St. Armand’s Key is sometimes lumped in with its counterpart, Lido Key. One could argue that they are all the same key but others like to separate the two as they do have distinctive personalities. When you first come to town and are interested in seeing what there is to see, it won’t take long for someone to ask “Have you been to St. Armand’s yet?”
For the most part, when someone locally refers to St. Armand’s Key they are speaking more specifically about St. Armand’s Circle. This is a very popular are for dining and shopping as it is a large area, in a circular pattern that has over 125 boutiques and eateries that are of a more high-end nature. It is a wonderful place to spend a day or, perhaps better yet, an evening. The twinkling lights of the circle set a romantic and festive environment and music streams outside from the many places where performers are sharing their talents. There are great little shops and some very special upscale clothing and jewelry stores. Of course there are wonderful coffee shops and real estate offices with agents eager to show visitors their new vacation home.
The entire key was purchased by circus tycoon John Ringling in the year 1917. There wasn’t a bridge to connect the key to the mainland at that time and so Ringling had the vision to make that happen. He hired crews who built canals and sidewalks and developed the streets all around St. Armand’s bringing it to life. In 1925 a causeway to connect the key to the mainland was started resulting in what is today known as the Ringling Bridge.
All in and around the circle are wonderful homes. These range anywhere in price from about $500,000 up to as much as $9 million or so. There are charming older homes as well as beautiful new bay front residences that are gorgeous to see and appreciate.
St. Armand’s Circle is now almost 100 years old. It is hard to believe that someone like John Ringling knew back then what would have an enduring impact on the city as this is one of the most loved of all areas in Sarasota.