So if you pop in occasionally, you’ll know that Mr English and I recently spent a while in Florida, visiting the Macy’s stores in both Orlando and Sarasota. We particularly loved Sarasota – it’s a beautiful area and there’s bags of stuff to do as well as a really cool foodie scene. We whittled our favourite experiences down to five really fab experiences:
1. Macy’s and the Mall at UTC
Well of course the first thing you MUST do is visit the new Macy’s at the brand new sparkly Mall at University Town Centre. Get there early, grab a coffee in the new Starbucks and then head straight to the Visitors Center to pick up your Passport to Shopping which is packed with discounts and special offers.
2. The Ringling
I’m not a big circus fan, I’ll be honest, but there’s something about this place that I find really magical. Even if you skip the circus museum, take time to wander around the divine Ca’d’Zan, The Ringling’s quite incredibly lavish mansion, sitting right on the edge of Sarasota Bay. When we visited it was decorated for Christmas. You can take a tour (an extra $5 – if you don’t mind being barked at by the somewhat over-zealous guides – I was told off for touching a door after the guide let it shut in my face), or just wander around yourself, but you won’t be able to see the upstairs. There’s also the Museum of Art, a huge space which is packed full of all manner of art, from old masters to stunning modern pieces.
3. St Armand’s Circle
When we were in Sarasota we found ourselves coming back to this lovely area over and over again- sometimes for lunch AND dinner! It’s a gorgeous area of shops and restaurants surrounding a central circle. There was also a huge modern art fair when we were there, which was fab fun to wander around. It’s right on Sarasota Bay, so you can visit the beach, shop ’til you drop or just sit in a café or restaurant and watch the world go by.
4. La Malinche
Our favourite restaurant at St Armands Circle, this Mexican restaurant is so welcoming, the owner even let us share his iPhone wifi, and the barmen are great fun. Share the wonderful guacamole and nachos, then tuck into the molcajetes (a stone dish filled with meat, onions, peppers, salsa and tomatoes, served with fresh tortillas). I recommend the mixed steak and chicken, but beware, it’s massive, so order one between too. Perfect with a Negra Modela amber beer.
We weren’t particularly lucky with the weather, so we ended up scanning Twitter on our last evening in Sarasota for something indoor to do. We came across a tweet about a lovely cheese shop that served wine, so we hailed a taxi in the pouring rain and headed over. We weren’t disappointed. The lovely staff created a fabulous cheese platter for us, with some delicious pickles, dried and fresh fruits. Plus they even managed to bag us a taxi back to our hotel afterwards. Massive selection of cheese, fabulous desserts and lovely people (hello Derek and Natalie!). If I had one complaint it would be that they could do with a bit more choice of wine, but the one we had was perfectly nice. I still keep in touch with the owner now on Instagram. We’re definitely going back again.
For more information about Macy’s, follow #UKdoesMacys on Twitter, because two other lovely bloggers are heading out to San Francisco and New York to discover the Macy’s stores there. Lucky things.
If you’re planning a trip to the USA and would like to know more about Macy’s, check out Visit Macy’s USA – you’ll even find me there!