Head concierge | Longboat Key Club and Resort | Years on the job: Three
Gloria Schroeder traveled the world with Regent Seven Seas cruise line before becoming the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s concierge.
Originally from Washington, she has lived in Sarasota for nearly 14 years.
Here, she shares the top-10 destinations she recommends to Key Club guests.
• John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. I recommend the Ringling Museum due to the history of the circus and the beautiful setting. The exhibits are always changing, but the original home, the Cà d’Zan Mansion and the circus mansion are the top-three attractions.
• Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. If you love plants — flowers and orchids, in particular — it’s a must.
• Mote Marine Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, City Island. I always recommend the aquarium for children. They have eco-boat tours, which are wonderful. They have exhibits that are hands-on, so you get to see how they help injured animals.
• Sarasota Jungle Gardens, 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. They have a petting zoo, and it’s a botanical garden, as well. They have lots of colorful birds.
• Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf, 3815 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. It’s a miniature golf course, but there are also live alligators that you get to feed.
• G.WIZ: The Science Museum, 1001 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota. They get to use their creativity because it’s hands-on, and it’s great for children and adults.
(Editor’s note: G.WIZ is currently closed for renovations.)
• Sarasota’s cultural attractions: I always recommend that people check out the cultural attractions during season: the local theaters, the Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Orchestra.
• St. Armands Circle: You can browse and go in and out of boutiques and have a wonderful ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s or Kilwin’s.
• Kayaking through the Lido mangroves: We always recommend the bay and Gulf guided nature tour, where you cruise through canopy mangrove tunnels and lagoons. It makes for an ideal kayak adventure.
• Spring training at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota: Baltimore Orioles spring training runs through Saturday, March 30, at the newly renovated stadium.
Concierge | Lido Beach Resort | Time on the job: One-and-a-half years
Susan Ryan was recently promoted to the newly established position of concierge at the Lido Beach Resort. Originally from Boston, she moved approximately a year-and-a-half ago to the Sarasota area to be closer to her parents. Prior to working at the Lido Beach Resort, she led tours throughout the world with Group Voyagers.
Here are her top picks close to home.
• Mote Marine Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway. It’s good for all ages, and it has the sea lion exhibit until the middle of April.
• John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. I always recommend that people visit the circus museum. It’s not really a part of our overall culture, so it’s really like looking into a window of Sarasota history.
• Lido Kayak Tours — Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures has tours twice a day (launching from the north entrance of South Lido Park). We’ve had really good luck with sightings of manatees and dolphins this year.
• Big Cat Habitat, 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota — The guides are incredibly knowledgeable. It’s like having a very large private view of big cats.
• Treeumph! Adventure Course, 21805 State Road 70 E., Bradenton — The motto is “The ground is overrated.” It has things such as zip-lines and wobbly bridges. It’s a great way for people to enjoy themselves outdoors in Florida.
• Paddleboarding — Sarasota Paddleboard Co. delivers paddleboards and gives everybody a 15-minute miniature lesson. The whole family can enjoy it for $60.
• Bicycling — Siesta Bike and Kayak delivers bicycles to the Lido Beach Resort that you can rent for a week for $45. I have them bike around St. Armands, as far as they can go on Lido, on Longboat and to Sarasota.
• Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota — The docents are wonderful, and the setting is beautiful. We always encourage people to see the view of the bay.
• Day trip to Anna Maria Island — Check out the public beaches, and go to the Sandbar, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria. There are so many pelicans and birds. You can eat your lunch and have a beer and still sink your toes in the sand.
• Check out the local architecture: Take a drive through Towles Court, Burns Court and Main Street.
Hotel Indigo | Assistant general manager, in charge of concierge services | Time on the job: Three years
Originally from Delray Beach, Julia Allerdyce became part of the Hotel Indigo team three years ago.
Recently engaged, there’s no doubt she and her fiancé have personally scoped out the following top-10 destinations she recommends to Hotel Indigo guests.
• Downtown bike tour — It’s wonderful to take in all the historic neighborhoods and the art galleries. Stop in to see the Sigrid Olsen Art Gallery on Pineapple Avenue. It’s a great spot to find whimsical art and ceramics. Also, don’t forget to look for the Tube Dudes along Main Street.
• Mote Marine Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway.— Go on a Thursday so you can get a tour of the Seahorse Conservation Lab, or take in a Coastal Observation Tour. It is awesome.
• Full Moon Yoga — Takes place on Siesta Key beach during full moons. Be sure to bring a towel. Location is beach access No. 7 at Beach Road and Calle de Siesta. It is so relaxing to do yoga with the full moon above!
• Take a walking tour of the Rosemary District — There are fabulous restaurants and shops. I love Derek’s for dinner. There is always a fun blend of flavors on the menu, and he uses local products. Be sure to order a bottle of wine — the selection is fantastic.
• Siesta Key Drum Circle — Sundays at sundown. It is such an amusing and eclectic way to round out a fun weekend. It’s not just drums. There are also belly dancers, fire dancers and hula-hoopers. It is hard to take it all in at once, so be sure to go at least twice.
• St. armands Circle — Head there for yummy food and great shopping. I never leave the Circle without picking up some mango sorbet from ScoopDaddys.
• The Old Salty Dog (next door to Mote Marine), 1601 Ken Thompson Parkway — Have a foot-long, beer-battered, deep-fried hot dog with an ice-cold beer and watch the boats pass. The famous footlong was featured on the “Man V. Food” TV show.
• John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. — Go when Ringling in Bloom is happening (springtime). The flowers are absolutely amazing. If you can’t get to the Ringling in the spring, anytime of the year there is beautiful art and wonderful exhibits.
• Take in a show — Sarasota has the best entertainment, and there is always something happening. The West Coast Black Theatre Troupe is one of my favorites, and there are shows during peak and off-season. The Florida Studio Theatre has the improv fest in the summer, and there are dozens of other options. I love the Sarasota Opera, but buy your tickets in advance because it sells out quickly.
• Stand Up Paddle Boarding into Sarasota Bay — you will be sure to see dolphins. SUP Sarasota (ask for Rob) is a wonderful way to see the beauty of the bay.