The first sign of summer’s arrival for me comes the day the throngs of winter visitors depart Southwest Florida. I’m sure my year-round neighbors agree that our visitors are much appreciated and that it is our pleasure to not only showcase, but also to share, our sparkling beaches and waterways with them, as well as join them for an occasional round of golf or on a bicycle ride. Yet once they depart to their primary homes, another side of life in Southwest Florida emerges. During summer we welcome more travelers from the Midwest and Southern states who make the drive. And we notice the growing number of families with children out of school who are discovering our shores as an ideal summer playground. No doubt days slowly become hotter, more humid and even hazy. Yet, there are always those constant Caribbeanstyle trade winds that combat the heat and make a barefoot stroll on the sands a soothing ramble. With the change of climate comes the temptation to while away the hours floating sleepily in the bath-warm Gulf waters or to delightfully indulge in a freshly picked juicy mango from Pine Island’s summer bounty. We all know too well that the punctual arrival of regular afternoon rains almost daily during the summer months can be considered a blessing. They signal that it’s time to slow down and enjoy a siesta or serve as a reminder to get out of the blazing sun and perhaps explore one of our air-conditioned museums. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island and the Golisano Children’s Museum in Naples are both well worth a visit. In addition, it’s the time of year for summer theater programs and fun events. Who can resist tapping their toes to the music at Naples’ outdoor Summer Jazz on the Gulf concerts where sea breezes cool? Or sampling a variety of exotic mangos during Cape Coral’s Mango Mania festival? Then there’s the “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament, where anglers get a rush of adrenaline as they snag a Silver King. Our Gulf beaches are especially great for youngsters. Parents don’t have to deal with roaring ocean waves because the Gulf waters are shallower and quite gentle. Swimming is a pleasure and having a picnic on the shore or in the area parks is a summertime ritual for families. I could continue to sing summer’s praises, but many of us have already experienced the delights of the season. So when the temperature starts to rise, head to the beach for a front-row seat and revel in the sunset glow on the horizon or in a brilliant rainbow streaking the sky or even in the power of a summer storm’s thunder and lightning as it cracks the core of your soul.
With the change of climate comes the temptation to while away the hours floating sleepily in the bath-warm Gulf waters or to delightfully indulge in a freshly picked juicy mango from Pine Island’s summer bounty.