Yes, it’s now officially May and great Florida weather before the ultra-heat and daily storms of the upcoming summer months. Steve (DOS) and I took our longest trip yet since my heart surgery last September, and did a “Way-Cation” for a week in Sarasota, Florida. A Way-Cation as we define it is somewhere a bit more distant than a Stay-Cation, which is normally somewhere within an hour of home. Sarasota is not that far away either, but is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from our house in the Orlando area. DOS had a house in Sarasota for over 20 years until he sold it a couple years ago, so he knows the area well, and we both love returning to Sarasota for a few days visit.
As far as a health update for me, I went to my Cardiologist before we went away and got a good report on my heart echo, with my ejection fraction, while still not optimal, is higher than it’s been, no doubt thanks to the different medicines I’ve been taking in the last few months. The Cardiologist said to return for a checkup in six months now, versus what had been monthly or sooner visits. I have his personal cell number in the meantime if I need to get a hold of him; which I have done previously via text for a question on med dosage changes.
I’ve also been to see a couple Orthopedic doctors in the last month or so, one for my knees, and a Podiatrist for my ankles. As I was laid up for a couple months in the hospital in Seattle and in recovery, I lost some muscle mass in my legs, and coupled with osteoarthritis in my knees, it was becoming painful to walk. I started Physical Therapy for a couple sessions, which did seem to help, however when I did some of the exercises at home, I must have overdone it, and the pain quickly moved to my ankles! If it’s not one thing it’s another it seems like! In the pic below, I’m wearing my “boot” which helps me walk better and takes the pressure off of my right ankle.
So I’m stopping my therapy for a couple weeks as we will be in Sarasota for a week and then the following week we are taking a Royal Caribbean Cruise out of Port Canaveral. I’m wearing an ankle brace for a while I had fitted a few years back, and it is helping somewhat. I also got a cortisone shot in both knees which is also helping, especially with bending motions.
So I digress; now on to Sarasota! DOS and I stayed once again at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sarasota. We’ve stayed here many times, and the location is excellent, and the staff is wonderful. We had an Executive Suite on the top (10th) floor overlooking the Sarasota Bay, and purple-colored Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, and a new public park that was recently built.
Our room was ready when we checked in the Hyatt at 3pm, and we were surprised to receive a nice welcome back gift from the hotel, which consisted of a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, 4 Michelobe Ultras, a box of chocolates, and another assortment of nuts, crackers and cheese, along with a nice setup on our dining room table! They remembered I like red vino and Ultra brewskis! That’s amazing customer service, and we haven’t been here for almost two years!
The park area in conjunction with Sarasota hosts different community events most evenings (music, dance lessons, movies under the stars, etc.) The park is a great place to walk around as well, as the pathway leads to the waterfront with a small man-made beach area for relaxing. We went there one evening when they were having a Caribbean themed music/dance lesson activity, and while we didn’t dance (with my ankle brace on) it was very enjoyable to watch people of all ages having a good time.
As we were staying downtown, we really only needed our car if we went out in the daytime, as the evenings we would Uber the short distance to the many downtown restaurants nearby. Each morning we had a nice breakfast (complimentary to us as Hyatt Globalist members), and unlike many hotels, the restaurant serves breakfast until 11am!
We did a couple day trips around the Sarasota area, in an informal house hunting activity, and to scout out some of the communities, locations, and amenities. While we’re not moving anytime soon, we are considering a 55+ Community somewhere in Florida, with preferences being in the Sarasota, Naples, or Vero Beach area. I’d love to live in The Villages, an hour north of Orlando, but DOS says it’s too big “and they drive to fast on those golf carts!” LOL!
We looked in Lake Wood Ranch, which is a huge community west of Interstate 75, which I originally thought was an all 55+ community, but in fact only a couple areas of it are for 55+, and one was fully built out (resale only), and the other we went to (De Web) only had 3 homes left for sale. We liked the large, but quiet Del Web community, but it was a bit too far out (i.e. in a rural area with not much in the way of restaurants and shopping close by), and too far to go to the nice downtown restaurants of Sarasota.
We did stop by the Del Web welcome center, and later went to the one restaurant they had onsite by the Community Center, which was available for the residents of Del Web, although they let us eat there and pay by a credit card. It was quite nice; i.e. like a Country Club meal (we sat outdoors, although there is indoor and bar seating as well), but it was a bit too quiet for us for something on a regular basis. Still, we had a nice lunch there, before heading out and driving around the community, in search of the 3 remaining houses for sale, all of which were right at a million dollars, and on a small lake.
On another couple of days, we drove 45 miles south of Sarasota to Venice, Florida, and had a look around the beach and downtown areas. The downtown area was quaint with a long few blocks of streets lined with palm trees, shops, restaurants, and bars.
We stopped by one of the real estate offices and the nice and knowledgeable agent put us on the mailing list with our preferences in mind. We had said we wanted a 55+ community, and he said while they have those, the average age in Venice is around 68, too even without the 55+ community, the residents were on the more mature side anyway. We did look thru Palmer Ranch which was a huge (non 55+ community) that was still building homes, but didn’t tour any model homes while we were there.
We enjoyed the quiet town of Venice, and walked around a bit on the long jetty, the beach area of Venice, and the downtown area, before heading back to the hotel, and later having dinner in the downtown area.
Welcome back to Sarasota, and the west coast of Florida!