Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Source of Life

I took this photo on Venice Beach, I'm largely sharing it today because of what I'm learning about water. Water is vital to life. But not all water is the same. You can drink water and still be dehydrated because of it's low PH. Which is typical of the water we drink including bottled water.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Lucky Dog Diner

I love mid-century modern retro and the Lucky Dog Diner is kitsch to the bone. Of course there are those who don't like the bright colors, but I think it's fab. Of course I wouldn't want everyplace to look like this, that would be too much. Sprinkling in dash's of color and different styles like this around the community adds to it's character.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Secret Garden

Driving down a Venice suburban street you'd never realize this lush Secret Garden was behind one of the homes which typically have largely grass yards. Actually this neighborhood is better than many in Florida, still this garden is what more of Florida should be like.

Why? Simple, it's more earth friendly. It uses less water than grass yards. Most, if not all, the plants here are native to the area. It makes a better wildlife habitat, butterflies love it. Plus it is cooler than areas with grass yards and much cooler than asphalt areas. IMHO it is much more attractive as well.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Market

Like many communities every week we have a Saturday Market in downtown Venice at Centennial Park. Saturday Marketa are a great way to support local business and get food that is better for you without having been shipped half way across the country or planet. I was thinking about that and was about to head there myself before going to an eco-fair in Sarasota, I thought I'd post this recent photo first.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Color Splash

The fountain in Centennial Park is great all of the time but I especially like it at night with the lighting on it. This time of year evening really is the best time to enjoy it, although it can sure cool you off in the heat of the day too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Banyan Trees

Banyan trees are amazing to me with all the roots dropping down to the ground from seeds which have germinated up in the tree branches. They absolutely look like jungle trees to me, however these are in Heritage Park on the way to Venice beach.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Italian Florida Style

Here is a larger view of the house from yesterday's post. As you can see there is far more detail around the window on the right than around any other windows. But with it set apart from the others it works perfectly in this design. I also love the balcony on this house. This is much better design than the bulk of what is built today. It's a very simple, yet beautiful house.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Window Treatment

This is one of the original homes built under the Venice master plan in the mid 1920's. Other windows on this house are rather plain, but this one off to the side got a bit of flourish to make it stand out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday at the Beach

While there can be a lot of people and activity here on Venice Beach even on a busy day it is still usually less crowded than most popular Florida beaches. There is room to move around here. That's one of the many reasons I like it. Active, but not overcrowded.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Centennial Park Craft Fair

Downtown Venice is really jumping this weekend. If you are in the area be sure to come to the Centennial Park Craft Fair sponsored by Venice Mainstreet. Photography, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and more this is one of the great events downtown.

The craft fair is today and tomorrow June 20 & 21, 2009, 10am - 5pm right in the heart of downtown.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The City Plan

No, this isn't one of my photos. Early on I shared a photo I took of this plan replicated in one of our parks. Today I thought I'd share an image of the real thing.

As nice as much of the architecture is, John Nolen's comprehensive plan from 1926 is what really makes Venice Florida what it is. This plan did an exceptional job of defining residential, commercial, industrial, and civic use with a great deal of respect given to park space and nature. For John Nolen nature was to lead the way with this plan, it gives Venice it's sense of place. All communities could use such forethought in planning.

This image is courtesy of the Venice Archives, I highly recommend a visit there if you are interested in learning more about the area.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Heritage Park

This delightful park runs down the center of West Venice Avenue from downtown right to Venice Beach. It has historical displays, commemorative plaques to explore as well as beautiful trees and landscaping, benches and a wandering sidewalk. The park includes some spectacular Banyan trees.

This is one of my favorite Venice parks, sadly I think most people enjoy it driving by rather than walking through it. There are no restroom facilities or picnic spots, but the Venice Beach Pavilion has these facilities and more at the beach right across the street from the west end of the park.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fraidy Cat

This is just too cute. She wanted to see what was going on, but didn't want to come out to say hi. A rather timid cat with everyone but her human pets.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beach Souvenir Shop

Yesterday I got a page on downtown up on Venice Florida Paradise. I had do do it twice as I almost had it done when my PC crashed and I lost it, sigh. But I got it done and wanted to celebrate today with a downtown photo.

This beach souvenir shop "Sea Pleasures and Treasures" is in the middle of downtown right across from Centennial Park. It's a really cool shop with all kinds of beachy things including a large selection of sea shells. It's very a classic beach town souvenir shop.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Penthouse View

Yesterday I went to a few open houses to introduce myself to some local real estate agents as I work on building my Venice-Florida-Paradise.com web site. One of the open houses was at a beach front penthouse with spectacular views. I do not walk into open houses with a camera so I was glad that the agent was very gracious to allow me to bring it back up to take some photos of the view.

As you can imagine with views like this the two bed room two bath penthouse is spectacular as well. Thank you Sherrey for your kindness. If you are interested in a property in Venice Sherrey can be reached at Sherreywelch.michaelsaunders.com

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Intracoastal Waterway

Naturally the area Venice sits is part of the mainland, it is in fact one of the few places in Florida not separated from the gulf by barrier islands. However, in the 1960's the US Corps of Engineers turned Venice into an Island by extending the Intracoastal Waterway through the area.

Originally designed as a safer way to move military traffic in times of war the Intracoastal Waterway has largely been a great boon in this area for pleasure boating. This photo is one of three bridges that connect Venice Island to the mainland.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday Night

On Fridays throughout the year Venice Main Street sponsors free concerts in Centennial Park, last night it was jazz by In Parenthesis. Live music in the park on a very pleasant early Summer evening, YES life is good here in Venice Florida!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Angel Trumpets

The other day I was outside looking for something on the side of the house and I noticed this tree in full bloom, wow! I don't know if Angel Trumpets are native to Florida or not but it sure is a large impressive flower.

The two close up make for a better photo, but I just have to show you a larger shot of the tree as well. Somehow this tree reminds me of one of the candy trees in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Park Mural

One of my early posts showed the city plan of Venice laid out in the plaza of a city park. I thought it was time for another photo of that park.

Micheal Biehl Park is a new park right at the main entrance to the island. It is a wonderful use of a difficult parcel of land behind the Venice Theater. The city took an eyesore and turned it into a jewel.

The mural of local wildlife (on the back of the theater) is by local artist BJ Carson and there is no way that a photo does it justice. It is grand with a lot of detail.

This park is also a gateway point to the Venetian Waterway walking and biking trail.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fishing Pier

The Fishing Pier in Venice is the only one on the Gulf in Sarasota County. Not only is the Pier great here but the beach is as well. There are restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and one of the few water front restaurants in the area.

Sharky's is actually the only restaurant in Venice on a gulf beach, it's a great place for food, fun, dancing, and live music. As Sharky's name implies, this is also a great beach for finding fossilized sharks teeth. This is something Venice is famous for around the world.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Window and palms

A little of Venice's Italian influenced detail today. Next to Centennial park downtown, this building was built as a hotel and later housed the Kentucky Military Institute for their winter sessions. Today it is a shopping arcade and condos.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spectacular Sunset

Venice is a most wonderful place to enjoy sunsets. I mean how many places are there in the eastern United States to enjoy sunsets over the wide vista of open water?

Not many, Florida's gulf side is basically it, and since Venice sits directly on the gulf, it’s even one of the best places in Florida to enjoy an absolutely breathtaking sunset.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lush Green Beauty

I come from a very green and mountainous state. The mountains are one thing I miss here, so fortunately for me it is very green in Florida. For me the lush vegetation is one of the top things that help make this paradise. If this mostly flat peninsula was desert I wonder who would really want to live here? I wouldn't!

Whenever I see neighborhoods without trees or much landscaping beyond grass I know I couldn't live there and wonder why anyone would want to. Also what are they doing to the ecosystem? Trees and natural landscaping make such a huge difference.

Summer temperatures on street with a good tree canopies can feel a good ten degrees cooler than streets with few or no trees. Plus natural landscaping uses a fraction of the water that grass does, it also retains water better as well.

Fortunately people here in Florida and all over the country are wising up by planting more trees and landscaping with plants which are natural to their area.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Triangle Inn

One of the earlier buildings in Venice which once housed an inn this beautiful structure has been moved to a park area and is now home to the Venice Historical Society. The building has exhibits on Venice history with archives for those interested in researching area history. The society also sponsors lectures and events such as historical tours in the area.

The park area nearby is very nice too featuring a public library, events center, and arts center. Across the street is a park with lots of open grassy space, a gazebo/band stand, and an arboretum.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Even on perfect days Venice has lots of beach space to unwind and relax on. You can find more active beaches near downtown and the beach front condos, or a short drive can take you to a quieter spot where you can chill out.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Venice Canals

Venice Florida does not have the extensive network of canals that it's namesake in Italy has. There are none in the downtown shopping area or around any church's that I know of. Yet it still has quite a few in residential areas, especially on the North end of the Island and some off island locations. It can be quite easy to find a waterfront home with boat moorage here, either on a canal or a bay, or lake, etc.

It is in fact a man made canal that made Venice Florida an island, that one is called the Inland Waterway. More on that another time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dinning Alfresco

There are several nice restaurants on Venice Ave. downtown which feature outdoor seating. That's only natural in paradise! This photo shows a bit of the Italian architectural theme of Venice. It also shows (to the right) the median that I mentioned yesterday.

This palm tree lined median runs down the center of the islands main shopping area greatly enhancing the pleasant feel and beauty of the area.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

City Plan

In 1926 world-renowned city planner and landscape architect John Nolen designed a master plan for the city of Venice Florida. Venice is one of few cities in Florida that either has such a master plan or has largely stayed true to it.

The street grid is exceptional with many parks and trees, my favorite drive is from downtown to the beach. Downtown the street has a wonderful median which is lined with palm trees, more towards the beach this widens to a full park space with trails, trees, benches, and landmarks.

For a few decades mid century not as much attention was paid to Northern Italian Renaissance architectural style that the plan called for resulting in a bit of an architectural mishmash. More recently however there has been far more respect for the plan including the remolding of several buildings to respect the original plan. All new construction must conform to it. This is helping to make this already attractive community even better.

John Nolen's plan is one of the major reasons I like Venice so much, it distinguishes Venice from the suburban sprawl that characterizes so much of Florida, giving the city a lot of charm and a great sense of place.

This photo shows the plan set in stone in a new city park which is at the gateway to the island. This park is a great improvement to this site. You can be sure that more photos of it will follow soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Beach Feet

June's theme day for the City Daily Photo blogs is feet. What could be a better theme for a beach town than beach feet? Whether it's walking, body surfing, splashing, or just relaxing, there are a lot of happy feet on the beach's of Venice Florida!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in this months Daily Photo Theme Day.