Sarasota, Florida: Where Culture is a Community Affair

The Gulf Coast city pairs an array of world-class institutions with incredible architecture and outdoor recreation year-round.

Sarasota is the center of Florida’s “Cultural Coast,” a nickname given to the Tampa Bay region for its many world-class institutions and for the creative energy that flows through every aspect of Sarasota life. The source of that energy? It’s the combination of 251 sunny days every year, white sand beaches, emerald waters, the gorgeous barrier islands of Siesta Key, Lido Key, and Longboat Key, plus a laid-back lifestyle that unlocks limitless potential for living an inspired, active life.

Steiger, sporting an embroidered coat from Uzbekistan, poses with some of the treasures from her many travels: An antique bronze orchid planter, baby kimono, antique tansu chest, dragon-engraved tetsubin (teapot) from Japan, a Tibetan prayer wheel, and one of her treasured jade frogs from her large collection of amphibian objets d’art.

Suzette Steiger and her late husband were world travelers of the first order. For two decades, the pair spent six months of every year chasing adventure — climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, riding the Orient Express through the Gobi Desert, and scaling the cliffs of Petra, Jordan. “We collected wonderful pieces of furniture and curios from all over the world, and we had a chance to learn about so many different cultures from some of the best archeologists and curators in the field.”

When it came time to settle down, Sarasota was top of mind. The couple had often wintered on Anna Maria Island, a sunny respite from snowy Michigan and Chicago, where they lived the rest of the year. And the more they came, the more they loved the area. “The city has a small footprint, but there’s just so much culture. I can walk everywhere and easily head to the theater, a concert, or a museum, without ever getting in a car,” said Steiger.

Finding a suitable permanent address that matched their needs and sensibilities was an exacting task. But with the help of Corcoran Dwellings broker-owner Marc Rasmussen, they found a perfect spot in Sarasota for themselves, their collections, and their passions.

“The city has a small footprint, but there’s just so much culture.”

Ca’ d’Zan, designed by Dwight James Baum for circus magnate John Ringling. A Sarasota landmark, the Venetian Gothic palazzo today houses the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Rasmussen, whose finance and mortgage background led him to real estate in 1998, founded the company with a simple vision: a digital-first real estate experience designed around the specific lifestyle needs of every client. Their team of property advisors, co-led by St. Petersburg power broker Liane Jamason, has a knack for finding homes that match even the most demanding criteria.

“If you came to us and said, ‘Here’s what I’m looking for,’ we could immediately narrow your search down to about five neighborhoods,” said Rasmussen. “And within just a few minutes, we’d know the best places to start showing you houses.”

Sarasota and its surrounding communities abound with architectural gems for all tastes, from mid-century modern homes like 7950 52nd Street in Pinellas Park (left) to classics like the c.1917 Grove House on Eagle Lake (right). Both are listed for sale with Corcoran Dwellings.

That sixth sense, backed by dedication, communication, and unparalleled local expertise, was invaluable to Steiger. “Anything we asked of him, he did,” Steiger remarked. “He never gave up.”

Once the couple was fully moved into their house, Steiger felt an immediate sense of community. She became deeply involved with the Sarasota chapter of Impact100, a philanthropic women’s group that funds transformational grants to nonprofits in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. “There are members who have lived in Sarasota their whole lives, while many are new transplants, and we span every age group,” Steiger shared. “I joined after my husband passed away, and this group has become my savior.” Corcoran Dwellings is also supporter of Impact100 Sarasota, a part of the firm’s commitment to the community.

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach was named “#1 Beach in America” by TripAdvisor’s 2020 Travelers’ Choice™ Awards.

An avid kayaker, Steiger enjoys launching from her home dock to peruse Sarasota’s many architectural treasures by sea, whether it’s the midcentury modern showpieces produced by the Sarasota School or her favorite old Florida houses from the early 1900s with their big verandas and distinctive Floridian vernacular architecture.

“With the world of information at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever for today’s buyers to shape a clear vision of their perfect home,” added Rasmussen. “We can take out the guesswork and save valuable time in making that vision a reality.”

©2024 Corcoran Group LLC. All rights reserved. Corcoran and the Corcoran logos are trademarks of Corcoran Group LLC. The Corcoran® System is comprised of company owned offices which are owned by a subsidiary of Anywhere Real Estate Inc. and franchised offices which are independently owned and operated. The Corcoran System fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Listing information is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed.