Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cooling Off

Interactive fountains like this one in Venice's Centennial Park are wonderful and fun places to cool off in the heat. While the fountain was not crowded when I took this photo it was jam packed when I drove by yesterday.

Seeing news of the heat wave in Oregon really made me think of this with fountains like this in Portland full of people on the national news. Here is a link to a photo of it from Portland (OR) Daily Photos. There people of all ages are cooling of in the fountain. It's really odd to see FL twenty or so degrees cooler then Oregon in the Summer!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Casperson Beach

A friend of mine in Oregon posting some beach photos on Facebook inspired me to post this beach photo today. Florida has great beaches for sunning and swimming, Oregon not so much, especially the swimming it's too COLD! However Oregon beaches are great for feeling close to nature and exploring.

Casperson Beach at the south end of Venice Island is the best such beach that I have seen in Florida. It's about the only beach I've seen here with rocks on the beach, which invites a bit more verity of sea life, this beach is also great for finding shells and fossilized sharks teeth.

Plus rather than being backed by condos, this beach is backed by a nature preserve which helps give the beach a very back to nature feel as well as miles of trails to explore. I've written more about this beach here at Venice Florida Paradise, there are a few more photo's there too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fine Living

While I'd rather have an urban loft myself I very much appreciate the beauty of other styles of living. This to me is one of the most beautiful homes on the Island. It is also one of the earliest in a prominent location on Venice Ave. between downtown and the beach. It's Italian influence and lush tropical landscaping is spectacular.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Promising Path

There are a few beaches like this around here and I love it. Rather than just spread out before you, there is an area of lush vegetation with board walks through it. You have to pass through this to get to the beach, with the alluring beauty beyond increasing with every step.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas in July

No I didn't just take this photo, it was actually at Christmas. I just thought July 25th would be a fun time to post a Christmas photo.

Actually Christmas in Florida is a lot like Christmas in July would be up north, it's sunny, warm, even hot, yet there are all these Christmas decorations including snow men around. And people do go a bit nuts for Christmas around here. They don't have to deal with the cold and snow, so I think more people decorate more for the holidays here than they do up north.

If you think this looks like a boat you'd be right. It was taken at the annual Christmas boat parade where people go nuts decorating their boats too!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shops on Miami Ave.

This building on Miami Ave. has several nice shops. It also has a very inviting feel with this porch, columns, and landscaping.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


One of the nice features in Centennial Park downtown is this gazebo. There is a semi circular earth berm around it making it ideal for concerts, ceremonies, and other events including weddings. I've seen veterans day events, concerts, medieval jousting, and other events take place here. It is the center of many community activities.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swinging Bridge

At the northern end of Casey Key, on Blackburn Point Rd. is a very rare single lane swinging bridge. Most of the bridges over the Inland Waterway are draw bridges, this one pivots on a center access. I am amazed that a single lane bridge like this survives in this area, but I'm thankful it does because I think its pretty amazing.

I also know that area resident have fought to save this bridge. I'm not sure if that's so much because of it's uniqueness or because a single lane bridge cuts down the amount of traffic going by their mansions on the key. Frankly I don't care why, I'm glad the bridge is there and hope it always will be.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sun is back

The forecast today in Venice is calling for 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Actually we need it, but right now it's sunny and bright, a good time to enjoy the beach for a while in the morning like these folks are.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Needed Rain

One of the things that makes Florida livable is all the lush greenery, greenery that needs rain. We've been a bit dry lately so I am very happy to see some rain today. I think capturing a few of the drops with a flash against the dark background came out well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Good images at night are a bit hard to capture with my camera, although I'm sure a tripod would help. This one though I really like, it's reflections from neon restaurant signs on the Inland Waterway. Just across Roberts and Donna bay from Venice Island in this photo was taken by the bridge at Nokomis Beach.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fountain Park

I have yet to capture this fountain in a really good light, the trees give so much shade that it makes this park very enjoyable to also hard to photograph a dark object such as this fountain.

Parks like this are part of why I like Venice so much. It was clearly designed for walking around, enjoying and interacting with the environment, not for just driving from one place to another.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Venice Ave.

This view from a balcony on Venice Avenue shows some of the charm of downtown. True, you can't see the buildings across the street very well from this angle, but that's because of the trees running down the center of the street that help make downtown so inviting.

There are some nice buildings here but this photo reminds me of something I realized in another place I was living years ago.

Of many apartment complexes in the town there were two in particular that stood out for me. One for being ugly, the other beautiful. One day as I had driven by both I was stunned to realize that the architecture of both was EXACTLY THE SAME! The difference was the landscaping and trees.

Nature is so important.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shamrock Park and Nature Center

This is a place I enjoy and should get to more often.

Shamrock Park and Nature Center offers more than 80 acres of natural area land providing opportunities for nature study, educational hikes, environmental programs as well as facilities for active recreation. Guided bird hikes, butterfly garden tours, and nature hikes are offered throughout the year. The park serves as the trail head access for the south east portion of the 10.2 mile Venetian Waterway Trail. There are many other trails here as well.

I really like the Florida Cracker style of this building. Deep overhangs, metal roof, copulas that let the sun in and heat out. The building is also a few feet off the ground further promoting natural ventilation. Very appropriate for a nature center in this climate, more building here should be built in this style.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kon-Tiki Motel

Set next to a boat showroom and marina and right above the inland waterway, this special little motel feels like it should be on a secluded tropical isle. This motel has a very cool modern tiki retro feel to it. It's actually very hard to capture in a photograph, it is a grouping of bungalows connected by a covered walkway.

The rooms have beautiful wood ceilings and kitchenettes. Unfortunately, it's also very hard to get one of those rooms. There are only nine of them and they are very well booked up from repeat business of people who really love the place. The place has such a great feel to it, that it's very easy to see way it's so hard to get a room there.

If you're feeling lucky though you can contact the Kon-Tiki at 941-485-9696

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beach Shade

Ah, now there's a nice way to enjoy the beach on a hot day. Shade umbrella, chair, cooler, what more do you need besides friends or family to enjoy it with?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blue Heron

This blue heron seems to be enjoying the day down beside the inland waterway. Is it looking for a meal?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Venice Train Station

Built in 1927, the Venice Train Station was the last stop on the Seaboard Air Line Railway. The station was built as the arrival point for people interested in buying Venice property which where attracted by large marketing campaigns.

In November 1960 over 5000 people welcomed the
Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus to their their new winter home in Venice at the train station. This winter arrival and departure continued to draw large crowds every year until the circus left town in 1992 when the train tracks were no longer usable.

With the increase of freeway use and the decline in rail travel passenger trains quit running to the station in 1971. After that the station fell into disrepair for a couple decades.

Sarasota County purchased the property from the railroad company that owned it and restored it to its original condition. The newly renovated station opened in January 2005. It is now used as a terminal for the county mass transit system. Tours are available on Saturdays.

The station sits beside the inland waterway across from Venice Island providing very nice views of the island and waterway.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rain Barrels

Collecting rain water helps supplement irrigation and reduce stormwater runoff. These rain barrels were provided by the county to some Venice area Master Gardener and school volunteers to help with water conservation.

These good folks are waiting for their barrels to be outfitted with intake, overflow, and spigots.

Conserving water in this way also helps reduce toxic runoff from pesticides, fertilizers, etc. into ponds, streams, lakes, bays, and the gulf. Conserving water in this way is also helpful in inspiring people to conserve water around the home in other ways as well.

If you have interest in getting a rain barrel I suggest contacting the Southwest Florida Water Management District or the Sarasota Extension Service.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

12:34:56 7/8/9

A couple days ago I got an email from a local photography Meetup group with a challenge to take a photo at 12:34:56 7/8/9. It said "Wherever you are, whatever your doing, take a moment in time to capture the sequence of life at that moment".

Well at that moment (or real close to it) Paul W. DeClark was about to tell this group what I was doing. Fortunately I got a more candid shot in, before everyone started looking at me!

This group is the Venice Open Network,
which is an opportunity for local businesspeople to establish working relationships, promote their businesses and support each other in a casual environment. It's also a good place for a bit of fun and laughter.

It is open to anyone in the area with a business to promote, it is not a membership group with a lot of free advantages for participants. As they say, If we did any less for you, we'd have to charge you more. Paul is the founder of the group and you can find out more at Venice Open Network.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yacht Club

Like it's namesake there are quite a few canals and boats in Venice FL. These are moored at the Yacht Club. While our canals do not go through the heart of the city they do add much to the beauty and enjoyment of it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tropical Oasis

I saw this pool on an Historical tour of Venice it is absolutely one of the most beautiful pool settings I have ever seen. The pool is just a simple rectangle, but all the tropical vegetation around it make it a real paradise.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Star Spangled Beach

It was a great evening on the beach last night with fireworks and festivities for the 4th of July. The Red, White, and Blue was out in all it’s glory from kites, hats, shirts, swimsuits, balloons, flags, and even belly dancing outfits.

On Nokomis beach there is often a sunset drum circle last night they continued playing all the way through the fireworks adding a lot to the great atmosphere.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Fireworks on the beach, I love it. But yes, we have a bigger display than this there are always a lot of unofficial fireworks going off before the main attraction starts.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Holiday Time

What could be better than the 4th of July weekend in small town America? This is one of my favorite times of the year. One of the things that does make it better here is this is a beach town, so guess where I'll be tomorrow night for the fireworks?! Yep, that's right I'll be watching them on the beach.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Empty and a day late!

The 1st of every month in the City Daily Photo community is theme day, this months theme is empty. I saw this view of an empty stairwell on a beach front condo and thought it would be great for the theme.

Even though it's a touch off kilter I like the composition with the two dark quadrants juxtaposed by the light quadrants with the beach and gulf beyond. But when it came to posting it yesterday, well the stairwell wasn't the only thing that was empty!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Point of Palms

In Nokomis next door to Venice is Point of Palms, the Florida home of Dr. Fred Albee a prominent New York physician of the early 1900’s.

In the early 1920’s Dr. Albee purchased almost 3000 acres of land where Venice is now with a dream to build a model city.

He envisioned agriculture, industry, commerce, housing and recreation coexisting harmoniously and hired celebrated city designer John Nolan to create just such a plan. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers purchased the land in 1925 and proceeded with implementing the plan.

Today local residents can be very grateful for the early vision of Dr. Albee and others as Venice is a beautiful jewel amidst a land of poorly planned suburban sprawl.