Friday, August 12, 2016

Handy GPS Addresses for your Visit to Sarasota

Gone are the days when a host can suggest activity destinations to house guests by describing the routes. Now that most visitors use their GPS to discover our beaches and attractions, the easiest way to orient them is to provide local addresses that they can enter into their smart phones. And away they'll go!

Here's a selection of handy GPS locations for exploring Sarasota:

Downtown Sarasota: Mattison's City Grille, 1 Lemon Avenue, Sarasota 34236
There are lots of international restaurants on Main Street, especially between Palm Avenue and Orange Avenue. Whole Foods Market is around the corner from Mattison's.

Burns Square: 556 S Pineapple Ave, Sarasota 34236
Charming shopping and dining district, with Burns Court art cinema. Just two blocks south of downtown Sarasota

Siesta Key Village: 5124 Ocean Boulevard, Sarasota 34242  

(Sun Garden Cafe, Village Cafe, or The Broken Egg are good for breakfast; also, farmers market on Sundays 9-1, with artisans, a little food, live music)

Southside Village: 1859 Hillview Street, Sarasota 34239

Restaurants & shops, including Gateway to India, Chutney's, Fandango, Pacific Rim, MoJo's, Veronica Fish & Oyster, Libby's, Morton's Gourmet Market, The Serving Spoon, Knick's Tavern, and moreNote: Fandango sometimes has live music.

Sarasota Bayfront: Marina Jack restaurant, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota 34236

the Blue Sunshine Patio Grille (first floor, in back of
restaurant) is a great place to relax and watch sunset over the
bayfront; live music every afternoon and evening

St Armands Circle/Lido Key: 300 Madison Drive, Sarasota FL 34236

many restaurants and shops, with easy access to the beach

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Boomers Relocating to Sarasota: What about the Dog(s)?

When I got my wonderful dog back recently from "doggie camp" (Just4Paws Pet Resort) after my short trip to New York, I asked "camp" co-director Marcus Nunn if business was slowing down at the boarding kennel since we're entering off-season here in Sarasota. "No, actually, we're quite full right now. We have a number of long-term guests staying with us."

I asked Marcus to clarify the circumstances that might require long-term boarding. It turns out that there are two categories of dog owners I hadn't thought about before:

Some visitors drive or fly their dogs down to Sarasota, but can't have them at the home or condo they're renting here. So they board them at Just4Paws Pet Resort, where they are given several daily walks, have their own indoor and outdoor private spaces, and can enjoy "life at the farm" around other pooches, in view of the magnificent peacocks that patrol the outer grounds. An added bonus is that the pet owners can visit their pooches or cats at "camp", so they don't have to miss them entirely while they're in boarding.
Dogs on a walk at Just4Paws Pet Resort, Sarasota FL

The other group includes Boomers renting temporary quarters while they build their new home here. If they're not allowed to have pets in the temporary rental, they can board them at Just4Paws. 

Another version of this relocation scenario is that Boomers relocating to Sarasota may need to transport their pet(s) to Sarasota before the family actually moves down here. A long-term temporary boarding situation assures them that their dog(s)--or cat(s)-- will be well cared for until they can resettle permanently.

Interestingly, there are also pet owners who choose to take their furry companions with them when they travel to Sarasota, even if they can't keep them in their rental condo, because they have more confidence in Marcus and Moya Nunn at Just4Paws than they do in the kennels up north where they have their regular home.

What to do with the pooch or the cat is a very important logistical concern for anyone visiting or relocating to Sarasota. Luckily, because this is a resort area with experience in handling such complicated moves, there are options that can reassure Boomers and their pets.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Boomers Relocating to Sarasota: Planning Now for an Independent Tomorrow

From the time I entered college, and for the next 30 years, I periodically visited my great-aunt Caroline in her apartment in New York City. She was opinionated, active and independent, was a volunteer English teacher to foreign-born high school students, and took the subway alone until she was 90 years old, despite poor vision and hearing. 

From my visits with Caroline I learned about how to structure my living situation to keep me independent as long as I could be. 

For instance, she said, "Always make sure your house or apartment has two bedrooms and two baths, so you can get live-in help when you need it." Such a moment seemed very far in the distant future to me, then, but I filed it away and went on with my young life.

Now that I'm moving towards later phases of life, anticipating the possibility of reaching the age of my parents' generation, I think more about how to take care of my current and future needs. . 

While there are lots of well-run, socially engaging, supportive retirement home options out there, along with being extremely expensive, living in one of them would deprive me of most of the things that are important to me in my daily life. 

Here are some of the things that matter to me: 

  • the company of my dog 
  • enough space for him to play and to be walked where he can interact with friendly neighbors 
  • visual and tactile access to the earth and to plants and native critters like squirrels, geckos, birds and butterflies 
  • a yard with space for small gardens that I can tend and enjoy
  • easy access to outdoor space throughout the day and evening
  • visual access to other people's lives and dogs as they pass by my window 
  • daily chats with neighbors who enjoy seeing my dog and me walk by 
  • walking access to basic shopping and dining, including the opportunity for casual discussions with the people who work there 
  • going out for a couple of hours each night to enjoy food and live music in the midst of other people
  • a managably sized house that I can maintain myself, with occasional help from a handyman and lawn service
Recognizing that I can't find most of these things at a retirement home, and that I can't afford to be in one anyway, last year I implemented phase one of my own plan to age in place, to create my own NORC (naturally occurring retirement community): 

With the help of a versatile handyman, I created a separate guest suite in my small house. For now, it provides me with needed income to keep up with mortgage payments, as I host visitors to my city for short stays. Longer-term, though, it will allow me to have live-in aides if I reach a point where I can't do all my daily support tasks myself. 

A recent outpatient surgery provided me with the opportunity to try phase two of my NORC plan. Because I'd be returning home right after coming out of general anesthesia, I needed someone to pick me up from the surgery center and drive me the few blocks to my house. I decided to ask a neighbor I knew only from walking my dog past his house. Over the years, we'd become friendly, and it was clear that we shared similar values about everyday life. I decided that this was a good time to suggest an exchange of reliability: I'd be here for him if he ever needed help, and would be grateful if he'd help me now. He said he'd be happy to be my post-surgery ride home. 

Because I didn't have anyone at home who could ensure my safety after I returned post-anesthesia, the surgery center said that I had to hire home aides to stay with me for 24 hours. Here was phase three of my NORC plan: I called a local home aide service and arranged for 3 shifts of CNA companions to stay with me. This reminded me of Aunt Caroline who had regular aides to help her with household tasks when she was living alone in her New York apartment. Now, apparently, it was my turn to add this layer to my own support system.

Since I'd already created my guest suite, I was able to accommodate the aides who stayed with me. It never occurred to me when I finished the suite last year that I'd get a chance to use it for this purpose so soon, but it turned out to be perfect timing, and it worked smoothly.

Now, as the scent of spring flowers starts to float through my neighborhood, I'm grateful to be living in my own little house, with my dog in the garden, sand under my feet in the yard, neighbors nearby, and access to the everyday delights that are important to me. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Natural Food Restaurants in Sarasota

If you're looking for healthy natural food restaurant menus in Sarasota, with an emphasis on vegetarian choices, check out these local rating and review sites:

Keep in mind, too, that Sarasota is known for its international cuisine options. Indian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican, and other specialty restaurants usually have many vegetarian options on the menu.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Notary Services: Processing the Documents of Life

There are times in life when we need documents witnessed or notarized in order to proceed with important events. Sometimes you can take care of this detail at your local bank or copy shop, as long as there's a notary on staff. 

But on other occasions, you'll need to find a professional document processing service to provide the witnessing and notary required.

Here are two examples: 

Recently I had to get a mortgage document notarized. Conveniently, I was able to bring it to my local bank, where my account manager notarized it for me as a customer-courtesy. Easy.

But, when I updated my will a few days later, I found out that neither the bank nor the local copy shop would notarize wills. 

Luckily, I'd saved the contact information for a notary service I'd used a few years ago when the same situation came up. For a very reasonable fee, Jennifer Moore, of, notarized my documents and served as a witness, too. 

While there, I learned that Jennifer's original business was--and still includes--officiating at weddings (and renewal ceremonies) in the Sarasota area. She has created happy marriage ceremonies for hundreds of couples over the last 20 years: "My specialty is working with couples to start a 'ceremony dialogue', listening to what is questioned or desired, and then, delivering those sentiments in a heartfelt and professional manner on their wedding day!"

Interestingly, her notary services have become useful again and again over the years for some of the same couples as they move through life's important events. "It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to realize that I can bring calm direction to times of loss as well as to occasions of joy," Jennifer reflects.

While law firms also provide document processing services, using a notary service is much less expensive, if you have a legal document that's already been written by professionals.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Organic Produce in Sarasota

Two great resources for fresh local organic produce in Sarasota are:
  • Worden Farm - huge booth on State Street at the Sarasota Farmers Market, every Saturday from 7AM - 1PM
  • Jessica's Farmstand4180 47th St, Sarasota, FL 34235, (941) 358-3895; hours: Fridays: 12PM-7:30PM, Saturdays: 8AM - 5PM, Sundays: 11AM-5PM. Sarasota's original organic farm.

Fish & Seafood Restaurants in Sarasota

Recently a few visitors to Sarasota have asked me where they can enjoy a good meal of seafood. 

Here's a selection of fish and seafood restaurants in Sarasota. If you try each one of them, it's a good way to experience various parts of town!

  • Downtown: Barnacle Bill's
  • Bayfront: Marina Jack's
  • Burns Square: Owen's Fish Camp
  • Siesta Key Village: S.K.O.B., Hub Baja Grill, Aaron's Fish Camp, The Lobster Pot
  • Tamiami Trail: Walt's Fish Market
  • St Armand's Circle: Crab & Fin
  • Casey Key: Casey Key Fish House