He used to live in Sarasota and still goes there to play with his trio at a few local hangouts.
Ken thought it would be a good idea to see him while he was in town this year so he concocted a courthouse tour to go with the visit.
This one included Hernando County in Brooksville, Pasco County in Dade City, Pinellas County in Clearwater, Hillsborough County in Tampa, Manatee County in Bradenton and Sarasota County in Sarasota.
We met up at the Coney Island Hot Dog Stand in Bradenton, where we each had foot long hotdogs. Then off to the courthouse there. The building is a neoclassical design that has been added to, but the old remains. The one historic courtroom was locked and we were told we would have to send an email to someone to go inside, so we passed.
On to Dade City where we had the pleasure of meeting Cherry and Marie at the front door. They don't use the historic courtroom for court cases anymore, but for the county commission. It is a great space for that. The two women told us about the major renovation that was done in the late 1990's. They removed non historic wings and kept the original design intact. It was a pleasure to see a building cared for properly and staffed by such nice people.
We then headed to Ken's house where we had dinner with Walt and Rich at the Hanger restaurant at the downtown airport. Great hamburger for me.
The next morning we met Dave and Larry for breakfast at Gypsy Souls coffee shop. Kate, the beautiful, tattooed barista was having a bad morning as she overslept and didn't have a break from the minute she arrived, but she was nice and the food and coffee terrific.
Ken and I then went to Clearwater to see the Pinellas County Courthouse there. Of course we chose the old historic courthouse and found it to be the cleanest, most authentically restored courthouse yet. Most of these buildings are filled with awful signage instructing, or should I say bossing around, the visitors. This one was so clean that it looked much like it must have looked when built in the early 1900's. We had a nice tour given by one of the guards. He was nothing but pleasant and even let us tour the law library with instructions of what to look at in the old records that dated back to the mid 1800's.
Next was Tampa where the Hillsborough County Courthouse is a large modern building reflecting the enormous size of the population of the area. We took our photos and moved on to Bradenton.
When we walked into the front door and turned right, we were greeted by Kay and Pam, two lovely ladies who work the front desk. They told us that the former chief judge set up rules that everyone working inside had to provide a useful service, with a good attitude to everyone who visited. And, by far, this was the friendliest courthouse we have seen so far. They called Barbara, who gave us a nice tour of the restored historic courtroom and a small museum that tells about the history of the building. She couldn't have been nicer.
The last stop was Sarasota, where the historic building is across the street from the new courthouse. It was a unique design in pink with a tower. We went inside and found the least friendly guard yet. He told us that there were no courtrooms in the old building and we didn't care to see the inside of the new one, so we headed to our hotel.
When we arrived the parking attendants saw our scooters and instructed us to park in a small caged area next to the entrance rather than paying $25 to park in the garage. One of the added benefits of riding a scooter.
Then we went to see Shane play at Burns. We had a table right next to the keyboard player and had a wonderful couple of hours listening to jazz. It topped off the visit nicely.
I rode 250 miles home on Razzo, the first long ride on that one in a couple of years. It performed well and will be my courthouse tour scooter this year.
Lostboater at the Coney Island Drive-In
Hernando County Courthouse
The view through the little window in the door of the historic courtroom.
Pasco County Courthouse in Dade City where we met Cherry and Maria. This building is now the home of the County Commission.
Maria and Cherry with Ken
Clearwater and the Pinellas County Courthouse
Beautifully restored historic courtroom.
The halls were free of clutter and rude signage that fills most courthouses these days.
Big Hillsborough County Courthouse. Nothing to see here.
Manatee County Courthouse in Bradenton.
Inside their historic courtroom, where they don't hold court anymore.
The oldest courthouse in the state was this wooden building in Bradenton. It has been moved to an area with other moved buildings so the residents can see what it was like to live in old Florida.
Inside the old, wooden courtroom.
Sarasota's historic Courthouse. I believe the design was influenced by the Ringling Brothers Circus, which spent the winters in Sarasota.
Scooters in a cage.
Shane and the trio at Burns. Quite a nice evening's entertainment.
The highlight of the courthouse part of the ride was meeting Kay and Pam in Bradenton. What a nice environment for a courthouse.