Not your typical hobbies!
Here in Southwest Florida, people from all over the world come to enjoy the sunshine. If you live here or have visited, you know the typical lifestyle here: beaching, fishing, boating, shopping. However, recently I have starting thinking about all the other hobbies that Southwest Florida is great for and there is a lot to be said for people who come here for reasons OTHER than the beach!
Motorcyclists love our year-round warm climate and rare thunderstorms. I have family members who are Harley enthusiasts, and when they want to ride for days on end without having to avoid rainclouds, they come to southwest Florida! From sport bikes to touring cycles and Buell to Yamaha, every make and model of motorcycle can be seen on our highways. There is such a large number of motorcyclists here that it’s not uncommon to see large groups (I’ve always called them “swarms” because of the noise they make) of 15 or 20 motorcycles!
Speaking of swarms, beekeeping is another very popular Southwest Florida activity. So popular, in fact that there’s even a Beekeeper’s Association of Southwest Florida! Don’t start thinking that this is a bad thing though – bees sound scary sometimes but it’s a proven fact that the kind of bees that are best for honey are not really “violent” bees and don’t chase people or animals who get to close to their nest. Generally speaking, your neighbor could be a beekeeper and you may never know it. Apparently, our vegetation and climate is pretty nice for bees and beekeeping – and here’s another interesting thing I heard recently: A spoonful of honey from LOCAL bees, taken daily, can help treat and prevent allergies caused by local pollen and ragweed. Old wives tale or proven fact? You decide!
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a pilot? If taking to the skies inside a metal bird sounds like your idea of fun, then Southwest Florida is a great place for you. Other than our consistent, light breezes that flow through the area, there’s usually not much wind to speak of. I have heard pilots say that they would rather try scheduling a flight in our area than most others due to our mild weather and infrequent thunderstorms. There are plenty of places in the area to train you in the ways of aviation, and it’s not as expensive as you’d think! Check out Harborside Aviation in Punta Gorda for a “discovery flight” at only $99!
Bargain hunting is a tough sport: you have to seek out the perfect prey, pounce when the timing is right and then give your best haggle until the price is right! I continuously hear people say how great our area is for all types of bargain hunting (garage sales, yard sales, flea markets, consignment and secondhand shops). There are likely several reasons for this, one being that there is constantly people moving into and out of the area due to the snowbirds who are here annually for 3 to 6 months (more people moving equals more “stuff” to get rid of) and another is because the weather is perfect for yard sales and open-air flea markets year round. I have heard people from northern states say that summertime is the only time for bargain hunting, as it’s impossible to have garage sales and open flea markets in a foot of snow.
So, next time someone says that Southwest Florida is just for beach lovers, you’ll have to correct them and say that it’s also for fishermen, shoppers, pilots, skim boarders, bargain hunters, golfers, beekeepers, motorcyclists, hang-gliders, windsurfers……..the list goes on!