On Saturday, February 18th, we picked up Linda and Herb around noon time and headed over to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. They had recently visited there and liked it so much that they purchased a family pass so they invited us to go there with them. I believe the usual admission fee is $17. Despite the forecast of potential showers, the day ended up being perfect – partly cloudy with comfortable temperatures.
Marie and William Selby moved to Sarasota after vacationing there for many years in the 1920’s. She was an accomplished pianist and gardener and he owned the Selby Oil and Gas Company which eventually merged with Texaco. He died in 1956 and when she died in 1971, she left the home, the gardens and an endowment for the development of the botanical gardens.
The gardens cover 7 acres and are dedicated to the research and collection of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads and their canopy ecosystems. Epiphytes are plants that grow upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object (such as a building or a telegraph wire), derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it.
The gardens were beautiful and it was a great day to be outside walking around such a lovely place. We would definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area. Besides trying to find the appropriate adjectives to describe how beautiful it was, there’s not much else to say about it specifically so I’ll let the photos below do the talking.
After we were done touring the gardens, we decided to take a ride over to Siesta Key. Boy was that a mistake! Another situation where there is one bridge and it was one big traffic jam. On the way to the bridge, passing by Island Park, we drove by the 25 foot tall aluminum statue “Unconditional Surrender” which is based on Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photograph of the sailor and nurse on V-J Day. It seemed like rather a strange place to have such a statue!
After struggling with the major traffic jam, we decided to turn around and head back to Linger Lodge campground where we had cocktails and some munchies before walking up to the Linger Lodge Restaurant for dinner. Al Roker, on the Food Network, once named this place “One of the Top Five Weirdest Restaurants in the Country”. Definitely a unique place but the food was excellent. I had crab cakes which were one of the best I’ve had, Rob had blackened catfish which was excellent, Herb had fried catfish and Linda had salmon.
On Saturdays, they have a entertainment and on this particular night they had a guitar player/singer who was very good, playing a lot of country western songs, and hits from Cat Stevens, Jimmy Buffett, etc.
On their website, it explains the decor – “Frank Gamsky, the original owner and an amateur taxidermist, filled the walls, ceilings and display cases with local creatures and critters. Preserved snakes, coyotes, alligators and more, keep you company while you enjoy our down-home, southern cooking. Take time to browse the many mounted fish and the strangest of animals, the Blub-Billed Orthlock or the Turkey Rattler.” There are critters and creatures everywhere you look!
After dinner we walked back to the campsite where we sat around the camp fire for a bit before heading back to Horseshoe Cove. It certainly was another fun day!
Take a look at this rather comical menu which explains the history of the place and has some rather unusual entrees!