History – Marie Selby Garden was the effort of Marie and William Selby over 40 years ago to preserve this Sarasota green space as an oasis. The Ohio residents often visited the area, and eventually purchased the property on the Sarasota Bay and Hudson Bayou.
Besides the property in Sarasota, Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida, can also be visited. This is a 30 acre museum of gardens with a waterfall displaying native Florida plants.
On today’s visit there was a unique exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. Works from both artists were displayed among the greens, and flowers. What a creative and beautiful concept, let’s take a peek, and you can decide.
Patti Smith, recently wrote a book on her life with Mapplethorpe, Just Kids. While I have yet to read the book visitors at the garden stated it was a remarkable work reflecting the life and times of these musicians.
Smith and Mapplethorpe met in New York City and were lovers for a period of time until Robert discovered his true identity as a homosexual man. Despite this they remained life long friends. He and his male partner both died of AIDS.
On the day of my visit Patti Smith performed for a select group of Sarasota residents, and I caught a shot of her lunching with museum administrators.
While the exhibit was phenomenal want to share the beauty of other portions of the Garden.
It has a petting zoo and you can walk among the flamingos.
And then there are the other animals.
Animal shows are held throughout the day. Check for show times prior to visit as when I visited the only show left was the reptile show. Not my forte, but if it’s yours, enjoy and they also have a reptile house.
Don’t forget to visit the butterfly house….
And grandparents note to the wise: Coupons for this venue are available on the internet.
What a beautiful piece of property and nice to see little has changed since my last visit.
The Ringling Art Museum
Mr. Ringling was an avid art collector. These priceless Rubens have collectors from round the world visiting for a glance.
Ringling’s collection was eclectic with religious, Egyptian, and Chinese samplings represented. However, what I found most fascinating was the New York City mansion pieces he had purchased and installed in his art museum. Some samplings..
The Huntington Mansion from 1900’s, raised in 1926. Huntington was a railroad magnate, and a collector of art, rare books, and had substantial real estate holdings. His former home now rests on the site of the New York City Tiffany Store.
The John Jacob Astor Mansion. Astor was a businessman, real estate developer, and writer. He died in the sinking of the Titanic.
What a special place. Plan on 3 hours for your visit. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the grounds. A community theater with plays and ballet productions are adjacent to the Ringling Complex. There is much happening in Sarasota culturally.
Since Sarasota is the best place to live in Florida, according to the internet, decided to visit. Had not been here in 46 years and little has changed, it remains lovely, but pricey. First stop, the Ringling Museum.
What a great collection of memorabilia well displayed.
In this building was a fascinating circus display, view the movie where the man who developed the display explains his work. Sadly, Ringling would not allow him to use his name on the circus items, therefore, it is known as the Howard Brothers Circus.
Some circus antiquities..
Ringling has a Clown College with over 1300 graduates.
The grounds of the complex are lovely for picnic or exploration. Mrs. Ringling’s gardens are on site for visit.
There were five Ringling brothers and each handled a portion of the circus. They began their operation in Wisconsin with a small show in their community, and the rest became history. John, who owned this property was the most astute in business, and later art, all self taught. Their train, the Wisconsin, was used for transport to the circus towns.
It took 1000 men to upload the 100 rail cars of circus items for a show. Care of the animals was impeccable, and the circus draw was due to the lack of zoos at the time. Side shows appeared when walking in to the circus grounds, and were the show money makers. The cookhouse tent was the first tent raised as with 1300 workers, 3900 meals were served daily.
It has been 50 years since the last Ringling Circus, however read on for a Sarasota surprise.
What a phenomenal tour! The tour began at the entrance to the abandoned hospital complex where we donned hard hats and huddled against the February winds hearing the story of immigrants hospitalized on Ellis Island.
Our amazing guide for the next 90 minutes recanted the stories of 12 million who were treated by the Public Health Service from 1892-1954. While stated earlier, and bears repeating, 40% of our American population came through Ellis Island by 1951, with as many as 4,000 screened daily by 6 Public Health Service Doctors through a line inspection process.
While mortality rate was low, a morgue was necessary on site.
Less than 2% immigrants were deported. When deported they were returned to ships docked off Staten Island for return to their homeland. Those quarantined had chalk marks placed on their clothing with an X for mentally ill, or P for pregnancy, or No for not able to support themselves.
Steamship companies had to return those deported, and were fined $100, however, with their extensive ship pre-screening process many were eliminated before being allowed on the ship.
Public Health Doctors lived on site with their families. Their children would attend school with other children on Governors Island across the Hudson River. Daily they were taken by boat to their school.
A must see and do, especially for anyone in the health care field.
It is a short jaunt from the Statute of Liberty Island to Ellis Island, however, much can be seen in this short Hudson River sail.
Staten Island Ferry
Then you arrive at Ellis Island where 40% of the descendants of our current population came through its doors. Millions arrived to the find the magic of America escaping political problems, unemployment, and other persecutions. Between 1901 and 1910, 8.8 million arrived, and were processed at the Island.
To best capture all during your visit recommend reviewing the national parks web site, http://www.nationalparks.org, once you have ascertained the amount of time you wish to spend on site. There are 3 levels to the Museum, and much to see on each level. In the nooks and crannies of the Museum there are short videos and a myriad of items of interest. The New Eras of Immigration on the first floor is a must see as it captures our most current Americans and their trials. Attempt to answer the citizenship questions they are required to know.
Look for the follow sign and obtain a National Park brochure to ensure your visit complete.
Following are glimpses from the visit.
The Third Floor
Reconstruction of the tower – After immigration the Island was left to decay for several decades. Much disrepair from weather and vandals occurred during this period. In 1986 the restoration was completed.
Treasures From Home – items which immigrants brought from home along with their stories.
Sculptures depicting the immigrants reception and processing at Ellis Island.
The Second Floor – This was known as the Great Hall or Registry Room. In peak immigration years the initial questioning and medical inspections occurred in this area. Only 20% were held for additional examinations.
Should immigrants be held they were housed in dormitory rooms and later their cases heard for trial. Prior to coming to America on vessels the immigrants were heavily screened by the ship staff and if deported the shipping company they arrived with would have to return them to their homeland.
For those who passed testing great reunions occurred beyond the doors of this room, which came to be known as the Ellis Island Kissing Post.
On the first floor visit the Baggage Room, an amazing gift shop, and Ellis Island Cafe. Here you will find spectacular murals of the immigration era.
What a wonderful visit, and not completed yet as I took the fund raiser tour, Hard Hat Tour of Ellis Island for $50. This tour is a behind the scenes tour of the abandoned hospitals of Ellis Island. These hospitals treated treated immigrants, and later psychiatric patients.
If interested, purchase your ticket on the first floor of the main building across from the gift shop to the left of the entry doors. All proceeds go to hospital renovation projects, and if purchased from a travel service the fee is close to $70., wonder who is getting the profits on that?? So, as usual stay tuned..
The 15 minute ride from Battery Park to the Statue is spectacular. Upon arriving recommend seeing the new Statue of Liberty Museum first.
Walk through these Gates to the Museum.
Take time to see the Museum movie and relish in the many items of interest. What I found of particular interest was the information on how the Statue was constructed then later renovated by European artisans for our 200th anniversary in 1976.
The Toe – first a plaster mold is made, then bronze is applied over the mold.
The historical information provided at the Museum was phenomenal. Take time to read the many placards and view the items of interest. Here are a few pictures.
There are many trip options available to visit the Statue or Ellis Island Museum, however, if you only wish a float by pic of our lady recommend a free Staten Island Ferry ride for this.
But.., if a history buff recommend the “authorized concessioner,” tour. Prices are reasonable for what received, and by purchasing on line your spot is secured. Arrive early, first ship 9:30 am, as there is much to see. Also, if visiting in winter, dress in warm layers, as it is a brisk ride over the Hudson River. However, should you forget hats or gloves, many street vendors sell wares as you wait in line.
Last ship departure from the sites at 4:30 pm.
Screening area prior to embarking on the ship.
Shout out to Battery Park…
After your visit there are many monuments to service men and women lost in our wars to view, as well as fun things to do and see, or take a rest and observe the view.