One of Paul's goals for this trip was to learn about fishing in salt water. On the Venice pier, one can fish without a license and observe others who are experienced. He has spent several mornings casting out into the gulf from the pier and now feels ready to do more "serious" fishing next year when we return. We constantly refer to this trip as our "shake down cruise." He did ask questions of other fishermen and they were very helpful. We laughed because within 30 minutes of his first cast, people were asking his advice. He caught bait fish like croakers and blue runners
and Spanish mackerel, which are supposedly good eating
and learned if he wanted to catch shark, he would have to fish at night. Next year, he will purchase a license and fish from the beach. I sat close by and observed, made friends with a tern
and enjoyed watching Paul have fun.
A gentleman from New Jersey fished with him last Sunday and was really fun to visit with and gave advice freely.
After we finished with the pier, we made a stop at the Venice Area Audubon Rookery, which is a very small island in a very small lake located right within the city limits where anhingas, herons, ibis and egrets nest and raise their young. What a treat for us to view the egrets in their breeding plumage. If we were here in February and March, we would be able to see more, as the breeding season is just getting started here.
On Monday, we went with Beth and Gary to Sarasota. Our first stop was the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
In 1911, John Ringling, who obviously amassed a fortune from the circus, and his wife, Mable, purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in Sarasota to build a winter home. Their first project was to build a Venetian Gothic mansion, Cá d'Zan.
They had traveled extensively and had developed an affection for Venice, Italy, so the buildings on the estate reflect the Venetian architecture they fell in love with during their travels.
The grounds and gardens surrounding these buildings are wonderful.
John Ringling gradually acquired a significant art collection, including an extensive collection of paintings by Rubens.
He built a palace for his art treasures, which is now a 21-gallery Museum of Art.
We toured the Art Museum and enjoyed walking through the courtyards within the museum walls.
It really is Italy tranferred to Sarasota.
No expenses were spared to provide the best possible surroundings for their art collection.
Being collectors, they collected not only art, but plants and so brought back trees from around the globe that would grow in the climate in Florida. The grounds include some magnificent banyan trees from Asia.
Mable Ringling's Rose Garden is one of the most beautiful spots on the entire estate.
We were lucky enough to be there when the garden was in bloom.
The garden is 27, 225 square feet
and was completed in 1913.
As can be expected, it is patterned after a traditional Italian circular garden design.
As we toured the grounds,
we were able to observe artists as they worked on their paintings of the gardens.
We walked down to the water's edge to see the mansion.
One can only imagine how this piece of architecture must have stood out in the early 20th century in this location.
The terrace in front of the mansion provides a beautiful view of Sarasota Bay.
It was a beautiful day in a beautiful place.
And, we must come back to see more, as we only touched the surface of what there is to offer.
We were ready for lunch, so headed to Columbia, a popular Spanish restaurant in Sarasota.
Why not sit outside on a beautiful afternoon and sample a few things from the Spanish menu?
Then, down to the water to see the sights. A few pieces of local art, just for fun,
and of course, boats, both big
Sarasota is a beautiful city on the water and provided a great day of entertainment!
We are now in our final days in Venice and are really quite sad to have this part of our journey go so quickly. Since our day in Sarasota, we have had some wonderful dinners with new acquaintances and have enjoyed some great time on the water. Tuesday, we will travel to Carrabelle, Florida and stay for several days. We look forward to exploring that area.
We will keep you posted!