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Greg and Jean Farrington retired last August as executive director and director of lifelong learning, respectively, of the prestigious California Academy of Sciences. They had bought a vacation home on Tidy Island when Greg was president of Lehigh University. “Then I took the job in San Francisco, and for 10 years we only got here two weeks a year,” he says. Full-time Floridians since September, “We’re in exploring mode,” says Jean. “My staff gave us memberships to Mote and the Ringling Museum as a going-away gift; what else do you give a museum director?”

You Had Us at Sunset

Greg: “When college presidents want to escape the cold in February, they do the Florida swing to visit alumni. We’d start in Jupiter, travel down to Miami, then swing up the other side. Sarasota was our sweet spot, and Tidy Island was love at first sunset.”

Vital Connections

Greg: “We thought about staying in San Francisco, but our son, his wife and most importantly our granddaughter live in Manhattan, and [there are] nonstop flights from SRQ straight to LaGuardia.”

Full Immersion

Greg: “We’ve fallen in love with the cheese shop [Artisan Cheese Co.] on Main Street, and with Louies and Libby’s; in Manatee, Tide Tables and Derek’s are excellent.” Jean: “There’s an independent bookstore [BookStore 1]; I’m a big believer in supporting our locals. And we love the beaches—Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach.”

Wow

Greg: “I’m impressed with the South Florida Museum. People think of museums as places where you go to see dead stuff, [but] they’re really places where children have their imaginations turned on. The most important word we heard [at the academy] was ‘wow.’”

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