Week Thirteen - A Visit With Opulence

December 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Hello everyone and welome to week thirteen.  This week we set out to Florida's Gulf Coast for a few days to enjoy some good food visit the Ringling museum, and take in some awesome sunsets.   The Ringling museum resides in Sarasota and was once the winter quarters for the circus.  John Ringling also built his winter estate as well as a pretty good sized art museum here.  Admission includes access to an impressive circus museum, the art museum, and access to the mansion that served as the Ringlings winter home.

Entrance to the Ringling

I was impressed with the circus museum because not only did it show the in's and out's of circus life, but it also had big layouts of scale models of a circus with tents and the circus trains.  These models were meticulously done in great detail. 

Model CircusTheresa checking out the model Circus PostersPosters from the golden years of the circus Looking Down at the CircusThe model circus from above Grrr

The winter home (mansion) was called Ca' D' Zan which translates to "House of John" and was also impressive, but admission only included a self guided walk through of the first floor.  I guess you could pay an additional fee to have a guided tour that included the second floor, but we didn't know about this till later.  John Ringlings wife Mable was in love with Italy especially Venice and this shows in a lot of the architecture and decor of the home.  All I can say is there must have been some good money in the circus business back then.

Ca'D'Zan ceilingSome of the ornate woodwork on the ceiling Ca'D'Zan Ceiling Back of the MansionThe back of the mansion which abuts the inter coastal waterway The Front Door

There was a lot of art spread throughout the grounds which made walking from one museum to the next more enjoyable.

Grounds StatueOne of many pieces of art on the grounds

John Ringling was a big collector of European art which was left to the state of Florida and is housed in the art museum on the grounds.  We were amazed at the size of some of the paintings.  Entrance to the museum was $25 which I initially thought was steep, but you basically are getting three museums and a pretty nice park entrance with the admission price and we really enjoyed the afternoon we spent there.

Art Museum Courtyard Breezeway Classic European Artwork Art Appreciation

We spent an evening in downtown Saint Petersburg and really liked the way the town decorated for the holidays.  The trees in the park were all decorated and lit and they even had a rink to skate on.  It wasn't ice, they called it "glice" which from the looks of it, was some sort of coated fiberglass.  It didn't look like it was very slick, but after watching several kids fall repeatedly, I was convinced that it was slick enough.

St. Petersburg "Glice" Lining up to see Santa

Of course no trip to the Gulf Coast is complete without going to... well... the Gulf Coast!!  Our place is right across the street from Indian Shores Beach which is home to sand, surf, and the most spectacular sunsets!  On my beach walks I've seen everything from washed up sea sponges, to marked off turtle nests (though I have yet to see the turtles hatch and make the dash to the ocean), we've even seen a dead shark washed up on shore.  This time I spotted the usual people fishing, seashells, and a horseshoe crab.  

Horseshoe Crab Young Fisherman Sunset Cyclist

End of an Amazing Day  It was a quick weekend, but it was relaxing and very enjoyable.  Can't wait to return.

That does it for this week.  Lookin forward to next week and the images that come with it!  Till then..... Stay outta trouble!!!

-Tom


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