About Me & Escape-to-Sarasota.com

Hi and thanks for visiting www.Escape-to-Sarasota.com.

My name is John Dial and I’m a full time, year round, resident of the Sarasota area. I love the hot steamy summers here. But then I've always loved summer anywhere I've lived..and that's a lot of places!

I had dreamt of moving to Florida since the time I was a kid. June 2004 would finally be the time.

After growing up in west suburban Chicago in the 1960’s and later having lived most of my adult life as a vagabond, I was hoping to settle down somewhere in Florida sometime in my life.

Having been to the sunshine state in 1965 on a family vacation I fell in love with it as a youngster. I was here again in 1974 and returned in 1983 to Daytona Beach on another vacation and for a four day fishing weekend on Marco Island in March, 2000. Florida had been on my mind for years: to live where summer weather occurs almost all year long.

I had quite a detour before getting to Florida, however, due to my chosen field of employment. You see, I had the good fortune to have been born into a heritage of TV/radio broadcasting.

My grandfather was a sound man for NBC news out of Chicago during the days of John Cameron Swayze and Huntley/Brinkley and my dad was in off air production at a major independent TV/Radio outlet, WGN, in Chicago.

I grew up in the radio and television business during its Golden Age. And I was mesmerized by all of it as I was able to be “in the radio” and “in the TV” by virtue of being in the live studios from the time I was a little kid.

It was a wonderful way to grow up. And all my friends, kids in the neighborhood and school chums knew that my dad worked at WGN, at that time, the largest independent broadcasting complex producing live programming in the nation. I even worked there when I was older during college.

I was bitten by the radio “bug” in 1972 and by mid year 1975 I had finally made it onto the radio airwaves in small town America for my start.

Rock, Pop, News/Talk, Oldies, Country and even Big Band and Polka Music; I played ‘em all throughout the years! I met other wonderful broadcasters and great people along the way in each community that I called “home.” I met big name celebrities, too, and even became friends with one and got to sing with my music idols: The Beach Boys!

To make a long story short: I spent 25 years moving from town to city and back and forth across the nation; Chicago to Tennessee, then to Pennsylvania and Kansas, back to Illinois, to Indianapolis, then to Texas, back to Chicago, back to Indianapolis, out to Santa Fe, NM, back to Chicago, then to Michigan, back to Indiana, back to Michigan, and up and down the radio dial, both AM and FM!

With all that moving, coupled with the virtual collapse and stagnation of the radio broadcasting business in the 90’s and later due to years of consolidation in the business, it became apparent that it was time for me to say, “I’m out of breath….it’s time to go….what’s next?”

“Next” was the founding and co-ownership in 1999 of a small advertising, marketing and promotion agency in Michigan where I was involved in the creative, production, voice-over, strategic market planning for clients, writing, business management and daily operations.

In late 2003 I saw an opportunity to sell my partnership in the ad agency. I did and by mid 2004 it was a done deal. My time to move to Florida had finally arrived. It was a dream finally about to come true, now almost 40 years in the making.

During my first two years in the Sarasota area it didn’t even occur to me to create a travelogue site about our sun coast. I was having too much fun exploring the area. I went everywhere: beaches, of course, restaurants, nature preserves, road trips, off-the-beaten-path places, near and far, looking for that "old Florida" of my first remembrances from 1965. And although the "old Florida" of 1965 has pretty much vanished with the progression of time, there are some points of interest on this web site that do recall that precious historical period and even earlier.

My adventure seeking gave me a good feel and first year "primer" on Sarasota and the sun coast. Through the years of living here my quest for adventure has not subsided.

So after a while it just seemed “natural” to want to share my blessing and good fortune of living on the sun coast, full time, with those who don’t, but who would like to come to vacation in Sarasota -- so that they would have some idea of what to look for and what to do when they get here. And I am constantly adding new material to this site to point visitors to unique places.

So, that’s my goal with this site, that's what I’m doing. And I hope you like what I’ve done thus far with www.escape-to-sarasota.com. It’s a labor of love and a work in progress that may never be completed.

And if there’s something you’d like to see on the site or have a comment, feel free to drop me a note on the Contact page.

Enjoy the site...and the little bit about me? I hope you weren’t too bored.

Thanks for stopping by. Please send a link to this site along to your friends, family and business associates. It always helps to “pay it forward.”

Kindest regards,

John Dial
Sarasota County, Florida

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What other Web Visitors are Saying....

"John, your site is excellent! I am coming home from Afghanistan in 2 weeks and discussed with my wife where to go when I get home. We looked from Winter Haven to Tarpon Springs. This site made the choice for us. You have all the information we need in a perfect format. You have set the bar very high." -- David D, Florida

"Just stumbled upon your website and thought I'd send you a shout out. The site is marvelous. My girlfriend and I are paying a visit to Sarasota. It's one thing to hear good things on the Travel Channel; it's another to hear from a real person with real opinions. Thanks for all the info!" -- Brad, Michigan, US

"I just wanted to let you know I thoroughly enjoy reading what you have to say about Sarasota and the fun things to do here. I just recently moved to Sarasota and I am still looking for things to do. I find your site to be very helpful. Thank you for all the work you put into this site, for all of us to enjoy." -- Donna P, Sarasota, FL

"Wow! What a great way to represent our community! I love your site! I can look on here and see what's happening! And we know, there is ALWAYS something happening in Sarasota!" -- Heather P, Sarasota, FL

"Very glad I found your website.....this is a great website...will use it often & let friends know about it."  -- Jayne S, Bradenton, FL

"As a visitor to Siesta Key from the UK, I would just like to say what an excellent source of information your website is. Thanks & please keep it up" -- Chris M, United Kingdom

"Thank you for a great website. Keep up the great work!" -- Carole W, Newburgh, NY

"Cool site" -- Pat W, Massachusetts