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.

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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: www.sarasotajunglegardens.com

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

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 www.weather.com 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 mapquest.com and bigdaddydata.com.  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:   www.birds.cornell.edu  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.  www.siestafarmersmarket.com

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 www.GWIZ.org

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: http://artfestival.com/ 

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: www.siestafarmersmarket.com