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Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores

Indian Beach Sapphire Shores is one of the swankiest communities in the Sarasota region, and it’s just next to the wonderful Ringling estate. This area is home to both ancient mansions and modest single-family houses, as well as the twin parks of Sapphire Shores and Indian Beach, as well as spectacular views of Sarasota Bay. The neighborhood also has the New College of Florida and the Ringling College of Art Design, giving it a great college town feel. This area is full of classic Florida architecture and is located just across the street from two of Sarasota’s most famous inhabitants, John and Mable Ringling, and their large mansion, The Ringling. The Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores area is one of Sarasota’s most populous and historically significant. Fortunately, despite its closeness to bustling U.S. 41, it’s also one of the best walkable, thanks to magnificent, tree-lined Bay Shore Road, which runs parallel to Tamiami Trail for many intriguing miles. The walkways are on the eastern side of Bay Shore as you travel north. As you compare large bayfront houses in various styles to more modest bungalows and even a sprinkling of homes dedicated to modern design on the non-waterfront side of the road, you may find your head popping back and forth (although there are certainly grand historic dwellings on the eastern side, too.) Several estates along the coast are now under development, so you can see some newer mansions in the works. Shorebirds foraging along the bayfront, woodpeckers, and even parakeets hiding in trees and perched on power wires are just a few of the natural attractions. And there’s always, always enough of shade, thanks to living oaks, banyans, and, as you walk farther north, a stretch of decades-old royal palms. As you approach the curve in Myrtle, where Sarasota Jungle Gardens has long given a refuge for families to explore and enjoy live bird presentations, the history portion of our tour comes into play strongly. A sign prominently displayed in front of the gardens explains how Indian Beach earned its name from the prehistoric middens and ceremonial mounds left behind by the original peoples who lived here before the Seminoles and Spanish fishermen. After passing over the curve in the road, you’ll be almost halfway to the neighborhood’s cultural heart: the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the FSU/Asolo Performing Arts Center, and the New College of Florida campus.

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