As a ten year resident of South Florida, when a friend says “let’s go to the Keys” my thoughts go to Fantasy Fest, the Sunset Celebration, and Papa Hemingway. Little did I know that when one of my girlfriend’s suggested a trip to “the OTHER keys” that I’d be driving due west to a series of barrier islands off the coast of Sarasota.
I expected to find a sleepy area, full of snowbirds from the cold northern states. What I found was a thriving arts community, where visitors and residents live in cooperation with nature, that offers everything from elegant hotels and dining options, to casual bistros and hotel rooms fit for a family of four.
Where to Stay
The Resort at Longboat Key Club is located on 410 acres with a spectacular beachfront and fabulous amenities. Whether your idea of a vacation is just planting yourself on the beach with a good book, or an active vacation is your idea of fun, The Resort at Longboat Key Club offers just what you want. From 45 holes of world class golf, to the 21-court Tennis Gardens, you can keep fit, have fun, and challenge yourself. I’m more of a yoga on the beach type, and my class as the sun rose over the water with the dolphins playing in the background was spectacular.
Grab one of the paddleboards or kayaks and you’ll be gliding with dolphins and rays through the aqua waters. When you’re done, head over to The Island House Spa for a Soothing Island Palms Deep Tissue Massage…your body will be forever grateful.
It’s so difficult to choose when you’ve got so many options.
Elegant Italian – the private Portofino Ristorante & Bar is available to guests and members of The Longboat Key Club ONLY, and this classically inspired Northern Italian restaurant doesn’t disappoint. If it’s a beautiful night, ask to be seated outside at sunset. The floor show will WOW you, as you dine on lasagna with lump crab meat, shrimp, basil ricotta, ripe tomatoes, spinach and sun-dried tomato oil or a simple Margherita pizza.
Mid-Century beach café – What happens when mid-century modern meets surfer casual? Shores Diner at Armand Circle in Sarasota, that’s what. Start off with their famous “Shore Cocktail” before choosing between vegan favorites or a burger with bacon jam on a brioche bun fit for the biggest carnivore (whichever you decide on, ask for a side of truffle fries with parmesan – mmmmm).
Girlfriend’s lunch – Whether it be an afternoon lunch with “the girls” or a romantic dinner with your honey pie, Mattison’s City Grille offers the freshest dishes with lots of local flair. Dig in to the Greek Salad and you’ll find tender baby lamb chops adorning your lettuce, goat cheese and kalamata olives.
You’ll be booking your next vacation to the other keys before you even leave these enchanting islands.
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