Love art, music and food? Then come in close and see what I’ve found.
It’s a gorgeous Saturday morning and adventure is in the air. Load up the car for a fabulous daytrip and point your compass ... in the direction of eclectic and sunny Sarasota. Destination is The Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling Bayfront Gardens. Founded by circus tycoon John Ringling in 1925, the museum and grounds boast 66 lush acres of elegant bayfront floral splendor and walking paths, home to Mable Ringling’s infamous Rose Gardens, a must-see and alluring spot for a lovely picnic lunch. Venture indoors from the warm sun to cap off the day in The Ringling Museum of Art, offering 31 galleries filled with antiquities and treasures from Old Masters, as well as contemporary artists from around the world. ringling.org
If your heart calls you east … then follow it, straight to the notoriously fascinating and exciting Wynwood district in the urban core of Miami. Recognized globally for its artistic enterprise, Wynwood is home to some of the most gorgeous and vivid murals our country has to offer. Whether you’re a foodie, art-lover or fashion guru, this global destination has something for everyone. Walk the nearly 50 blocks of pulsing streets alive with the colors of over 200 murals, music and an array of cafes and restaurants guaranteed to tantalize. Love to shop? You’ve found the art-gallery mecca of Miami, chock-full of fabulously intriguing little shops waiting to be explored. Find yourself a treasure, an original work of art or one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. You’ll come for the day … but won’t want to leave. wynwoodmiami.com
Or step into a surrealist paradise nestled just off the coast of Tampa Bay in lovely St. Pete, also affectionately known as “Sunshine City.” The Dalí Museum in St. Pete celebrates the life and work of the artist Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), best known for his dreamy interpretive paintings, including my personal favorite, “The Persistence of Memory,” depicting a surreal desert with distant dry mountains and melting clock faces draped across the scape. (Sorry, this 1931 classic is at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City). I deem the St. Pete destination a must-see for all who appreciate and enjoy the arts. Originally founded in 1982, the museum holding the largest exhibit of Dali’s work in America underwent a stunning renovation in 2011 that included unveiling The Enigma, the signature dome affixed to the museum. Made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass and standing 75 feet at its tallest point, The Enigma is a tribute to the geodome that adorns Dali’s museum in Spain. Walk the Avant-Garden, encouraging learning and exploration; browse the world-class collection of Dali paintings and drawing within the gallery and visit the Dali store to find that perfect memento.
Don’t dilly Dali … head on over to the Salvador Dali Museum! thedali.org.
And the wonderful thing about DeSoto County is that most everything south of Orlando is an easy day ride, if you’re inclined to save the costs of overnight stays. But I suggest spoiling yourself for those special occasions when coastal sunsets/sunrises make extra special memories, especially at the holidays.
Jamie Golob is a Florida-based travel writer and artist