Anyone looking for a uniquely wonderful way to spend time with your favorite girl, mom, sister, grandma or best friend, will want to attend the Simple Sarasota Entertainment Tour of Homes, hosted by . . . you guessed it . . . The Junior League of Sarasota.
Now if you’ve ever driven past one of Sarasota’s spectacular homes and wondered what they’re like inside, here’s your chance to cross the threshold of four magnificent properties without being charged with trespassing! As a Realtor with Coldwell Banker, I tour a lot of homes every single week, so I was excited to learn that the Simply Sarasota Entertainment Tour of Homes isn’t your average home tour! Not in any way, shape or form! In fact, the Junior League has shaken up the tour concept and totally re-invented it. Instead of the “look, don’t touch” atmosphere of most home tours, this event actually adds the fun and enjoyment of hands-on activities and ideas to help you recreate the Tour’s entertainment concepts in your own home. See why I suggest going with a relative or friend? This will be FUN!
So here’s how it works:
The Junior League has four homes on the Simply Sarasota Entertainment Tour — one on Siesta Key and three in the coveted ‘West of the Trail’ neighborhoods off Osprey and Orange avenues. Each home has a different theme, such as the “Wines Around the World” party theme at the home at 320 Calle Miramar on Siesta Key. At this stop on the Tour, guests will see two themed tablescapes designed by Lee Younger Florals, one with an Asian flair and one purely Tropical. There will also be an opportunity to learn how to hand paint a wine glass and develop your own wine pairings at home. And, of course, you’ll be able to tour this incredible home and see examples of modern contemporary architecture and design. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the kitchen in this home! My fellow SarasotaFoodie, Mart, is going to go nuts when he sees it! So I am purposely not showing photos so I won’t spoil the surprise.
Another Entertainment Tour home, located at 1855 Orchid Street, has been dubbed the “Happily Ever After House,” where the party theme centers around a bridal shower, and (a natural progression, I guess) a baby shower. The Junior-League-designed tablescapes at this home are not only inspired, but affordable even for a cash-starved college student to pull off. Guests can try their hand at flower arranging or making party favors for a baby shower, an idea shown below that could work at most any party, by just changing up the colors. (OK . . . maybe not a retirement party.)
I could see these at a young girl’s birthday party, at the opening night of the Sarasota Ballet, at a celebration for the local cheerleading team, or – if done in white – at a wedding or bachelorette party – don’t you agree? And I guess that’s what this Tour is all about! When you go on the Entertainment Tour, you can see the ideas the Junior League proposes, and imagine how you can shake them up to work into your own theme.
There will also be sampling of desserts from the Junior League’s cookbook, Simply Sarasota: Creatively Casual Cuisine at the “Happily Ever After” house. I’m hoping someone brings the Key Lime Cake. Guess I’ll have to attend to find out!
The bay side estate home located at 3336 Old Oak Drive will focus on “Family Heritage.” Here the activities will focus on outdoor festivities under a canopy of oak trees. Just an FYI — this was the original residence of the Robarts family, so you’ll be seeing a historically significant home when you visit this stop on the Simply Sarasota Entertainment Tour. This is one of those homes I’ve always wanted to see, so I can’t wait.
At this stop guests will see how the Junior League ladies host a child’s birthday party, a graduation celebration, a tropical Luau and a backyard barbecue. (Boy! Do these girls know how to party!) While there, go ahead and try your hand at decorating some really cute cupcakes and get new ideas on stuffing gift bags. There will also be a cookie swap, where you will have an opportunity to purchase a gift box filled with homemade cookies you hand pick from a large assortment baked by a host of talented Junior League home cooks.
And, what is Sarasota without a more formal occasion once in a while? After all, we’re home to the Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Orchestra, the highly acclaimed Sarasota Ballet and a wealth of local theaters. So if given the task, how would you pull together a celebration before or after attending one of our many cultural events?
Take home a hint or two (or three) after visiting the amazing home at 1459 Bay Point Drive, where the theme is “High Tea.” The tablescapes here are sponsored by The Perfect Setting, one illustrating an informal tea or brunch, another a formal dinner. Participants at this lovely bay front estate will learn the ins and outs of place-setting etiquette, hints at napkin folding for a formal setting and planning your own soiree. (I just love that word! My kid brother pronounced it once as ‘sorry,’ and I think of him every time I use it!) There will be some lovely cheeses to sample, as well as Local Coffee & Teas’ Simply Sarasota Tea blend, which has been a big hit with local tea lovers. And, as guests leave, they can also take home 25 Tips for Party Planning, representative of many of the ideas shown on the Simply Sarasota Entertainment Tour of Homes.
Tickets to the Simply Sarasota Entertainment Tour are only $20, for all four houses and the crafts/demos you’ll enjoy along the way. The Tour takes place from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm this Friday, March 22, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, March 23. Tickets include a tour booklet that provides access to all four homes and travel directions, as well as hands-on crafts and hosting tips. You can get your tickets in advance by calling the Junior League of Sarasota at 941-953-5600 or visiting www.jlsarasota.org. You can also buy tickets at the door of any of the homes on the Tour. The streets around the Entertainment Tour will offer directional signs to get you there, but you can start at any one of the four.
I have to give a big shout out to Publix Super Market Charities, Michael’s On East and Sarasota Magazine for sponsoring the tour, and to all the individual sponsors at each of the tour homes.
But most of all, thanks to the home owners, the DeVoss family, the Gaddie family, the Williams family and Michelle Crabtree for allowing us to visit their homes over this two-day event. It is always an honor! Special thanks to Cheryl Gaddie for allowing the League’s PR committee to stage a few scenes at her home before the Tour for local media. Cheryl, you’re a gem!
Note: The Junior League didn’t want to give away the tablescape ideas ahead of the Simply Sarasota Entertainment Tour, so the photos shown on this blog were ones set up by the PR Committee . . . just to intrigue you and offer a sample of what you can expect . . . You’ll have to attend to see what’s REALLY in store! See you there!