For you, LB and KG.
1. Leave Venice, Florida. Visit Siesta Key Beach, voted the number one beach in the 21st annual Top 10 Beach List, produced by coastal expert Dr. Beach (not a licensed physician). Combine this with a boat tour around the Keys where the narrator will point out extravagantly built houses, quiz you on native wildlife, and share some local lore.
2. Leave Venice, Florida. Visit The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota where you can tour the beautiful grounds and gardens inside and outside of the extensive art museum, see olde timey circus memorabilia and equipment, and bask in the sun on the gorgeous bayfront terrace of the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion. Arrive right when they open at 10am to get an early start with fewer crowds and then wrap up by lunchtime. Alternatively, arrive at 5pm on Thursday for a discounted ticket ($10 instead of the whopping $25) and stay for the sunset on the bay.
3. Visit Venice: Go to Manasota Beach or Casperson Beach and collect prehistoric sharks’ teeth by the handful. Stroll along historic Venice Main Street (KG can take an architectural/historical walking tour) and peruse the Saturday farmer’s market offerings. Go on a factory tour of Tervis Tumblers.
4. Eat in Venice: Start your day with a perfect cup of coffee and a bagel with lox at BlackGold Coffee Roasters. Lunch and dinner? Of course, you can Yelp it but here are a few ideas. Thai at Thai Bistro. Seafood at the newly opened Bonefish Grill or drive back to the airport and visit Captain Brian’s Seafood Market in Sarasota. Meh Mexican at Mi Pueblo. BBQ at Sonny‘s. Japanese at Kumo. Or, you know, just stay at home and get hot and cold running Pakistani food from Nani and Italian food from Pete next door. MUST get Nokomis Groves orange ice cream for dessert. An orange ice cream a day keeps the blues away.
5. Shop in and around Venice. Ellenton Premium Outlets has all of the same stores as our Leesburg version but none of the inclement weather and silly “L” shaped layout. Westfield Sarasota Square – same as above, just replace “Leesburg” with “Wheaton”. Stock up on beach reading at the Jacaranda Library or any of the nearby Goodwill Bookstores. Target and Walmart are nearby and seemingly always open.
6. Play in Venice. Swim in either the neighborhood’s heated pool around the corner or the VGCC clubhouse’s heated pool up the street (float vest for AP should fit BSG quite nicely). Play tennis at the clubhouse as well, but be sure to adhere to their strict dress code (which we, of course, did not – playing in t-shirts and jeans – but it was dusk and nobody cared). Let Babu take you out to the driving range where you can practice your swing. Go bowling at AMF Venice Lanes (but avoid league nights by calling ahead). See who can be the first to organize all of the puzzles and games jumbled up in our closet.
9. Relax, dude. You’re on vacation. Soak up some warmth in the lanai (and act as though you use the word “lanai” on a regular basis). Soak up some warmth in the hot tub at the clubhouse pool. Catch up on your Google Reader. Watch some telly on Nani and Babu’s brand-new behemoth HDTV with all the premium channels and, new addition, Jadoo TV.
10. Take advantage of the free babysitting. Go see a movie at Frank Theatres (sorry, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is no longer showing). Go see the sunset at the beach (since BSG will be asleep long before then anyway). Go to sleep early and sleep in late.