Day 1: Florida, Ringling

We are here to see one of The Smith’s daughters graduate…they are close friends and Susie, my wife, needs a bit of practice traveling–so we decided to travel to Florida for the graduation and then see Micky… 

Here in Sarasota, “Ringling” is not a circus, but a college, an art museum and former mansion of the Ringlings, many sandwichs in Sarasota include the name (Ringling Rueben, for example), and even–in all capitals–the Wifi password here in Hotel Indigo.

We got here by renting a large Dodge mini-van at the helpful and friendly airport and driving to orders of Navigation after an all-night flight. Our wheelchair person, for Susie, at the tiny but very lovely SRQ Airport, who never told us her name, had moved to Sarasota from Seattle, “Husband could not handle the rain” in Seattle. She was surprised to hear how hot Portland has been, warmer than Sarasota for part of last week–at least as measured in my backyard. She likes it here but misses the Pacific Northwest Summers.

As I said, I used Nav to find the hotel in a few minutes with only a few mistakes by me. The side streets are not in the Nav! We had to wait for our room. So off to The Breakfast House, recommended by The Smiths. It was great. There were grits! We are back to the East Coast and the South. I have missed the good food and the rush of this coast. They packed people in and got their orders in. The food is all cooked fresh–you wait for the food. The hash I had was ground and freshly made then fried on a grill or pan. Old school! The grits were in a small bowl with some, a modern touch, green onions sprinkled on top. Pancakes, thick and hot and fluffy not all brown. Eggs poached but runny–perfect. All a bit rushed with tabled cleared, cleaned, and ready again within minutes.

We then headed to the campus where Kat will graduate on Thursday, Ringling College of Art and Design. We found the store where they sell art from the students and got Susie a t-shirt. After a few missteps, I found the bookstore and got a t-shirt for myself, coffee cup, and a lanyard (for Corwin who lives with us).


Off then to see the ocean. We found a small park looking into the water and Susie took a nap while I watch the small fry and crabs for a bit. The hotel called. Room is ready (see Hotel Indigo Sarasota).


Susie took some time off after we checked in–sleep time. I headed back as The Smiths were back from picking up daughter number 1 and then to late breakfast–at the same place we went to The Breakfast House. I would meet them at Ringling. I headed to campus and found a nice display of works by students in graphics arts and painting. Some amazing stuff and some stuff that well was a good start. The tarot deck, Japanese influenced style, was mounted in a frame and fantastic (I have Portland Tarot from a campaign of some year ago, see Portland Tarot). With all the different cards, it makes a complex art project as Tarot has a framework, but you can be quite free with it.

They are not here. The Smiths are at The Ringling. I head to the other Ringling. We pass on the circus museum and just walk the grounds. This is the ground and mansion of The Ringling family–yes the one with the Barnum. The properties are full of art and trees and exotica that is Florida of the past. Banyan trees. Rose Gardens. Mansion on the water.

The grounds are dotted with strange classical Victorian copies (Even a massive bronze version of Michelangelo’s David), Art Deco garden statues (for example, sphinx–male and female), Yesteryear Florida colors and buildings, and faded Roaring Twenties wealth. All in a garden that shows its age but is well groomed and full of colors. A good place for a walk. To do the ground and the museum would be a couple of days. We have hours and walk the grounds.


In the water off the Ringling mansion was a pod of porpoises or dolphin (I don’t know the difference). They were chasing the small fry into the jetty walls and well eating them. We watched them and got out all of the cameras and made movies for sharing. I did not get any usable shots–but I will see if anyone else did and add it. We left them to their meal after filming them for twenty minutes or more.

We returned from there to the Hotel where The Smith had a Ringling College function to attend. I joined Susie for a nap. Later, we joined The Smiths again for dinner, late, at the City Grill in Sarasota downtown. The night air was warm but not uncomfortable. We all ate light and had an excellent time. I had to turn on to Ringling Street to get there…

3 thoughts on “Day 1: Florida, Ringling”

  1. I’m an inch from buying a plane ticket just to eat the breakfast you described. Oh well. Scrambled eggs and off to work for me, today….


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