Time to Visit St. Armands
When our seasonal visitors head back north to cooler temperatures, it’s a good time for Sarasotans to revisit some of our favorite places (with a bit less traffic!). For me, that means making the easy trip from S. Longboat to lovely St. Armands Key, and spending some time on St. Armands Circle for some weekend fun.
St. Armands History
For just over $20 In 1893, Charles St. Amand, a Frenchman and first resident of the island, purchased this small key on the Gulf. In later land deeds, his name was misspelled “St. Armand” and this spelling has persisted to the present day.
John Ringling purchased the Key property in 1917 and planned the circular development, which was set to include both residential lots and a shopping district. The key was without a bridge to the mainland until 1926, when the John Ringling Causeway opened to the public, Ringling himself leading a parade across the causeway with a band playing from the center of the Circle.
After coming in with a bang, the coming years’ Great Depression quieted this little development, which slept for nearly 20 years. The Causeway was turned over to the City of Sarasota as Ringling could no longer afford to maintain it.
In the 1940s, several investors began revitalizing St. Armands Circle, opening several restaurants and a service station, but it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that a number of additional stores joined them and the Circle came fully alive again.
Steeped in Sarasotan history, the Circle today remains full of bustling life — from the lush and beautiful vegetation to the crossways full of pedestrians, the Circle looks very much as it was originally envisioned. The European-style shopping and dining district walkable to the beach remains a destination for visitors and residents alike so come smell the flowers, browse the shops, and grab an ice cream or gelato on a hot summer day.
Coming Up at St. Armands
June 8 & 9 - Annual Summer Craft Festival AND Summer Sidewalk Sale
Open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, over 175 artisans participate in this weekend event. Admission is free. After you’re finished perusing the festival, enjoy some summer sales during the annual sidewalk sale event, which goes all weekend while shops are open.
June 20 - Ladies’ Night
This happens the third Thursday of every month from 5-9pm. Select stores & restaurants (but it’s not a short list) offer 15% off to ladies as well as a raffle and refreshments.
So Let’s Talk About the Meters…
Yes, the dreaded parking meters invaded St. Armands during season this year, so if you have not been out to the Circle for a few months, be prepared to pay for parking. If you’re a regular, download the Parking App to feed your meter when your shopping takes a little longer than expected. ;)
Stop by and see me right on the Circle for any and all of your real estate needs! Michael Saunders & Company, St. Armands Circle I office is located at 61 S. Blvd of the Presidents.