This year the Food & Wine Festival runs through to Monday 14 November. Over the years the festival has been expanded and now features additional ‘happenings’ including Beverage Seminars, What’s Cookin’ with, Mix it, Make it, Celebrate it, Cheese seminar and Culinary Demonstrations in the Festival Centre plus Festival Dining Events in the World Showcase.
I think the majority of visitors attend to stroll around the world sampling the festival exclusive foods and wine. There are an additional 38 marketplace stands as well as the usual eateries. This year features 5 new marketplace stands including the Chocolate Studio and the Islands of the Caribbean – where we got a rather nice frozen mojito!
We also enjoy the Eat to the Beat series of concerts and have been lucky enough to catch Chaka Khan and Boyz II Men.
The only downside if there is any is that you may find your waistline increases and your spending money decreases – as there are a lot of tasty temptations along the way.
One of our favourite annual Disney events – we definitely recommend it
Bike Sebring takes place every February at the famous Sebring International Raceway – the weekend closest to Valentine’s Day. Hosted by The Rotary Club of Highlands County & the Highlands Pedalers Bicycle Club it is officially know as the Bike Sebring 12 Hour & Ultra cycling RAAM Qualifier.
All monies go to great causes as the Rotary Club of Highlands County uses proceeds from this event to support local charities.
We love to visit Florida in February – the weather is much more conducive to cycling than in the UK at that time of year although it can be cool and if you are taking part in either the 12 or 24 hour races you will need some warm weather gear for the early start/finish (6am) .
2017 registration is now available. Click here for more information Bike Sebring
Situated at 900 S.Palm Avenue, Sarasota, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are a little oasis very close to downtown.
William and Marie Selby moved to Sarasota in the early 1920s. Marie loved nature and wanted to keep Sarasota beautiful and green. When she died in 1971 she bequeathed her home and property to the community with the aim of forming a botanical garden and just 2 years later Selby Gardens were founded and opened to the public in July 1975.
We entered through the Welcome Centre, purchasing our admission. From here we went into the Tropical Conservatory which was awash with many varied and beautiful orchids. We went on to the Bonsai Exhibit – all labelled with when they were born! and then onto the Cycad Display. Following the path we saw the Fern Garden and stopped to admire the Koi – with the buddhas and the Japanese bell. We passed the Bamboo Garden and then onto Banyan Grove which was one of my favourites – the roots of the Banyan tree are absolutely huge, beautiful and fascinating. We both hugged the hugging tree and explored the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden which had lots of colourful animal sculptures, bridges and steps, waterfall – great fun for all with an adult swing seat to sit in while watching the children play.
From here we continued along the short circular pathway, admiring the Desert garden, on to the Gazebo and then along to the Baywalk which hosted another large buddha and had lovely views across the Bay to Sarasota and Armand. In the Mangroves we saw several birds including Pelican, Osprey and a Belted Kingfisher. We rejoined the pathway and passed the palm and then on to the Payne Mansion where there was an exhibit of old botanical books and paintings plus living plants in jars which are used for research purposes.
We saw the display gardens – although it wasn’t really the right time of year to fully appreciate the Butterfly Garden.
A couple of hours soon passed by in a leisurely relaxed way. There is a little shop selling garden themed items and plants. There is also a little cafe for coffee and cake.
At just $20 entry for an adult we would highly recommend it. For more info go to Marie Selby