Welcome back, everybody! We’re still in Sarasota for today’s blog post because there so much to see and do here that it wouldn’t fit in just one blog. Here are just a few more things to see and do while you’re in “Circus City”.
Living in an Amish Paradise/Pinecraft, Sarasota, FL
A failed celery venture first brought the “Plain people” here from up north in the 1920s, but it’s the warm weather that has brought these Amish and Mennonite snowbirds back every since. Once their crops are harvested up north, they make their annual winter trip back down to their Pinecraft neighborhood once again and spend a few weeks in their own little Amish paradise.
So, what do they do once they get here? Well, on most days you can find them in Pinecraft Park playing shuffleboard, socializing, or walking under the shade of the park’s mature oak trees. Still others might be hanging out in the long lines for ice cream at the Scoops and Sprinkles Creamery or waiting excitedly for the charter buses that bring more of their brethren down from Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The “English” (what the Amish call any non-Amish person) venture into Pinecraft for a couple of other reasons, however: Yoder’s and Der Dutchman, two of the finest restaurants in all of Sarasota.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Yoder’s serves up heaping helpings of traditional comfort food including meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, and country fried steak. However, they’re most famous for their pies that come in two dozen flavors including apple, banana cream, and Florida’s traditional Key Lime Pie complete with a graham crust. (We favor the Southern Pecan Pie, ourselves.) For menus and hours, visit their website here.
In its 54th year of business, Der Dutchman also serves up Amish comfort food including broasted chicken, roast turkey, meatloaf, and burgers. Though they, too, are famous for their pies and other desserts, we suggest you try their delicious made from scratch donuts. You’ll find their menu and hours here.
Smooching Sailor Statue/Bayfront Park, Sarasota, FL
History buffs will likely recognize the 25’-tall aluminum statue located in Sarasota’s Bayfront Park which depicts a sailor embracing and kissing a woman dressed as nurse. Known today as Unconditional Surrender, the statue by artist Seward Johnson was based on the famous World War II photograph “V-J Day in Times Square” taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945.
Using computer copying technology, Johnson originally created a life-size bronze predecessor to the giant statues. The first was a 25-feet-tall Styrofoam statue erected in 2005 in Sarasota as a part of a temporary Bayfront Park exhibit. Later, using the same technology, Johnson would make several other statues out of aluminum which were put displayed in various places around the world including New York City; Hamilton, New Jersey; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Normandy, France. The Styrofoam version, however, would make its way from Sarasota to the Port of San Diego’s Tuna Harbor Park where it still stands today.
In 2009, an aluminum version of the statue was brought back for a Bayfront Park event and was once again only supposed to be temporary. However, Sarasotan and WWII vet Jack Curran purchased the statue for $500,000 and loaned it to the city for 10 years. Soon after, the statue was erected near the U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue intersection.
Unfortunately, on the afternoon of April 26, 2012, a white Mercedes being driven by a 62-year-old woman jumped the curb. Narrowly missing a large palm tree and a light pole, it crashed into the smooching sailor leaving several cracks and a three-foot hole in the sailor’s shoe. The lady claimed she blacked out because of an allergic reaction she had to a shot she had gotten at the doctor’s office moments before the accident. Nevertheless, the statue was quickly taken down in the interest of public safety.
The statue was eventually repaired, and today it stands in Bayfront Park between O’Leary’s Tiki Bar and Grill and Marina Jack. The park is open every day from 5AM to 11PM daily and admission is free.
Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy/2121 North Tamiami Trail
Passing between the two giant pink flamingos that flank the entrance should give you some idea about what this museum is all about. It’s not one of those hoity-toity art museums where people talk about 15th century color palettes and the virtues of horse hair and quill brushes over synthetic hair and plastic handles. No siree! This art museum is actually pretty fun.
While earning her Bachelor of Art from Eastern Kentucky University in 1981 and her Bachelor of Fine Art from Ringling College of Art & Design in 1991, Marietta Lee had the chance to visit many art museums. What she noticed was that few women artists were represented as well as there being a lack of humorous works of art. Lee decided to do something about that.
In 2006 she founded the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy was named in honor of the Marriettas in her family that came both before and after her: Her mother Marietta (or “Etta” as she was known), her grandmother Marietta (“Grams”) and her niece Marietta (who is apparently still waiting on a nickname).
In 2008 she purchased the building and gardens the museum is currently located in today as way to show people that art can be a positive and whimsical force in our lives. Today the museum exhibits a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and mixed media that range from classic to lighthearted and fun. What’s more about half of the artists are women, half are men and most of the artists are still alive! (Well, you certainly can’t say that of Rembrandt or Picasso now, can you?)
However, the inside of the museum is just the beginning, as outside you’ll find the Lee Family Gardens showcasing a stainless steel rocket ship, a one-person underwater submersible known as a bathysphere, flying pigs, seahorses, and so much more. All of these are tucked within a historic oak grove with orchids and tropical plants native to the area.
The museum is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 1PM to 4PM from late November to May.
There is a suggested donation of $10.00 per adult, but kids 12 and under are free and there’s plenty of free parking available.
For more information, call or check out their website here.
Did you know that Florida Wawa stores carry your favorite Stuckey’s Maple Flavored Toasted Pecans? That means if you’re craving some delicious Stuckey’s pecans while touring around Sarasota, go ahead and stop in one of the many Wawa stores in the area to get your Stuckey’s Maple Flavored Toasted Pecans fix.
Of course, you can always get your favorite road trip snacks like our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, classic Stuckey’s Pecan Pralines and our family favorite Hunkey Dorey popcorn snacks delivered right to your door. Head over to stuckey’s.com today and place your order for your next big road trip. (And check out our new Four Flavor Pecan Sampler Multi-Pack with a 2oz. Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll while you’re there!)
And don’t forget, if you’re looking for more exciting and fun things to along America’s third coast, visit gogulfstates.com and start planning your next big road trip today!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again.
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!