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Sarasota Staycation in Season

With a February house guest, we were daunted to brave the traffic on Tamiami Trail and long waits for tables in restaurants so full, they don’t need to accept reservations. The challenge was writ large: to find seclusion and enjoyment in this slice of (finally red tide-free) paradise when about 90,000 snowbirds have come to roost. Here’s what we discovered during our mini staycation.

Get off the beach and into a boat. Yup, just you, your closest friends and some of the most beautiful waters on the U.S. shoreline. Avoid the world-famous beaches in season where it takes a wizard to find a parking spot and you can hardly see the sand between bumper-to-bumper umbrellas. Although the intracoastal can sometimes boast as many vessels as...

Castle Hopping in the Loire

Some recommendations from friends are GOLDEN: Train operators are prone to go on strike in the Loire Valley, so Cindy recommended we rent cars and settle on a fixed home base to avoid train snafus and to assure the best castle-hopping experience. 

After lengthy research, we and three other couples headed by train from Paris to Tours to rent a car. Here are a few things we learned along the way: