Sunday, March 06, 2011

Stephen King and the Keys Visit

Misled by a map not drawn to proportion, we made the mistake of using Route 41, AKA the Tamiami Trail, to travel to the Sarasota area. Major drag -- one big strip mall interspersed by as many Wal-Marts as could suck dry their respective surrounding local retail markets.

Was there gold at the end of that thar road, you ask? Well, yes there was, of a sort.

First there was our drive-by tour of Casey Key, the existence of which came to our attention by way of a note that author Stephen King had a summer home there. I am a BIG fan of Stephen King in his capacity as a writer and as a citizen engaged in issues of social and economic justice and the lure of checking out a place he had chosen to live was irresistable.

Well, I don't know if he has a home there but, like Captiva Island and many of the other areas we've seen, wealth abounded. Here we were able to get some photos and I've included a few representative "homes," to use the word lightly.

No public beaches here! We continued up to beach on Siesta Key and found a whole congregation of Mennonites enjoying the sun and sand. It was a visual disconnect to see bonnets and head scarves and long skirts and beards juxtaposed with all the people in swim suits and short shorts and tank tops. Felt like a group of folks from Ohio's Amish country decided to take a vacation at the same time we did.

When we finally got to the beach, we learned that wind and fine quartz sand are a bad combination. I do believe that an automobile fender propped on the beach would have been sanded down to bare metal in under and hour.

We put down our towels and beach bags and hit the water for about an hour and found a dune formation well underway when we returned. The sand there is so fine it is like powder and it just drifts when blown. Too much grit, fine as it was, so we let the wind blow us back to the car and off we went to Venice.

Venice is a small town with a main street lined with shops, nearly all of which were closed by the time we got there. We got nearly to the end of the line when we found Vinnie's -- a soda fountain and pizzeria. There we were served pizza slices that were better even than the New York slice we got last summer.

Having learned our lesson about Route 41, we took the freeway (I75) back home.

Not our best day, but any day in the warm sunshine is a good day.

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