Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: The End

*This week it's Nifty Gianna's turn to share her favorite things to do in Venice*

When I moved to Venice I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of things there are to do for free or cheap in the area. Lucky for me, my husband grew up here, and knows about all sorts of things to do. Here are the things that we love to do in Venice.

Nifty Gianna's Top Ten Things To Do In Venice (other than shopping at Nifty Nic Nacs, of course!)

#10. Take my dogs to the dog beach: One great thing about Venice in general is how dog-friendly it is. There are 2 dog parks, a dog beach, and most of the stores on the Island are dog-friendly, and there is plenty of outdoor seating at restaurants for you and your furry friends. The beach is our favorite spot in the summer because my pooches get their exercise and stay cool by playing in the water. It's very clean, and everyone is always super friendly!

#9. Taking kids to the Intergenerational Fountain in Centennial park: Many of our friends and family have kids and sometimes it's hard to think of things to entertain them that don't cost a bundle! One of our favorite things to do is to take them to the fountains to cool off and play in the water! There are benches and tables for adults, public restrooms right next door, and the water shooting out of the ground is a great way to tucker out some toddlers!

#8. The Triangle Inn: The Triangle Inn is one of the many historic buildings in Venice. It also hosts the archives so there is a ton of information on Venice to learn here!

#7. Venice Train Depot: This is another cool museum, which is in the old train depot. It is also, conveniently, the Sarasota County Area Transit bus depot, so if you need to get to Sarasota for cheap, this is where you go! The train depot also runs along the Intracoastal Waterway and is very pretty. There are a few weddings here, among other events, every year.

#6. Old Venice Pub: This is a quaint little pub, where locals can be found on any given evening, enjoying the breeze on the balcony, with a nice cold beer.

#5. The Venice Pier: On the beach by Sharky's, is a long pier over the water. There are usually sunset-watchers, photographers, and a few fishermen here. A visit to Venice simply is not complete without a stop on the beautiful pier for sunset.

#4. Sharky's on the Pier: Once the sun sets, or perhaps before, stop at Sharky's for a basket of beach fries (ask for extra dip!) and a frozen rum drink or a margarita. It's the perfect way to end a long warm day. There is often live music too, so call ahead!

#3. Upper Crust Cafe and Bakery: This is one of my favorite restaurants in Venice. They have decadent and healthy options, breakfast and lunch, and bake pies, cakes and other pastries to order. My favorites: Queen Anne Wrap, Loaded Turkey Sandwich, and a Hot White Chocolate with whipped cream.

#2. Venice Farmer's Market: Every Saturday morning on Tampa Avenue you will see lines of tents, with people selling produce, plants, baked goods, oils, fresh fish, crafts, jewelry, pickles, jellies and olives, and  more. Some of the local animal rescues bring animals who need homes, or you can donate to them right on the spot. It's a great way to spend a morning or even pick up some fresh apples and carrots before heading to the beach.

#1. Venice Theatre: My husband and I love to see the extremely well done shows at Venice Theatre. They do a good mix of something for everyone and the prices can't be beat! You can get two tickets to a fantastic play for the same as a movie and popcorn!

While the city limits of Venice have a plethora of things to do, remember that there is even more going on right on the outskirts! Oscar Scherer State Park is a few miles north, and the State College Of Florida, with their cultural and civic events, speakers, and student-led events, is a few miles south.

-Nifty Gianna

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Sha Nay-Nay's list

Our intern from Venice High School, Naomi, has a younger perspective on our fair city of Venice. Here are her suggestions for things to do in Venice, Florida for the younger set.

#10. Late night Taco Bell: Taco Bell is one of the many teen "hang outs" of Venice. After any Venice High School event you can always find numerous teens getting a quick bite to eat or just hanging out with friends. Plus, its not that expensive!

#9. Longboard on the Intercoastal: Whether you prefer longboarding or just walking, the Intercoastal Waterway is a great for a stroll before sunset! Its has a really pretty scenery with the water just feet below you. You get all the feeling of being on the beach, but with sidewalk under your feet instead!

#8. Shop at Nifty Nic Nacs: This kooky store will surely knock your socks off. We have everything from Elvis memorabilia to Spiderman Bobbleheads! Theres something for everyone here! With a pleasant staff (myself included!),  you'll surely feel welcome.

#7. Get a marshmallow coke at The Soda Fountain: The Soda Fountain offers a blast from the past while serving up some American Classics, but also serves old fashioned sodas. Marshmallow Coke has to be my favorite! Its like a creamier and sweeter coke classic. They also have many other types of flavors you can add. If you feel like taking a risk try the Graveyard.

#6. Kilwins: While walking down Venice Avenue take a stop in this tasty shop where you can find delectible treats and ice cream of all sorts! You can even watch as they make the treats through the front window!

#5. See a play at Venice Theatre: Venice has such a great theatre filled with amazing and talented people. Every show I have seen has been spectacular! It's definitely worth seeing a show!

#4. Play volleyball on Venice Beach: I'm always playing beach volleyball with my friends! Its such a blast. If you're on the beach and are feeling up to it, ask to join a match, theres always people playing, so you never have to worry about having enough players!

#3. Jet Ski!: For all the adrenaline junkies out there, jet skiing in the Gulf of Mexico off Venice's gorgeous beaches has to be on the top of your to do list! Its a blast especially when you get out to the Gulf, the waves are just choppy enough, you just gotta be ready for it!

#2. Hang out at the beach(es): How could you not? Just going to the beach to catch up on some rays or swim is the perfect way to spend a lazy day. Just get there early, or there might not be any parking! If you're feeling adventurous you could try a little skim boarding or build some sand castles! If thats not enough for you, take a walk on the wild side and try out shark fishing.

#1. Sushi from Bushido: If you like sushi, and Japanese food, Bushido is a great place to catch lunch here in lovely Venice. The food is always fresh and delicious and it's always a pleasant experience.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Everyone's a little Irish on St. Paddy's!

It's that magical time of year again! Everyone is Irish is on St. Patrick's Day and thinking the wearin' o' the green, decorations of green --   and BEER! Lots and lots of green beer!We want to help you make your St. Patty's day one you will wish you could remember!

Here's a great shot recipe from about.com to get you started. This will look great in any of our fabulous shot glasses!
Shamrock Shooter

2 oz Midori melon liqueur
1/2 oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz Carolan's Irish cream liqueur
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake incredibly well and strain into a shot glass.

There's just no better way to get wasted than 13-ounce "Polluted" glasses and your favorite brand of poison. Totally intoxicating. You get two Polluted glasses in each colorful giftbox. Each is hand-blown from strong, lead-free borosilicate glass. Mix a green drink like the Irish Tea Party (as long as you don't mind having a lot of people sleeping on your floors that night!) to really stand out in these glasses!

A great idea for your St. Paddy's party, is to freeze your favorite margarita mix, fruit juice or soda and then drop into your drink for a fruity flavor. Green Apple Kool-Aid Ice Cubes makes a great festive drink. For even more fun, try one of our neat ice cube trays, with great shapes like Chill Pills, Ice Screams, or many others. Prices vary from $9.95-$14.95.

Seriously, though: Don't drink and DRIVE. Have a designated driver; call a cab; call AAA (or AA); stay and sleep it off; just DON'T get behind the wheel if you've imbibed too much.  The more you drink, the less judgment you have, and the poorer decisions you make. Don't ruin your life -- or anyone else's! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Not in Venice, Florida? No problem! Order from our web store early, to ensure you have your supplies in time for the big day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Nifty Bob's List

*It's time for another top ten list! Today we are featuring Nifty Bob's top ten list!*

Nifty Bob's Top Ten Things to do in Venice

#10. Shop Venice Avenue: I like to wander in and out of all the wonderful shops on Venice Avenue.  My wanderings always include a stop at least one of the coffee and cookie purveyors.

#9.Walk to the beach and back: A great thing to do on any day, even when its raining.  Walking in the shade of the trees in Centennial Park is one of my dog's favorite things to do.

#8. Get a snow cone at the Venice Beach Pavilion: Super refreshing on a summer day and a bargain to boot.  You can even get a sugar free version!  A snow cone on the beach; what's better than that?

#7. Shop for plants at MRT: A perfect place to find the right plantings to create your own tropical paradise.  The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and will help take the mystery out of Florida landscaping.

#6. Meet friends at La Dolce Vita for a glass of wine: A nice laid back place to get a glass of wine or a beer.  Its like sitting in your own living room but with more interesting people!

#5. Ride a scooter around the Island: Most of the island has low speed limits so there's nothing scary about it.  Its fun to explore some of the residential neighborhoods and back roads. There are a ton of places to rent scooters from on and off the Island.

#4.Search for bargains at TJ Maxx/Homegoods : Where else can you get Tommy Hilfiger shorts for $7.00? 

#3. Go to the beach by the airport and watch the planes fly overhead: A great beach for keeping the kids entertained.  They can watch the planes taking off and landing at the airport and hunt for sharks teeth at the same time!

#2. Walk my pooch, Coco, through the Venice Arboretum: My dog loves to visit with her friends in Blalock Park which includes the arboretum.  For plant lovers, its a great place to expand your knowledge of Florida flora.  Many of the trees are labelled with sun, watering and temperature tolerances.

#1. Run on the Venice Waterway Park Trail: One of the best benefits of being on the island.  The Venice Waterway Park Trail follows the Intracoastal Waterway from Caspersen Beach Park to the north bridge.  The trail was completed in 2007 and is perfect for running, walking, biking or roller blading.  You can see manatees in the waterway, gopher tortoises along the trail, and Ospreys and Eagles flying overhead.   I personally run the trail every other day and that helped me prepare for running my first marathon.