Southern Living, the magazine about southern homes, wrote a very complimentary article about Anna Maria Island in the March, 2009, issue. The image of the City Pier on the opening spread captures perfectly the surprisingly untouched surroundings we islanders and island visitors get to enjoy. The pier is a real, unusually authentic historical attraction. It has not been created to promote tourism. It has been here and been enjoyed for decades. But because it is naturally so appealing, it does promote tourism.
Although it’s always nice to receive positive national publicity, such as that in Southern Living, the crowds on the island this season are evidence that we already have been discovered. Our businesses are full of customers. Our beaches are hosting many visitors, even as temperatures have remained unseasonably chilly this year.
In addition to getting sun on the beach, the writer of the southern Living magazine article describes some of the island’s favorite pastimes, such as bicycling and riding the trolley. She talks about visiting the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and the old jail on Pine Street. One excursion off the island is to Bradenton ’s colorful Village of the Arts. This little artists’ colony is likely to appeal to all those who love Anna Maria Island, because, like the island, the Village of the Arts boasts authenticity. It has not been overly groomed as so many resort attractions have been. Very old vegetation and very old little southern homes speak of Old Florida. Imagine a huge mango tree laden with fruit, or a large stand of black bamboo, interspersed with colorful cottages. The writer names the Dancing Crane gallery as a personal favorite, and there are many other eclectic galleries near by.
If you can’t visit Anna Maria Island this spring, or make southern living home, be sure to pick up the March issue of Southern Living magazine. And consider a visit to this delightful piece of paradise sometime in the future. You’ll probably agree with the writer that it’s a “dream come true.”