A Saturday in Sarasota

 Those wishing to visit Sarasota on a Saturday can have quite a bit of fun, as there is a myriad of different things to see, do and experience at relatively low prices.
  Mrs Funmeister and myself recently packed up the wagon and headed out to the city by the Gulf for a bit of shopping and relaxation.
   Of course no Saturday would be complete without our regular stop by the farmer’s market. It is as much an opportunity to people watch as it is a place to find interesting foods and entertainment as well as objects d’art – not to mention environmentally-friendly pet supplies.
   In fact, the market is entirely pet friendly. There are many folks walking Lemon Street browsing the booths and enjoying the day with their dogs.
   We took the time to stop by some of our favorite locations including Java Dawg for coffee, The Pineapple Man for our fix of pineapples and cores, picked up some fresh turmeric and ginger, then saw Angela over at the OBAVITA cosmetics location.
  We also had the opportunity to be entertained by an elephant marionette playing the piano at the intersection of Lemon and Main for tips.
   After stocking up at the market, it was time for some breakfast. A short walk down Main Street took us to the First Watch restaurant. This is an award-winning chain that actually started in Sarasota and now has spread throughout the United States.
   First Watch is known for delivering an excellent dining experience and fast, friendly service. The menu features traditional favorites including pancakes, omelets, salads and sandwiches, as well as signature specialties such as the Chickichanga®, Healthy Turkey Omelet™ and Fresh Fruit Crepes. All menu items are freshly prepared to order and the restaurant does not use microwaves, deep fryers or heat lamps.
   The place was packed so in order to get served more quickly, we sat at an 8-top community table, with a half-dozen random people. We were taken care of quickly, met some new folks and were privy to a few conversations.
  All in all, it was an interesting experience.
  The food was impeccable, I was hungry and had The Works omelet while Mrs. Funmeister had the Traditional Breakfast. True to their word, my omelet was packed with veggies, there was creamy cream cheese atop and an nice mixed salad. The multi-grain toast was thick and tasty.
  Her eggs were over medium the way she liked them, the country potatoes were crisp, lightly seasoned and not greasy and huzzah – the bacon crisp and not burned!
  Four stars there.
  We then took a drive over to the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy. We had seen this place several times but had not stopped.  This time we toured the place and it is….unique.
   A series of indoor and outdoor displays, there are paintings in oils and water colors, sculptures, multi-media pieces, steampunk art and some oddities and re-purposed structures that take a while to get your mind around. Inside there are docents in each of the rooms to answer questions about the pieces.
  There is a five dollar suggested donation per person to experience the giant display.
  Visitors are encouraged to go in each of the rooms (including both bathrooms) to have a look at the art within. There are giant pink flamingos and out front as well as lions, tigers, alligators and other creatures with moving heads. Others, like horses, giraffes and bulls are made from old horseshoes. Some have been crafted into giant benches that urge you to sit a spell.
   Did we mention the giant monkeys hanging from the trees?
   Although none of the art is for sale, many of the pieces have the artists names and contact information. The display is closed once a year when it is totally refurbished for another run.
  It’s something you won’t see anywhere else.
  We then went back downtown for a late lunch at Pastry Art on Main Street. It was a soup and sandwich for the two of us – ended up with a giant Cranberry Orange muffin for dessert. The place specializes in coffee and pastries and was a great cap for us.
  Had we wished, we could have gone over to the Unconditional Surrender statue or maybe headed out to one of the other evening activities for which Sarasota is so well known – but we headed back to FunZone HQ for a bit of rest and relaxation before our next great adventure.
  When it comes to a day trip or an overnighter, Sarasota is always a good option.
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