A Connecticut Yankee Moves to Florida

As you probably already know from reading his fabulous comments here, Riverside Dog Walker left Riverside Connecticut with The Mrs. and hopefully the dogs he walks, for the warmer sunnier climate of Sarasota, Florida. He took me up on my challenge to prove it was indeed sunny and lo and behold, seven fabulous photos for us to drool over. I think Bibi and Earth Image, from their respective favorite corners of Florida, will have to agree that Sarasota looks great.

RDW, we’re thrilled for you that you made the move and even more delighted, and honored, that you chose to share your new hometown photos with us. Note: I want to hear from you around August 1, when it’s 104 degrees and 100% humidity. Deal?

Herewith RDW words and photos:

Main Street Sarasota.  Full of Mom and Pop shops and lots of restaurants.  Big box stores are inland where they have more room.
 Main Street Sarasota
View from the Ringling Bridge to downtown Sarasota.  This bridge connects the mainland and downtown Sarasota with the barrier islands.  Walking the bridge is a great activity, though mid-afternoon Wednesday was light.  This is the ‘new’ bridge.  The first bridge possibly built by John Ringling back in the 20’s was used to parade his elephants from his circus.  I’m sure it was quite the scene.
Ringling Bridge
Lots of new construction going on.  We have been discovered!  It is hard for me to believe all the new construction can be absorbed, but eventually it will.
Sarasota New Construction
The first photo is of the Ringling mansion, Ca d’Zan, which I’m told means House of John.  This photo shows the deck in the rear of the house which is on Sarasota Bay.  The Ringlings were major benefactors of early Sarasota, along with Bertha Palmer of Chicago, wife of Potter Palmer, a Chicago retailing entrepreneur.  She traveled to Sarasota frequently in her private rail car from Chicago.  Very impressive and accomplished woman, especially for the period (I think 1920’s).  Their property, still known as Palmer Ranch, is today an upscale development in south Sarasota county.
Ca d'Zan deck
The grounds of the Ringling Estate are massive, with various museums, performance theaters, and art galleries. 
A current exhibit on the grounds is a reconstructed replica of the Walker House, named one of the most important houses of the 20th century in a 1957 survey of Architectural Record readers, along with Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s Glass House . 
Walker House
This is a replica of a house designed and built by Paul Rudolf, one of the early Sarasota school architects, emphasizing modern lines and construction.  In fact, the replica kitchen in the house was built by a local tradesman who built some of our furniture.  The Walker House was built for a couple relocating from Minnesota who could not take the winters.  It was built on Sanibel Island in 1952 and it is still standing!  If you ask Bibi nicely, possibly she can locate it and send some pictures. [Ed: Yes please Bibi!] We have attended a couple of events hosted by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.  Very interesting and informative.
This was the original tiny house.  It is 526sf.  It was before the advent of air conditioning.  It is designed such that the panels can be opened to allow air in, or closed to keep out the rain.  The interior is screened when panels are opened.  The panels open and lower with 75 pound red kettle bell weights on pulleys, which are tied off inside the house with boat anchor ropes. One picture is of the kitchen, the other, with the shades down, is the bedroom.
Walker House kitchen
Walker House interior tie down
EOS voice back now. Thanks friend. Loved the first hand tour. The Sarasota Tourism Board will be happy with your selection of photos.
Only one question: how far in advance do we need to book our visits?

19 thoughts on “A Connecticut Yankee Moves to Florida

  1. RDW, you are one of the lucky ones to escape Malloy and the slow death of CT. Sarasota looks beautiful, flourishing yet with enough small town flair to remind you of home (the parking on Main Street looks identical to Greenwich Avenue). Terrific photos.

    Congratulations on the move.

  2. Moving vans will be even more frequent if the new federal tax plan passes as is. Elimination of state/local tax deduction will be very damaging to kleptocracies like Dan Malloy’s CT. And I’m not very optimistic for the future based on his potential replacements at this point.

  3. Welcome RDW. My wife and I have been Florida residents for nigh onto 12 years. Best move we ever made. I wasn’t retired yet so our move was job related for me, an offer I couldn’t refuse. My wife thought we’d be in Miami a couple of years then return to the cold northeast where we raised our children but a funny thing happened, we both fell in love with Miami.

    We’ve visited Sarasota a few times and love that area very much. I hope it stays a secret and not ruined like Naples got after it was discovered back in the late 60s.

    1. For year-round living, Sarasota is definitely the choice. But if you have land/family and a summer home on the NE coast-you in R.I., we on Cape Cod- Sarasota can be COLD in January! We’ve spent enough MLK weekends on Siesta Key (off Sarasota) in ski jackets and caps to know that Sarasota is too far north for reliable swimsuit weather. When I’m in FL I want to be toasting on the beach! Bibi

      1. Even Key Largo can be cold in January–we had a couple of nights in the mid 40’s toward the end of month this year.

        Hubs had us stop in Orlando for a work conference on the way home this year. Boy, that city is everything that is wrong wth America.

        I think I’ve said it before, but our issue with moving down full time is it (our community) is such a bubble. It’s a wonderful bubble, but it is not representative of the real world. And I’m wondering if it is the best environment for teenage boys. Many kids rotating through, every year, but not many full time youth residents to forge deep friendships with. I am planning for them to have a semester here and there (exchange student or boarding type school), but it could be a bit claustrophobic for them. The people we rent from live in Coral Gables (we rent their weekend home), and they can’t get their teenager to go down, she wants to stay in Miami where the action is…

        Regardless, we would head out May-October.

        1. Martha, I went through that with our kids. At some point, they want to be around more peers, less hanging out on the beach. I like your plan to mix things up. That’s a luxury most of us didn’t have.

  4. My husband’s grandparents bought land in Sarasota back in the late 1920s, hearing it was the next boom town. Sarasota had a boom but then busted. We have a book that was written in the 1970s called The Story of Sarasota that gives credence to the bust that my husband’s grandparents bought into. They sold their land for pennies on the dollar. I’m thinking they might have been better to hold on.

  5. Alas, we won’t be on Sanibel ’til next January. But I googled Paul Rudolf’s Walker house on Sanibel and struck gold! There’s a wonderful slide show at treehugger.com showing the house in 2015, a private tour given by Walker’s widow, who says the house won’t be moved while she’s alive- hence the Sarasota replica. Bibi

  6. If I were to ever move to Florida full time, I’d want an area where there might be some change in temperature. It’s one thing to be a snowbird and want bright sunshine for three months, but twelve months, nothing but heat and sun? I’d tire of that.

        1. Because of his first two tag line topics, I didn’t want to spend much time on his site. He could be that guy living in the woods on Montana. I admit tho, his take on lousy modern architecture was spot-on.

  7. Great pix RDW! Especially the PRandolph “house.” Some years ago I toured his UES townhouse, and also went to the MVRohe Farnsworth House in Illinois.
    Looking forward to more historic and experiential Florida shots!

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