2017-08-10 / Top News

Let a local getaway take you out of the ‘reds’


It happens every year at this time. I call it the August reds. I’d say it was the August blues, but these days, the weather is red and my mood is dead.

I’m not the only one. I know plenty of Southwest Floridians who flee our steamy little corner of the tropics around this time of year in the search of cool breezes and less oppressive humidity. I see them on Facebook — Teri in North Carolina, Amy in New York City and

Sunny in South Africa. And while I’m happy for them, my August reds turn green with envy.

I was lucky enough to travel a bit in May, but the thing is, it’s not so horrible here in May — August is really the optimum time to get away, when those reds kick in.

But if you’re like me and you blew all your travel time earlier in the summer, or if traveling outside this boiling peninsula is impossible because of work obligations or limited finances, then I have to recommend that for your sanity, you run from the reds by going somewhere close by. So, it’s hot — I get it. But, we don’t have to stay stuck.

I know the word “staycation” is tired and overused, but never knock a much-needed weekend escape to rejuvenate. Considering the fact that I’ve lived here since the Stone Age, I have a list of quite a few enjoyable local jaunts. Here are a few of my favorites:

¦ You can’t beat Sanibel for a weekend in paradise. There are lots of shady trees, no traffic lights and scenic bike paths from one end to the other. Plus, this time of year the island is slow and quiet. And since it’s a barrier island, there’s even a breeze — I promise. Rent bikes from Billy’s Bike Rentals on Periwinkle Way and peddle to up to Doc Ford’s for a refreshing mojito. Check out the resorts, hotels and quaint cottages for Florida resident/off-season discounts.

¦ Make your way to Marco Island for a much-needed “ahhhhh” weekend. Again, the off-season rates at resorts like the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort are pretty sweet, and you might just have money left over for a charter voyage to Cape Romano to check out the famous dome homes and gather some perfect specimen shells. Marco is pretty famous for good restaurants, too — and this time of year there’s no waiting in line for a table.

¦ I’m no meteorologist, but the temperature might be a degree or two less hot in the northern climes of Sarasota — or we can always hope so anyway. There’s so much to love about Sarasota: the charming historic downtown area, window shopping at St. Armand’s Circle, the Ringling Museum, Mote Marine Laboratory and the sandy shores of nearby Siesta Key and Anna Maria Island. Plus, with traffic at a minimum in August, you can stay somewhere affordable on the mainland and drive to the waterfront for the day.

To beat the August reds, these are my top three faves — but don’t forget Amelia Island in the northwest corner of the state, South Beach in Miami for color and culture or even a quick trip to the Keys for some snorkeling.

So even if you can’t get to the mountains or Manhattan or across the pond, you absolutely can beat the August reds by staying local — and without putting your bank account in the red. Happy trails! ¦

— Ciao for now, my lovelies! Stay tuned for another divalicious diary entry next week…

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