Monthly Archives: October 2008

Halloween on Siesta Key

We just got back from Safe Trick or Treat at the Village.  The kids had a great time.  The merchants were so pleasant and generous to everyone.  I took the boys with their neighborhood friends and some school friends of the neighbors.  There must have been about 50 of us in our group.  Some merchants ran out of goodies, which is ok.  Others had so much that the children each got a handful rather than the typical one-piece-each.  Some adults were given hand-held-mixers at the bank.  Wow.  I already have one so I wasn’t going to be greedy.  We met the folks at the Chamber.  They were super nice.  They’re friends of my husband so naturally we had to go meet them.  If you’re ever near the Chamber office, stop in and say hi to Mike and Debbie and all the volunteers. 

The boys counted their booty when we got home.  They got some really good candy.  Austin got more Reeses Cups than anything else.  Good thing he likes them.  Travis was appalled by the Red Hots.  He put them in the medicine cabinet for the next time he has a stuffy head.  Red Hots and spicy Chinese food are great for colds.

The restaurants were gearing up for fun so head on down.  Enjoy and drink responsibly.

Busy Fall Weekend On and Around Siesta Key Oct 31-Nov 2, 2008

I like fall festivals.  So I thought I’d write about what’s happening around town this weekend: Halloween weekend.  There seem to haunted houses set up everywhere you look and I’ve mentioned them in past posts so lets move on to the more family friendly events:

Remember…Siesta Key has their annual Trick or Treat event in the Village on Friday.  It starts at 3pm and ends at 6pm.  Apparently all the merchants with balloons by their doors are handing out candy to young ones.  Our neighbors are taking their boys to the Siesta Cove neighborhood across Midnight Pass from the Catholic Church.  I was told the neighborhood has their own celebration and in previous years the streets have been packed with trick or treaters of all ages. 

Get up early and drive around for yard/garage/estate sales.  They seem to be the thing this time of year.  I never get there early enough so I miss out on the “good stuff”.   I did pass by one in the spring that was just getting underway on a Friday and got a double-tiered end table for $2.  One leg was wobbly so I folded up a match book cover (with out the dangerous stuff attached) and slid it into the gap.  It doesn’t wobble any more.  I’m proud of that find.

Jungle Gardens has a “Creatures of the Night” party on Friday from 6-9pm.  Check out their website:

The Sarasota Blues Festival is Saturday Nov 1 at Ed Smith Stadium starting at 11am.

On Saturday, Nov 1, Sunnyside Village, located at 5201 Bahia Vista St., will hold its Holiday Bazaar from 10am-3pm.  My boys’ 4H club will be holding their bake sale at the Bazaar.  Hope ya’ll make an effort to come out and support us.  We’re new to this club (since we’ve only lived here a year), but I understand the pumpkin bread goes really fast.  Our young bakers are making extra this year hoping it will still be available to afternoon shoppers.  We’ve baked Tollhouse cookies.  Yum!  We have the afternoon shift so if you come out ask for me.  I’d love to meet my readers.  The phone number for directions is 941-371-2750.

Farmers’ Markets: Sarasota on Saturday, Siesta Key on Sunday.

Artists’ Market: Starting Nov and running every Saturday through May, this market will be held at the corner of PIneapple Ave and Laurel Street in downtown Sarasota from 10am-4:30pm.

If you’re a Florida resident and have proof (like a driver’s license) you can get into Historic Spanish Point FREE this weekend.  Call 966-5214 for more info.

Feel like driving to Venice?  Then try the Art Fest, both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.  Admission is FREE and it’s located in the historic part of town.

And, there’s always the beach.  We have some friends coming to town for the weekend to celebrate their son’s birthday so we’ll be on the beach Sunday.  Happy Birthday, Tomas!

Have fun and thanks for reading my blog.

Fruit juice on the Key…not your average lemonade stand

We moved to Siesta Key last November and the boys instantly made friends with a family around the corner…3 boys, similar ages.  They decided to start a business together making juice from the fruit on the trees.  A real fruit juice stand here on the Key.  There are some abandoned homes in the neighborhood (owners who can’t make it down for a visit) or homes that are occupied maybe a month out of the year.  There is, consequently, unharvested fruit on their properties.  Plus we have fruit trees and so do the other boys.  Some neighbors had even donated their fruit to the boys.  The business ended when the trees were picked and we all found other things to do.  They did well last year, making about $20 total which they evenly split among themselves. 

Today, they started the business again for the Fall.  They had used fruit from one of our yards to concoct a Sour Gush of vitamin C.   This time they’ve added kumquats to the mix.  I tasted some just now and, boy, was it sour, but tasty…like drinking a sour gummy!  What a great recipe.  They’ve already made 75 cents today.  Their goal is to have money to buy Christmas presents this year. 

So, if you’re walking or biking along the south end of Higel, turn east onto Sandy Nook then right onto Sandy Cove.  The third house on the left will most likely have a fruit juice stand at the end of the driveway with 4 middle school boys and a kindergartener selling their juice.  Stop in, please.  Hours haven’t been determined but for now its going to be sporadic during the week between the end of the school day and dinner time; maybe some Saturday mornings, too.  Customers were paying up to a dollar per small cup last year.  Just bring a few quarters.  I’ll think they’ll take all the “donations” they can get.

I’ll let you know if they fix their hours.

Siesta Key’s mystery solved

I’ve lived on Siesta Key for almost a year.  One of the first things I noticed is that if you go to any Google map, mapquest or for the local radar there’s a town on the north end of the Key by the name of Bailey Hall.  Of course I said to myself, “what is Bailey Hall?”

I googled “Bailey Hall”.  There are a lot of Bailey Halls in the country as well as just in Florida.  They’re mostly connected to a University (Cornell has one as well as Broward College).  I found Bailey Hall on and  These are just place-listing websites.  After zooming in on the map and finding the exact location on the Key, I rode my bike there (less than a mile of fun) and found new homes.  So I emailed the Siesta Key Association.  They had no idea.  Then, I contacted the US Post Office to find out if they had any history on Bailey Hall (since it appears to be a town of some kind) and if they had had a separate zip code at one time and if so why was it changed.  Nothing.  I was thinking maybe Siesta Key was once called Bailey Hall, just like Casey Key was once Treasure Island.  But who was Bailey?  Sarasota is rich in circus history so I thought it might be the one-time home of the Bailey’s.  Wrong.  The only other Bailey I could find, in the local history books, was a banker in Miami.

My search continued and continued.  Nothing was found in the indexes of any book I could locate.  I finally found the Sarasota County History Center located just east of Cattleman Rd near Proctor.  The Sarasota County History Center is like a library full of books and reports and papers on local history.  You can stop by during regular business hours to do your own research.  Be aware though that there may be a meeting going on in the main room and you’ll have to go back another time.  The address is 6062 Porter Way and their research hours are Monday-Thursday 10am to 3pm.

Anyway, I was greeted by Jeff LeHurd, who knew immediately what I was talking about because he had included information on Bailey Hall in his books.  He found several sources of information for me including pages from the Sarasota Visitor’s Guides of 1942 and 1946, a page from his own book called Sarasota…A Sentimental Journey, and an article from the Sarasota Herald, the “Mail-It-Away” Edition of the Venice Section dated December 2, 1934.

So here goes…

Bailey Hall was a private school for “over-active, slow or retarded boys”.  One ad called it “A special place for boys” while another ad heading read “For ‘Unusual’ Boys Bailey Hall”.  

Bailey Hall was a school started in Katonah, N.Y., by Dr. Rudolph Fried of Czechoslovakia.  It was first known as the Florence Nightingale School.  (I looked this up and you can find stories online about the remaining abandoned buildings in Katonah).  According to the Sarasota Herald article he had just moved 25 selected students and staff to FL for the winter.  He believed that Sarasota offered the students “the needed opportunity … to learn the knack of relaxing and doing nothing.”  How cool of a school!  

Bailey Hall was first located on Treasure Island (now Casey Key) in the former Inlet Inn property owned by Dr. Fred Albee and later moved to the area near Ocean Blvd. and Givens Street on Siesta Key situated on the Gulf front.  The enrollment in 1942 was limited to 35 residents and 10 day students. 

The name Florence Nightingale School was changed to Bailey Hall to honor Dr. Pearce Bailey who founded the Neurological Institute and the Children’s Classification Clinic of Vanderbilt Hospital.

Mystery solved…or maybe only half solved.  I still want to know: when and why it closed, where did it go and why is it a town location on mapquest?  

I’m guessing it shut down permanently since its sister school in N.Y. is no longer around, either.  As to when and why, maybe I can find out.  And maybe City Hall can help with the “town” question.  That will all be a later blog.  For now, there are residences on the Gulf front where I imagine Bailey Hall had been.  Ah….progress.

Bald Eagles

We have had the pleasure of watching a pair of Bald Eagles (one adult and one juvenile) flying around our house this week.

I’m guessing it a mother teaching its young to fly.

Yesterday I got an awesome look at the two.  As I was on my driveway with my dog, the two birds swooped down low and I thought they’d land on my house roof (its a one story home) but then they swooped up rather high, circled around and came back again.  This happened several times.  I guess I watched them for five minutes before they took off over the neighbor’s house and headed east.  A while later we were eating dinner on the lani and I saw, over the trees out back, the eagles once more.  It was like playtime.  They seemed to be having a blast swooping high and low, landing on a tree limb and taking off again.  The last I saw of them was after dinner they headed west toward the beach.  I’m sure they came back, but we went for a family/dog walk before the sun set. 

Shortly into the walk, however, a dozen Osprey flew over heading east.  What a noisey bunch but they’re so cool. 

The Osprey and the Bald Eagle sound so much alike.  I like to go to the Cornell birding site to listen to bird sounds.  Check it out:  Click on the left side “about birds”, then click on the top bar “bird guide”.

Cornell has an Ornithology study course that I’m thinking of taking just for fun.  You can find that information by clicking the “learn about birds” tab.  Happy surfing.

October events in and around Siesta Key FL

Here are some more October events for the Siesta Key area.  Check back in a week and I’ll have November events posted.  I’ll try to keep you busy while you’re here, although I know that the number one thing you’ll do is hang at the beach.  

Farmers Market on Siesta Key  Every Sunday 7am-noon, Siesta Village at the Davidson parking lot.

Moonlight Movies Moonlight Movies at G.WIZ  Produced by the Sarasota Film Festival, Moonlight Movies take place every Friday Night from October 17 – November 21 at 6 pm. On the beautiful bayfront at G.WIZ. Bring picnics, pillows & blankets, or low chairs. FREE!  Check out other activities at

REMINDER:  14th Annual Sarasota Craft Festival  Saturday, October 18 10am to 5pm.  For the past 12 years, it has also become popular for this Annual Craft Festival which garners crowds of fine craft lovers each year. From paintings, to woodwork, visitors will find it at this well organized show. The Sarasota Craft Festival takes place along Main Street from Selby Park to Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota.   Crafts include folk art, pottery, handmade jewelry and paintings, handmade clothing and scented soaps and body products. For more information, call (954) 472-3755. For more info: 

Sarasota Orchestra presents Beethoven, the Angry Revolutionary October 18 at 8pm at the Sarasota Opera House.  Call 941-953-3434 for ticket info.

And just so you can get tickets in time I want to let you know about the opera performance in early November.  We’ll be there as it is The Barber of Seville which is my boys’ favorite opera thanks to Bug Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends.

Sarasota Opera presents: Barber of Seville.  Several nights during early November starting the 7th.

Siesta Key Farmer’s Market

Today was the first day of the Siesta Key Farmer’s Market.  We waited with anticipation all week and then forgot about it until we headed through the Village on the way to the beach for our usual Sunday morning beach outing.  So we stopped in.

It’s located in the Davidson Plaza and at this time of year there were parking spaces, although when we got there it was almost over.  It starts at 7am and ends at noon.  We saw bread vendors, soap makers, olive oil, organic herbs and vegetable plants, crafts, crab cakes, some veggies and a pirate.  It looked like it had been successful because there were vendors closing up early (as sign that they had sold out).  We’ll make it earlier next week.  The Farmer’s Market is supposed to run every Sunday but their website doesn’t give a time length that I could find, i.e., “through the Fall”, “all year long”, or anything like that.  Hopefully it’ll be around for a long time.  I like the one in Sarasota but I’m lazy on the weekend and don’t like leaving the Key if I don’t have to, so I hope this grows to be a big deal.

Check out their website:

What To Do in the Rain on Siesta Key

Updated July 27, 2015

Its one of those rainy days on the Key.  As a resident of Siesta Key there’s plenty to do around the house but for the visitors of our Key who don’t have home improvements to work on, errands to run, friends to visit or other stuff going on, I put together a little list of things to do when it rains on Siesta Key.

The obvious, for a relaxing rainy day at the beach, especially if you’re staying in a condo/house is to be prepared.  Bring books, puzzles, board games, video games and DVDs with you to anticipate a not-so-perfect day at the beach.  That’s harder to do if you have a hotel room because you’ll likely get cabin fever quicker.  But for real excitement here are some ideas:  if there’s no thunder in the area, and your condo/hotel has a pool and you don’t care about getting wet (that’s a joke, ha) go swimming in the rain.  If you have a poncho/slicker/umbrella and don’t care about dodging rain drops just do what you’d normally do…shop at our cool stores in the Village or walk on the beach.  Otherwise, we have a great many restaurants to dine in so take a board game and some money for dessert and hang out at one of them.

Leaving the Key, just over the south bridge (Stickney Point) you’ll find Books-A-Million (we love visiting bookstores when we travel), and going south on Tamiami Trail, there’s the bowling alley, and a mall with a movie theatre.  A bit further south is the Tervis retail store.  Tervis is a Florida company and the entire collection of available cup designs is there for purchase.

Off the north bridge (Siesta Drive) you’ll find Barnes and Noble.  There’s also a mall on the east side of the Trail just north of Barnes and Noble.  If you go south on 41 you’ll come to the Landings shopping center on the right and Phillippi Creek shops on the left.

If it’s just a small, annoying rain that’s keeping you off the beach, don your rain coats or umbrellas and shop around St. Armand’s Circle.  Better yet, hop in the car to drive to Anna Maria Island.  It’s a nice drive up the Key (start on Long Boat and drive north), stop at Holmes Beach for a little shopping and great ice cream, go across the bridge to Cortez and visit the Sea Hag on the left. It’s an awesome indoor-outdoor shop of nautical decor and nick-nacks. While in the area, have lunch at Star Fish.  It’s one of our favorites.  Go back over the bridge and head north to Anna Maria Island. There is a little shopping area that we love as well.  Stop in, have some fun, talk to the parrots caged at one of the stores.  If you missed StarFish and you’re hungry, eat at Beach House Restaurant or Rod and Reel.  On your way back to Siesta Key, just over the bridge to Longboat Key, turn left.  Drive back into the neighborhood and if your lucky, you’ll see the peacocks roaming the neighborhood.  I don’t know if they are still there but according the latest report I could find, they may. Unfortunately, they are a nuisance for the residents as they take over every free space to roam, nest and make noise.  But for the visitor, it’s cool to see.  Just be respectful driving slowly through the neighborhood; people live there.

Annoying little rains that keep you off of the beach are still great times to throw on that poncho, grab a little bag and go beach combing.  Since the water may be churned up from a storm, and people generally stay away from the surf at that time, you may be able to find some cool finds.  South on Casey Key, stop at the public beach and collect some sharks teeth.  They’re everywhere.

Take a Marina Jack cruise.

Our totally indoor museums are:

South Florida Museum in Bradenton has a museum, planetarium and aquarium.  They also host family nights and Friday matinees.

Classic Car Museum ( – We went their on a field trip with some other homeschoolers and had a blast.  The tour was excellent and thorough.  My boys (huge Beatles fans) loved seeing John Lennon’s Mercedes Roadster and Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper.  I don’t know if those cars are still on exhibit. Call before you go, if you want to, but the museum is really worth visiting regardless.

Ringling Museum of Art and their circus museums ( – we went with the grandparents.  The circus museum was incredible.  It took us several hours to get through the circus stuff, gardens and only part of the art museum.  We were set on the Grandma Moses exhibit which is all we saw so we’re planning a trip back.  I understand Monday afternoons are free.  If you’re a teacher, check out their educator’s page on the website for discounts.  I recommend the Ca d’Zan (the mansion), also.  My husband and I had an abbreviated tour of the building which is amazing.  He had worked for the Cincinnati Reds and we were blessed that they held one of their family/staff dinners at the mansion during Spring Training one year, when  so we got to go in.  We mostly enjoyed the back veranda.  What a view!  What a sunset!  Hope they choose their dinner there again this year.  Take an umbrella because on a rainy day you’ll get wet going from building to building.

The Reds have moved but the Orioles are in town now.  On a good day in March you can catch a game.  You can still go when it rains, unless the game is called. Check out the gift shop but call first to see if it is open.

The Suncoast Science Center is open to the public and you can pay for a day  pass to tinker scientifically.  Call for information: 941-840-4394

The Ringling College of Art and Design has an art gallery. It is located just north of town along Tamiami Trail.

MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium ( – they have a lot of events going on so check out their website.

Need a great place to eat?  Our website,, has a complete and up-to-date listing of great dining places we’ve tried.  It includes wonderful restaurants and bakeries in Sarasota.

I have since moved away (why???, job related) but on a recent vacation back to the area we encountered a few very rainy moments. We used this time to go thrifting. The Sarasota/Bradenton area is home to some of the finest Goodwill stores we have found in the South. It was a lot of fun rummaging through pre-owned stuff. All of the stores are a little different. If you only go to one, check out the large one located off Hwy 30 between Sarasota and Bradenton.

There are a ton of other things to do in Sarasota: shop on Main Street, check out the aquarium in the kids section at the Selby public library, visit the art galleries.  We also like the bakery and the bookstore.  There is a movie theatre there, too.  Look into the concert schedules at the Florida Studio Theatre (, the Sarasota Symphony (, Van Wezel ( as there may be a daytime event.  During the fall/winter months there is always something going on at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, mostly on the weekends.  They host flea markets, stamp shows, coin shows, shell shows.  Here’s their link:, but if it doesn’t work just Google “sarasota municipal auditorium”.

Here is the Sarasota calendar of events.

There’s still more I could list but this should keep you busy on a rainy day.  You could always just sit on your balcony and look out at the Gulf.

Sarasota Events

I just picked up the Fall 2008-Winter 2009 Events and Facilities Guide for Sarasota County Parks and Recreation.  You can get them at any of the public libraries.  If you’re not here yet, check it out on line at  On the left side of that page scroll down to the Sarasota County Links and click Parks and Recreation.  You’ll see the book cover and a link to open the PDF file.

There are a ton of events in the county during the Fall and Winter when the snowbirds are here and need things to do.  It’s my favorite time, too, although since I homeschool the boys I can’t make it to all the activities I’d like.  But I picked out a few of my favorites:  Caspersen Beach Walk (I can take the boys on a nature walk aka science class), Brown Bag Concerts at Phillippi Estate Park Thursday’s at noon (music appreciation not to mention a lunch break), The Gulf Coast Mineral, Fossil & Gem Club Show (more science).   There are plenty of things to do on the weekend such as Farmer’s Markets, Arts & Craft Festivals, Fido Fest (for the dog), Christmas celebrations (Lights at Selby Botanical Gardens, celebrations at the Bayfront), Symphony concerts, fishing tournaments, the Sandy Claws Beach Run (December) and of course just hanging out on the beach because its so incredibly gorgeous and the weather is perfect. 

Enjoy planning your Fall and Winter.  My calendar’s getting full already.

Next post: what to do here when it rains.