I spent half of my life growing up on an island. It sounds super glamorous. People think acres of beaches, palm trees and a nightlife similar to Key West.
See, Pine Island has no natural palm trees. Oh we have palm tree farms…but the natural tree is, well, ugly Florida pine trees. And, we have no beach since the island is the center island around which other islands are…so they get the beach and we get a shallow sound with mangroves. As far as nightlife goes…well, its fishing. There’s a lot of drinking to be sure, but it’s usually over fishing poles, not sitting in the bar with a live band.
But, I’d not give it up for anything. I am not a lover of Florida with its unbearably hot weather and flat lands with almost no trees…but I wouldn’t trade growing up on the Island for anything. It was for so long the ideal small-town feel, with a quaintness and secludedness that you can’t find everywhere. It’s changed a lot since I graduated college and returned…what doesn’t? Since then, it’s been discovered by Snow Birds…areas have been re-decorated to capitalize on the island novelty and a good half of the people are artists now instead of fisherman. Still, it’s my home. My parents’ house is still there and I weekly get to take my kids there to play and partake of Island Life.
So, while the ideal image may be beaches, palms and nightlife…I’ll take my little island with pine trees, no beach and no nightlife.