November 24, 2014

Community Portrait

Sarasota County

| 1/1/2011

Why I Live Here

I was brought to Sarasota against my will at age 10 in the back of my parents’ Rambler from upstate New York. I had a high fever from the chicken pox.

Cathy Layton
Cathy Layton
My first vision was looking up from the back seat, as I lay in sickness, at the underside of swaying palm fronds, the glowing statues on St. Armands Circle, hearing the drone of the tires as we crossed a drawbridge steel span as we approached the hotel we’d call home for a week. During those moments, I thought I had died from my fever, and I thought I was in heaven.

And I still think I am in heaven.

Sarasota has a scale that is comfortable yet diverse. Beauty abounds, whether it is the bays, canals and beaches, lush landscaping and streets and houses that teem with pride.

Sarasota has a heart and cares for its citizens. The business community is generous with time and money. Government is trustworthy and open to ideas. Social services are plentiful. Sports and arts opportunities abound. We collectively do good things and are able to poke fun when things don’t go quite right.

I love belonging, being able to make a difference together with good people, and coming home thankful that my parents knew a good place when they saw one.

Cathy Layton
President, Layton & Co.


In 1992, when we moved from Irvine, Calif., we could have chosen to live anywhere in the state because my job involved traveling throughout the state during the week. I looked up an old high school classmate who had resided in Sarasota for decades, and he provided me with insights into Sarasota that convinced us to choose Sarasota. We were acutely concerned for the local public schools with two daughters aged 10 and 12 coming from outstanding schools in suburban Los Angeles/Orange County. We were impressed with the overall quality of the local schools, especially the public school option of Pine View School for the Gifted and Talented, which covered second grade through high school and operated as a magnet school for the county. We had lived near the ocean in California and refused to give up proximity to the sea. We found a quieter and slower existence here but with a mature and sophisticated fabric in the community. As I have continued to travel the entire state for business, I would not choose any place above Sarasota for quality of life.

Carl & Gloria Pearse

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