The island is pretty small. There's just one road that goes down the middle of the island. You can take a trolley down to either end. There's a big high-end shopping area called St. Armand's Circle; but actually it's a square. It's an outdoor mall, kind of like Hunt Valley, but with really high-end stores, a lot of great restaurants where you can sit outside and eat. I love Cha Cha Coconuts — a great spot to stop for a drink. So that's the hot spot for Longboat Key. [Though technically it's down the road on Lido Key.]
We love to just play golf and eat. The courses on Longboat Key are mostly private, but I know some people, so we can often get on there. But most of the time we play on the public courses around Sarasota. We usually rent a car so we can go inland and also go out to dinner. Of course, any place you go in the state of Florida you're going to find fantastic golf courses. Really, just a 15- or 20-minute drive in any direction are great courses.
Beach or pool?
My family prefers to sit by the pool but I'd rather be on the beach. It's very Zen to walk on the beach, very relaxing. I grew up on Lake Michigan but never got into sailing or fishing like my friends and family did. The only thing I do on the beach is walk and meditate. I like to find a quiet spot, put my headphones on and get some Zen music going. I try to meditate at least twice a week when I'm home, but down there if I can get on the beach and meditate, there's something different about it.
Where do you like to eat?
You know, there is a big Amish community in Sarasota, just like in Lancaster, Pa. They have these restaurants with homemade food that's just out of this world. We like to go to this restaurant called Yoder's. It's famous, been featured on The Food Network; the "Man vs. Food" guy was there, and "Diners, Drives-Ins and Dives." They have the best homemade breakfast dishes and dinners. That's someplace I always, always go at least once or twice during the trip. There are several Amish restaurants and grocery stores in that area. We also eat in Sarasota — mostly seafood restaurants. I also like the Chart House on Longboat Key; the food's OK, but it has the most fantastic views. You sit and have a drink and watch the sun set.
What is one thing you won't travel without?
My golf clubs. My ideal vacation is a hotel on a beach near fantastic golf courses, and if you can throw in a casino too, I'd be all set. If I can't golf, I usually don't go there. Sometimes in the winter if we go to the mountains, that's fine too. I don't ski but I love snow, because, you know, I'm a weather geek. But I prefer to be golfing.
Where do you want to go next?
I haven't been to Maine in a long time. For a golfer, it's the Pebble Beach of the East Coast; you've got the mountains to the west and the ocean to the east. There are a lot of great resorts up there; the one I like is called Samoset [overlooking the Penobscot Bay, between the towns of Rockland and Rockport]. I think it's named after one of the Native Americans who met the Pilgrims.
Suggestions for guaranteed best-weather destination?
San Diego. You can't beat it. You know the song "It Never Rains In Southern California"? If you want a guarantee that you're going to have a fantastic sunny time, San Diego would be your best odds. And it's a great city.
Worst-weather destination, but worth it?
Maine! You go up there in June and July, and if the wind is coming off the water, it's going to be in the 50s. The North Atlantic doesn't get warm [in the summertime] like the waters in Ocean City, Maryland. Going up there, you're really rolling the dice [weather-wise] no matter what time of year it is.
If you go