My desire to fly out of Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport this weekend made things a bit more complicated than they really needed to be. Most troublesome was that I had to wake up extra early since the drive to the airport was about 45 minutes longer than either Jacksonville, Orlando or Tampa would have been. Good and bad at several levels.
For starters, I was awake for sunrise. Lots of both good and bad associated with that situation. I’m going to need a nap later (which should be easy with all the time I’ve got on airplanes) but I also got to see sunrise over Paynes Prairie. That was incredibly beautiful.
Only a couple minutes to stop at the Prairie, though, as I had a three hour drive ahead and I didn’t really want to miss the flight. The road was wide open and the speed limit is 70 mph for most of the drive so I actually made it in less than three hours, even with the stop for photos. That meant I had about an hour extra to explore Sarasota on a beautiful Sunday morning. And so explore I did. I didn’t make it out to Siesta Key or any of the other barrier beaches – tempting but just not enough time – but I did get to roll through the rather cute downtown area.
Filled with shops and restaurants, downtown Sarasota has a number of things to see and do so long as you’re willing to look past the homeless population in the park and looking for the antiquing sort of lifestyle. But definitely cute. There was one restaurant open early on a Sunday morning – First Watch: The Daytime Cafe – so I dropped in for breakfast to go. The place was bustling pretty good but it only took a couple minutes for them to whip up a Ckickichanga (breakfast wrap with eggs, chicken and avocado, among other things) for me. No time to pause and eat, though; I wanted to see more of town.
Next stop was a quick pass by the Ringling Museum. The circus magnate’s estate has been converted into a couple different museums administered by Florida State University. While a bit far from the main campus in Tallahassee, the fact that FSU has a clown school so the relationship isn’t quite as strange as it might seem. No time to actually visit the museums but they look rather nice and interesting; maybe next time I’m in town.
And then finally on to the airport. SRQ is a relatively new airport and the facilities reflect that. It is clean, bright and open with some nice features. Not a ton of food options on the concourse once you pass through security but free WiFi throughout the airport and a pretty cool fish tank just outside the screening checkpoint make it reasonable enough as a travel option. Given the decent number of flights daily from several different airlines, SRQ is quite reasonable as an option for travel to the southwestern coast of Florida. Oh, and the runway is right along the water so take-offs and landings offer some great views if you happen to get a window seat.
- AYCJ Day 6: “Oh, I just thought you were crazy.”
- AYCJ Day 4: A surprise trip to Florida
- Day 1 AYCJ adventures: JFK & a quick turn
- Another crazy AYCJ week itinerary
- All You Can Jet 2010
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