession in 1763, shows the word “Zarazote” across present day Bradenton and Sarasota. When the coast was charted, the name appeared as Boca Sarazota (Sarazota Pass) between Lido and Siesta Keys, and by the 1850s the barrier islands and the bay were both labeled Sarasota on maps.

Zarazote is not a word of clearly Spanish origin like most other names on the 1763 map, and no specimen of the native Calusa language is known beyond some village names and one or two other words, which provide no basis for interpretation. But there are more likely origins of the name Zarazote.

I discovered recently that there is a neighborhood called Alta Zarazota (“High Zarazota”) in Bogotá, the capital of Columbia, which the Spanish explorers occupied just a few years before de Soto came to Florida. Clues in the Mediterranean make it likely that the explorers brought the name with them.

However, it is possible that Zarazota is a native Columbian name of the Chibcha language family, which like the Calusa language is extinct. But a manuscript Chibcha dictionary survives in the national library in Bogota, that may contain clues when typed and alphabetized, and an inquiry is underway.

Mediterranean Origins Likely

A search of maps of the Mediterranean reveals no Zarazota. There is a city Zaragoza in Spain, called Saraqustah during the Arab presence there, an interpretation of the original name CaesarAugusta when founded by the Roman emperor Augustus. So the “Sara” in Sarasota may have come from “Caesar” like the word “Czar.” Zarazota could be another Spanish-Arabic name commemorating another Caesar, but unlike “Zaragoza” there are no names of other Roman emperors likely to have become pronounced “azota.”
There are cities originally named Zara in Turkey, Iran, and Albania, which may refer to a fortress or palace, originating in the Iranian “thraya-“ (to protect). So the explorers may have known a Mediterranean Zarazota named for a fort or palace. It is conceivable that De Soto or his officers had in mind a ”Zara Soto” (Fort de Soto), but the deSoto family name itself refers to one of many towns named Soto from the Spanish “soto” (thicket or grove) from Latin “saltus” (pasture land with forest). So any Mediterranean fort or palace in a grove or a town named Soto, may have been called Zarazota, Zara Soto, or even Sara de Soto.

A Modest Proposal of Humorous Alternative Derivations

Less likely origins of the name can be derived from phrases in other languages suggesting special circumstances, but at present these are without historical basis. To provoke an indignant scholarly breakthrough, therefore, these alternative derivations of the name are offered from the languages of foreign sailors, some of whom apparently visited before the expeditions of de Leon, de Narvaez, and de Soto, and may have accompanied them here or in Columbia, because sailing ships often picked up sailors from diverse regions to replace crewmembers. They may have recorded impressions of native names, or invented their own, or they may have been asked for a local name.

A Turkish guide accompanying de Soto, for example, when asked the name of the wilderness before them, might have responded “Sora Soto!” (“Ask de Soto!”), written down as Zarazote for all posterity.

A Basque sailor may have rhapsodized that the area was “Zare zati!” (part of art), but if asked very rudely, he might have responded “Zara zata!” (thou nightjar), or perhaps even “Zara zetu!” (thou hast begot other sons).

An Italian settler might have asked for a map notation “Saro sita” (I will be located) here. If the mapmaker was Latvian, the name may have lingered from a mere notation to correct the sketch of the Braden River “Zaru soti” (branches colored in).

A Czech sailor who had seen hurricane damage here may have mentioned “Sari suti” (September rubble). A Maltese sailor may have felt that the area “Saru seta” (could become) something, or a Slovenian sailor may have been impressed that this was a place of “Zore zoto” (the dawn of a new era) or perhaps no more than “Zaru soti” (grilled peat).

An Albanian sailor may have referred to a hut where he had dallied on shore and “Zuri zute” (got caught) or even “Zuri zati!” (the roof fell down). An Indonesian botanist pursued by Calusas may have bemoaned a “Saru sita” (Cypress confiscation).

A Finnish sailor may have noted a place of “Suru sota” (mourning of war), or may have mentioned a wild sailor story here as a “Suru satu” (a sad fairy tale).

We may find that Zarazota was just another subtropical lowland recalled by the Spanish explorers, or we may be fortunate in being freed from history, to use our imaginations. Please note that these translations are provided by an online translation utility, and do not yet reflect scholarly consensus. Linguists, historians, researchers of historic Mediterranean place names and the Spanish colonial archives, and even native speakers of these and other languages are encouraged to object and offer further insights.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive and Sarasota County Historical Archives

Read more »

Roni’s Café in Sarasota

By | October 4, 2016


ronis-careRoni’s Café is a great little family operated restaurant in Sarasota just east of Tuttle Avenue on Bee Ridge Road. We are frequent diners for brunch after church on Sundays and like the quality of the food, cleanliness of the space and the friendly service.

The menu features your normal breakfast and lunch dishes as well as quite a few Mediterranean items. This past week we were on the late side and since it was after 11am I ordered from the lunch menu and had a Chicken Gyro. This was really fresh and tasty with grilled chicken, tomatoes, onions and Tzatziki sauce. My husband generally gets the house skillet which is ham, onion, peppers cheddar cheese and home fries mixed together then topped with two eggs any style and your choice of toast. It must be good as it orders it every week.

They do a brisk take out business and offer specials daily. If you’re in the area and looking for a good breakfast or lunch stop in at Roni’s.

To view their menu check out the FaceBook page at Roni’s Café.

Read more »

Pumpkin Festival

By | September 29, 2016


fruitville-groveOne of the great things about Fall is the number of festivals happening all over town. The Pumpkin Festival at Fruitville Grove has long been a favorite and it’s now in it’s 28th year! It starts this year on Saturday, October 1st and runs every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) through the 30th. There are many fun activities including:

  • Crafters
  • Pony rides
  • Hayrides
  • Live music
  • Moon bounce
  • Mini-Train ride
  • Playground
  • Face painters
  • Hay play area
  • Pumpkin painting
  • Giant Human Water Rollers
  • Festival Games
  • Giant Rock Wall
  • Bungee Jump
  • Laser Tag

Each individual ride and game activity booth, including pony rides, rock wall, bounce house, and pumpkin painting, has their own set price ranging from $2 – $7. Admission, Parking, Petting zoo, playground, live music, and decorated photo spots are FREE! There will be food vendors onsite during the festival.

The produce stand and market will be open as usual during the week and also during the festival where fresh vegetables and Amish-made goods are available.

For more information visit their website at

Read more »

October in Sarasota

By | September 26, 2016



The weather is great and our fall season is in full swing. There are a myriad of festivals and fun events going on in the Sarasota area during the month of October. Here are just a few to check out:

Date Event or Activity Location Click Link for

More Information

Oct. 1st National Fossil Day Bradenton South Florida Museum
Oct. 1st 2nd Annual Beer, Bands & BBQ Lakewood Ranch Music Compound
Oct. 1-30th 28th Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest Sarasota Fruitville Grove
Oct. 2nd Old Miakka Hootenanny Sarasota Friends of Florida Folk
Oct. 2nd Antique Auto Car Show Venice Venice Chamber of Commerce
Oct. 5th Phillippi Farmhouse Market Sarasota Farmhouse Market
Oct. 7th Music on Main Lakewood Ranch Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Oct. 7th First Friday Gallery Art Walk Sarasota Downtown Sarasota Alliance
Oct. 8th Sidewalk Astronomy Holmes Beach Sidewalk Astronomy
Oct. 8th The Beer, Boats and Bacon Fest Sarasota Beer Boats and Bacon
Oct. 8th Taste of St. Armands Circle Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association
Oct. 8th Chef at the Market Bradenton Realize Bradenton
Oct. 13-16th 8th Annual Ringling International Arts Festival Sarasota Ringling Museum of Art
Oct. 14-16th 10th Annual Gulf Coast Rhythm and Ribfest Bradenton Gulf Coast Ribfest
Oct. 15-30th 25th Annual Hunsader Farms

Pumpkin Festival

Bradenton Hunsader Farms
Oct. 15-16th Desoto Pumpkin Festival at Veterans Park Arcadia Sarasota Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 21-23rd Sun Fiesta Venice Women’s Sertoma Club
Oct. 22nd 18th Annual Cortez Nautical Flea Market Cortez Florida Maritime Museum
Oct. 22-23rd St. Armands Boat Show Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association
Oct. 22-23rdh 21st Annual Downtown Sarasota Art & Craft Festival Sarasota
Oct. 26th 19th Annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest Sarasota Humane Society of Sarasota County
Oct. 28th Lakewood Ranch Boo Fest Lakewood Ranch Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Oct. 28-30th Sahib Shrine Circus Sarasota Sahib Shrine
Oct. 29-30th Pumpkin Patch Express Parrish Florida Railroad Museum
Oct. 31st Safe Treats Halloween in Siesta Key Village Siesta Key Siesta Key Village Association
Oct. 31st Fright Night on St. Armands Circle Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association

Call us when you are ready to make your move! To search for homes in the area go to Search for Sarasota Homes. We’re here to help you every step of the way…call us today!


Read more »

Sarasota Real Estate Update

By | September 23, 2016

Red Upward Graph

Red Upward GraphThe Sarasota Manatee Association of Realtors reports that sales of distressed properties in the two-county area continued to decline in August, down 53.9 percent from the same month last year. Distressed sales in August comprised only 5.8 percent of total sales compared to 12.8 percent last August. Closed sales of single family homes and condos combined are up only slightly, 1.8 percent ahead of last August. But a closer look at traditional sales (non-distressed properties) reveals a 9.9 percent increase over the same month last year.

Pending sales in Manatee and Sarasota showed an improvement from last month. For single family homes, pending sales increased between July and August of this year, reversing the downward trend that started in May in both counties. Ten percent more single family homes went under contract this month compared to July in Sarasota County, and Manatee County experienced a 9.3 percent increase. Pending condo sales, however, continued on a downward trend that started in April after seasonal residents left the area, but were only just under 3 percent lower than July’s pending condo sales.

The inventory of properties for sale is up significantly from last year at this time, about 22 percent. Single family homes in both counties experienced a 17.6 percent increase in inventory, while condos showed a 32.9 percent increase. Sarasota maintains a 5.1 months’ supply of condos, while Manatee
reflects a 3.8 months’ condo supply. As for single family homes, Sarasota has a 4.1 months’ supply and Manatee is at a 4.2 months’ supply. A seller’s market is indicated by this figure remaining under the six month benchmark. Median prices continue to rise from 2015 to 2016.

For the full press release and statistical charts click here.



Read more »

The Lazy Lobster of Longboat

By | September 20, 2016


lazy-lobsterWhile having a week of “staycation” on Longboat Key this week, we had dinner at the Lazy Lobster. Initially we chose the restaurant because it was one of the few that were not closed for vacation during this slow time of the season on the Key. We did not make a reservation as things didn’t seem to be too crowded during the week with traffic being very light and just not that many people around. Anyway they were booked up for the night (on a Monday no less!). They have some high top tables that were available in the bar area so we settled in there.

We had a delicious dinner starting with their lobster bisque and a salad. Entrees we chose were the Bar Harbor Combo (sauteed lobster tail meat, gulf shrimp & large sea scallops in lemon-garlic butter, potato gratin & vegetable) and one of the daily specials which was shrimp and scallops with spinach and red onion in a light red sauce over linguine pasta. Both dishes were outstanding!

If you’re in the mood for some good seafood (particularly lobster as it’s supplied daily from Boothbay Harbor, Maine) check out the Lazy Lobster. They do have a good variety on the menu but obviously lobster and seafood is their specialty. The staff is friendly and attentive and we’ll definitely go back.

You can view their menu and other information on their website here.


Read more »

Ringling International Arts Festival

By | September 15, 2016

Ringling Museum Night

Ringling Museum NightOctober 13- 16, 2016

With daring audacity and riveting virtuosity, performers from across America and around the world are coming to Sarasota for the most innovative, inventive, and exhilarating RIAF yet.   From the “down under” antics of Australian acrobats, to the “over the top” brilliance of internationally-acclaimed musicians, actors, and dancers, the 2016 Ringling International Arts Festival is your opportunity to experience the outrageously sublime, the profoundly surreal, and even the hilariously catastrophic.

With affordably priced performances – all presented in three theaters within walking-distance proximity, you can park the car once and enjoy the entire day. Lunch and dinner are available on-site.

Included with your RIAF performance ticket:

Enjoy free admission (with purchase of RIAF performance ticket) to Museum of Art and the Circus Museum. (Fri-Sat, Oct 14-15, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM; Sun, Oct 16, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM)

Lounge on the Lawn – Share Lite-bites and Libations (FRI, OCT 14, 3:00-7:30 PM; SAT, OCT 15, NOON-7:30 PM; SUN, OCT 16, NOON-5:00 PM)

After-hours Jazz (FRI & SAT, OCT 14-15, 9:00-10:30 PM)

Enjoy Many Performance and Save!

Purchase 7 RIAF productions and SAVE 20%
Purchase 4–6 RIAF productions and SAVE 10%

Purchase Tickets online, in person or by calling 941-360-7399

For more information visit Ringling Museum of Art


Read more »