As soon as I saw this baby raccoon I knew it would be a special day.
I took this picture at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve a few months ago, but this week it was awarded second place in the Friends of the Slough photo contest. Click read more for the story of how this little guy ended up strolling around the boardwalk.
It was February 28 of last year when I registered the domain photosfromflorida.net. I still haven’t figured out exactly what this blog is yet, and I know that I don’t write nearly enough during the school year, but I’m excited to move forward.
Here’s some of my favorite pictures from the past year with a few behind-the-scenes stories.
Two hours north of Fort Myers lies Dunedin, Florida. It’s a quaint little town and the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s adjacent to Clearwater, one of the best beach towns in America, and the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The News Press wrote an article about the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary this weekend. The main idea of the article focuses on the boardwalk tours and after hours events planned at the sanctuary over the next few months. There’s an underlying idea as well – go now, before all the tourists come back.
Southwest Florida is the definition of tropical. It’s the ultimate vacation spot and the spot every couple looks for in a honeymoon. Summer is drenched-in-sweat hot, but for the other nine months of the year it is a paradise. Here’s what we’re looking forward to as fall comes, temperatures moderate, and snowbirds return to Southwest Florida.
1. Long Walks on the beach – Fall and winter are the perfect times to hit the beach in Southwest Florida. While spring and summer feature the bathwater-warm water that some may seek, cooler temperatures in the winter give you a chance to explore. Many beaches in the area – Barefoot Beach Preserve, Bowditch Point, and Lover’s Key come to mind – have nature trails. Some places offer kayak or stand-up paddle board rentals as well.
2. Farmer’s Markets – Farmer’s markets disappear when the weather heats up. The largest in the area is Friday mornings at Lakes Park in Fort Myers. The newest will be Saturday mornings at Florida Southwestern University (Formerly Edison College). Many of the markets include crafts and art as well as fresh fruits and veggies.
3. Migratory Birds Return – Winter in Florida attracts all types of snowbirds – the literal kind. Shallow wetlands come alive and teem with aquatic life, which brings in all kinds of herons, egrets, and other birds. Winter is a great time to catch a glimpse of many birds, like the white pelican at the J.N. Ding Darling preserve on Sanibel, you don’t get a chance to see during the rest of the year.
4. Shows at the Mann – Traveling broadway shows make their homes at the Barbara B. Mann Center in Fort Myers throughout the fall and winter. The 2015-16 series kicks off with the “Sound of Music” in January and features “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” as well as several other show. Find the complete schedule on the Mann’s website..
Cobblestone and brick paths create an inviting atmosphere for St. Augustine visitors.
Southwest Florida is, in general, a very new place. Much of the construction has occurred over the past 20 years. There are older sections for sure, but there’s very little that’s OLD here.
Thursday’s journey led my fiancee and me to the old parts of Florida. St. Augustine, on the East coast south of Jacksonville, bills itself as the oldest European settlement in the United States. The original Spanish settlers arrived in 1565 and the town is planning its 450th anniversary ceremony this year. A popular vacation spot, St. Augustine is full of both historical and modern amenities.
After a grueling 7-hour drive Tuesday, the rest of the trip should be easy as pie – or at least a warm praline from the Candy Factory in Savannah where we stopped for the night.
Savannah is an old city – as evidenced by its cobblestone River District – but busy among locals and tourists alike. Some cities I’ve been to (looking at you, Cleveland and Rochester, New York) shut down when the sun starts to go down. That’s when Savannah begins to come alive. Our Uber driver says in the month and a half the ride-sharing service has been open she always sees steady downtown traffic.
I suppose that if you live in or love to visit Florida you know that there’s nothing as refreshing and reinvigorating as a nature walk. The sights, sounds, and smells wake up something in us that is deeply human.
Now, according to the Washington Post, there is scientific evidence these walks make you feel better. Essentially, walking in nature limits inward, negative thinking called “rumination” that can increase the risk of depression. Researchers backed up their claims with brain scans. The big takeaway from the research is to get outside.
Spending time outdoors, in nature, is good for you. The new study just adds — in a new way — to a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that.
– Chris Mooney, Washington Post
With that in mind, here’s a few nature walks to take in Southwest Florida.