One of the true pleasures of living in Laurel Park is the independence from cars that it offers. In Laurel Park we can walk. We can bike. We can hop the bus. And we can get pretty much anywhere we need to be without the hassle and expense of driving, and with the joy...
Sure, Laurel Park is a historic neighborhood known for its restored Arts & Crafts and Florida Cracker cottages and its proximity to Main Street and downtown Sarasota—not to mention Burns Square and the Sarasota Bayfront. And sure, as the epicenter of Florida’s cultural coast Sarasota is well known for its fine arts. But did you know that Laurel Park also boasts one of the best comics and gaming shops you’ll ever find? The Dark Side, located at 408 S. Washington Boulevard (in a small plaza alongside a yoga studio and barber shop, among several others) is both a comic book shop and the home of Sarasota’s biggest gaming community.
Sarasota is many things to many people: a retirement community, an arts town, home to some of the best beaches anywhere. But a local movement is afoot that might just put Sarasota on the map as, of all things, a college town. New College of Florida is regularly ranked one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Ringling College of Art + Design has renowned animation and graphic design programs. East-West College trains students to become doctors of Eastern medicine. State College of Florida, formerly Manatee Community College, offers a vast array of affordable courses and programs that round out the local educational menu. Oh, and the Asolo Performing Arts Center is also home to Florida State University’s graduate theater arts program. This extraordinary post-secondary diversity has been gradually coalescing, and while I’m not sure any studies have been done to verify this, one gets the sense that more and more high school and college students and recent grads are deciding to stay in sunny Sarasota and put their stamp on the place.
The “I Love Downtown Sarasota” website features a weekly list of things to do, places to eat, and places to shop that support local businesses. An increasing number of store windows are adorned with the group’s sticker, and its facebook page has over 5000 fans.