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Sarasota Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 4 months ago

Love in Sarasota: Take a nontraditional approach

Beyond candy, roses and a card, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a uniquely Sarasota style.
by: Whitney Elfstrom Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and Cupid needs some help.

Whether you’re cozying up in a booth with your sweetheart or sipping pink wine, Feb. 14 is a day for love. But if you’re still looking for a way to spend your evening, or if you want to try something different, why not give one of these ideas a shot?

Say ‘I Do’ all over again

Jean and Doug Vanderlaan during the 2019 Say I Do Again

What could be more romantic than renewing your vows on the Siesta Beach at sunset … with 400 other people? Spend your Valentine’s Day in camaraderie with fellow lovers at the annual Say I Do Again. On-site registration is $25 and includes a commemorative certificate, flowers and a small gift.

Take the scenic route

Head to the Ringling Bridge to catch a different perspective of the sunset.

Hop into your car, turn on your favorite love songs, and drive hand-in-hand toward the Gulf around 6:21 p.m. Will you get to the beach in time for sunset? These days, who knows? But even if brake lights replace a setting sun, look around. Does it get any better? 

Model your love after a work of art

Bill and Susan Rykamp at The Ringling Museum.

Do you think your love is art-worthy? If so, wander the halls of The Ringling Museum, and daydream about which artist you and your partner would have wanted to capture your story. Virginia Harshman, spokeswoman for The Ringling, suggests seeking out artwork from the Baroque period in any of the original 21 galleries for a romantic, mythical vibe. “Just being in the galleries is romantic,” she said.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, or celebrate a day early with Art after 5 from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for 65 and up, and $5 for ages 6-17.

Plan a seaside romance

Spend Valentine's Day with a picnic under the Unconditional Surrenderer.

If you want to beat the Valentine’s Day crowds, try celebrating Feb. 15 by the bay instead. Not only will you avoid the rush, but you’ll also be able to spend the whole day celebrating your love.  Conversation about the appropriateness of the Unconditional Surrender statue are undertaken at your own risk.

See Legacy Trail in a new way

Though the Legacy Trail pedicabs are booked through March you can still celebrate a little late.

It might not be a horse and carriage ride through Central Park, but a free pedicab ride down Legacy Trail is authentically Sarasota. Rides take place every Thursday through April 30 at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. But you’ll have to celebrate a month late, according to Chuck Butterfield, because the pedicabs are booked through March. After all, shouldn’t we celebrate our love every day?

Register at

Keep it simple

If you would rather go the traditional route of dinner and drinks, then look no further than downtown Sarasota. With a handful of romantic restaurants, wine bars and low-lit bars, you can’t go wrong with setting the right mood over a glass of red wine and delicious dinner.


I’m the Sarasota community reporter, which means I cover the people, places and things of Sarasota. I graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a degree in journalism and digital communication and a minor in English. 

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