It starts—as scientists tell us all life did—with the sea. Standing on dazzling white sand, looking out over the vast Gulf of Mexico, you fall in love with Sarasota. And if you happen to be doing that at sunset, when the mirror-calm water shimmers with every imaginable shade of pink and gold and purple, you fall even harder. It happened to me and my friends and neighbors, and if this is your very first visit, I can pretty much guarantee it will happen to you.
But if, like me and so many thousands of others, you end up following your heart to make your home on these shores, you soon realize that our city offers all sorts of riches beyond our beaches, from world-class arts, sports and outdoor adventures to intriguing shops and a lively dining scene. All that makes Sarasota a great place to live as well as to visit—although I confess you can get so caught up in your everyday life that, as longtime lovers often do, you neglect what drew you together in the first place.
I live just a few blocks from the beach, but too many nights I come home tired and close the door behind me. And it’s easy to fill every weekend day with errands, chores and family and social events. “We need to go to the beach,” my boyfriend and I tell each other—for days, weeks, sometimes even months.
And then, finally, one night after work, we do. Walking over the dune, we feel the air change. It’s softer, fresher, tinged with salt. We take off our shoes and the sand squeaks between our toes. We sit close to the water, holding hands and watching tiny sandpipers scurry along the edges of each splashing wave with uncanny precision. By the time that glowing sun has slipped into the Gulf, we’re lost in wonder, in love all over again with this magical sliver where land meets sea, the enchanted zone that’s the heart and soul of Sarasota.
You’ll find a world of things to do in this Visitor Annual, but I suggest you begin—and end—with the beach. I promise it will ignite—or rekindle—your love affair with Sarasota.