Sometimes at this time of year, the residents of Anna Maria Island begin to feel as if they are operating bed and breakfasts. One set of guests leaves and there is barely time to wash and dry the sheets before the next visitors arrive. It is no wonder friends and family from up North want to visit paradise at this time of year but, while the guests are reveling in paradise, their hosts can start to feel as if it’s “paradise lost.” A constant stream of even the most considerate visitors can hinder residents from focusing on their own favorite island activities. Before they know it, the best season is over and it’s time to turn on the air conditioning and retreat inside.
There are many ways to cope with living in a place everyone else wants to visit. One Islander, formerly of Chicago, sent a card to all his friends when he moved here, announcing that they were welcomed to visit in Anna Maria Island, but only if they had previously visited him in Chicago. This was the acid test to prove that the guests were not just using the friendship as an excuse to have free accommodations in paradise. If they really were visiting for reasons of friendship, they would have visited in Chicago, too.
Another way to cope with having too much company is to not have a guest room. Silly as this may sound, it seems to be a possibility that many islanders have seriously considered. They talk openly about it. In fact, in early years, when researching accommodations for guests at the island information center, I explained to the sweet ladies working there that I had no extra room for guests, but that we were planning to build an addition for this purpose. I was surprised to be sternly advised by one of the ladies not to add a room for guests, or I’d be sorry. Maybe she was just trying to promote more business for the island hotels and motels. But I had the feeling she was giving me a sincere warning.
There is no better place for a family to enjoy spring break than on Anna Maria Island. Many vacation rental companies can accommodate groups of any size and of any ages. The activities offered by the island also accommodate people of all ages.
March 15 was a peak day for Spring Break, 2009, the dates of which vary a little from school to school, but usually they fall somewhere in the first two thirds of the month. The fact that Anna Maria Island is a perfect place for a family spring break was very obvious on the 15th, when people of all ages gathered to watch a St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Sponsored by the Beach Bistro, the parade started at the corner of Gulf and Marina Drives in central Holmes Beach. It proceeded up Marina Drive and Palm Drive to 81st Street, where it ended. The streets were lined with people of all ages: tiny children, teenagers, young adults, “Boomers,” and the elderly.
Participants in the parade also were of all ages. The Grand Marshall was John Castelli, a World War II veteran who served with Patton in Europe. A contingent of gray-haired people on bicycles from the vacation rental and resort Playa Encantada rode in the parade. Also showing some gray hair were the Privateers on their pirate ship float. Two high school marching bands were very impressive, as was the Dunedin bagpipe band.
Perfect beach weather greeted spring break visitors to the Sun Coast this weekend. A refreshing breeze made the beach a comfortable place to get the summer tan started.
The UV index is 9 (very high) so be careful not to stay exposed for long. Warm gulf air ahead of an approaching mild front brought out locals and tourists alike. The S wind also pushed up some breakers for a few surfers. As the wind clocks around to the west and drops the surf may clean up a little, but onshore conditions prevail through Sunday.