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Signature City Sarasota: “America’s Best Small City”

Program Number: 19350RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/18/2015 - 1/23/2015; 2/1/2015 - 2/6/2015; 2/15/2015 - 2/20/2015; 3/15/2015 - 3/20/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Price starting at: $1,275.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Become immersed in fascinating Sarasota on this discovery of the cultural capital of Florida’s west coast. Learn about John and Mable Ringling, Marie Selby’s Botanical Gardens, and the habitats of several native Florida reptiles during a private showing by wildlife specialists. Float through Sarasota Bay, walk with an expert through the annual Season of Sculptures exhibit, and close with a play at the Asolo Repertory Theater.




Highlights

• A local expert leads a historical walking exploration of Sarasota's Civic Center area and the Theatre Arts District, plus the sculptures along the bay front.
• Spend a full day at the Ringling Museum Complex and one morning exploring Selby Botanical Gardens.
• Attend a play at the Asolo Repertory Theater and enjoy an expert-led Sarasota Bay study cruise.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles on uneven surfaces.




Date Specific Information

1-18-2015, 2-1-2015, 2-15-2015, 3-15-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by the Friendship Centers.




Sarasota

Situated on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico on Florida's west coast, Sarasota is rich in cultural treasures and recreational attractions within a short driving distance, including the outstanding John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Ringling Museum of the Circus, art galleries, golf courses and beaches.



Accommodations
Beachfront hotel with two swimming pools.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Sharon Ohrenstein

Sharon Ohrenstein has worn various hats in the performing arts, including that of singer, actress, writer/lyricist, director, and one-half of the concert duo “The Ohs.” She portrayed Marie Dindon in “La Cage Aux Folles” and has starred in productions such as “The Sound of Music” and “La Bohème.” Sharon has also directed “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Glass Menagerie.” Sharon has appeared on television and screen and is working on a screenplay.
 
Kevin Costello

Kevin Costello is an artist, teacher, and writer who is presently an instructor in advanced drawing at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota and lectures on the history of art at the Longboat Key Education Center. An honors graduate of Goldsmiths College, University of London and the Chelsea School of Art, he has served as an art correspondent for many publications, most recently the Sarasota Herald Tribune. He is also a member of the City of Sarasota’s Public art Committee.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Lido Beach Resort
  Sarasota, FL 5 nights
 Lido Beach Resort
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel is located directly on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. Take in breathtaking sunsets, enchanting tropical views and see dolphin making their daily trek through the Gulf. Walking distance to the renowned St. Armands Circle featuring dazzling dining, unforgettable entertainment and some of the finest boutique shopping in the world. Hotel has a Shuttle to drive guests to the Circle if they choose not to walk. When registering with Road Scholar there is an option to upgrade to a Gulf View Jr. Suite room which is classified as Category #1.
  Contact info: 700 Ben Franklin Dr.
Sarasota, FL 34236 USA
phone: 941-388-2161
web: www.LidoBeachResort.com
  Room amenities: Category #2 Standard Room: Enjoy a room close to the beach in a four story building, a free daily newspaper, ample closet space, plush top bedding, a refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, free Hi-speed Wireless Internet access, free self parking, voice mail, 25" TV, clock radio, electronic safe, and a hair dryer. Plus bottled water and microwave popcorn in your guest room. Category #1 Gulf View Jr. Suite: Must upgrade at time of registration with Road Scholar. This room features a private balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, more upgrades and is located in the 13 story tower. If you wish to upgrade to the Gulf View Jr. Suite, (Category #1) please do so with Road Scholar participant registration.
  Facility amenities: Enjoy two beachfront free-form pools, three poolside Jacuzzis with a tropical landscaped sundeck. Private beach so you can splash around in the surf. A 900 sq ft exercise room is available to guests if you desire more exercise than long walks on the beach. Services include; a business center, two restaurants, lounge, beachside tiki bar and a garden area with waterfalls. If you wish to upgrade to the Gulf View Jr. Suite, (Category #1) please do so with Road Scholar participant registration.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $tba +25 nightly charge A green form is mailed to participants in their first welcome letter mailed within two weeks of enrollment date. Please make reservations directly with the Friendship Centers by mailing us the form or by calling 941.556.3269, for a discounted rate for additional nights stay. You will be charged by the hotel upon arrival for the additional nights, plus a $25 per night resort fee, plus taxes. These rates are for 5 nights before and 5 nights after this program date. No deposit required!
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $tba +25 nightly charge A green form is mailed to participants in their first welcome letter mailed within two weeks of enrollment date. Please make reservations directly with the Friendship Centers by mailing us the form or by calling 941.556.3269, for a discounted rate for additional nights stay. You will be charged by the hotel upon arrival for the additional nights, plus a $25 per night resort fee, plus taxes. These rates are for 5 nights before and 5 nights after this program date. No deposit required!
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel Check-in is 4:00pm. Road Scholar program registration is 3:30-5:00pm on the 8th floor foyer. You will be staying at Lido Beach Resort that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel Check-out is 12 Noon. The program concludes at 10:15am. You will be staying at Lido Beach Resort the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. The Road Scholar Health & Safety Information and personal information form must be completed and mailed to Friendship Centers no later than three weeks prior to program commencement.
  Parking availability:
Free
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sarasota, FL
  Nearest city or town:  Sarasota and Longboat Key
  Nearest highway: I-75 and U.S. 41
  Nearest airport:  Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Sarasota, FL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Tampa International Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Starlight Limousine
phone: 941-923-1896
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approx. $95, plus gratuity to hotel for up to two passengers.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hr 30 min 

 

Distance:

 

65 miles

   

They use executive town cars and SUVs, please ask for Rick. This is your least expensive option traveling from Tampa International Airport.

 

Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Diplomat Taxi
phone: 941-365-8294

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approx $35
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 min. 

 

Distance:

 

18 miles

   

Taxis are readily available 24hrs a day at the SRQ Airport.

 
Driving Directions
  I-75 From I-75 exit #210 (Fruitville Rd) go west six miles to Tamiami Trail, also known as U.S. 41. Turn left and continue south three blocks to Gulfstream Avenue. Make a right onto the Causeway, John Ringling Bridge and continue to St. Armands Circle. Continue halfway around the circle and follow the signs to Lido Beach and make a left at the beach onto Ben Franklin Drive. The Lido Beach Resort will be on your right just past the public beach and is approx. 7.5 miles from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Check-in, Registration & Orientation, Getting to Know You
(Sunday, February 1)

Note: All activities take place at the hotel today.



   
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: 4:00pm. Rooms may be ready earlier.
PROGRAM REGISTRATION: Take the elevator to the 8th floor to the Road Scholar registration in the 8th floor foyer area, between 3:30-5:00pm. Register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet including an up-to-date schedule which we will review during orientation.
ORIENTATION: Begins at 5:00pm in our meeting room. We'll have an overview of the program ahead and review the up-to-date schedule, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and any other administrative issues. Please be aware that local circumstances may require adjusting program elements. In the event of changes, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding.
 Dinner: Dinner is a catered affair (by the hotel restaurant) in our private room beginning at approximately 6:00pm. We have worked with the chef to provide meals that are both tasty and nutritious. We offer vegetarian and gluten free meals. If you only dine on fish, chicken or are lactose intolerant, please list on your form. Please fill out your Personal Information Form and return to us in a timely manner to ensure a pleasant stay.
 Evening: GETTING TO KNOW YOU: After dinner we'll spend some time becoming better acquainted with participants and program staff. Find out what you have in common beyond a love of learning! The rest of the evening is yours to continue making new friends or just to relax and prepare for the full day of activity ahead.
You are about to embark on a new "Signature City" learning adventure in Sarasota. Whether this is your first visit or another chapter in an ongoing love affair with this lovely city, you'll encounter fascinating highlights of history and culture, people and places.
   
Accommodations: Lido Beach Resort
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: John Ringling's Art Collection, Classroom presentation of Historic Downtown Sarasota, Architectural Walking Field Trip, Ringling Preview
(Monday, February 2)

Note: Afternoon walking through downtown Sarasota will be up to two miles at a 2.0 pace over the course of the day.



   
 Breakfast: A hot breakfast will be served buffet style in our private room
 Morning: PRESENTATION: A local artist will highlight John Ringling's extensive art collection.

Break

An architecture instructor-artist will provide an overview of historic buildings from an architectural view as well as points of interest you'll see on our afternoon narrated walking field trip.

 Lunch: Lunch in downtown Sarasota. Part of the charm of this program is choosing the cuisine you prefer, whether classic North or South American, Asian, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Spanish, and many more.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Our expert-led walk will focus on significant architectural landmarks in downtown Sarasota starting at City Hall. Continue our walking exploration past many historical buildings and view the 1926 Sarasota Times Building, designed by Dwight James Baum.

Board the bus and we will drive by the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, designed by architect William Wesley Peters of Frank Lloyd Wright's firm and dubbed "the purple cow" and "the purple people seater" when it first opened in 1970.

 Dinner: Enjoy dinner (catered by the hotel restaurant) in our private room.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: This preview of what to expect at the Ringling Museum Complex during our field trip tomorrow will include a video on John Ringling narrated by Hal Holbrook.
   
Accommodations: Lido Beach Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Preview of the play "Good People," at the Asolo Theatre, participants will see during the week, Ringling Art Collection, Field Trip to Ringling Museum & Gardens, Evening presentation: "Painting Sarasota with the Colors of the Circus."
(Tuesday, February 3)

Note: The Ringling Complex: To see everything participants will need to walk up to 1 1/4 miles however, there are plenty of benches to rest on and you can explore at your own pace or with the group. Please check with your group leader for time of guided look through Ca' d'Zan.



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in our private room.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Preview of play "Good People," by our local theatre maven.

FIELD TRIP: We begin our exploration as an expert guides you through palatial Ca' d'Zan, described as "the last of the Gilded Age mansions" to be built in America. John and Mable Ringling greatly admired the unique architectural style of the Danieli and the Bauer-Grunwald hotels in Venice, as well as palaces that face the Venetian canals. This architectural style, called "Venetian Gothic," greatly influenced the Ca'Zan's design. A comprehensive six-year, $15 million restoration and conservation was completed on Ca'Zan in 2002.

The Ringling complex contains numerous wonders and we move next to the Circus Museum, established in 1948. Make sure you see Chuck featured in an ongoing exhibit at the circus museum. (He will be your Thursday morning presenter.)Document circuses of the past and today as you view colossal parade and baggage wagons, sequined costumes, memorabilia and artifacts documenting the history of The Ringling family circus, John Ringling as the Circus King, and the greatest circus movie, The Greatest Show on Earth, was filmed in Sarasota.

Next is the museum's Tibbals Learning Center with an exhibition of circus posters. Ranging in size from window to barn sized, these colorful posters were plastered on buildings, walls and fences all across America and broadcasted in no uncertain terms that the circus was coming to town. The learning center also contains the world's largest miniature circus "the Howard Bros. Circus Model" a replica of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919-1938, created over a period of more than 50-years.

 Lunch: We'll have lunch at Treviso, the museum's Italian restaurant.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We continue the afternoon at the extraordinary Ringling Art Museum. The incredible building housing the collection emulates the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. John Ringling engaged architect John H. Phillips to design the museum in 1925. Construction began in 1927, but was slowed almost immediately by the collapse of Florida’s land boom and later, Wall Street’s stock market crash. Financial misfortune and Mable’s death in 1929 might have ended the dream, but John Ringling instead gained a new resolve to complete the museum, borrowing money as needed, knowing that it would perpetuate the memory of his beloved Mable. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art was officially opened to the public in 1931.
After leaving the Art Museum, explore the gardens and grounds at your leisure. All you see was given to the people of Florida, thus preserving for generations to come the exuberant lifestyle of America’s spectacular Roaring Twenties. The beautiful landscaped grounds contain over 400 species of exotic Florida trees, plants, flowers, sculpture garden figures, and Mable's historic rose garden.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner (catered by the hotel restaurant) in our private room.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: "Painting Sarasota with the Colors of the Circus." Learn more about the circus from a gentlemen who has had a lifelong love affair with Sarasota and the circus. He will share his personal stories and experiences. Learn how the sites and sights that have made Sarasota, "America's Circus City."(new speaker this year)
   
Accommodations: Lido Beach Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Bay Cruise, Free Evening
(Wednesday, February 4)

Note: Walk up to one mile at Selby Botanical Gardens. Walk one block to board the boat in the afternoon. Take the hotel shuttle to St. Armands Circle for dinner on your own, some restaurants are close to the drop off point and some are up to a ¾ of a mile away round trip walking. The drop off and pick up point is Tommy Bahamas Restaurant.



   
 Breakfast: A hot breakfast is served buffet style in our private room.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Explore Marie Selby Botanical Gardens with a local expert. The 9.5-acre bayfront property is an open-air and under-glass museum of more than 20,000 colorful plants, many collected in the wild on over 150 scientific expeditions to tropical rain forests by Selby Gardens research staff. Seven greenhouses are the heart of botanical research and plant identification, for which Selby Gardens is internationally recognized. Learn how the gardens are dedicated to fostering understanding and appreciation of tropical plants, especially epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants), through programs of research, conservation, education and display. Selby Gardens is perhaps best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids.
Throughout the grounds of the historic Selby estate are many distinct garden areas, including the Tropical Display House with its lush rain forest atmosphere, the towering Bamboo Pavilion, Banyan Grove, Cactus and Succulent Garden and Cycad Collection. Also on the grounds is the former Christy Payne Mansion, a unique example of eclectic Southern Colonial architecture. The Mansion, on the National Register of Historic Places, is the home to ever-changing botanical art and photography exhibits. In the time remaining before lunch, feel free to see more of your favorite areas.
 Lunch: We'll have lunch at Selby Gardens.
 Afternoon: EXCURSION: Enjoy a relaxing, entertaining, and informative cruise through calm waters along the shoreline of Sarasota Bay — flanked by palm trees! As the narrator tells you about some of the area’s fascinating history and folklore, gaze at magnificent homes right out of Architectural Digest. If you’re lucky, you may see local bottlenose dolphins and even manatees!
 Dinner: Dinner this evening is on your own. We suggest walking or taking the hotel shuttle to St. Armand's Circle, renowned as a continental marketplace. The Circle is a charming and graceful synthesis of past and present. Relax and enjoy a meal from a plethora of award winning restaurants; trinkets and treasures, from gourmet snacks to candlelit feasts.
 Evening: FREE EVENING: Linger over dinner with new found friends, stroll around St. Armand's Circle, or set off to explore more of what Sarasota has to offer.
   
Accommodations: Lido Beach Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Famous Circus Folks, Circus Ring of Fame, Free Afternoon, See the play "Good People," at the Asolo Theatre.
(Thursday, February 5)

Note: Morning walk approx. 1 1/2 miles round trip from hotel to "Circus Ring of Fame." When attending the theatre this evening, the bus will drop participants off in front of theatre and will pick up in front of the theatre.



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in our private room.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Famous Circus Folks Past to Present. Learn about performers from legendary animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams to highwire walker Tino Wallenda Zoppe.
FIELD TRIP: We'll take a walk with the actual master of ceremonies for the International "Circus Ring of Fame," induction ceremony on St. Armand's Circle in Sarasota. He will highlight many of the bronze plaques on the “Circus Ring of Fame” commemorating 80 circus greats from around the world. You’ll also learn more about John Ringling’s role in the development of St. Armand’s Key.
 Lunch: Enjoy your lunch with new friends at St. Armands Circle, where you end your walking field trip. Call the complimentary hotel shuttle for a ride back to the hotel. The pick up point is Tommy Bahamas Restaurant.
 Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner (catered by the hotel restaurant) in our private room.
 Evening: PERFORMANCE: Delve into the play “Good People,” by David Lindsay-Abaire. Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where this month’s paycheck barely covers last month’s bills, bingo is a night on the town, and sharp-tongued single-mom Margie Walsh has just been let go from yet another job. Faced with the reality that her neighborhood is providing her with the same opportunities it always has — none — Margie concocts a plan to solve all her financial problems — and it might just be crazy enough to work. This humor-filled, Tony-nominated hit from Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire takes a look at the “haves” and the “have-nots” as it questions the American dream and how to achieve it — hard work, skill, or luck?P> Dress for the theatre is casual: for men, slacks and a collared polo shirt or dress shirt; for ladies, a nice outfit (no shorts). Participants will return to the hotel after the performance.
   
Accommodations: Lido Beach Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sarasota Jungle Gardens Animal Trainer, Program Concludes
(Friday, February 6)

Note: One morning class at the hotel then program ends.



   
 Breakfast: A hot breakfast will be served buffet style in our private meeting room.
 Morning: Have your camera ready, lights action! Private showing of several types of reptiles. Learn about the various habits of these Florida native species. There will be an opportunity to hold some of the reptiles for a personal photo.

Please have a safe trip home or to your next adventure.

   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Sarasota, FL Sarasota attractions
Sarasota is known as the cultural arts center of Florida. The area has a plethora of activities: Selby Botanical Gardens, Ringling Museum of Art, Mote Marine Aquarium, Historic Spanish Point, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Florida WestCoast Symphony, Sarasota Opera House, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Sarasota Ballet Co., Asolo Theatre Co. The area also offers several high quality beaches, boat rentals, water skiing, canoeing and kayaking. Hiking in two local state parks. For additional information, visit www.visitsarasota.org/
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Hidden History of Sarasota


Author: Jeff LaHurd


John Ringling: Dreamer, Builder, Collector


Author: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art


Priceless Florida


Author: Noss, el al


Ringling: The Florida Years, 1911-1936


Author: David Chapin Weeks


The Circus in Miniature: The Howard Bros. Circus Model


Author: Deborah W. Walk et al


The Ringling Legacy


Author: Pat Ringling Buck




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