Is There Life After Season?

By Megan McDonald June 1, 2011

The beach is always on the list of summer plans--but we want to find out what else there is to do in Sarasota during the off-season.

When I moved to Sarasota from Orlando in August 2006, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had just turned 23, was fresh out of school, and had been offered a job as copy editor at Sarasota Magazine two scant weeks before. I’d never been to Sarasota before, knew nothing about the city, and had gone to college just 45 minutes from my parents’ house. So this move—a whole two hours from the place I grew up—seemed big.

August is, of course, still the height of summer, and when I packed up the few things I owned (a twin bed, some ugly hand-me-down wicker furniture courtesy of Mom and Dad, a suitcase full of clothes, my books, my laptop) and drove to Sarasota in a U-Haul that stunk weirdly of vinegar, through a film of haze so hot it vibrated, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t yet know what Sarasota’s “season” is, or the way people ebb and flow here. I just knew that I was going to need to figure out what to do with myself for the rest of the summer. It felt like an initiation.

Fast forward to 2011 and here we are, five years later. I’m two months away from my 28th birthday now, and in the half-decade since I moved here, I’ve switched jobs a few times (but landed happily back at the magazine two months ago, this time as web editor), traded my adorable-but-tiny studio apartment for a bigger one, upgraded my twin bed to a queen, adopted a cat and acquired a social life. Of course there have been moments when I’ve wanted to throw everything I own into a cardboard box and speed out of town without looking back. But far more frequently, there have been moments when I’ve looked around me—at blue-green waves washing ashore from my spot in the sand on Siesta Key Beach; at the city skyline from the crest of the Ringling bridge—and felt so much love for this city that it’s almost overwhelming.

And it’s summer again, which means it’s time to figure out what to do with myself—again—now that the frenzy of spring has subsided and the fast pace of fall is several months away. Which is, actually, the point of this blog. Associate editor Hannah Wallace, editorial and web assistant Beau Denton and I will be sharing our musings on life in Sarasota during the off-season and offering suggestions for off-the-beaten-track things to do. Interestingly, I identify more with the city in summer than I do any other season, so I’m looking forward to writing these posts, and of course reading Hannah’s and Beau’s.

Until next time, what are your plans for summer? (Mine, so far, include a lot of Yogurtology—have you been yet? You should go—and Siesta sand and surf.)


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