Our Tour Guides
Jenny Aldrich is an actress, director, producer, teacher and playwright with theatre credits spanning over 60 years, nine states and five countries. A native of Ohio, she first appeared as the actress in The Man Who Came to Dinner in high school and has been addicted to theatre ever since. Jenny earned a BA in Speech and Theatre at West Chester University, Pennsylvania, and spent a summer at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.
Pat Canavan comes to Sarasota from Dublin, Ireland, by way of Toronto and Boston. In Boston, several years as a Duck Boat tour guide honed his gift of gab. His varied experience and interests include Civil War reenacting (on the losing side), beekeeping (until he experienced anaphylaxis after a sting), and Special Olympics coaching. He is a certified Florida Master Naturalist and an active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He loves his three big rescued dogs (and his wife, too).
As an actress and former theater educator, Kathryn uses her love of theater, history and performance to bring the Leading Ladies of Sarasota to life. Dressed in the costume of the era, Kathryn portrays Sarasota’s founding mothers, including Bertha Palmer, Marie Selby, Mary Jane Whitaker, Mina Edison, Rose Wilson, suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt, and Mable Ringling. Along with her work as a guide with Discover Sarasota Tours, Kathryn also serves on the Board for the Historical Society of Sarasota.
Jerome Chesley, leader of DST Public Art Tours and the Art Crawl Trolley, is a painter whose background in education includes teaching in both public school and college level. He continues to teach painting in Florida where he is currently the president of the Florida Watercolor Society, and a docent for the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota’s (FASS’s) iconic Florida artists’ collection in the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center. Summers find him teaching at the renowned Chautauqua Institution in New York State. He has studied with distinguished teachers throughout the US. BA & MA, SUNY College at Buffalo, and additional studies at the University of Art in Siena, Italy.
Bob Collins’ love affair with the circus was nurtured when he first visited Sarasota as a child, beginning in 1950. Since then, he has enjoyed a 44-year career in entertainment marketing, working for such shows as Ice Capades, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. He also served on the board of the Circus Arts Conservatory, helping to preserve and promote the legacy of the circus in Sarasota. He enjoys showing people The Circus Side of Sarasota by conducting “Big Top” tours and giving lectures about our charming and historic “Circus City.”
Kendra Cross grew up in a Mennonite community, with great-grandparents who were Amish—an experience that planted in her seeds of understanding, appreciation, and the desire to continue to that connection. Living just blocks from the Pinecraft community allows Kendra daily communication and exposure to the uniqueness and vitality of the Amish and Mennonite culture. She points out that Sarasota’s 90-year old community is the only one of its kind in the United States, and says it’s a joy to share it!
Nicole Coudal is a New England native who has made the Sarasota area home for 30 years. After a career in human resources, Nicole honors her passion for food at MyDeliciousBlog.com, a site she created to showcase her recipes using seasonal produce and seafood. Inspiration even comes from fishing adventures she shares with her artist husband, Brendan, and her Field Trip Friday series captures visits to farmer’s markets, family farms, aquaculture programs, and seasonal festivals. Nicole also writes for Visit Sarasota County and Edible Sarasota, is a guest chef on ABC’s Suncoast View, and offers monthly cooking workshops at Historic Spanish Point’s Frances Newton Culinary Institute. She also created a line of kitchen towels under the Delicious Dry Goods label, with designs created in partnership with her husband—now for sale in our Vintage Sarasota shop!
Jon Mac has proudly lived in Sarasota since December 1972. He grew up in Western New York state near Lake Chautauqua, and played four varsity sports in high school. He played on the basketball team at Jamestown Community College, and then attended SUNY Brockport. After moving to Sarasota, with ties to Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Jonny Mac worked at the iconic Sawmill Inn Restaurant for more than seven years as bartender/bar manager. He then spent 32 years in the wholesale liquor and wine industry, employed by National Distributing Company, followed by Southern Wine and Spirits. His passion for sports, entertainment, and the history of our beautiful Sarasota continues to grow.
Steve McAllister is a multi-talented artist. He can often be found playing music around town, and has recently performed in The Will Rogers Follies, The 1940s Radio Hour, Silence: The Musical, and his one-person show Will Rogers Revived. His sixth book, Money, Sex, Power & Faith will be available soon. Find out more about him at www.SteveMc.xyz.
Kaylene McCaw (aka Haunted Guide Lady Melody) is an award-winning actress, playwright and author of The Human Experience Quick-Start Guide. This little book was written during her time as artist-in-residence at The Hermitage Artists Retreat. She spent 13 years at The Players Theatre, performing lead roles both musical and dramatic. She also managed the theater’s costume department and coordinated the Backstage at The Players black box theater project. Today she practices Sound Healing and hosts an AirBnB retreat in her home.
Michael Newton-Brown first psychic experience came when he was three years old. He woke up crying, as his great grandmother had just passed over downstairs, and came to say goodbye on her way out. Michael began Tarot reading in 1970; in 1975, he attended the Arthur Findlay College for the Advancement of Spiritualism and Psychic Sciences in Stansted, England. Michael has used his intuition to establish a long, and successful, professional career in the entertainment industry. He is a member of The Tarot Association, and also attends The Reader’s Studio in New York. He teaches classes in beginning and advanced Tarot, as well as a series called “Kickstarting Intuition” at The Spirit University in Sarasota, Florida.
Lilian Moore is a Sarasota actress who has performed in many theatrical productions, feature films, promotional videos and Ringling student films. When she’s not acting, she’s teaching elementary school.
Originally from Montreal, Richard has called Sarasota home since 1990. He has performed in both theater and film. If you’re lucky, he may sing for you!