Archive for December 2012

Perfect Winter Happenings in FLA   Leave a comment

Beyond our beautiful beaches, ‘natural attractions’ abound and are perfect choices this time of year …state parks, rivers and natural springs.


Bike Hike & Kayak our State Parks, Rivers and Natural Springs…

The 18 mile Legacy Trail travels through Oscar Scherer State Park, home to gopher tortoises, foxes, bobcats and scrub jays. With water views from trestle bridges over Donna and Roberts Bays the paved trail concludes at Caspersen Beach.  Be sure to collect a few fossilized sharks teeth then head to Venice’s downtown for a bit of shopping and a bite to eat.

More info @:


Visit with the Manatees

With the onset of dropping temps, Manatees like to head to rivers and inlets for winter warmth.  The best place for viewing is: Tampa Electric Company plant.  The company set up a Manatee Viewing Area to accommodate our animal tourists. The manatee season here is Nov. 1-April 15. Up to 300 manatees come here when the bay is cold.
6990 Dickman Rd., Apollo Beach, FL
(813) 228-4289



Winter is best for this activity as the bird population explodes with winged visitors.  A great place for viewing is the Celery Fields where early morning and late afternoons are prime.  Go to: for more locations.


Observe our Nesting Shore Birds

This great birthing spectacle occurs during the winter and spring breeding periods. Great White Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Anhinga are the dominant species occupying the majority of nests. Occasional Black Crested Night Herons, Palm Warblers, Yellow Butted Warblers and Red Winged Blackbirds are among the other birds identifiable in the area.

January is the kick-off month for the great blue herons as they gingerly balance on bushy branches to attend to their nests.  Head south on US 41 (just north of Jacaranda Boulevard), then right on Annex Road between the Venice Administration Building (at 4000 S. Tamiami Trail) and the State Highway Patrol. Head to the welcome center followed by parking, pavilion, picnic tables, and viewing area. Off South Tamiami Trail, Venice. Information @: 941-496-8984

Check this blog for best photo opps and recommendations:


Florida Wineries are one of the state’s best kept little secrets. Of the 31 wineries and vineyards in Florida there are four in our area, with some featuring a sampling of Florida’s rural side.


1. The Fiorelli Winery offers tours, samplings and lunch.


2. Keel & Kurley Winery is a change of pace offering “Blueberry wine” tours and Friday night sipping munching & music


3. Eden Vineyards has been around for more than thirty years offering daily tours and tastings.


4. If you like the unusual, don’t miss this place by sampling some of their tropical fruit wines… And don’t forget the carrot variety!

Wine tastings are available daily while tours are given upon request.



Award Winning

A number of Florida wines took top prizes at this year’s Indy International Wine Competition, the nation’s largest scientifically organized and independent wine competition. Nearly 3,000 entries from 15 countries and 40 US states were evaluated by 52 judges.

West of Orlando

  • Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards  is a recipient of many awards and much recognition. Each Saturday afternoon during the month of January, Lakeridge Winery holds its famous Music Series, featuring live bands on the outdoor stage. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food is available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tasting.   (West of Orlando)


Museums/Performing Arts


If art is your passion… the Ringling Museum houses fine baroque period paintings including the oversized works of Rubens as well as numerous sculptures from John and Mable Ringling’s collection. Stroll the bay-front grounds and tour the rose gardens on your way to Ringling’s waterfront home, the Ca d’Zan. This is the last of America’s Gilded Age mansions. Constructed in 1924-1925, at a cost of $1.5 million dollars, this home is 36,000 square feet with 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms. Then see memorabilia and artifacts at the nearby circus museum where visitors at any age are able to experience the magic of the center ring. Tickets are discounted on Thursdays after 5:00pm.

Head to Sarasota’s Season of Sculpture… an International Invitational Exhibit. The shaded walkway offers a series of large pieces along Sarasota’s Bayfront where huge installations are on display for only six months. This non-profit organization reviews and selects new artists every fall.

Sarasota and Bradenton also house two large artist communities called Towles Court and the Village of the Arts. Both locations feature a colorful collection of “Old Florida” bungalows housing galleries, studios and cafes. In neighborly fashion, these artists live, work and feed off the enthusiasm of their counterparts, in pursuit of their own unique style.

The Asolo multi-theatre complex is home to a leading regional theatrical company. Multiple stages provide a season of classic and modern drama including year round performances by the Florida State University’s graduate theatre program.

The Sarasota Ballet offers seven performances from September through April while the Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Opera present a Winter Festival with four fully staged operas from February through March.

St. Petersburg

Housed in an exceptional structure along the bayfront of St. Petersburg is the Surreal Artistry of Salvador Dali. High-profile architect Yann Weymouth (who worked with I.M. Pei on the Louvre’s glass pyramid) created the design to pay homage to Dalí’s free-flowing imagination. Of the 18 so-called Masterworks produced by Dali, eight are located in St. Pete’s Dali Museum.

Also in St. Petersburg is the Morean Arts Center with a fine collection of Dale Chihuly. Make sure to plan a visit to the nearby hot shop where the art of glass blowing is demonstrated.                                                                                                                                                                                             

Fort Myers
Located on the Caloosahatchee River, visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and the friendships, inventions and fascinating history behind two of the worlds’ most remarkable men. Thomas Edison’s laboratory is on display where generated electricity and the first incandescent light bulb were created.

Stroll 20 acres of botanical gardens, nine historic buildings including Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory as well as the Estates Museum which contains an impressive collection of inventions, artifacts and special exhibit galleries.

Distance Calculator with Maps


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Posted December 16, 2012 by aj4srq in Uncategorized