March 2016: There’s plenty to love about a Florida spring

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Dear Readers,

If you’ve ever lived in a place with four definitive seasons, you may agree that greeting spring in Florida is a bit of an acquired taste.

There’s something magical about March up north, when the snow starts to let up and the equinox ushers in the first day of spring. Nature is just beginning to wake from her slumber, sprouts are starting to peek up from the brown, barren ground and stir-crazy humans are vowing never to take warm, sunny days for granted again. Some say part of the magic of spring is kissing a cold, dreary winter goodbye.

While I agree the light of spring is always brighter after a long, dark winter, there’s also something to be said for not having to shovel a driveway full of snow before work, possibly well into the month of April.

So for those of you, like me, who have a little pang of yearning for that natural high of the idyllic spring season, here are a few great reasons why I’ve come to truly love spring, Florida style.

1. Baseball
While our friends up north are still dusting off their snowboots, we’re busy dusting off our catcher’s mitt so it can be signed by Brian McCann or Yadier Molina. Let’s be honest, New Englanders and New Yorkers are only dreaming of their fantasy league strategies while we’re sitting right behind the dugout at a Spring Training game, watching line drives and drinking an ice cold…lemonade? You get the picture. Major League Baseball’s Grapefruit League is one of the greatest parts about spring in Florida, and in this issue, we’ve got you covered with a guide to the best Spring Training facilities our state has to offer. After reading it, you’ll probably feel so bad for your grandkids stuck up there in New Jersey, you’ll fly them down for a game or two.
2. Fresh…everything.
A major source of winter produce for most of the eastern U.S., Florida boasts a real diversity of some of the juiciest fruits you can find. As trees are barely showing signs of life in colder climates, we’re already cutting ripe tomatoes and picking out red gems at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City. That’s right, it’s not just citrus we enjoy, but countless other assorted fruits and veggies – and we guide you through much of our seasonal produce in this issue as well. We also debunk the myth that whatever you plant in a Florida spring will just die in the summer, so get ready to join the rest of the world in pining over Home Depot commercials. Don’t let anybody fool you, we may not grow the same things as up north in our tropical/sub-tropical climates, but we can definitely still enjoy a spring garden.
3. Festivals, festivals, festivals.
If you’re a party person in Florida, March is your time of year. We’ve got Bike Week in Orlando on the 7th, the Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa on the 8th, and the start of one of my personal favorites (and a must-see in my book), the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. For 90 days, the park becomes a magical rainbow of spring blossoms, while hosting leading gardening experts from around the nation. Oh, and the food’s pretty amazing too. You may be wondering why there’s so many great things to do in March…which brings us to my favorite part about spring in Florida…

4. It’s not that hot yet.
Let’s be honest. One of the best things about “spring” in Florida is relishing our last remaining days of walking to the mailbox without worrying about a heat stroke. I implore you, please join me as I soak up every day free of blistering heat and torrential downpours. March is when do my yoga on the beach, ride my bicycle and walk to Starbucks without carrying a towel. Basic stuff. Floridians know – whatever it is you love to do outside midday, now’s your golden opportunity to do it without a fan and a fear of fainting.

They say without the darkness, you wouldn’t praise the light, but here in Florida we know it’s either hot – or hotter. We may not have that fresh-faced look only gained by greeting Mother Nature after surviving a long winter, but we still know how to welcome our own kind of spring. Here’s to a happy March in Florida, however it is you celebrate it.

Sincerely,
Amanda Smith

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