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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Episode 76 (Epilogue): Staycation

Why head far away for spring break when there are so many places to go and so many things to do right in our own backyard? Our episode tonight focused on “staycations.” Ryan and Carmela joined guest Kelly Defebo. She has been a member of Visit Florida’s Meetings & Travel Trade Committee for the last 4 years and is also a member of seven other industry associations throughout the country. Kelly has lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida nearly her entire life and has lived in Sarasota County for the last 12 years.
Kelly explained staycations became popular during the economic crisis, as a way for individuals to avoid the high cost of vacations while still enjoying time off. Staycations are a great way for people to avoid the cost and stress of travel.

The best way to plan a staycation is to prepare for it as though you would be going on a vacation far away. Make sure ahead of time that all responsibilities around the house are done beforehand, and that you make it clear to those around you that you will be on vacation. The next step is to figure out what kind of staycation will best suit your family. Are you most interested in outdoor activities? Do you most like activities involving the water? Are you and your family most focused on local shopping and dining?

We discussed some of the local attractions in the area which may be good options for staycationers with children, including The Sarasota Children’s Garden, The Gwiz Science Museum, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. We then discussed local restaurants such as the Hob Nob,  the Shake Pit , Salute!,  and Ophelia’s on the Bay, and area “hidden gems” such as the Warm Mineral Springs  in North Port and the Hermitage Art Retreat  in Englewood.  For individuals who are looking for bargain staycations, we suggested Siesta Key beach, Dakin Dairy Farm, Honeyside Farm, Eden Farms, Orioles Spring Training games, strolling on St. Armand’s Circle,  and our state parks, Mayakka and Oscar Scherer. Carmela mentioned the Sarasota Folk Festival  as a music filled event that families might enjoy. Kelly also spoke about some upcoming summer events, including  Savor Sarasota  (June 1st-14th), World Ocean Day at Mote (June 2nd), Sarasota Music Festival  (June 6th- 22nd), The  Sarasota Improv Festival (For Adults, July 12th and 13th), and the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix  (June 29th- July 7th). For those looking for even more options, Kelly informed us of the Sarasota Visitor’s Guide, a comprehensive guide to the area. The guide can be picked up at the Sarasota Visitor Center and order or downloaded from the Visit Sarasota website.

We also talked about some educational programs for children, such as the Sarasota Opera Performance Program  for children, the Sarasota Ballet School  , the Creative Kid’s Saturday art class at The Art Center of Sarasota, the Van Wezel  school time performances (make sure to tell your children’s teachers!), and programs from The Arts and Cultural Alliance.

Stop in at the Sarasota Visitor Center!
701 N. Tamiami Trail
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