Sunday, January 27, 2013

John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida

We finally went and did something touristy today – we visited the well-known Ringling Museum of Art.  The Museum of Art is actually a compound of many components. Yes, there is a museum with Renaissance paintings collected by John & Mable Ringling, but also donated art for viewing.  Not our taste, but we did enjoy the special exhibit of 20th century photography presented until February 3rd.

After touring the Museum of Art itself, we strolled though the rose garden to Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, the home of John & Mable Ringling, constructed in the 1920’s at a cost of $1.5 million.  Based very much on Italian architecture, the home was quite ornate. (This also explains the plethora of art from the Renaissance era.) A bit of history ~ Mable died first after only living in the home for a couple of years.  John died about six years later, cash poor and without any children, thus the estate and all of the Ringling’s belongings were donated to the state of Florida.  We took the docent tour of the first two floors, and it was interesting; we always enjoy learning about the people and their lives in the homes we tour.
Also on the grounds is the Circus Museum with a few pieces of the circus when John was involved, such as wagons, along with the Wisconsin, the 1905 private Rail car of John & Mable Ringling. Also shown, and quite interesting, was the Howard Brothers Circus Model – this model is a replica of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919-1938. 
As one walks around the miniature circus, the music changed to match that of what you are seeing. 

We walked around the grounds quite a bit, but one can take the tram (golf cart, really) if one wants. The admission to the Museum of Art was $25 per person, with an additional $5 per person for the docent tour of Ca’ d’Zan. Was it worth $60 for us? Honestly, no. We liked it, but not that much. However, we went for free, as we were given passes through Florida Tourism who provided free tickets for front-line hospitality staff (i.e. us) so we can serve our guests better. 

The Museum is free every Monday, but admission is required for Ca’ d’Zan and the Circus Museums. There are two places to eat on the grounds, but we weren’t hungry, so no review on those. :-)
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Little Joe's Italian Beef Restaurant, Sarasota, Florida

Little Joe's Italian Beef - Sarasota, FL

Ya know we enjoy eating!  Little Joe’s Italian Beef is a hole-in-the-wall, difficult to find, difficult to get into the parking lot, type of place, with awesome Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and good ‘ole Italian guys serving the food with a friendly smile. 

We’ve been here a couple times so far, but just kept forgetting to blog about it. The servings are HUGE - easy to share between two people, for sure!  As  mentioned, the servers are friendly, which seems to be a rarity around here, since every (yes, every) restaurant we’ve gone to in the past two months (besides Joe’s) needs a major workshop in friendly service. But enough about that – we have fully stomachs and that’s what matters. :-)

Oh, yeah, we know, we haven’t been blogging much. We are working 40-hours a week (still like the work) and getting quite a few blind restringing jobs along the way (both in-person and mail-in), so we are very busy.  Our goal is to not workamp this upcoming summer and just travel – restringing blinds along the way, of course – so we’ve been rather busy to go out an explore.  But we will – we promise!
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kayak Photos, Florida

As promised, here are some photos of our kayaking adventure last week..........

One of the manatee that we saw~

Brad by said manatee~

Suzanne close-up ~
you can see it as a bit cool given the long sleeves and borrowed pants

We will definitely be doing this again!

Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Seeing Friends & A Crazy Dinner, Siesta Key, Florida

One of the things we really enjoy about the RVing lifestyle is meeting people along the way and reconnecting later on the road. 

A few days ago, we got together with JC and Bev – we met JC & Bev last summer in South Dakota through a mutual friend, Howard of, who recommended us to restring one of the RV shades. We saw them again in Austin, Texas, then Abbeville, Louisiana, and finally here in Sarasota. They brought with them their good friends, Carol & John, who have been following our blog as well. 

As we chatted away, we learned that we all have mutual RV friends……… went something like this: 
• Carol & John know Sharon & Mark from working together at Sheridan Lake, SD a couple summers ago. 
• Sharon & Mark know Ken & Sarah from working at Sheridan Lake last summer. 
• Sharon & Mark needed a blind restrung, so Ken & Sarah put them in touch with us. 
• We met Sharon & Mark (who, incidentally, worked at Sun-n-Fun a few years ago as well) and restrung their blind which resulted in us having dinner at their rig that same night. 
• We know JC & Bev who know Carol & John who know Sharon & Mark who know Ken & Sarah who know us who know JC & Bev (and now Carol & John). Full circle. 

Crazy, isn’t it! Speaking of crazy, dinner. 

Originally we planned to go to The Lobster Pot, recommended to JC & Bev by Susan & Carl (who, get this, we know from the Montana Circle in Quartzsite last year), but they were closed, thus we went across the street to The Hub Baja Grill at Siesta Key. Good thing we enjoyed one another’s company and still had lots to talk about, since we were there two hours due to incredibly slow service and a comedy of errors by our (we suspect stoned or drunk) waiter who couldn’t get the orders correct, couldn’t bill correctly, couldn’t charge the correct credit cards correctly, you get the picture. Additional tip for all waiters: smoke your dope after work, not before.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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