Poets & Writers Retreat
with the charm of centuries ago
Excursions and Activities
When it is time to take a break from your project, or to search out inspiration, options for excursions and activities outside of Garst House abound.
Sea kayak through the mangrove tunnels of Sarasota Bay or the Perico Island Estuary. Day hike Myakka State Park at dawn (Garst House has a group pass) for wildlife sightings: wild turkey and wild boar, owls and hawks, deer, alligators, raccoons and waterfowl in abundance. The wonderful butterfly orchids living in the resurrection fern on the live oaks are a photographer’s dream; alas, they only bloom from about early April to the end of May.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Restaurants of every type, from gourmet pizza to Mediterranean, sushi-bars (the “Drunken Poet” is a favorite) and a vibrant music scene line both sides of Main Street in both Sarasota and Bradenton, each about equidistant from Garst House. (Uber or taxi fare currently runs from fifteen to twenty dollars.)
And then of course there are our exquisite beaches, from Siesta Key (the 2017 winner of best beach in America) to the tip of Anna Maria Island, each and every one with its own special “feel”— we suggest that you visit them all. The north end of Longboat Key at sunset, with its gnarled salt bleached pines along the shore, is a selfie heaven; that is, just drop dead gorgeous.
And for the fisherperson, as is your host, C.C. Carter, we can certainly hook you up….
Visit the Village of the Arts in Bradenton, a community of artists who are mostly living in their galleries (over thirty shops), or visit the more “upscale” galleries of downtown Sarasota, and the fabulous Ringling Art Museum with its several wall-sized original Peter Paul Rubens, plus a myriad of other well known artists in its great collection. Furthermore, there is almost always an interesting traveling exhibition included in a designated wing, and admission is free on Mondays. The grounds themselves, with their huge banyan trees and statues set directly on Sarasota Bay, are well worth the trip. Be sure to bring a notebook and a pen as inspiration is assured. The world famous Dali museum is just over the skyway bridge in Saint Petersburg.
For the amateur lepidopterist, Garst House is home to large variety of butterflies. Black Swallowtails, Zebra Heliconian, Monarch, Buckeyes, Giant and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Palamedes and Spicebush Swallowtails, Cloudless and Large orange Sulphurs, Little Metal Marks, Gray Hairstreaks, Gulf Fritillaries, and even the rare green Malachite.
Sarasota also has Selby Gardens, with its incredible living display of exotic orchids and flora from all over the world, which for any green thumb poet or writer, is a "must see."
What our guests are saying
Amazing, charming, old-fashioned, inspiring. Gorgeous. So unique and peaceful. Has the most beautiful stairwell I have ever seen. Love the wide front porch! Love the intimate paths on the property, the native plants and wildlife. Just love it!
* Visitors to Garst House *