We are very proud to announce that the March 2017 issue of Trailer Life Magazine features our article about beautiful Sarasota, Florida, plus a back page column about hiking Bryce Canyon National Park under the stars.
Sarasota, Florida, is a fabulous place to visit in April, and we enjoyed five wonderful weeks there. For RVers that are heading north these days from the hotter parts of southern Florida, a stopover in Sarasota is a true delight.
We have been fortunate to visit tropical beaches all over the world, most recently in Thailand but also in many parts of southern Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean. Frankly, not one of them has sand that is quite as pure white and fluffy soft as Siesta Beach in Sarasota. It is the texture of confectioner’s sugar! And the turquoise water is ever so inviting too.
But what surprised us was the many other things Sarasota has to offer. A century ago it was just a small fishing village, but the Ringling Brothers decided to settle in the town and make it the home base for their circus, and that changed it forever.
Now, The Ringling is a fabulous museum that offers so much for tourists to see that you can get a three day pass — and you need it if you want to see it all.
The Ringling estate’s mansion is a phenomenal building that is loaded with decorative arches, fanciful cornices, and an altogether fairy tale type of air.
Out front there is a fabulous and enormous rock tile deck that looks out on Sarasota Bay. Standing there I tried to imagine what it was like back in the day when John and Mabel Ringling held parties there. Oh my!
The Ringling also has a museum that houses the stunning collection of European art that John Ringling collected. Mondays are “free admission day,” and when we got inside we were blown away by this immense art collection.
Out back there is a rose garden that was the pride and joy of Mabel Ringling as well as a gargantuan banyan tree.
Sarasota is one place where it would take a whole season of outings to run out of things to do. One excursion we really enjoyed was going to Jungle Gardens.
This is a zoo of sorts whose welcoming committee is a flock of pink flamingos who go out of their way to say, “Hello!”
They are extremely friendly birds, and even though they had plenty of natural spaces to stand around and do their flamingo thing in the water and under the tropical trees, one flamingo took a particular liking to Mark and rubbed his beak all over him!
Jungle Gardens also has a wonderful bird show, and we were delighted by the antics of the various parrots. One parrot, a 79 year old cockatoo named Snowflake, was a seasoned professional when it came to performing. He was so old that he had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show before I was born!
He can still do great tricks, though, and we watched him ride a bike on a tightrope while a buddy macaw perched on a swing and went for a free ride below him.
There are lots of parks in the Sarasota area, and we got a huge kick out of watching native birds fishing, swimming and flying by us in some of these parks.
Sandhill cranes like Sarasota as much as people do, and to our utter delight and complete surprise, a pair of sandhill cranes had a nest with two eggs near a pond at a strip mall.
On the day that they were due to hatch a large group of fascinated birders and photographers gathered near the nest and began to watch the arrival of the baby chicks through huge telephoto lenses and binoculars.
This little guy was absolutely adorable.
And the first little one was soon joined by its sibling while the parents pushed the egg shells aside.
Sarasota has lots of quirky charm, and there is a mascot that adorns many homes and businesses around town. Nicknamed the Tube Dude, this guy can be seen holding a toothbrush in front of the dentist’s office, wearing a baker’s hat in front of the bakery and sitting in a Kayak at the local surf and kayak shop. What fun!
Trailer Life has posted our article on their website and you can read it here:
Flipping to the back of the March issue, there is a photo of a wonderfully starry night taken from the Mossy Cove trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. We spent quite a bit of time at Bryce Canyon last summer, which gave us a chance to get out on the trails in the dark several times.
It is a little eerie hiking in the pitch dark with a flashlight, but we managed not to fall over the edge and we saw some really cool skies.
Bryce Canyon doesn’t have super dark skies, so there is always a big of a glow on the horizon from nearby towns, but even so, the stars jumped out of the heavens.
We were there fairly late in the season, in September, so catching the Milky Way was a little tricky as we had to get out into Bryce Canyon’s amphitheater of hoodoos in order to look back up towards the rim to see it. But we caught it sailing across the sky on several occaisions between 3:00 and 5:30 in the morning.
Of course, we stayed out so long on these crazy midnight hikes that by the time we got back to our trailer the morning sky was just beginning to lighten into rich shades of blue. And sure enough, there was the Orion constellation hanging over our rig!
Trailer Life is an excellent magazine, and we were subscribers for years before we became writers and photographers for them. Whether you are a new RVer or have many years under your belt, if you own a towable RV like we do, you might enjoy subscribing for a year. You can subscribe to Trailer Life here:
It’s not expensive, and what I like is that it is professionally edited by terrific editors and it is professionally laid out by a graphic artist which gives it a polish in the print edition that just doesn’t exist online, whether on magazine websites or on folksy blogs like this one.
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Interested in visiting Sarasota? Here are our blog posts from our stay there:
- Jungle Gardens in Sarasota Florida – It’s for the Birds! 05/06/15
- The Tube Dude – Spreading Good Cheer in Sarasota, Florida 05/03/15
- Sarasota, Florida – Life on the Waterfront 04/29/15
- The Ringling – The Art of the Circus in Sarasota, Florida 04/27/15
- Sunny Side Up – Baby Sandhill Cranes Hatch in Sarasota FL 04/01/15
Curious about Bryce Canyon and/or Hiking Under the Stars? Check out these posts:
- Bryce Canyon’s Rainbow Point – Bristlecone Pines and Sweeping Vistas 11/01/16
- The Waterfall at Bryce Canyon National Park – “Mossy Cave” 10/18/16
- Red Canyon Utah and the Bryce Canyon Bike Trail! 10/13/16
- Bryce Canyon Gone Wild – Tempests, Rainbows & Wildlife 10/09/16
- Fairyland Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park – A Beautiful Hike! 10/02/16
- Bryce Canyon – Hiking The Rim & Navajo Loop + A Tourist Time-lapse! 09/29/16
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah – Inspiration Point – OMG! 09/27/16
- Bryce Canyon, UT – Fairyland of Pink Turrets 08/25/08
A Few of the Other Articles We’ve Published in Trailer Life:
Our most recent posts:
- Wall Drug – An Iconic Pit Stop on a South Dakota RV Road Trip 09/09/17
- Buffalo Wyoming – RVing Basque Style in the Bighorns! 09/04/17
- Buffalo Wyoming – Cowboys, Cowgirls and Sheriff Walt Longmire! 08/27/17
- Solar Eclipse 2017: Time-Lapse Videos from the South Dakota Badlands 08/21/17
- An RV Trip through the Small Towns of Eastern Wyoming 08/15/17