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Jun
20

Editorial 645


Missy Layfield - Editor

Summer Break

This year’s cycle of beach activity is feeling a bit different than the last few years. Have you noticed? There’s more foot traffic, more vehicle traffic, more seats filled in our favorite local watering holes this June than in recent years. These are all good signs that our beach economy is growing.

There was a time when many beach businesses closed entirely for the summer. While a handful still do close for a few weeks for vacation or renovation, most are open year-round these days.

Summer is a great time to visit the beach! Our trademark sun, sand and beach fun are all here without the crowds, so you can move around the beach easily; have a big patch of sand all to yourself. We have temperatures in the 90’s every day and some rain each afternoon. It’s summertime on the beach!

This is the time of year that many islanders start to think of visiting family and friends up north. We love our island, but a break for cooler weather can look pretty good about summertime. After months of hard work, some time off is good for us all. But time off need not involve travel. The economy and the hassles of travel can lead to a decision to stay in town for your vacation time. This concept is so popular, we have a new word to describe it: staycation. You can stay in your own community and enjoy the attractions and activities that you don't have time to enjoy when you're working. Sleep in your own bed every night, or check out a local hotel or give camping a try. Check out the water parks and pools in the area, take a kayak out on the back bay, try parasailing. People come to our area from all over the world to do these things. Most of us who live here, work so much that we don't have time to do the things that attract people to our island.

Maybe we should take some time this summer to try some of them out. The Island Sand Paper will be highlighting some of our local attractions over the summer to help you find fun things to do right in our own backyard-we start with Bowditch Point Park this week.

Shop Local

With visitor numbers down during the summer season, supporting our local businesses is more important than ever. Our beach businesses depend on our patronage to survive the summer months. And what better time to stop in not only your favorite spots on the beach, but a few new ones also? Get your friends together and plan to visit every restaurant and bar on the beach at least once between now and October 1. The ultimate beach pub-crawl, with some great food thrown in! Just don’t try to do it all in one night please.

This is a great time to remind Islanders to shop local. Heading north for a few days or a few weeks? Bring along some unique beach items from one of our local gift shops. How about a classic beach t-shirt? Or some beach jewelry? If you haven’t been in our beach shops recently, spend some time browsing, you may find the perfect gift for someone. Then you can brag you’ve started your holiday shopping in June!

‘Roxie’

You may have noticed the colorful little trailer along Old San Carlos Blvd. or in Santini Marina Plaza recently. ‘Roxie’ – the little trailer that could, named after our own Roxie Smith, lifelong tourism supporter – is the result of untiring work by Chamber of Commerce members and staff, led by Chamber President Bud Nocera to bring a mobile information center to the beach. It’s chock-full of beach information like maps and activities and local business information. Stop by and take a look for yourself! The colorful graphics created by Dave Drotleff are worth a visit all by themselves!

What ‘Roxie’ really needs now is a corps of volunteers willing to share their knowledge of the island with visitors. Can you spend 4 hours one day a week helping to spread the news of what a great place our island is? Give the Chamber a call at 239-454-7500. They’ll train volunteers and work with your schedule.‘Roxie’ will alternate at the Old San Carlos site donated by John Richard and the Santini Marina Plaza site donated by Kathy & Al Durrett.Big thanks go out to all who helped to make this one-stop-shop for island information come true! Now we need Islanders to help staff it!

 

Missy Layfield