6 Sarasota home tours offer unique way to see the area

Home tours are a unique experience in Sarasota and a way to see what it’s like to live in the destination.

Now here’s a different way to see the sights in Sarasota—attend one of the area’s many home tours, including the upcoming Junior League of Sarasota's 2018 Tour of Homes on Feb. 23 and 24.

If you’re a fan of home-oriented shows on HGTV, then a home tour is right up your alley. Home tours are a great way to glimpse the Sarasota lifestyle without signing up for a pricey mortgage. You’ll get an insider’s view of professionally designed spectacular homes, nosh on appetizers, and steal design ideas for your own abode.

The 2018 Tour of Homes held by the Junior League of Sarasota usually attracts 800 to 1,000 attendees, says Marissa Rossnagle, member of the Tour of Homes committee with the Junior League. Visitors will tour five homes located as far north as the Indian Beach community to as far south as Siesta Key. All kinds of architecture will be featured, including modern, mid-century, traditional, and new construction.

Attendees will have fun imagining the kind of life, both historically and current-day, at each home. For instance, Rossnagle describes a gorgeous and grand Sarasota bayfront home from a previous tour that was built in the era of circus founder John Ringling. Then, another home on the tour was a modern one in downtown Sarasota with a completely different vibe.

Each home that’s part of the Tour of Homes has various activities and displays, including art, cooking demonstrations, music, and information from nonprofits.

“People make an event out of it,” Rossnagle says.

One highlight of the tour each year is the $10 Cookies for Cause, says Bradenton resident Judy Vobroucek, who attended the tour previously. “Participants buy a box and fill it with as many home-baked cookies as they want. It’s just delicious,” she says.

The final afternoon of the Tour of Homes includes a raffle and silent auction that’s open to all, Rossnagle says.

Those attending the 2018 Tour of Homes aren’t just creating a great day for themselves. The money for their tickets goes right back into the community to support charitable initiatives for family, women, and children.

Junior League Tour of Homes

The 2018 Tour of Homes with the Junior League of Sarasota takes place Friday Feb. 23 and Sat., Feb. 24, from 10 am to 4 pm. Tickets are $30. There is also a VIP trolley for $75 that offers transportation and a guide who will provide more information about the homes.

Looking to get your fill of home tours in Sarasota? Here are five more that will take place this year.

Jewels on the Bay

Jewels on the Bay, continuing through Feb. 18, features two mansions that are professionally designed in a variety of styles. This home tour has been part of the area for 23 years, says Tamara Chapman, marketing chair. The tour is ideal for both Sarasota visitors and year-round residents. “Visitors can attend and see a coastal theme to get some ideas to incorporate a slice of Sarasota where they live,” Chapman says. The tours also have designers onsite, giving attendees the chance to interact and ask questions. “Our designers are seasoned, schooled, and experienced. You can learn from them,” she says. Jewels on the Bay benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota and Manatee Counties—in fact, a group of Boys & Girls Club members even designed one room on display during the tour. This year’s tour features two homes in the Granada Park neighborhood; this year’s tour theme is Green Living. Tickets are $30; find more information on the group’s Facebook page, JOTBSarasota.

Historic Homes Tour

The Sarasota Alliance for Historical Preservation will present its 28th Annual Historic Homes Tour on March 4 from 10 am to 4 pm in the Granada neighborhood. This year’s tour will focus on historically diverse and significant homes from the 1920s to 1940s. Antique cars also will be on display during the home tour. Tickets are $25.

Parade of Homes

If you’re looking to make the Sarasota area your year-round home (and if so, we don’t blame you), then the 2018 Parade of Homes should be on your calendar. Sponsored by the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association, Parade of Homes features a variety of homes for sale in the area, including golf course homes and waterfront and beachfront properties. Homes will be open to the public from Feb. 17 to March 11. The tour is free and self-guided.

The Gardens in Paradise Tour

Sarasota is famous for its sunny weather year-round, and that makes for some great gardening. The Gardens in ParadiseTour on March 17 will let you see several lush, private gardens up close. This annual event is sponsored by the Sarasota Garden Tour and will take place from 10 am to 4 pm. There will also be a Lunch in the Garden event that day for a separate cost.

Venice Area Garden Club Home Tour

The Venice Area Garden Club features its 28th Annual Home Tour on March 9th and 10th. Proceeds will benefit scholarships for area families. Tickets are $20.