FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Warm Escape

by Yasser Ogando

Mar 12, 2024

Well, sort of …

This year we traded camping on snowy mountains for chilling poolside and spending time with family in Florida for Nathan’s birthday trip. It hasn’t been as hot or humid as it usually is this time of year in Sarasota, so we haven’t really been to the beach (we tried), but we have done a lot in the short time we’ve been here. Though I was expecting a bit more heat — just a little bit — the weather is perfect for the few things we’ve been up to since we arrived.

This is my third time in Sarasota, yet I feel like it’s the first time I got to really see the town. I’ve hit Siesta Key and some local restaurants during previous visits, but this time it’s been different. Here’s what we’ve been up to so far:

Turtle Beach
The first order of business was making it to the beach! But, unfortunately, it’s just not that time of year yet. We’re told it’s been warmer than usual but not warm enough to enjoy the beach how we wanted to. Nonetheless, after a long bike ride, we lathered up in sunscreen; grabbed our beach chairs; and spent some time reading, admiring the ocean and dipping our toes in the water.

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Turtle Beach, Sarasota, FL

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Bike Riding in Sarasota

Since the beach wasn’t quite the option we thought it was going to be, we packed up and finished reading poolside with a snack.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
After exploring some coffee houses for lattes and treats, the birthday plans led us to Marie Selby Gardens at historic Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida. The gardens wind over several acres, encompassing multiple glimpses into the area’s rich history. Included in this campus is an archaeological site dating back more than 5,000 years, a citrus packing facility from the 1800s, and a “winter retreat” — a collection of buildings dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Most buildings were furnished with period furniture and recreated scenes from the various periods. The gardens certainly contain enough for you to spend several hours wandering around, and located right along Sarasota Bay, we found several lookouts to gorgeous views of the water. A particular highlight was the Clyde Butcher photography exhibit, which featured many of his nature photos blown up and displayed on polished tin throughout the paths.

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Front of Guptill House

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Old Children’s Bedroom at Guptill House

Sarasota’s Farmers Market
Is there really something better to do on a Saturday morning? I love a local farmers market; and I find, when traveling, it is an easy way to get to know the local businesses. We headed Downtown to experience The Sarasota Farmers Market; the atmosphere was wonderful with its mix of food vendors, crafts, live music and fresh produce. We explored the booths and stopped at the ones that caught our attention. We ate breakfast prior, so the goal wasn’t to get food, but we decided to try the Mediterranean beef empanadas from The Empanada Girl. They were super good! Definitely a different dough and cooking method from the one I’m used to but so delicious.

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Sarasota Farmers Market, Saturday, March 2, 2024

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Mediterranean Beef Empanadas from The Empanada Girl

The Kürtos Chimney Cake & Bread booth also caught our attention. The bread is made from a sweet yeast dough rolled into a long rope and baked around a cylinder; they had a savory option with cheese and jalapeños and a sweet one consisting of butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. We got some of the latter and have been enjoying it with our morning coffee. Everyone in the house loves it!

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Chimney Bread

We spent the rest of the day trying to see manatees at Manatee Viewing Center in Tampa, but we didn’t have much luck. We got to see some backs at a distance but weren’t graced with a full appearance.

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Path to get to the Manatee Viewing Center. Tampa, FL

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Sunken Garden

The rest of the trip involved a visit to the circus, leisurely strolls on Siesta Key Beach, Wednesday trivia, and wine and sunsets at the dock. I’ll tell you about those in next week’s blog.

— Yasser Ogando, executive director, media

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FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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