And thSo I read in the newspaper yesterday that my little town of Venice received the 2017 Florida Main Street Community award. The Secretary of State said that Venice has become a model for main street programs. And this is the third time that Venice has won this award!
I shouldn't be surprised. The Mainstreet of Venice which is actually West Venice Ave and not actually "Main St" is adorable and part of the reason we selected Venice as our new home. The business part of it is only about three long blocks but it involves 3 parallel streets. West Venice in the middle and Tampa and Miami on either side.
Tree lined with sidewalks and flowering pots galore there is just so much to recommend it. Where do I start? First of all, there is a center of town. It's not all strung up and down a highway like many towns here. There is a walkable town center. For me that is huge. Then there are the little thing like the clocks. I love the clocks. I know that's a silly thing but it's about the details. They are probably not original but they have that lovely retro look that makes me wish they were or perhaps hope that they are. Then there is the gazebo. Every small town is supposed to have a gazebo. We do! And then there are the park benches. People are invited to sit, relax, watch the world go by.
And I hope you are hungry because there are a ton of places to choose from. Are you looking for breakfast? Well there are wo bakeries, one French, one not, and both wonderful and several wonderful restaurants that cater to breakfast fans. Or is it lunch that you are seeking? Or maybe it's dinner time. Well there are more restaurants than I care to try to name, many of them with outdoor seating which is what most people choose and some with live music in the evenings.
Or are you specifically looking for dessert? On West Venice Ave alone there are three places to buy ice cream and one for my personal favourite, gelato. One of the ice cream shops also makes fudge and candies, right in the window. Dessert and a show! One of the other ice cream places also offers excellent sandwiches. It's a real serious old fashioned ice cream fountain shop with the best, the absolute best milkshakes I've ever had. How do you choose?
But of course, you came to shop, right? Not a problem. Gift shops, souveniers, clothing stores, jewelry shops and more. Orchids, fabric, art pieces, kitchen ware and homes, what are you looking to purchase today?
Please keep in mind that this is a seaside town that has a lot of visitors. There is a certain amount of kitsch required. It isn't overpowering, but it is evident. And frankly, it's part of the charm of Venice.
There are frequently events going on here too. Every Saturday morning there is farm market that Tampa Ave is closed for. But there are art shows and craft shows and car shows and parades There are celebrations and decorations and constant cleaning and beautification. Last year, during the season, there was also a trolley that totted people up and down the street that was the cherry on top of the sundae.
If you follow Venice Avenue westward to the end you will have travelled through a charming downtown, then a lovely tree canopied residential street with beautiful homes and a green meridian with a path down the center filled with trees and flowering shrubs and places to sit and eventually you will arrive at Venice Beach proper. There is the pavilion area with bathrooms, parking and a concession stand. There is yoga on the beach in the early morning and often music under the pavilion in the evenings. And of course there is the beach. It doesn''t get much better than that.
I would say the that honor Venice has received is well deserved.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.