Hello Snowbirds

We hope you had a safe and pleasant trip and will soon find yourself in a Sunshine State of Mind.

According to Visit Florida Research, Florida received more than 112 million visitors in 2016. Most of the international visitors came from Canada, followed by the United Kingdom, then Brazil and Argentina.

Domestic travel to Florida was up by over 7 percent in 2016, with nearly
98 million visits. Domestic visitation represented 87 percent of the total visitation
to the state last year.

The majority of our local visitors came from Georgia with New York close behind. Texas and Ohio tied for third place followed by Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Illinois. Large amounts of visitors also arrived from Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. Surprisingly Californians (3.8 percent of the total) made up a bigger chunk of our visiting population than Michiganders at 3.3 percent.

Canadian visitors tend to stay the longest, with an average of 23 days.

Since many seasonal residents own homes and are part-time residents
they are not tracked by Visit Florida, but we know many of you will stick
around until the snow melts up north and we can’t say we blame you. We
think you will find our winter months with average highs in the mid-70s simply
irresistible.

And what will you do during your visit?

Based on statistics you’ll probably visit the beach or engage in waterfront
activities, dine out, shop, sight-see, visit amusement and theme parks, as well
as friends and relatives.

Now a little bit of trivia about Florida. See if you can outsmart the
natives with these little tidbits courtesy of Visit Florida:

We have 825 miles of beaches, about 7,700 lakes (larger than 10 acres), and 33 first-magnitude springs. Our largest lake is Lake Okeechobee at 700 square miles; our longest river is the St. Johns at 273 miles. Oh, by the way, it’s one of the few rivers that flows north instead of south.

And when you are within the state, you’re never more than 60 miles from the
nearest body of saltwater.

The Florida Everglades is the largest subtropical wetland ecosystem in
North America and the Everglades National Park is one of three U.S. National
Parks in Florida. (Biscayne and the Dry Tortugas are the other two.)

South Florida is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators
coexist. You can view a whole host of reptilia, colorful birds and other
interesting creatures on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail,
which boasts 515 wildlife viewing sites.

(See our story inside our magazine or online at lifestylesafter50.com)

Critters like our sunshine and historically, so do inventors, authors, and
architects. Sometimes our climate has fostered innovation. The first artificial
ice was made in Apalachicola by Dr. John Gorrie in 1845. And Thomas Edison
built Florida’s first modern swimming pool in 1910. His winter estate has been turned into a museum and is a very popular attraction in Fort Myers along with the home of his buddy, Henry Ford.

Ernest Hemingway found refuge and relaxation in Key West, where his home is on tour. And Florida Southern College has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright structures in one place, with 10 buildings and 2 structures.

Florida has over 1,250 golf courses — the most in the U.S. — and 700 campgrounds with more than 100,000 campsites. We are also known as the
Fishing Capital of the World.”

Florida is second only to Brazil in global orange juice production and the
state remains the world’s leading producer of grapefruit.

So stretch out on your comfy chair or hammock, sip a tall glass of Vitamin C, and enjoy our November edition. We’ve previewed some great holiday movies as
well as the upcoming Florida Senior Games. We pay tribute to Veterans
Day with a story about a Tampa veteran, an African American woman who
shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for women officers in the Coast
Guard.

You’ll also find a cornucopia of other information, humor and entertainment
in our November issue.

So welcome back snowbirds. Thank you for supporting our economy,
contributing to our winter volunteer workforce and just being the great
flock of people you are.

Terri Reeves
Editor

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