Todd and Karen Johnston's Insider Guide To The Suncoast
Todd and Karen Johnston were both raised in Sarasota and know the Suncoast area well. Here is some basic background on the Sarasota
and Manatee region, which offers a lifestyle some can only dream about. There are also links to sites with additional information and insider tips from the Johnstons.
SARASOTA COUNTY INFORMATION
Sarasota is one of Florida's real jewels. There is so much to see, so many things to do, and so many great choices for dining and shopping. Since it would be impossible to list everything, we’ve listed just a few of the highlights and included several links to even more information.
- Beach – Sarasota is known for its fine white powdery beaches. Two of the more popular beaches are Siesta (Siesta Key) and Lido (Longboat Key). Siesta has repeatedly been voted best beach in America.
Johnston Tip: Visit Siesta Village for great restaurants and live music or stroll through the unique shops. There are also great dining and shopping options at St. Armand’s Circle on Longboat Key (right across the Ringling Bridge from Downtown.)
- Downtown - Sarasota has one of the best smaller city downtowns in America. Downtown Sarasota is home to many quaint shops, boutiques, and excellent restaurants.
Main Street is a free public WiFi zone and a great place to sit on a bench while surfing the web. Check out Madison’s City Grille on Main Street for outdoor dining and live music.
Attractions and Events - Sarasota has several excellent attractions and hosts many special events. Just a few of the attractions include: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Asolo Theatre, Sarasota Opera House, Ed Smith Stadium Baltimore Orioles Spring Training, Sarasota Jungle Gardens and the John and Mable Ringling Estate. A sampling of the special events include: Sarasota Film Festival, Florida Wine Fest, Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, Sarasota Medieval Fair, Siesta Key Craft Festival and St. Armands Art Festival.
Johnston Tip: Check out the Ski-A-Rees, one of the best amateur ski shows in the U.S. Performances are held at their site on Ken Thompson Parkway at 2:00 on Sundays. The Johnstons have been involed with the Ski-A-Rees for years. Look for Todd in the show as he is often a volunteer boat driver.
Find more information about Sarasota:
MANATEE COUNTY INFORMATION
Manatee County is rich in history and culture. Like Sarasota, the choices of things to do and see are abundant.
- Beach - Manatee County beaches are some of the best in the state. The beaches include Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria.
Johnston Tip: Anna Maria is one of the most popular destination wedding locations in Florida. It’s now known as the “Beach Wedding Capital of Florida.”
- Downtown - To take full advantage of it’s location on the picturesque Manatee River, Bradenton created today’s spectacular Bradenton Riverwalk. The River Walk is a 1.5 mile ADA-accessible park with many features including a family fun zone and amphitheater.
Johnston Tip:Visit the Farmer’s Market every Saturday, October through June, on Old Main Street.
- Attractions and Events - Bradenton is the home of several attractions and hosts many special events. Just a few of the attractions include: The Gamble Mansion, De Soto National Memorial, McKechnie Field which hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training games, and a complex that houses the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium and Parker Manatee Aquarium. A sampling of the special events include: Cortez Seafood Festival, Independence Day fireworks over the river, and Main Street Live (live music once a month beginning in the fall).
Johnston Tip:Stone Crab season opens October 15th and the best place to find them is Cortez.
Lakewood Ranch – This award-winning master planned community has a Main Street that offers stylish boutiques and lots of excellent options for dining. Lakewood Ranch hosts many special events. To name just a few: Polo matches, celebrity golf tournaments, block parties on Main Street and classic car shows. Once a month, enjoy an outdoor family movie at “Movies on the Green” at the Premier Sports Campus.
Johnston Tip: Enjoy live music the first Friday of every month on Main Street.
Use these websites to find more information about Manatee County:
Visit any Todd Johnston Model Homes Sales Center where a knowledgeable representative can provide even more local information and tips.