D and I recently enjoyed a road trip to Sarasota, with a quick two-day dash down, and a more leisurely five-day drive back. At a fundraising event in February, we had won a week at a condo in Sarasota, and we built a nice little trip around that windfall. It was a very relaxing vacation; unlike our most recent big trip (2014 choral tour to Paris!), this time we had no commitments, no schedule except as defined by our week at the condo, and no obligations except to each other. D grew up in Sarasota (on Siesta Key), and was interested in having a look. We’ve been to Sarasota a few times over the years, but never for such an extended period. In the weeks leading up to the trip, we did some research so we could make the most of our time while there. Cycling is always D’s first priority, so he called a local bike shop to see about group rides, and he hit the jackpot – there were group rides every day of the week, mostly in the very early morning, and most of them of the race-pace type of ride that he prefers. Of course, I was looking forward to birding in Florida, and hoped to add a few birds to my nonexistent life list. (I don’t maintain a list, except in my head, where I do know what I have, and have not, seen.) I’ll save bird photos for some future posts.
Of course, the tropical foliage is altogether different from what we have here in New England, and I was entranced by the sheer variety of colors, textures of the plants, shrubs, vines, and flowers. Here are a few photos of foliage that caught my eye. I think all of these are native plants. (We also visited a botanical garden with exotics; I’ll write about that in a separate post.). The photos shown here are from Sarasota and the surrounding area, including Myakka River State Park (FL), as well as from natural areas in South Carolina and North Carolina where we stopped on our way home.