Having just returned from a two-week stay we can say, with certainty, that there are better places than Sarasota, Fort Meyer's Beach and Key West.
Why, you ask, is that?
Answer: Alligators and "No-see-ems."
You walk in, for example, to the Longboat Key Country Club in Sarasota for a round of golf and you find a sign on the registration desk which reads: "Be careful out there! Alligators are on the eighth and twelfth fairways!"
Sure enough. When you get to the eighth fairway, just before reaching the green, over there by the small pond, is what looks like a log. Strange place for a log. As you get closer to your ball, the log moves. Now you remember the sign on the desk. There's your new Titleist right by a seven-foot 'gator. Almost under a seven-foot 'gator. Big, half-closed eyes. Big, fully open mouth.
As you get closer he watches you and you watch him. There is your ball just under his tail and the question is: do you go after it or does it now belong to him? Obviously, this was a case of which of us was superior. He opened his mouth to show two rows of large yellow teeth and the question was answered. The ball was his. He seemed to know it. He smiled. You put down a par for that hole and head toward number 9.
That, in itself, is enough for me to stay away from Florida.
But, wait, there's more. There is the "No-see-ems."
What, you want to know, are "No-see-ems"? "No-see-ems" are furious little beasts that attack with the ferocity of, well, perhaps, an alligator.
Except, unlike an alligator, you can't see them. You don't know you've been bit right away because, well, you can't see 'em. You are having a terrific breakfast on the side deck of the old Key West mansion, which is your bread and breakfast place. We are told that the "no-see-ems" live in the dirt just under the flooring and when they smell the bacon cooking they come through the deck to have a look. And there you are. They forget about the bacon and chew on your legs, shins and ankles. They call their brothers and their sisters and cousins and, sure enough, the feast begins. Do you feel the bites and spray on some stuff to drive them away? No. Because you don't see 'em!
(Hence, the name, huh?)
(You knew that!)
The fun part is that when they bite you, you don't feel it for two days. The bites just don't show up. After two days the itching begins. At night, when you try to sleep, one of your ankles starts rubbing the other and you get up from bed and sit in a chair for the rest of the night. It seems better in a chair. You don't sleep well but the blankets aren't rubbing on the bites, either. Wonderful! Then the bites from the second day show up on the third or fourth day and the bites from the third day start itching the day after that.
We are fortunate to have wonderful places to go. It is a great country with scenic riches beyond belief.
We can go anywhere and have a good time.
Anywhere, except maybe Florida.