German friends of ours here in Sarasota invited us to a pre-Easter “grill-out,” their term for a cook-out. Having not seen any grills at the beaches here, I asked just where could we do that? They had a spot — Fred Sperling Park at South Lido Beach.
What a find! The park should not be confused with south Lido Beach. It’s a mile or two south of Lido, where the road dead ends. We delighted in seeing one beach on the bay side and another one on the Gulf of Mexico side. Since it was the day before Easter, all sorts of families and friends had gathered along the different beaches and in the woods where picnic tables are set up.
We brought our own portable grills and our sunscreen and prepared for a quasi-traditional meal: lamb chops, various salads, veggies, and brownies. While the coals heated up, we sipped some wine (plastic glasses only) and watched kids wiping out on boogie and paddle boards. Pontoon boats floated by with music and cocktails flowing. A few jet skis joined the scene, along with a double-decker party boat full of people touring the waters and enjoying the holiday weekend.
The grounds also include walking trails and guided kayak and canoe tours. Exploring the red mangrove tunnels and trails looks like the perfect eco-paddling experience. After our next feast at the park, I may have to hit the water for exercise.
The Sarasota Spectator
Our Sarasota Spectator is Betsy Miller, a retired high school teacher and college professor. Originally from Columbus, Betsy has fallen in love with the Gulf Coast of Florida, especially Sarasota. Blogging about the area has been a creative outlet for the writer, opening up an avenue of exploration. You may find the bon vivant enjoying happy hour at a tiki bar, shopping on historic Main Street, or seated at a concert or show at a local theater. Chances are you also might find her buried in a book on one of our beautiful beaches. Asked to give one word about her feelings for Sarasota, Betsy replied, “Smitten.”