Our last stop on our tour of Florida, a week-long stay in Englewood to visit our dear friends Jimbob & Michelle. We booked a condo on Manasota Key about 15 minutes away from our friends. We invited Cousin Aaron to join us for a few days too. We looked forward to seeing him again. We didn't have much planned besides hanging out with our friends & family.
It was after dark when we arrived. We couldn't see the surrounding area but found the resort easily. It looked ok from the outside but we were sure disappointed when we entered our unit. It was long overdue for a complete gut & remodel. A far cry from the digs we had been enjoying. I won't call the place out though. Our unit was squeaky clean and the resort managers were wonderful, friendly & helpful. It would be an awesome place to stay if remodeled.
To be honest, the condo started to grow on us after a few days. It was in a great location. A party store, beach shop, several bars & restaurants were within walking distance. Two had live music nightly. Our unit had a large screened-in balcony overlooking Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico was just across the street. We spent very little time indoors anyway. We were out exploring by day & spent our evenings relaxing on our balcony listening to the music. The fun we were having more than made up for the lackluster condo.
The bands wrapped up by 11 on weekdays, midnight or so on the weekends. After that, our section of the key would clear out completely. I wandered down to the dock a few times late night to listen to the water & enjoy the lights. It was so quiet I often wondered if I was the only one still up on the key.
Most mornings I took a cup of coffee down to the docks to watch the sunrise over Lemon Bay. What a great way to start the day! I'm an early riser now but I've never been a "morning person." That changed during our stay in Englewood. Manasota Key is such an incredible place. I couldn't wait to get up & start my day.
Beachcomber of Manasota Key
If you're looking for a great place to stay on Manasota Key, we recommend booking at Beachcomber of Manasota Key. We loved everything about this resort. It was located on a quiet street closer to our favorite Stump Pass Beach but still within walking distance to dining. The Gulf of Mexico was steps away from our front door. We couldn't hear the bands at night, just the sound of the ocean. Our unit was perfect and so was our view!
The sunsets were spectacular. (Better than Key West if you ask me.) Every evening people wandered to the beach to enjoy the show. The neighbor in the house behind us blew a conch horn from his balcony every night as the sun dipped below the horizon while spectators clapped & cheered for Mother Nature. It was awesome. We never missed a sunset.
There are well over 100 restaurants in the Englewood area but very few chains. My guess is chain restaurants can't compete with the local establishments serving fresh fish & locally grown veggies. With so many choices, restaurants set themselves apart with creative menus & exceptional service. Needless to say, the dining here is out of this world. If you prefer to cook, Englewood has a great farmer's market and plenty of fresh fish markets too. Our favorite restaurants were...
Landy's On the Water - Our first night out with Cousin Aaron. We shared crab cakes & coconut shrimp for an appetizer followed up by fresh seafood entrees. Yum! We returned to Landy's several times for lunch & dinner. I'm a big fan of Greek food so I had to try their Gyros & Spanakopita. Both were delicious.
Lock & Key Restaurant & Pub - Located across from Englewood Beach within walking distance of our resorts. Lock & Key was our go-to place for lunch & dinner when we didn't feel like driving off the key. We tried several items on the menu, all were delicious. My personal favorites were the berry beach salad & the baked brie with peach preserves. All entres are served with their homemade pumpkin bread. OMG, yum! Lucky for us, they sell loaves to go. We went through several for morning coffee & midnight snacks.
Our friend Michelle works at Leverock's in nearby Cape Haze. Of course, we had to check that out too. We went for Sunday Brunch with Cousin Aaron. My roast vegetable frittata was great but Leverock's is best known for their fresh seafood. It's the place to go if you're into oysters! We skipped the oysters but Jason & I returned for lunch later in the week to catch Michelle's shift & chow down on seafood. Yum! Next time we'll take the water taxi to check out Rum Bay.
Every meal we ate in Englewood was fabulous but our absolute favorite restaurant was Farlow's On The Water. It was a tad pricier than the others and reservations are recommended for dinner. We stopped in for lunch first & ate on the patio overlooking the water. That's my salad shown below. Strawberry, mango, feta, candied pecans & cajun shrimp. It was so good! We returned twice more for dinner, eating outside in the beautiful garden area to live entertainment. Farlow's dinner menu features tropical cuisine, fresh seafood & southern/cajun dishes but we ordered from their extensive nightly special list both times. We tried hogfish & golden tile for the 1st time. Both were delicious and prepared in such interesting ways.
Well rested & with our bellies full, we set out to explore Manasota Key, Englewood & the surrounding areas. There's plenty to do around Englewood. Every day was a new adventure. We have so much to share in upcoming blog posts. Art, nature, beautiful scenery & treasures from the sea.
We're just getting started with the best leg of our tour.