Tina Smyth, a member of our parent company, U.S. Tent Rental, who mainly services clients in the Tampa Bay & Clearwater areas, was given a great tour around the fascinating City of Sarasota. Steve Bruenner, whose clients and connections, mainly in Sarasota, was a great tour guide who expanded Tina's knowledge of the area. Tina was very excited to tour all the historic locations Sarasota has to offer.
"Even though our offices are in Sarasota County, I spend most days working in the Tampa Bay area, and I sometimes forget how wonderful Sarasota and Manatee Counties are and what they have to offer. So Steve, our Guru of Venues, took me on a field trip to visit some of Sarasota’s magnificence locations," says Tina.
The first stop was the Powell Crosley Estate located off "The Trail" (Tamiami Trail), at 1 Seagate Drive in Sarasota. This mansion has all the charm of old Florida with a full ocean view, outdoor patio for dancing under the stars and a very quaint inside dining area. Here is a little history about the estate from the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
"This Bayfront Powel Crosley Estate, was built in 1929 for Powel Crosley's wife, Gwendolyn. The Mediterranean Revival-style mansion, named 'Seagate' is situated direc
tly on the water, features a circular tower and a carriage house in addition to the main building and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its architecture pays tribute to a bygone era, but the estate has the modern amenities that allow it to successfully host meetings, weddings, holiday parties and other events."
Pictured to the left is the Powell Crosley with a tent and chairs set-up from U.S. Tent Rental. If you can dream it, we can help you make it happen at this magical house and grounds!
The second stop, College Hall, is one venue that U.S. Tent does a lot at from weddings to graduations to social events. Its history just makes you fall in love with it even more. College Hall at New College, is located at 5800 Bay Shore Rd., in Sarasota. Additionally below is even more great history about the estate from their Office of Communications and Marketing.
"New College’s historic Bayfront Campus sits on the former estate of circus magnate Charles Edward Ringling (1863-1926), the older brother of John Ringling. Charles was one of the owners of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and was in charge of production, while his wife, Edith, participated in the business and was a member of the board of directors of the circus. The estate was built in 1925-26 as the winter retreat for the Charles Ringling family in what was known as the Shell Beach subdivision, platted in 1896. The compound was designed to be completely self-sufficient, including staff quarters, farming and livestock. In addition to the main mansion, Charles built another gracious bayfront home for his daughter, Hester Ringling Sanford, and her children, now known as Cook Hall. The two bayfront homes are connected by a covered walkway that creates a transition between the two architectural styles. Within months of the completion of the construction, Charles died, but Edith Ringling and their daughter continued to reside on the estate for many decades. The structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places."
Third on the trip around Sarasota is the venue, the Ca' d'Zan Mansion, located on the grounds of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Coincidently, it is also on Bay Shore Road just like the Charles Ringling Mansion on the New College campus. From the side of the Ringling Museum estate, you have a view of College Hall's back spectator lawn. Tina says, "One thing that I really love about the Ca d'Zan is the filled in pool on the front yard by the walkway up to the mansion lined with palm trees accompanied by a nice breeze off the water. What an enchanting location." To give you a better idea of the history regarding the Ca’ d’Zan, here is some information from the Ringling Museum about their whimsical venue.
"The home of the circus king and his wife, a couple from humble mid-western origins, Ca’ d’Zan stands as a testament to the American Dream of the Roaring Twenties. Inspired by and designed in the Venetian Gothic style of the palazzos that ring the Venice canals, this dazzling palatial mansion perfectly captures the splendor and romance of the Italy the Ringling’s so loved. To honor its owner, they named it Ca’ d’Zan, 'House of John', in the dialect of their beloved Venice.
For your special event, tents can be set up on the Bayfront Promenade of the Ca’ d’ Zan, overlooking the scenic ocean, or you can book the courtyard of the Ringling Museum and have your special event on the elegant lawns with Greek, Roman & Baroque statuary." (We also love the Ringling Courtyard here at Linens by the Sea.)
The fourth of the five venue tour is Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Tina said her favorite parts of this location is when "We got to see Sharks eating and hanging out with Paula and Vickie, who gave us the full tour. Thank you ladies! This fun and educational venue is perfect for the fisherman and marine scientist in all of us!"
Mote Marine offers a couple of unique options for hosting your perfect event. Located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, they have a few areas such as the Laboratory by the shark tanks, the Keating Marine Education Center and Tina's new favorite venue, The Chickee Hut. It’s the perfect place to host a small family gathering, bridal shower or small company picnic as it can hold about 50 guests. It’s on the water and has already hosted a few wedding ceremonies.
Last but not least, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Tina admits, "Can you believe I have never been to the Marie Selby Gardens? Wow, what a wonderful venue to have for your event or to be lucky enough to attend one of the many socials that they put on throughout the year. From their Mother’s Day brunch to their Fourth of July bash complete with fireworks at the garden, you can enjoy so many amazing celebrations amongst beautiful flowers. Roger and Leigh who both work at the Gardens gave Steve and me the grand tour on a very warm Florida afternoon, and it was a wonderful way to end our venue field trip!"
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens nestled by the water at 811 S. Palm Avenue, has much to offer. From the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens website, please enjoy this little history about the gardens.
"Marie Selby was born Mariah Minshall in Wood County, West Virginia, on August 9, 1885. When Marie was still a young girl, the Minshall family moved to Marietta, Ohio where her father studied geology at Marietta College and invented parts for oil drilling equipment. The Minshall family frequently went on camping and hiking trips along the Ohio River; perhaps it was this early introduction to nature that spawned in Marie her love of the out-of-doors.
Marie was an accomplished pianist, and attended a music seminary in Illinois. Shortly after completing her musical studies she met William (Bill) Selby, a partner with his father in the Selby Oil and Gas Company. William and Marie were married on January 31, 1908, in the First Presbyterian Church of Marietta. Early in their marriage the young couple was intrigued by the country’s first cross-country automobile race. They decided to travel the same course, and outfitted their touring car with spare parts and camping equipment. As a result of the Selby’s enthusiasm and determination, Marie Selby became the first woman to cross the country by car.
Bill Selby had visited Sarasota before his marriage and was drawn into the area by the excellent fishing waters and the astounding beauty of the west coast of Florida. He brought his young wife to Sarasota in hopes that she would share his enthusiasm. She did, and they bought seven acres of land bordering on Sarasota Bay and Hudson Bayou. Little did they dream, at that moment, of the exquisite Sarasota landmark their property would become in the not-so-distant future, In the early 1920s the Selby’s built a Spanish-style, 2-story house among the laurel and banyan trees."
As Tina exclaims, "Thank you Steve for showing me the treasures of the Sarasota! I hope you all enjoy them, too!"
Check out the wonderful compilation of photo's from past events U.S. Tent Rental & Linens by the Sea have executed at many of these locations.