Who doesn’t love waffles? And how are we here in Sarasota and Siesta Key lucky enough to be graced with what the Food Network has named ‘Florida’s Best Waffle’ at the locally-owned breakfast, lunch restaurant has locations on North Trail and Siesta Key.

The Siesta Key location is just steps from the Tropical Beach Resorts and is the restaurant we always love to recommend for amazing breakfasts and lunches that you can walk to from the hotel!

Food Network named Toasted Mango Cafe’s chef’s special waffle as its Florida choice in a list of best waffles state-to-state.

“The airy malted discs — pressed for exactly three minutes — arrive crisp and warm, adorned with cubes of ripe mango, toasted coconut flakes and whipped cream,” the article said. “It’s a true taste of paradise.”

RELATED ARTICLE:  Walk to the fresh, amazing, Toasted Mango for breakfast and lunch!

Toasted Mango Cafe, a breakfast and lunch restaurant with locations on North Tamiami Trail and Siesta Key, is owned by Kimberly Duffy and Sandi Wagner, who were named in the Food Network article.

“We are so honored!” the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post about the recognition. (Sarasota Herald Tribune)

Check out their menu and more next time you stay with us here in Siesta Key or their downtown Sarasota location!

http://www.toastedmangocafe.com/index.php

There are many different celebrations going on near the island of Siesta Key. We highly encourage safe and responsible St Patrick’s day celebrating! Here are some of our favorites and recommendations to make the most of your celebration!

SARASOTA COUNTY – The popular and romantic ‘Say I Do Again’ wedding vow renewal ceremony returns Feb. 14, to Siesta and Venice beaches.

This non-denominational service at Siesta Beach will be performed by 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge, the Honorable Debra Riva. Avis Brangan will be the ceremony officiant at Venice Beach.

Both events begin promptly at 6 p.m., but couples are encouraged to arrive as early as 5 p.m., to check-in and enjoy music on the beach.

Preregistration is required by Friday, Feb. 9, by mail or Monday, Feb. 12, online.
The fee is $10 per couple, which includes a certificate, event gift, flower and light refreshments.
Siesta Beach is located at 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key; and Venice Beach is located at 101 The Esplanade, Venice.

To register for the event, or for more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.

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“For over 47 years Pittsburghers have been calling the Bradenton Area their southern home and their sister city for the past five,” Said Elliott Falcione, Executive Director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I believe this new flight will no doubt be embraced with open arms by both cities and we applaud the efforts of Elite Airways expanding flights at SRQ to provide nonstop jet service to Pittsburgh, making it more convenient for people to enjoy all that our area offers, including world-renowned beaches and old Florida charm.”

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Elite Airways announces non-stop flights SRQ to PIT

No one could be more excited about this new flight than me! I moved to Sarasota from Pittsburgh after I graduated college back in 2004. I still have friends and family in Pittsburgh and I typically fly Allegiant Airlines either from St Pete/Tampa or Punta Gorda. Both are very cute, easy to get in and out of airports and flights are pretty affordable.

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Sarasota Bradenton International Airport is an amazing, quaint airport

If you are travelling to the Sarasota area, this is the ideal airport to fly in and out of. It’s an international airport, but has only a select number of airlines which utilize its gates. Currently there are Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta, Elite Airways, JetBlue and United Airlines.

Non-Stop Destinations

Destination Airline name Freqency Reservation number
Atlanta, GA (ATL) Daily | Year-Round 800-221-1212
Boston, MA (BOS) Daily | Fall/Winter/Spring 800-538-2583
Charlotte, NC (CLT) Daily | Year-Round 800-433-7300
Chicago, IL (ORD) Daily | Fall/Winter/Spring 800-864-8331
Detroit, MI (DTW) Daily | Winter/Spring 800-221-1212
New York, NY (JFK) Daily | Year-Round 800-538-2583
New York, NY (LGA) Daily | Year-Round 800-221-1212
Newark, NJ (EWR) Daily | Winter/Spring 800-864-8331
Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) Fridays & Mondays | Year-Round 877-393-2510
Portland, ME (PWM) Thursdays & Sundays | Year-Round 877-393-2510
Toronto, Canada (YYZ) Daily | Winter/Spring 888-247-2262
Toronto, Canada (YYZ) Thursdays & Saturdays | Summer/Fall 888-247-2262
Washington, DC (DCA) Daily | Year-Round 800-433-7300
Westchester/White Plains, NY (HPN) Fridays & Mondays | Year-Round 877-393-2510

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Pittsburgh, known as America’s “Most Liveable City” boasts dozens of sports teams including three competing at the highest professional level in their respective sports—the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL, and the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball. The city also offers miles of walking trails and scenic outdoor parks as well as 446 bridges—more than any other city in the world, including Venice, Italy.

“Western Pennsylvania has many strong connections to Florida’s Gulf Coast and this nonstop service to the Sarasota-Bradenton area on Elite Airways will add to that,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “I’m sure many Pittsburgh Pirates fans headed to spring training next year and people headed to the beach will be thrilled with a convenient nonstop flight right to the heart of their destination.”

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Elite Airways LLC announced nonstop jet service between Pittsburgh, PA and Sarasota-Bradenton, FL beginning Feb. 23, 2018. Pirate City and LECOM Park in Bradenton is the site of minor league and spring training activities for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which will host its season opening home game on Saturday, Feb. 24 in celebration of the team’s 50th season of play there and the start of 2018 spring training.

Starting Feb. 23, Elite Airways will operate twice-weekly nonstops on Friday and Mondays between Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). Elite Airways operates a fleet of Bombardier CRJ-200 and CRJ-700 jet airliners known for comfort and efficiency, and maintains an impeccable safety record. Passengers receive free onboard snacks and beverages, first checked bag up to 50lbs, and no ticketing change fees (see website for details). Elite Airways is also pet friendly. Early bird fares start at $199.00 each way and are scheduled as follows:

Fridays & Mondays starting February 23, 2018:

  • Depart SRQ 9:30 a.m. arrive 12:15 p.m.
  • Depart PIT 1:00 p.m. arrive 3:45 p.m.

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Pittsburgh to Sarasota Bradenton PIT 2 SRQ

I feel very lucky to be a part of both of these amazing cities and look forward to making the trips back and forth to either of my hometowns with this new airline itinerary. What’s the top priorities when I fly home to Pittsburgh? Typically, my mom picks me up with a fresh twist loaf from Mancini’s Bakery, a stop at Eat ‘n Park, lunch with my best friend at Primanti’s and more Pittsburgh sport team pride than I have experienced from any other city. I love Pittsburgh.

When heading back onto the Gulf Coast, there’s nothing like it when the salty, warm Gulf breeze air brushes your face upon exiting the plane. I truly am a flip flop girl and life is just better in flip flops. Flip flops are not just an accessory, they are a way of life. I am truly blessed to work, laugh, and love on the gorgeous white sands of Siesta Key. I’ve traveled to so many different beaches, but there’s nothing like this little piece of Sarasota paradise.

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This year marked the 2nd Annual Siesta Key Seafood and Music Festival and it was a phenomenal event! The weather was an absolutely perfect temperature Siesta Key day. Guests were treated to clear blue skies and if you stayed for sunset, a super moon could be viewed opposite of the sunset.

There were many very popular local bands that played, people danced and sang along while enjoying their tropical libations, beers and most importantly….the Seafood!!

Sarasota’s favorite local restaurants lined the stands and provided some of their best seafood items of which I can’t think of one type of seafood that wasn’t there. Choices ranged from Lobster Bisque and full Lobster dinners to shrimp mac and cheese, jambalaya, paella, crab legs, crawfish, prawns, and so much more.

Restaurants included favorites such as Duval’s Fresh Local Seafood, Walt’s Fish Market, Gypsy Fish, Bobby Poole, Cindy’s Seafood, Blasé Café, and several others are serving up of our areas more authentic local flavor.

Eight local bands provided the music: Ari and the Alibis, Sarasota Steel Pan Band, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues, Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio, The Hard Luck Society, Kettle of Fish, Greg Billings Band, and Reverend Barry & The Funk.

“There is local support, the music is great, the food is great … it’s been a phenomenal, phenomenal weekend,” said Kinney. “The sand has everything to do with it — the sand under your feet. … That’s a seafood festival.”

-Sarasota Herald-Tribune-

Organizers moved the festival to the South end of the Siesta Key Beach Parking lot into the sand to make it easier to have guests access the festival and to have beach goers able to access the beach. This made it super cool as the festival is literally a beach festival with no shoes required. I spent the afternoon barefoot, enjoying the music with Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio with shrimps and mac and cheese and local beers. It was fantastic.

This year included a VIP access tent with lounges, seafood buffet and areas to kick back, with some great views of the stage.

Oh and don’t forget the Alligator bites that were available too! there was so much more than seafood.

 

Alex takes Ty, a cancer survivor, fishing

Alex takes Ty, a cancer survivor, fishing

‘Siesta Key’ Star, Alex, takes a 9yr old, strong-willed and brave Cancer Survivor Fishing

“Catch me a fish and I’ll eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I’ll eat for a lifetime,” and so the story began.

The Anderson family loves Siesta Key and frequently enjoys our beautiful island. They enjoy staying just south of Tropical Beach Resorts at the Point of Rocks. However, a picture perfect story, of a family from Baltimore, blessed with eight children of their own, traveling to Siesta Key, to enjoy one of the top five beaches in the world doesn’t quite tell the entire story. Unless a family has gone through watching their own child fight leukemia… I don’t know that anyone really could every tell their entire story. With the hope, we all pray for, when we hear stories of children, fighting for months, to save their own lives, the Anderson family have a happy story ending in a child with a clean bone marrow test and a trip back to Siesta Key. However, this time, their trip to Siesta Key made national headlines, and people from all over the world, now know not what a strong fighter Trey Anderson is but also what a good fisherman he is now too thanks to the help of Alex Kompothecras, a local law student, and MTV reality star.

If you have seen the MTV show, ‘Siesta Key’, you will know that Alex loves the water, to boat, and to fish. His boat is a fishing machine. The show highlights the true beauty of Siesta Key and the surrounding areas and has the cast enjoying many different activities throughout the city as well as even a trip to the Bahamas.

For just a little sneak peek into the life of Alex, there is much more to him than just the money, fame and fishing. He is a family man. His family is incredibly important to him and his siblings are an integral part of his every day life. –

aleskompo.com

Kompothecras Family Photo.courtesy of alexkompo.com

When asked about family, Alex quotes, “family comes first,” he thinks his father is an inspiration and his mother is a continual supportive force. As the oldest of six kids he feels a sense of responsibility, his siblings, Bronson and Sarah Alice are on the Autism Spectrum, and the youngest additions to the family are triplet’s, GabrielHelena and Neesa. Alex states, he makes responsible life decisions based on wanting to be a good role model and take care of his siblings. He bonds closely with his five year old brother Gabriel stating, “Gabriel is one of the guys hanging out with my friends and me, he loves boating, and he enjoys sports with me, we also go out for ice cream often. He also likes to wake me up every morning poking at my face or jumping on the bed.” Due to the love for his siblings, Alex has a strong passion to make a difference in the world of Autism with both community and national outreach. (alexkompo.com)

“Most days you will find me on the water; I started fishing off the dock at five years old and had my own boat at nine years old! My number one passion is boating and fishing I’m happiest when I can share that experience with others. The fishing in South Florida is some of the best fishing in the world. The abundant diversity of fish, habitats, and great weather allowing you to fish year round contribute to making Florida known as the “Fishing Capitol of the World.” -Alex Kompothecras

Having this incredible love, heart, and caring for children that have had to deal with hard fights throughout their young lives have led Alex to want to do whatever he can to help and to make some of these kids dreams comes true. And this is definitely the case when it came to 9-yr old Trey Anderson. Trey wa diagnosed with leukemia and it was in his bone marrow and had made every day, inherent tasks virtually impossible. Trey’s big dream was to be out on the Gulf Coast waters fishing with Alex…..and his big dream came true.

According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune’s article, Alex said the fishing trip was his best catch since he started law school. He marked the spot where they caught 24 fish as “Trey’s spot,” on his GPS.

No matter what drama or crazy relationships end up occurring on the MTV show with Alex, the one thing we can all sit back and know is that he truly cares for children with extra special struggles and we hope that he continues to use his wealth and big heart to enrich the lives of these children for many years to come.

2016 Crystal Classic Winner

2016 Crystal Classic Winner

8th Annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition November 10th thru the 13th – This Weekend!

We are within a few days of one of our favorite Siesta Key events! The official countdown has begun with some giant mounds of sand already delivered and being shaped into the main central displays with the local sponsors and other supporters of this huge event. The Siesta Key Chamber estimates that nearly 40,000 people will come and visit the Siesta Key Beach to view these brilliant sculptures intricately and carefully carved out of the brilliant quartz white sand of Siesta Key! This event is one of the most popular of the year and draws guests and artists from all over the world.  Recently named America’s #1 Beach, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic has become a favorite of the professional sand sculptors who have competed here.

This year promises to be the best Crystal Classic yet with extended evening hours, so excited spectators will be able to view the sculptures lit up with the soft rays of the Siesta Key sunset and other colored lights. The entertainment, shopping, and other events will continue into the evening hours until 9PM On both Friday and Saturday nights.

This is a very family friendly event with sand sculpting demonstrations and lessons in the Learning Curve Tent. Kids can get hands on and hands in the white sand and see how their skills match up to the amateurs and pros in this creative event, as well as learn the differences between our very special Siesta Key sand and other beaches’ sand.

Great entertainment will fill the fall air with popular groups like Jah Movement, Reverand Barry & Funtastic Soul featuring Hellacious Horns, Kettle of Fish, One Night Rodeo and Tropical Ave. Band. Special guest appearances will also happen by ABC7’s Bob Harrigan, and the Master Sandsculpters themselves.

For the complete schedule of Events, view : https://www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com/event-info/festival-schedule

According to the Siesta Key Chamber’s Information, ADA accessibility will be the best on Monday  as beach wheelchairs will be available and most crowds will be slightly thinned out so better viewing and gazing options will be available

We will actually be volunteering at the event on Saturday night, so look for a few representatives from Tropical Beach Resorts to be around in some different areas of the event and stop in to say hi! We are super excited to be involved and to volunteer as we love to talk to visitors, guests and locals alike. It’s always such a pleasure to meet new people and to hear guest testimonials about their love for Siesta Key Beach, hear about their family memories made, and fun vacation stories.

Crystal Classic Siesta Key

Crystal Classic Siesta Key

Sculptures will be returned to their sandy flat state on 11/14. After the sculptures have been enjoyed, it’s super fun to watch the guys on the diggers demolish them…I’m still a kid at heart who loves to play with sand buckets and tonka toys:)

 

 

Avoid the crowds at the beach!

Take Route 11 to Siesta or

Ride the Siesta Key Breeze Free

Trolley Service on the island.

Sarasota County could expect to feel the effects of Hurricane Irma as early as Friday evening, according to Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane. Make sure you’re in the know in Sarasota by signing up for CodeRED alerts:

https://www.scgov.net/government/utilities-water/utilities/codered-notification-system

As many as 37 million people could feel the effects of the terrifying hurricane Irma, claimed UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

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Hurricane Irma Path forecast

Hurricane Irma Path forecast

Meterologist Ryan Maue tweeted “Based on near perfect environment for Irma Hurricane to intensify, expecting a peak of 900 mb central pressure & 190 mph in next 24-36 hrs.”

Mr Maue shared a new ECMWF model which forecasts a category 5 Irma to hit Miami by early Sunday.

While we’re now tracking Hurricane Irma, it’s worth noting hurricanes with the letter “I” have been notorious in the Atlantic Basin so far this century. Most recently, Irene’s name was retired from further use by a committee of the World Meteorological Organization. This is done when a particular tropical cyclone is so deadly and/or damaging that future use might be considered insensitive or confusing.

Since 2001, eight “I” named-hurricanes have had their names retired by the WMO.  Is Irma going to be the next retired “I” named storm?

Irma is breaking records

Irma is now the strongest hurricane at 180mph winds in the Atlantic basin outuside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico in National Hurricane Center records. She is bigger, stronger and faster than Hurricane Andrew which hit Florida in

Hurricane Irma registered Category 4+ for five consecutive days – only the fourth time this has happened since 1966.

Irma is expected to remain a major hurricane through the week. The threat Irma poses to Florida prompted Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency on Monday. The declaration includes all 67 counties within the Sunshine State. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the eye of the storm.  Florida is 500 miles long and 160 miles wide at its most distant points. Depending on where this storm lands, hurricane force winds are likely to be felt across the entire state of Florida.

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Sarasota Hurricane Evacuation Route

Sarasota Hurricane Evacuation Route

Sarasota’s History of Hurricanes

Hurricane Andrew was a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that struck the Bahamas and Florida in mid-August 1992, the most destructive hurricane to ever hit the state. It was the strongest in decades and the costliest hurricane to make landfall anywhere in the United States until it was surpassed by Katrina in 2005. Andrew caused major damage in the Bahamas and Louisiana, but the greatest impact was felt in South Florida, with sustained wind speeds as high as 165 mph (270 km/h)

Sarasota County recorded a hurricane’s direct hit in 1944 when the eye of a Category 3 storm moved through north Casey Key and Osprey. 

There are some theories and local superstitions as to why the city of Sarasota has not had a direct hit from a storm since record keeping began back in 1871; the wildest one has to do with American Indian Spirits that still protect the area. These are what are known as “Urban Legends.” (http://www.escape-to-sarasota.com/hurricanes.html)

Others say that the Sarasota area is safe due to Mother Nature’s placement of the sand dunes on the coastal beaches, or the magic powers of Siesta Key’s white sand beaches and underwater crystals.

Whatever reason people believe, we have stayed safe from these potentially monster storms along the Sarasota Sun Coast for quite a number of years.

The record books say that Sarasota did take on varying degrees of damage from hurricanes in 1926, 1944 and 1950.

Hurricanecity.com ranks Sarasota as the #30th of cities and islands affected most by tropical storms and hurricanes.

Hit by Tropical Storm Colin in 2016 but remains in the same position, 15 hurricane hits puts Sarasota at the bottom of the 2.20 group. (affected 66 times since 1871)

 

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Baby Turtles during Nesting Season on Siesta Key

Baby Turtles during Nesting Season on Siesta Key

Sea Turtle Nest Sign on Siesta Key Turtle Nesting Season in Sarasota County and it’s barrier islands is coming up soon. Here at Tropical Beach Resorts, we take great responsibility in helping to educate locals and visitors about the local environment and all its wonders. May through October is sea turtle nesting season in Sarasota County and we are lucky to have the highest density of loggerhead sea turtles nesting on Florida’s west coast.

A female loggerhead turtle uses her back flippers to dig a hole in the sand and deposits about 100 rubbery eggs, each about the size of a ping pong ball. The turtle disguises the nest by covering it with sand. Once she leaves the nest, she never returns.

After incubating for about 55 days, the hatchlings break out of their shells and wait until the sand temperature cools, so most come out of the nest after dark. Coming out of the nest at night protects them from predators and dehydration, and they use the moonlight to navigate their way out to the gulf waters.

Because hatchlings head for light, they are easily disoriented and can head the wrong way, away from water and toward an unhappy ending. Only about 1 out of every 1,000 hatchlings survives to reach adulthood.

The turtles are only about 2-3 inches long and their eyes are about one inch off of the ground, so the world is seen much differently by hatchlings.

Baby Loggerhead Turtle

Baby Loggerhead Turtle

The turtles scramble to the water where they will live for many years in seaweed beds drifting along the Gulf Stream. As the turtles grow older they can weigh up to 250 lbs and grow up to 3 feet long. They move into coastal waters where they eat jellyfish, sponges, crabs, sea grass and seaweed. Sea turtles breathe air, but can hold their breath for 2 hours when at rest underwater.

What you can do to help during turtle nesting season:
•If you encounter a nesting turtle, remain quiet and observe from a distance.

•Fill in holes that may trap hatchlings.

•Throw trash away in proper place.

•Don’t approach turtles, hatchlings or make noise.

•Don’t use flashlights.

•Don’t touch sea turtles or hatchlings.

Please respect marked sea turtle nests. These are marked with 4 tall wooden sticks and thin colored plastic tape which connects all four wooden sticks. There will be a sign attached with an approximate date of egg laying.

Sea Turtle Nest Sign on Siesta Key

Sea Turtle Nest Sign on Siesta Key

If you see hatchlings in danger or heading away from the the sea, contact Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program: 941-388-4331. Or place in a bucket with moist sand, cover with a towel and keep in a dark place and not in Air conditioning.

It is against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests. Sea turtles are protected by both the Federal Endangered Species Act and the Florida Marine Protection Act. If you do see one, take photos, but no flash please!

If ou see problems with sea turtle nests, eggs, hatchlings or adult nesting turtles…Call Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program (STCRP) at 941-388-4331.

If you see nest vandalism or sea turtle harassment or any other wildlife harassment, please contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922. We take our wildlife very seriously and respect their place in our beautiful, tropical wonderland that is Florida. It is our moral and civic duty to help protect the animals and do our part to help educate the public on how to best experience the beauty and amazement that they do present.

If you would like to come and visit during this incredible time of the year and hope to catch a glimpse of baby turtles making their trek to the Gulf of Mexico, give us a call and make your reservation to stay on Siesta Key today! For help with booking your accommodations, you can reach one of our local, knowledgeable staff direct at the hotel front office at 941-349-3330 or book online at www.tropicalbeachresorts.com.