As travelers, sometime we take for granted our own backyards. We are so quick to plan the next adventure we forget to look at home for great and fun things to do. We recently went on a “know where you live” expedition across Sarasota/Bradenton to see what we had been missing. And boy were we surprised AND embarrassed that it had taken us this long to do something of the sort. What started as an appointment to go sign our taxes ended up as a grand adventure of firsts.
Palma Sola, a Bradenton Must
The Palma Sola Botanical Park was first on my list. I had always wanted to go ever since a friend from work had told me about their rare fruit section. I figured since I was already on that side of town and the day was absolutely beautiful, there was no better time to stop by. And as life would have it, on the drive there I pasted a sign that read “Historic Church and Cemetery, Next Left” so obviously there was a slight detour.
Palma Sola Botanical park is a great afternoon getaway. An oasis perfect for sketching or a day of reading, the serenity is unlike anything I have experienced. I’m not sure if it was the slight breeze or the beautiful day out, but my soul was at peace as I walked through the areas lined with fruit trees, flowering plants, and native species.
The rare fruit section is a treat! And because Florida has such a great tropical climate with little chance of frost, there is a selection of plants from all over Asia and South America. The smell of sweet fruit was present in the air as the ocean breeze cut through the leaves of this Jack Fruit tree. And I must admit, there is something really amazing about being able to see fruits from all over the world in the same place when their origins are hundreds of miles apart.
Everywhere you look in this park there is lush greenery that makes you feel like you are a character in the Secret Garden while the many birds and butterflies remind you of what could be a scene from Alice in Wonderland.
I sat at this bench for about an hour, listening to the silence and enjoying the beautiful day when a soft shell turtle came up to hang out with me. I know its getting redundant that this place was majestic and serene, but I can’t think of any other words to describe it. It is a nice little piece of paradise hidden away yet surrounded by the world. They’ve done an amazing job of keeping it so tranquil and peaceful even though it is right off of a major Bradenton road.
So, if you are in town and looking for something to do we highly recommend taking a 30 minute break and seeing this place. For all the Sarasota/Bradenton residents out there who haven’t been, well we suggest you change that real quick. Grab a book, fill up your water bottle, pack a snack and go explore your backyard!