LMA Communications Inc. arranged along with VISIT FLORIDA, and Partners from St. Pete/Clearwater and Sarasota Convention and Visitor's Bureau a five day press trip exploring the culture of Florida's West Coast from 19 – 24 February, 2012. The media were Canadian representatives from newspapers, travel trade – both Quebec and Ontario, online and magazines.
St. Pete/Clearwater and Sarasota are destinations with a back drop to award winning beaches, gardens, scenery, attractions and world-class museums, operatic, ballet and the classical musical arts. They are natural hub to creative communities, and home to the Blue Jays Spring training in Dunedin. Media explored from sunset to sundown with renowned experts the eclectic, vibrant and amazing aspects to all sites .
Some of the outstanding visits were to:
The famous Dali’ Museum, the incredible Chihuly Collection by famed artist Dale Chihuly, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum Art Center – Studio and Hot Shop, followed by 'Painting With a Twist' a segment of a Dali's painting (see our group painting) conducted by an artist. From there the group cruised the waterways to visit the artsy community of Gulfport. Onwards the group toured Clearwater's Marine Aquarium, and the small town charm of America’s most walk-able town, Dunedin.
Then to Sarasota the group toured Cà d’Zan the Ringlings exquisite winter residence an architectural masterpiece, designed to resemble a Venetian Gothic palace, the Ringling Museum with more than 600 Baroque masterpieces and includes a collection by Peter Paul Rubens, considered the finest in the world, and the Ringlng Circus Museum. Evenings presented a performance at the Sarasota Opera – 'Carmen' and Circus Sarasota.
Exposed to the Insiders view, the media were invited to rehearsals of the Sarasota Orchestra and Ballet, tour of the Selby Gardens, an architectural tour of Sarasota's buildings, outdoor sculptures and installations.
'Not all culture' – the group were guests at The Renaissance Vinoy (www.marriott.com/St-Petersburg) in St. Petersburg and the LongBoat Key Club and Resort (www.longboatkeyclub.com) in Sarasota. The epicurean delights were savoured in all restaurants, plus the hearty Amish/Mennonite community and a Chocolate Cocktail evening. Media walked the promenades, did yoga on the beach, and simply enjoyed the sand, sea and sun!
The media group then returned to Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton and Kingston with abundant material and fond memories of this engaging press trip 'Exploring Florida's Cultural Coast.'