St. Armand’s Key got its name from a Frenchman named Charles St. Amand. However, due to a misspelling, we ended up with St. Armand’s Key, which consisted of 131.89 acres of land. In 1984, Amand sold the land for $1,500 to Augus McInnes. The land continued to switch hands multiple times until 1917, when John Ringling bought St. Armand’s Key. In 1925, Ringling began construction for a causeway that would connect St. Armand’s Key to the mainland. Rumor has it that circus elephants to haul building materials.
Things to Do
The circus tycoon, John Ringling planned for St. Armand’s Circle to be the jewel of Sarasota after he purchased it in 1917. He envisioned various businesses that would make up the circle. His vision was brought to life in the 1920’s but after the stock market crash of 1929, his dream was put on hold. St. Armand’s Circle sat empty up until the 1950s when businesses started trickling in and eventually filled up the shopping district.
Today St. Armand’s Circle is home to over 130 companies that include shops, restaurants, art galleries, salons, and boutiques. It is known as a one-stop shop for many visitors of Longboat Key because it is a great alternative to the beach for most. Not only is there plenty of charming boutiques and shops to explore, but there is also plenty of great restaurants to choose from as well. Most people like to finish off their shopping excursion with an ice cream from Kilwins.
You can choose from many Cuban, seafood restaurants, breakfast restaurants before you start shopping. Each of these restaurants has their own form of entertainment so you won’t be bored while you enjoy your meal. Parking is said to available during most times but around Holidays it may get a little more crowded than usual. If you are in the mood to ship, you will find many high-end shops and boutiques to get lost in. If you want to get pampered in between your shopping sessions, you can get your hair styles, get a massage, or get a manicure/pedicure while you are taking a quick break between stores. If you find yourself completely exhausted after shopping, wash away the pain with a cocktail and an entrée at any of the surrounding restaurants before you make you way home with your goods.
Most of the stores are open by 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday while some open at noon on Sundays. Closing time for these stores are around the usual time of 8 or 9 p.m. Restaurants are a different story altogether, though. Some open at 7 a.m. and are open seven days a week, usually closing around 10 or 11 p.m depending on if there is an event going on or not. The Circle is known for hosting many events such as Holiday Night, Mardi Gras, and Halloween “Fright Night.” There are many of remnants of Ringling throughout the St. Armand’s Circle such as historical statues, the Circus Ring of Fame, and even the newer statues. If you visit Casa Del Mar year after year and make a visit to St. Armand’s a tradition, you will find new statues popping up honoring newly inducted members of the Sarasota family.