Saturday, January 30, 2010

Palmy sky

Right now it's very mild and pleasant, aka balmy.  We are said to have rain heading our way though so I thought I'd post this photo with the brighter sky before it started turning darker.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hob Nobbing


Through my position as a sales associate with Gorilla Direct Marketing.  I am able to get actively involved in the Venice Florida Chamber of Commerce.  This is something I greatly look forward to as the chamber is THE most important resource in the community for promoting and helping locally owned businesses, a strong passion of mine.  I am glad to do my part to help further promote locally owned businesses through Gorilla Direct Marketing and this site but the Chamber is key.  Without it we would simply not have the strong, vibrant local business community that we do.

Last night the Chamber held their annual Hob Nob at Cramer Toyota.  The event was packed with several hundred local business people and community leaders.  Cramer Toyota did a great job as outstanding hosts with live music, and fantastic spread of food, and a great space for such a well attended event.

These business people are all our friends and neighbors, they work hard to help make Venice FL the wonderful community that it is.  When you do business with a locally owned business research shows that for every $100 spent in a national or international chain business only $14 stays in the local economy. It's even worse for online shopping that is based out of the area as none of your money will stay in this community.  Yet for every $100 spent in a locally owned business $45 - $68 stays here in Venice.  Please support our local businesses and make them your FIRST choice as you do business.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Train Station Tour

Today I took the opportunity to take a tour of the historic train station.  A few years ago this building was in total disrepair.  Today it is a beautiful landmark in Venice.  This was largely due to the foresight of making it a transit transfer station the the county public transit system.  It's a very logical use that made funds available for restoration.

We had a great guide name John (in the photo) who really brought local history alive for us.  If you're in the area I recommend taking some time for this tour.  Check out the Activity/Program Calendar on the Venice Area Historical Society's web site for times.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Johnson-Schoolcraft Building

One of the earliest buildings in Venice Florida is the Johnson-Schoolcraft Building.  Built in 1926 originally it had a pharmacy with a soda fountain.  Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a wine shop, a kitchen/gourmet store and a bunch of nifty nic nacs.  Umm, I meant there is a gift shop here called Nifty Nic Nacs that has a bunch of well, nifty nic nacs!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Venice Beach Pavilion

In my photo last Thursday this structure was silhouetted against a dramatic sunset.  Today I thought I'd share it in it's daytime brilliance. The Venice beach pavilion is a great example of the local "Sarasota School" mid-century modern style. It was designed by renowned architect: Cyril T. Tucker and built in the early 1960's.

Venice had two major building booms with distinctly different styles of architecture in the 1900's one in the 30's with the originally planned Italian influence and another in the 50's and 60's that was very modern.  This pavilion is one of the best examples of the modern style in Venice Florida.

The pavilion features a dramatic hyperbolic paraboloid roof soaring over two low buildings of coral stone and a large open air area with tables for eating ice cream from the pavilion shop or playing chess, etc.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Foggy Day

This is not typical here in Venice Florida, but sometimes we do get foggy days.  And this was a whole day as this photo was around 4pm not early in the morning.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Grand Opening - Kitchens by Kerrie

Yesterday evening  Kerrie Ann Lehnert held the grand opening for her very successful Kitchens by Kerrie business.  The event was well attended by community leaders and very enjoyable with good music, good food, and good people.  It and Kerrie's business growth, with other signs of growth around town, are good signs of a strong economic rebound here in Venice Florida. Especially for locally owned businesses.

Discover the quality work Kerrie does on her Kitchens by Kerri website You can also read more about it on my previous Venice Small Business Blog Post.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Biehl Park

Sandwiched between the back wall of the Venice Theater and the ramp of the north bridge this property is one of the most visible on the island.  It is a highly visible yet oddly a terrible location for a business, thus for years it was sitting as a vacant eyesore. It wasn't a very inviting welcome to Venice Florida.

Today it is a wonderful, delightful and very inviting welcome to the island with a large mural of local wildlife, fountains, the city plan etched in stone, and beautiful landscaping.  This property is a great real life example of an ugly duckling that has been transformed into a gorgeous swan.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sweeping Sunset

This area has many dramatic sunsets and I realized that I hadn't shared one in a while.  This is from a few years ago but it is one of my personal favorites.  The sweeping roof of the Venice Beach pavilion is in the foreground and the sunset seems to take it's lead from the pavilion roof with a dramatic dark sweep through the clouds.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beach Side Art Class

As I was driving down by the beach I saw this art class in progress and thought it was a great photo opportunity.  It's an great opportunity for many classes  are taught for free by Madge Meyer a former art teacher for eighteen years. 

Drawing classes on Saturdays are at the pavilion close to Sharkey's Restaurant and Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays they are here in the park between Venice Beach and the Army Air Base Sign.  Paper and pencil are provided or you nay bring your own, bring a chair.  Ask Madge about the advanced drawing class as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not so mellow yellow!

While this may look like construction scaffolding to some, it's part of the finished design of a local mid-century modern building here in Venice Florida.  I'm not sure what the building was built as but today it is a Japanese Restaurant downtown on Venice ave. where most of the buildings have an Italian look. I feel the building style fit's it's current use very well.

There was a boom in Venice in the 1950-60's which brought a lot of mid-century style to town, some of it very well done, which I feel this is, some not so much. 

I very much like the pattern of the yellow on blue in the top photo.  Today I'm adding another photo to put this in context of the building.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Outdoor Room

There is a new show on HGTV called the Outdoor Room it's all about creating outdoor spaces that have a sense of place like a room.  As I was walking around town the other day I saw this space at the Emeritus at Venice.  It is an assisted living facility in one of our historic buildings.  This space between a couple buildings really gave me that sense of an outdoor room.  A delightful space to spend some contemplative time in.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gunther Gebel-Williams Statue

As the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus made their winter home here in Venice for many years, so did it's performers and workers.  Some choose Venice as their home and where active in the community after the circus as well.  One of those was famed animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams.

Mr. Williams died in his Venice home in 2001.  Today his life in this community is honored  with a statue in his memory standing by the train station that he and his Circus family departed from and arrived to with great fan fair for many years.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Historic train depot and Legacy Trail

In 1927 the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers built this train depot to bring people in and market Venice.  It was the last stop of the rail line and for many years it also welcomed students from the Kentucky Military Academy and The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus to their winter homes here in Venice.

Today the depot is on the national register of historic places it also serves as a bus transfer station for Sarasota county transit.  The rail tracks between Venice and Sarasota are a walking and biking path known as the Legacy Trail.  There is a park just west of the depot that features a public boat ramp to the Inland Waterway and there is soon to be a new city park just to the east. 

More information on the depot history can be found at the Venice Area Historical Society web site and through tours, please see their web site for tour times.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hecksher Park

On Venice Ave. about half way between Tamiami Trail and the beaches (right in the heart of town) is this park full of tennis and other sport courts.  Actually I had thought that was all there was to it, today I discovered there is also a nice picnic and play area on the Barcelona Ave. side.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Artful Steps

This colorful stairway leads to Venice West Gallery and Hand Crafted Gifts which I profiled on my local small business blog yesterday.  Linda made the mosaic stair a wonderful invitation to her gallery.  It makes you want to know whats at the top of the stairs, at least it did me.  Climb the stairs and discover what's there, you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Venice Bridge

As things are really coming together for this site, the thought came to me that I should share the full photo of the bridge that I use in the masthead, on business cards, etc.

This is the south bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, one of three bridges connecting Venice Island to the mainland.  All three are draw bridges allowing taller vessels to sail these waters. 

It as my hope that this site will also serve as a great connection for people to Venice.

The building at the base of the bridge is the home of Venice Area Beautification Inc. a non-profit with a mission to make Venice a more beautiful place to live, work. and play.

One of their biggest accomplishments the Intracoastal Waterway Park with walking and biking trails that extend along both sides of the waterway for miles.  The northern island side of the park ends around their building with landscaping, benches, tables, a playground, and public restrooms.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Hibiscus

Unlike yesterdays hibiscus I don't think cold would effect these.  This is a recent find for me, a very large mural on the back of one of the Venice Gondolier's buildings.  Most of it covers Venice history including the air base and the circus.  There is also a time-line on the sidewalk.

I will share more photos of it, but if you want to see it for yourself take Venice Ave to where it ends under the bridge on the island.  Facing the Inland waterway the Venice Gondolier's buildings are on your right.  This is on the further building, closest to the Inland Waterway bike and walking trail.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Red Hibiscus

It seems to be cold all over right now.  I thought I'd warm it up a bit with a beautiful red bloom.  Our plants aren't used to the cold snap like we are having at this time and we all hope they do well.  Even with the cold, we are thankful it is not as bad as much of the rest of the country.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Heritage Park

It's good to see someone besides myself enjoy this delightful park.  I know other people do, but most drive right by it heading for the beach.   

Heritage Park is a four block long narrow park between the East and West bound lanes of Venice Ave. that ends right at the beach.

Here you will find very pleasant winding trails, several monuments, and wonderful landscaping including some very impressive banyan trees.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January at the Beach

Crisp and sunny not time for crowds at the beach, but I feel that many up north would gladly trade places with us! 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fountain Park

This is my favourite small park in Venice.  Right at the end of a line of antique and other shops on Miami Ave. this park offers a delightful, shady respite. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I meant to share this yesterday but had a computer problem.  A friend had to wipe my PC clean and I'm working on getting things reloaded and working again.

The theme day for City Daily Photo was Changes this month, and while a construction photo is an obvious choice, it's what I wanted to share.  To me it's an indication of positive changes not just for Venice FL, but for our national and even world economy.

This site is one of the most desirable in Venice and the building has been sitting vacant for at least six years.  That is changing now, it is being converted to (I believe) a restaurant/night club.  That and other new construction in the area is an indication that things are picking up and 2010 holds promise to be a better year.

Happy New Year, I wish you a prosperous one.