We are travelers and travel bloggers. Here at this blog, we'll tell you about places we've been that we think will be of interest to other travelers. Whether on the road in our RV, taking a non-RV vacation or simply investigating our local surroundings, we are constantly discovering new places and things to do, and we love sharing those discoveries with you.

Happy Trails!

Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida

Winter on the Gulf Coast in southwest Florida has been affected by El Nino, just like the rest of the country. There have been some severe storms and even tornados.

But compared to most, we've been lucky. In between rainstorms and some chilly weather, we've had some lovely days of sunshine and warmth. I don't mind the cooler weather - I love it when I have to pull on warm socks and a sweater! I even wore my UGG boots to yoga last week :).

On one of those gorgeous chilly but sunny days, we went to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. On Mondays, you can tour the art museum and grounds for free. There is a charge for going in the circus museum and the mansion, so we didn't do those. In any case, the art museum and grounds were plenty for one day!

The Ringlings were art collectors extraordiare. We are talking about Renaissance paintings by masters like Peter Paul Rubens and many others. These are GIANT works that will take your breath away and the museum is HUGE! Here, let me give you a taste:

There was also a very cool Samurai exhibit, but we weren't allowed to take pictures in there.

This is interesting too - the Ringlings purchased two rooms from the Astor mansion in NYC when it was sold. They didn't just purchase the furnishings - they bought the ornately decorated walls and crown moldings and the fireplace! No kidding - that's a little weird, huh? But I guess if you have so much money and you don't know what to do with it....Here is one of the rooms from the Astor mansion:

The museum building and the estate grounds are simply magnificent. Let's take a look:

The art museum is in the buildings on BOTH sides!

A bridge connects the buildings. There are many sculptures in the garden, but this is the biggest one.

Here is Dick giving you some perspective on the size of that statue :)

And here's me on the bridge between the museums - you can see out to the bay. Also, you can see I am wearing a sweater, scarf, gloves and a down vest. I told you it was cold! But the sun was strong and as long as you were dressed for it, it felt great to be out in the chilly air.

The Ringling mansion (which we didn't tour) is down close to the water. We'll tour that and the circus museum next time! The house has a Moorish look to it - I think it would be interesting to see inside.

And here are some more shots from our stroll through the grounds. There is an impressive rose garden that will be a lot more impressive when it's not winter. But even now, some roses were in bloom.

A view of the garden - it doesn't look that exciting because it's winter, but you can see that it's big!

Some of the roses in bloom:

We definitely have to go back to see that garden in its full glory.

The Ringling Museum is easy to find by following the directions on their website. Parking is free and ample. Afterward, we went over to St. Armand's Square for lunch. That's an easy five minute or so drive. This LINK will take you to the Ringling website where you can find out everything you need to know!