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Activities Family Fun Out of Town Recreation Shopping

The Sarasota Farmer’s Market

The Sarasota Farmer’s Market has been a local favorite since starting back in 1979. It has continued since then in serving the community with local plants, produce, flowers, and more.

You can really find some great treasures here. There are orchids and seasonal flowers to buy, along with great local produce. My personal favorite are the artisans the Sarasota Farmer’s Market feature. These skilled people really produce some phenomenal work. You can find amazing art work from Pea’s Easel Art, to Arte Canales who makes amazing art out of metal & cooper. There are some adorable jewelry and fashion vendors as well, including Sugar Sand Jewelry and Clothes 2 Dye 4.

This market is one of the only, if not the only, local farmer’s market that is open year-round. It runs from 7am – 1pm every Saturday, rain or shine!

Sarasota Farmer’s Market
1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 225-9256

 

Check out a few other local farmer’s markets, like the Coquina Beach Farmer’s Market or the Bradenton Farmer’s Market in Downtown Bradenton.

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Activities Family Fun Out of Town Recreation Shopping

Red Barn Flea Market – Bradenton

The Red Barn Flea Market in Bradenton Florida is definitely a place you should visit! Since opening their doors in 1981, this flea market has grown to over 600 vendors on 20 tree-lined acres. The Red Barn Flea Market is a traditional flea market combined with food courts, plaza shops, and farmers markets. There is really so many things to see, it may be a bit overwhelming. There’s clothes, jewelry & accessories, home decor, art, fresh produce, etc.

88,000 of the 145,000 sq.ft area is air conditioned. So don’t be afraid to make a trip here during the Summer time. They even host special events throughout the year, and you can find live music in the food court every Friday and Saturday.

Because the Red Barn Flea Market is so expansive, there is a Market Map available on their website. The market has their Summer hours, and their Winter Hours.

Summer Hours:

  • Monday – Closed.
  • Tuesday & Thursday – Plaza only from 9am to 4pm.
  • Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday – Entire market from 9am to 4pm.

Winter Hours:

  • Monday – Closed.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – Plaza only from 9am to 4pm.
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday – Entire market from 9am – 4pm.


Red Barn Flea Market:

1707 1st St, Bradenton, FL 34208
941-747-3794

Learn more about markets in the local area. Check out the Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach, and the Bradenton Farmer’s Market in Downtown Bradenton.

 

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Activities Bradenton Beach Family Fun Out of Town Recreation Shopping The Things that Locals Know!

Farmer’s Markets On and Off Anna Maria Island

Farmer’s Markets, who doesn’t love them? I know I sure do! Below you will find some great information on a few of our local Farmer’s Markets.

Anna Maria Island:

  • Bridge Street Market (107 Bridge St. in Bardenton Beach):
    The outdoor Bridge Street Market runs every Sunday, November – April, form 10AM – 3PM. This Bradenton beach tradition is a great place to find local artwork, jewelry, produce, and live music.
  • Coquina Beach Market (2650 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, Florida):
    The beach market at Coquina Beach takes place two days of the week, Sundays and Wednesdays. The Sunday market starts in November and is held every Sunday through July. While the Wednesday market takes place December – April or May. Both last from 10AM – 4PM. This is the only beach farmers market in the area, so don’t miss out. The Coquina Beach market is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Dogs are NOT allowed within Coquina Park. Stop by to find some great food, fresh produce, purses, pottery, and more!

Bradenton

  • Bradenton Farmers’ Market (Old Main Street/ 12th St W.):
    The Bradenton Farmers Market in Downtown Bradenton is hosted every Saturday in October through May, from 9AM – 2PM. This farmers market is very popular with the community and is a great way to start your Saturday. Fresh produce, live upbeat music, free activities for the family, etc. On the 3rd Saturday of each month during the farmers market season, they do “Mainly Art”, where local artists/craftsmen display and sell their work.
  • Red Barn Flea Market (1707 1st St.):
    At this market everyone in the family is sure to find something they want. The Red Barn Flea Market is located about 25-30 minutes away from Anna Maria Island. But the drive is worth it, and its bound to be a few hours of shopping and walking. This Market has over 600 vendors! Out of the 145,000 sq.ft area, 80,000 sq. ft. is indoor and air-conditioned. The indoor area includes shopping, fresh produce, entertainment, and a food court. Trust me, the Red Barn Flea Market is worth a visit while you’re in the area!

Sarasota:

  • Sarasota Farmers’ Market (Main St. & Lemon Ave.):
    Established in 1979, the Sarasota Farmers Market continues to carry the tradition of providing the community with plants, local produce, prepared foods, and artisans. With 80 vendors, there is quite a bit to check out here. Rain or shine, the Sarasota Farmers Market is open all year round, from 7AM – 1PM. This market is about 40-45 minutes away form AMI, though because this market is held earlier in the day, traffic shouldn’t be an issue.

 

Want more ideas on what to do in the local area, check out some of our other blogs, including; Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary, Myakka River State Park, and Fun Children Attractions near AMI .

 

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Fishing Recreation The Things that Locals Know!

Lionfish around Anna Maria Island

The Lionfish around Anna Maria Island are a non-native invasive species. Naturally occurring in Indo-Pacific waters, Lionfish came to the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Caribbean due to exotic pet owners releasing collections. The first Lionfish sighting happened in 1985 on the Atlantic coast at Dania Beach. Lionfish have also been spotted as far north as Rhode Island in the summer. However, they cannot survive North Atlantic winters. The population has really thrived in new waters.

Lionfish around Anna Maria Island

A very interesting fish, there are actually two species that are visually identical. Almost all Lionfish around Anna Maria Island are Red Lionfish. Also commonly known as Devil Firefish. They are a beautiful species with white, brown and red Zebra like stripes. They also have 18 venomous spines along the front of the dorsal, pelvic and anal fins. The meat and flesh of the Lionfish are not poisonous. In fact, its delicious!

Lionfish have an extreme impact on the Florida environment because they have no naturally occurring predators. They are reef dwellers that compete for food with species like Yellowtail Snapper. Lionfish will also stalk their prey. They use their long flowing spines to herd prey into corners of reef environments. Lionfish create an imbalance in the reef environment by harming species of organisms that keep algae in check.

Lionfish Record
Captain Jimmy Nelson holds the current Florida Lionfish record for the Atlantic in length as of May 21, 2015. Caught out of Islamorada his Lionfish measures 477mm (18.78 in) Photo Credit: FWC website.

Catching Lionfish

FWC and other organizations encourage anglers to take as many of them from gulf and Atlantic waters as they can. There are no bag or size limits. The best way to control this species is through removal with FWC giving incentives for individuals who do so.

A fishing license is required for individuals using a hook and line method for catching Lionfish. It is not required for spearing devices exclusively for Lionfish such as a Hawaiian Sling, pole spear or handheld net. A license is required for commercial sales of Lionfish. There are spearfishing restrictions listed on the FWC website. FWC provides incentives such as a 2015 initiative allowing anglers one extra Spiny Lobster for each 10 Lionfish caught per person on July 29 and 30th.

Lionfish Events

In cooperation between FWC, The Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition and the Reef Rangers, in 2015 a new event was created. This event helps remove Lionfish and promote awareness of their invasion. The Second Annual Lionfish Awareness Day tournament will happen May 14-15, 2016. Hosted in Pensacola, FL the event is free to attend. Participating anglers can win awards. Patrons enjoy tastings, filet demonstrations and family activities. Awareness day kicks off a statewide program going through the end of September encouraging Lionfish harvesting. Find details here about the 2016 Lionfish Challenge and Panhandle Pilot Program. If you aren’t comfortable removing Lionfish you can also report a sighting here.

Lionfish record
Captain Andy Ross holds the Florida record in the Gulf length and weight out of Pensacola April 3, 2016. His Lionfish measured 438 mm (17.24 in) and weighed 1406.14 g (3.1 lbs). Photo Credit: FWC website.

Typically Lionfish aren’t caught by hook and line, but by spear or handheld net. Local company Blue Water Explorer Dive Charters offers regularly scheduled spear fishing tours. They encourages patrons to take as many Lionfish as they can during a fishing session. Captain Bob Eskew says “We welcome certified divers to take as many lionfish as possible on any of our charters. I ask only that hunters have the proper collection equipment to avoid unnecessary injury from the lionfish spines”. While visiting Anna Maria Island Blue Water Explorer Dive Charters is your best bet for catching this species.

How to Fillet a Lionfish.

Below is a great youtube video from FWC on proper techniques to fillet a Lionfish. It is imperative to use caution when handling this species. They are venomous, and can inflict a very painful “sting”. Reports of Lionfish stings vary greatly depending on how many spines puncture the skin, and personal tolerance. Stings take a few minutes to feel painful as venom works its way into the body. You should seek medical attention as stings can cause extreme pain. In rare situations a sting can cause temporary paralysis, and can lead to infection.

 

Lionfish Recipes are simply delicious. 

This fish offers a firm texture, and a flavor similar to Mahi Mahi. Lionfish is high in Omega 3’s and low in saturated fats and heavy metals. Lionfish can prepared in many ways making it a versatile addition to your diet. Check out the Pinterest Board “Anna Maria Island Local Seafood and Recipes” for dozens of suggested preparations. From fried to blackened and ceviche to sushi, you’ll find many great ways to eat this fish!

Enjoy Anna Maria Island just like the locals do, and try out some of our locally sourced seafood selections!

Anna Maria Island Accommodations and Vacation Rentals for your next visit.  

When planning your Anna Maria Island fishing trip check out AnnaMariaIsland.com for a large selection of beach rentals!

 

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Hotels Recreation Restaurants Uncategorized Vacation Rentals

Things to do on Anna Maria Island July 4th

If you are looking for something to do on Anna Maria Island July 4th, then look no further!

Holmes Beach Fireworks

Like most places in the USA that enjoy the Independence of America with picnics, family, and fireworks Anna Maria Island is no exception.  Islanders and visitors take this holiday pretty seriously, not sure if it is mostly due to the visitors who want to enhance their vacation or if it is how the beach itself is a great environment for fireworks.

Either way the light show on Friday was amazing. Bombs were bursting in air! The day started off with the annual Anna Maria Island 4th of July Parade hosted by the Privateers. Cars, motorcycles, golf carts and pirate ships were decorated in patriotic red, white and blue throwing beads and treats.

Many of the local businesses participated, some memorable displays were Island Real EstateIsland Scooter Rental and Beach Bum’s. Onlookers lined the parade route, cheering for candy, beads and refreshing sprays from water guns.

From the looks of it, the disposable income lacking in the past few years is back for Florida vacationing families.  There was a lot of money being blown into the beautiful night sky over the Gulf of Mexico for as far as the eye could see, this was no average back yard light show.

From St. Pete Beach to Lido Key the magnificent lights were abound and beautiful; it looked like a battle reenactment just as our national anthem reflects in its lyrics.

Anna Maria Island July 4th Firework Regulations

Anna Maria Island 4th of July ParadeAlthough illegal to discharge in Florida and easily purchased in the same state, firework novices and self taught experts were setting light to some amazingly high and elaborate candles, mortars, and reports.

It was truly amazing to see the quality and quantity of fireworks going off up and down Anna Maria Island.  Sitting in the North end of Holmes Beach expecting to see the SandBar shooting off their annual display, which in its own right is usually quite awesome, it was amazing to see just how many spots along the beach were blowing rockets.

At one point it was hard to discern which lights were coming from the SandBar and which were being blown off from either Bradenton Beach or the City of Anna Maria.  The night before the BeachHouse restaurant (same owner as SandBar) put their display on. However, thunderstorms seemed to deter others from doing the same.  On Friday, it looked as if the ban on fireworks was lifted temporarily on Anna Maria Island.  They were everywhere.

Needless to say it was truly a site to behold from the Chinese lanterns high in the sky to the kids with glows sticks zooming up and down the beach, to the finale at the SandBar. Anna Maria Island did not disappoint this 4th.  Thanks to all of those willing to spend the money and time for the show. Please, everyone clean up after yourself; other creatures use the beach as well.

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Recreation The Things that Locals Know! Weather

Anna Maria Island Sea Life

It’s always amazing to see what treasures you can find looking for Anna Maria Island Sea Life. This time of year makes for great shelling and snorkeling, even just off the beach. Sunny skies and calm waters are perfect for seeing fish and other treasures.

Saving Sand Dollars For A Rainy Day

These sand dollars were found while boating around Anna Maria Island. There were so many it was hard not to step on them! The sand dollar is a burrowing, flattened sea urchin belonging to the order Clypeasteroida. When they are this color, they are “alive” and should not be removed from the water. Still, these treasures are amazing to find and photograph.  This star fish was found in the Gulf of Mexico off Holmes Beach, FL on a particular calm and clear day. If getting on the water is something you are into, make a point to check out some of the local boat captains that can put you on the water.   You can expire some of these unique spots to feel, touch, and learn about the sea life just below the surface.  It is truly amazing what the Gulf of Mexico and Anna Maria Island has to offer.  Throw on a mask and see what you can find!
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Fishing Recreation

Finding Manatees Near Anna Maria Island

Finding Manatees near Anna Maria Island is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a visting nature lover.  These adorable herbivore creatures love warm water and if  you are lucky, you can spend a wonderful day watching Manatees play in the warm coastal waters near Anna Maria Island.

Manatees are very impressive during mating season as they are prone to barrel rolling and thrashing around in the water.

Be Careful While Boating!

Be sure to be cautious with your power boats around Manatee areas.  Boat motor propellers are the leading cause of death and injury to these gentle creatures.  Take the time to patiently navigate the waters near the shore line and throughout the inter coastal.  This is where you are most likely to find them. Make sure you are not accidentally intruding on their space!

Unfortunately, the number of Manatees is very limited and they are sometimes hard to find.

If you are really fortunate, you might also find yourself swimming with them off the northern end of the island.  It is a wonderful experience!

Visiting the MOTE

If you are having trouble finding manatees in the wild near Anna Maria Island, then try your luck at the MOTE Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.  It is a truly remarkable establishment devoted to understanding and supporting all marine wildlife, including Manatees!

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Recreation Weather

Seasonal Weather Changes on Anna Maria Island

Are you looking forward to the next Seasonal Weather Change on Anna Maria Island?

When a cold front comes through up north, we prepare by getting out the scarves, mittens, hats, winter jackets, and maybe even the boots because we can know that the temperatures are going to dip, possibly to below freezing, thereby bringing along some sleet or snow.

The kids get excited because they may wake up to find that school will be closed, while parents make sure the cupboards are stocked and the heat is working.   If there is a fireplace available, plenty of wood will be brought in, and everyone will look forward to family times around a cozy fire.

Cold Fronts – Who Cares!

When a cold front comes through Anna Maria Island, we look forward to turning off the air conditioning. We even go around opening up the doors and windows.  We know that the temperatures will drop a few degrees at least, but most importantly we anticipate the lower humidity.

Now we’ll be able to ride our bikes, take our daily runs or walks, and get those outside chores accomplished! We didn’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn to avoid suffering heat exhaustion.  Our lanais and docks will be enjoyed for cocktails and dinners while everyone marvels at the beautiful, clear weather and lovely breezes.

If the temperatures drop too much, we’ll see people out and about. Full-time residents will be very clearly distinguished from the vacationers.

There will be some people wearing heavy sweaters, or winter coats even, while others will be in their swimsuits and cover-ups.  Of course, the beach is never off-limits especially for those who have escaped the “really cold” weather up north!

Recently, I took a picture of a cold front approaching over the Gulf of Mexico at 9:30am.  After about an hour or so of much needed rain, we got busy opening up of the house.  Don’t forget to work on some of those outside chores I mentioned earlier.

I went back to the beach at 4:00pm where the sun was shining beautifully. There were even lots of people who were taking advantage of the warm water. These cold fronts are hard to take, aren’t they?

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Dining & Nightlife Fishing Recreation Restaurants The Things that Locals Know!

The Mackerel Run and Fishing Anna Maria City Pier

It’s a great time to be fishing Anna Maria City Pier.  The Mackerel Run is ON and they are showing up in spades.

Last evening we decided to take a quick ride up to the Anna Maria City Pier…our favorite college team Penn State was ahead at half time, and our dinner still had another 45 minutes to finish in the oven.

Fishing Anna Maria City Pier? Buckets of Fin!

As we walked down the recently re-built pier we were greeted by lots of anglers fishing in the beautiful blue-green waters of the Tampa Bay.  The fisherman told us that the mackerel were biting and they were not kidding; there were buckets and buckets filled to the brim with fish.

It was such fun to see people of all ages, casting and catching fish…  Then we enjoyed a guitarist playing great Neil Young songs, one of which my husband requested and enjoyed.

As we listened and looked out over the lovely Gulf Of Mexico waters and the silhouette of the outstanding Skyway Bridge, we were, once again, amazed at the glory of this unbelievable place in which we have the privilege to live.

We walked back down the pier to return to our car watching the setting sun highlight the clouds. It is far too often that we don’t take enough advantage of Anna Maria Island.  We got back home and ate a great dinner while we watched our team win the game in FOUR overtimes!

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Fishing Hotels Real Estate Recreation Restaurants Vacation Rentals

Beach Life Anna Maria Island Florida Sunset in Autumn

An Anna Maria Island Florida Sunset in Autumn is Something Truly Spectacular!

Most of us, at one time or another, has been up north to see the “colors,” but none of us seems to think about Florida as a place to enjoy the beauty of fall, do we? Yet we’ve been on Anna Maria Island for the past 3 weeks and have enjoyed all of that the Gulf Coast has to offer this time of year!

Beautiful Weather, Beautiful Sunsets!

The weather is absolutely fabulous, not often annually does this sub tropic climate feel so welcoming. It is a wonder that this is not the most popular time of year to visit Anna Maria Island; the water is still warm from the hot summer and the humidity starts to lift off the beaches, just perfect. We go to the beach and often talk about how it seems like we have this magnificent place almost all to ourselves (except for the pelicans and sandpipers). Then, we visit our favorite beach front restaurants, and no longer have to worry about when we go, for the crowds are gone waiting for tables (amazing, since the hospitality, the food, and the drinks are still outstanding!).

Finally, we go to the beach at sunset (something that is a bit of ritual among true islanders)! It’s time to see the magnificent colors of fall.

The scene catches our breath as the oranges, red-pinks, and golds blend together and change as each minute passes. Our turning leaves are the sun and sky every day. Again, we wonder at the gift of this special place. It is enjoyed by so many and yet often overlooked at this time of year. THINK AGAIN!