While driving through Bradenton, we stumbled upon a sign that directed us to the Desoto National Memorial. On a whim we decided to check it out. I'm sure glad we did!
In May 1539, de Soto landed nine ships with over 620 men and 220 horses
at the present day Shaw's Point, in Bradenton, FL. He named it Espíritu Santo after the Holy Spirit.
The ships brought priests, craftsmen, engineers, farmers, and merchants; some with their families, some from Cuba, most from Europe and Africa. Few of them had ever traveled outside of Spain, or even their home villages.
This guy is a cardboard cut-out that sits back in the woods. Pretty life-like huh?
The first extensive organized exploration of what is now the southern United States by Europeans is commemorated here. de Soto had come to the new world with a license from the King of Spain to explore, colonize, and pacify the Indians of the area known as "La Florida".
Located at Marina Jack in Sarasota is the statue of great controversy!
It is a replica of a famous photo taken in New York 1945 when Japan announced it's unconditional surrender.
Many people don't like the statue, calling it cheesy and feel it's out of place in the "classy art community of Sarasota".
But I read somewhere that the locals really love it and find it fascinating watching us tourists pose with it, and try to look up the skirt of the nurse!
Apparently this colossal statue is movable, as it did some time in San Diego.
Lots of folks were happy to see it return to Sarasota. However, if they want it to stay, they'll have to fork over $700,000. No one seems to know where it will be going next.
While we were at Marina Jack, we booked a ride on a beautiful 41' sailboat named The Enterprise.Enterprise Charter is owned by.... get this....Capt "Kirk" Harden!
The fellow in the photo is First Mate Bob. He made our trip around the harbor very comfortable and enjoyable! He is very knowledgable of the surrounding area.
The John Ringling Causeway Bridge was opened for the first time in 1925 by John Ringling himself. The purpose was to get buyers from the mainland to the barrier islands to buy land he had for sale.
The John Ringling Causeway Bridge has been a unique part of Sarasota's history for more than 80 years.
These condominiums, we were told, cost anywhere from $1 million - $3 million each!
Here is just one of thousands of multi-million dollar estates that sit on the waterfront all along the bay. First Mate Bob did some name dropping... I guess Jerry Springer, Valerie Bertinelli,Tom Cruise, and Steve Tyler have homes here.
This is another charter that we saw while sailing gracefully in the harbor. It had palm trees on top and a giant mermaid in the front of the boat. Quite the ride!
I laughed at this sign.... I'd never seen one before and it cracked me up! My companions were quick to say that the signs were not a novelty. I still found it photo worthy!
Well folks, that's it for the Florida trip! Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I had doing it! Thanks for all the wonderful comments too!