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February 1999

Half Moon Beach Club
2050 Benjamin Franklin Drive
Lido Beach, Sarasota, FL 34236

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying (and getting married) at The Half Moon Beach Club on Lido Key in Sarasota, Florida.

Sadly, Half Moon Beach Club has closed its doors in June, 2003.

weddingOur Wedding Pictures


Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips



Accommodations

Lori found this place on the Internet when she was searching for somewhere we could get married. Half Moon advertised a wedding package where they took care of the details. We were able to reserve a weekend for our wedding in February 1999 by booking in December 1998. Half Moon is what we would describe as a "boutique hotel." We believe it is probably 30 or 40 years old and appeared to be completely renovated in the 1990s. The hotel is beachfront, on the Gulf of Mexico. It is long and narrow and lies perpendicular to the water, so only four rooms were actually oceanfront and the remainder have an ocean view.

We were given one of the nicest rooms in the place, since we were getting married...on the first floor, facing the ocean, and steps from the beach (and the small beach bar the resort opens during the day). We had a king-size bed, sitting area, efficiency kitchen, and bath. The room was nice...perhaps not the most spectacular hotel room we've ever occupied, but it was what we wanted.

Resort Amenities

The resort had a beautiful pool enclosed in a courtyard. We realized how important this was on our third day there (the day after our wedding), when the weather got quite cool and windy. Because the courtyard effectively blocked the winds, it was actualy quite pleasant in the area surrounding the pool (the sun was out), and the pool was heated.

There was a nice deck leaading up to the beach area. There were plenty of tables to sit and relax.

Resort Food

We ate dinner after we got married in the hotel's Seagrapes Restaurant. It was a small but nice restaurant located off the lobby, overlooking the pool. Lori's mother gave us a gift certificate for dinner that night, so we went all out. Lori had lobster and Keith had filet mignon. We also ordered a bottle of Moet & Chandon White Star champagne with dinner. The food was tasty and the service was friendly.

We had breakfast at Seagrapes as well, as our package included a free breakfast. It was typical breakfast fare.

We didn't eat lunch at Seagrapes, but there was also an outdoors area overlooking the pool where many ate lunch.

Resort Bar/Lounge

The hotel had a small bar adjoining the restaurant. We relaxed there the night we got married. On weekends, there is usually live acoustic music in the bar. The bar is also open for drinks during the day.

In addition, there was a small bar outside facing the beach (and handily, just outside out room, and great for those pre-wedding jitters!).

Resort People/Service

The people were absolutely fantastic. We were greeted like celebrities when we arrived at the hotel, as we were getting married there the next day. We made an appointment to come back and sit down for a little bit with the woman who was coordinating our wedding, and she instructed us on where to be at what time. The only ones present for our wedding were the coordinator and the man who performed the ceremony (a shift manager who also doubled as a notary and performed weddings). Since we got married at sunset on Friday evening on the deck just off the beach, many of the guests were outside waiting for the sunset and they toasted us as we got married. A guest a couple doors down sweetly took a video of the ceremony and sent it to us later.

No matter where we went in the few days we spent at Half Moon, we felt very welcome and special. We were even celebrities...they put our names up on the marquee in front of the hotel!

Area/Attractions

Sarasota is a beautiful area. It was Keith's first trip to the Gulf side of Florida. We drove to the next island north - Longboat Key - an extremely beautiful and exclusive island. St. Armand's Circle was located a mile up the road and is a famous shopping and dining center. The main attraction of the area is the Gulf, of course. It is much less commercial than the Atlantic Ocean side of Florida.

Dining

We ate several meals at Seagrapes Restaurant at Half Moon Beach Resort (see Resort Food, above).

Hemingway's - 325 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle 941-388-3948.
We ate dinner here the first night we were in town. We had to wait awhile for a table, but the bartenders and patrons at the bar were friendly. We ate outside, on a terrace overlooking the Circle. We shared Lahvosh as an appetizer, which was a delicious appetizer. As the menu described it: a large Armenian cracker bread smothered with Havarti cheese and baked until crisp and bubbly. Served with salsa. Toppings available are jalapenos, mushrooms, black olives, guacamole, tomatoes, onions, or pineapple. We got a few toppings on the side. It was delicious and we could have (and should have) made a meal out of it. But we went on to order entrees...Coconut Fried Shrimp and Key Largo Chicken. We loved the food so much that we returned two nights later for a second dinner, but decided to forgo the Lahvosh that time.

Osteria Restaurant - St. Armands Circle, 941-388-3671
We had dinner on Valentine's Day at Osteria Restaurant. This was an upscale restaurant located on the second floor. We had some fine salads, Lori had pasta, and Keith had veal. We ordered Piper Heidsick champagne to accompany our meal. One of the waiters was performing entertaining magic tricks to entertain two children at the table next to ours. The kids were well-behaved, but I'm sure the parents welcomed the charming attempt to keep them entertained. And it was upscale (Keith wore long pants for this one), so this pleasantly surprised us.

The Hungry Fox - St. Armands Circle, 941-388-2222
We had breakfast the morning after our wedding at the Hungry Fox. This is a bistro-style restaurant located on the second floor of one of the buildings overlooking the Circle. They did advertise a liquor license and live music.

Mediterraneo - 1970 Main Street Sarasota, 941-365-4122 Mediterraneo's Home Page
We stopped here for lunch after getting our marriage license at the Sarasota Court House. We stopped for the license on the way to the hotel from the airport. We had a long flight and we were hungry. The food was delicous. This is an upscale Northen Italian Bistro across the street from the Court House.

Nightlife

Remember that this is an area where a lot of older people reside, so it's not necessarily known for its nightlife. The first night we were there, we went to Cha Cha Coconuts after dinner at Hemingway's, which is located at St. Armand's Circle, 941-388-3300. This is more of a bar and venue for live music. On the night we were there, an acoustic guitarist was entertaining. Keith requested - and he played - a nice rendition of Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." He was happy to accommodate, as he was Canadian and was glad someone asked him to sing a song by a felow Canadian.

Other than that, we hung out at the bar at Seagrapes back at our hotel.

Weather

Weather on the Gulf Coast of Florida can sometimes be cool. On the day of our wedding, it was sunny and in the low 80s. However, on the ensuing couple days it was cooler and in the 60s. But the sun shone the whole time we were there. Spring and fall and nicer times to visit, with summer of course being the hottest.

Tips/Suggestions

A car is essential for getting around. Be careful as a lot of the other drivers are older and like to use all of the roads.