15 miles. It was either that or wimp out and visit G. Wiz, a children’s museum with a round-trip distance of only 8 miles. Instead I opted to not wimp out and bike the 7 1/2 miles each way to the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Although I’ve visited several times, it was still well worth the work out. The banyan trees cooled me down immediately upon arrival, and bikers always get the best parking spots.
I packed lunch and a blanket to picnic, but the latter was entirely unnecessary thanks to some lovely chairs and umbrellas lined up along the bay next to the Ca d’Zan. This is where I lunched.Boats passed and mullet jumped as I nibbled on my favorite sandwich – ham, brie and Dijon. The breeze and umbrella were as effective as an air conditioner…perfect weather outside of the sun.
Mable’s roses take the heat better than most people or plants. The garden was brimming with blooms. I entered through a rose and statue-lined corridor, and the scent struck me immediately. As I got further inside the garden, the numbers struck me – the amount of blooms and the height on some of them. The Tiffany rose, in particular, was towering above me at eight-feet tall. With exhibits coming and going there’s always something new to see in the art museum. My favorite of today’s visit was John Ringling’s collection of Asian and Cypriot art. Ringling made news with his purchase of 2,300 pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1928. The exhibitions don’t allow photography, but among the resident paintings, this one I never seem to miss – The Blue Madonna by Carlo Dolci. Now here’s something that I’ve seen and missed every time – this room, meaning the panels, mirrors and sconces, was once in the Astor mansion in New York. Ringling bought the interiors of two rooms before the mansion was demolished in 1926.And then there’s the courtyard, the big, grand, beautiful courtyard…always a highlight.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you,” and this bike ride was it for me today. Beforehand my brain was on a loop of I can’t do this, but in the midst of pedaling, the loop changed to I’m doing this! Great feeling, great day…so glad I was brave!