Tag Archives: Siesta Key

Sand Castle Friday #20

Sand Castle competitions have turned into Sand Sculpture competitions. I guess people feel they can be more creative by sculpting anything they can think of out of sand.

As we approach the Fall and Snowbird weather, beach towns will be hosting sand sculpting competitions. Beaches are less crowded than during the peak summer seasons so sculptors can spread out and create without infringing on someone’s beach blanket space. I hope  you can find some to enjoy.

Here’s a photo I took several years ago on Siesta Key of a sculpture I really like. Its a sculpture of people building a sand castle.  Or, they could be hugging it.

Sand Castle Love!


Happy Sand Castle Friday!

Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Show

One of my favorite things each year on Siesta Key FL is the sand sculpture competition. It’s coming up, The Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition, from November 14-18, 2014.  Check the website, here, for the schedule of events for these five days of sand excitement.

The event has grown to a spectacular five days.  The sculpting should be phenomenal and inspiring for the wannabe sand artist.  It is so fun to manipulate the sand into fun little (or big) sand castles on a sunny beach day, but these folks take playing with sand to the extreme.

Admission is charged per day and be prepared to spend you cash on lots of other goodies and food while you’re there.  Have fun. Please write in if you go and send some photos that I can post.

Photos from previous years:

Siesta Key Lifeguard Stands

Yellow, blue, green and red. These are the lifeguard stands of Siesta Key, FL. They are so beautiful especially when the sun is so bright and the sky is so clear.

I’ve taken dozens of photos of these lifeguard stands and edited one of each with a special effect to make blank, photo greeting cards. These are for sale now on my Etsy store, “Crafty Beachcomber.”

These photos are 4×6 and great for using as cards or framing for your home or vacation house.  Please take a look; I hope you enjoy them.

Boating with Beggar

While in Sarasota, we went boating with our good friends Bob and Catherine, on the Bay.  Our destination was Midnight Pass (which is closed) to anchor, eat lunch and swim on the beach.  We also know that Megalodon teeth have been found in that area so we thought we’d try to find some.  Catherine had witnesses a young girl pull one out of her scoop of sand one day and there are countless other stories of large shark teeth found in the area.  We had no luck with the teeth but had a gorgeous, sunny day and lots of fun. 

We passed the Pass and headed further south to around south Casey Key to visit Beggar the bottlenose dolphin known to that area.  I’ve heard lots of stories about Beggar and this was our opportunity to see him first hand.  But, before he surfaced, a manatee passed us by.  How cool.  Beggar came around and visited our boat several times as well as others in the area.  

Beggar visits our boat

Beggar was so sweet but didn’t seem too happy that we didn’t have food for him.  He hung around, swam to another boat and came back for a second hello. 


To get his attention you can bang your hand on the side of your boat then when you see him, raise your arm in the air.  He’ll poke his head out of the water to say hi and hopefully get a snack, but you’re not supposed to feed him. 

Midnight Pass

We anchored at Midnight Pass, ate lunch on the boat and got out to explore.  Gary got in the water; so did Bob and Travis.  Austin, Catherine and I hunted for sea shells. 

Casey Key

I had blogged a while ago about how I wanted to walk to Casey Key from Siesta Key.  I wanted to go over the sand at Midnight Pass and go straight south.  Several times the boys and I would start out at Turtle Beach and walk and walk.  We always got to the part of the beach where there were no buildings.  There was usually a ton of shells in heaps, so, being the shell addicts that we are (or rather that I am) we always stopped, picked through them and then walked back to the car with our loot.  As I stood on this beach looking north and south, I realized that we were south of where the shell heap was, and that I had fulfilled my goal of walking over Midnight Pass and onto Casey Key.  Only one time had I walked past the shell heap to where the first house stood.  That is Casey Key.  I just didn’t know it at the time.  There is no sign telling you where you are. 

My boys and I on Midnight Pass. Gary was swimming.

Sand Sculpting on Siesta Key

Mark your calendars for May 2nd for the 37th annual Sand Sculpture Contest on Siesta Key. It will be held at the Public Beach. Registration starts at 8:30 am and you have until 1 pm when the judging starts. There are both youth and adult categories and cash prizes are awarded. 101_1461

I’m always amazed at the creativity of people when it comes to sand sculpting. Last year I saw many people on the beach, just before the contest, in the evenings after they got off from work, or on the weekends, practicing their techniques for the sand sculpture contest. They didn’t simply use a bucket and shovel, either, although a bucket and a shovel was always part of the tools. They had kitchen containers of all shapes and sizes, plaster scrapers, kitchen utensils, and spray bottles of salt water to keep the sand firm.101_1463

Good luck to all who enter and send me your pictures that I can post.

Siesta Key Christmas Tree Lighting 2008

Oh, we had a wonderful time.  After walking to the village with our neighbors, Catherine and Bob, we hung out near the tree in front of Cafe Gabiano’s.  While we waited, Santa was escorted through the Village to the center where the Sheriff’s office is located.  Siren’s blared, lights flashed from the fire truck and ambulance that led the parade.  Following came a golf cart with Santa in the front seat.  The whole parking lot was set up for families to wait in line to visit with the old elf.  Face painting, a balloon-sculpting clown and a barbershop quartet rounded off the festivities on that side of the street.  us1

Back to the tree, Dick Vitale was talking to the crowd about cancer research and the V Foundation’s work to raise money for a cure.  He then sat down to autograph his new book for donations.  The book, “Dick Vitale’s Fabulous 50 Players & Moments in College Basketball”, was going like hotcakes.  When the signing was done the crowd counted down in unison from 10 to 1 and Mr. Vitale flipped the switch that lighted the gorgeous tree.  What a site!  Then, suddenly, snow started to fall on the crowd surrounding the tree.  Ok, it wasn’t real snow.  I don’t think Siesta Key has ever seen snow, but it was fun.lot1

There were some other things going on in the Village but we didn’t take part.  After the tree lighting and some pictures we scooted home.  The kids hadn’t eaten dinner and were starting to notice.  We did make a stop before leaving at the barber shop to hear a tune.  Those singers were great. barber

Siesta Key Christmas Tree Lighting

As I was coming home from the grocery store in the Village, I noticed that the Christmas decorations were put up on the light posts.  They weren’t lighted yet, which made me think of last year’s tree lighting and how much fun we had.  So, when I got home I checked out the Chamber’s website and found this information about the tree lighting this year:

The annual lighting and holiday open house of Siesta Key Village will be held on Saturday November 29, 2008 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Children can give Santa their wish list, have their face painted, visit with Santa’s elves and be entertained by Clifford the Big Red Dog and Wacky Jacky the Clown. Santa’s gift bags provided by Beach Bazaar will be given to the first 250 children who visit with Santa. Santa will arrive by fire truck at approximately 6:15 pm.
Businesses will provide refreshments, while you enjoy live musical entertainment by the Pine View High School Jazz Band, Barbershop Quartets, Key Board Players and choirs singing holiday songs. Ocean Blvd. will be lined with luminaries and businesses will be decorated for the holiday season. Free Trolley Rides will be available from Siesta Key Public Beach to the Village from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm.

The Master of Ceremonies is Dick Vitale.  The “V Foundation for Cancer Research” is raising money that night so bring some cash to donate if you choose.  The tree is located in the Davidson parking lot in front of Cafe Gabbiano.

We had just been here a few weeks and decided to walk down, thinking the traffic would be horrendous.  It really wasn’t.  We we’re yet in the loop of information (I don’t even know if our internet was connected then) so we didn’t know about the trolley from the public beach parking lot.  Anyway, the Village is less than a mile walk from our house so we hoofed it just in time to see the tree lit.  This year we’ll have to get there earlier so we can take a more leisurely walk.  There were a lot of people there and the tree was beautiful.  This year we’re going with friends.  Hope to see you there.

Calvin Park

higel-2As you come across Siesta Drive heading west, it makes a sharp left turn onto Higel Avenue. At that corner on the right hidden behind vegetation is Calvin Park.  Its a nice little place to sit and chill.  There’s a park bench with a babbling spring behind it.higel-3higel-4higel1

An historical marker describes some of the history of Siesta Key and Harry Higel’s influence.  We drove down the road that parallels the park and ended up finding the Higel House.higel-11

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.

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.