The Sunshine State Beckons!
From our homes here in the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania, and the cozy enclaves of Massachusetts (where senior regional editor Rebecca Mayer hails), we at ADVANCE
can't really complain too much about this previous winter. We dodged a lot of blizzard bullets and for the most part came through unscathed. Even our trip to APTA's Combined Sections meeting in Chicago (in February!) was relatively uneventful, weather-wise (other than the major chill).
But all the same, we are looking forward to time in the Sunshine State in a week or so to visit Tampa in Florida for PT 2012. Nothing like some southern sun to brighten a work week! And while covering every conference for our readers is certainly "work," it does come with a bit of relaxation involved.
Last time I visited Tampa, I was with my sister and a long-time school friend, and while we stayed cheap (hey, it was only 4 years removed from college!) we had a nice relaxing time hitting the beach, some nightclubs, the IMAX museum, a floating casino -- and of course, Busch Gardens. This was, from what I can remember, one of the hottest days EVER -- even getting liberally splashed on water rides did little to beat the heat. I also remember the Kumba roller coaster (never again!) and the amazing safari.
So I'm due! Tampa is much more than the Gardens, as fun as the theme park is. I hope to see their Latin Quarter and Ybor (pronounced E-bor), an old cigar factory community with Spanish, Cuban and Italian roots, where you can watch cigar rollers assemble cigars. The Columbia Restaurant, founded in 1905 by a Cuban immigrant, attracts locals and tourists with flamenco dancers and authentic Spanish food. If all goes smoothly, a bit of time on a nice beach might also be in store.
But before the fun starts, there are sessions to cover and people like you to see. Please stop by booth #1110 to visit myself, Rebecca and associate editor Danielle Bullen. We love meeting our readers and contributors in person, and we hope to see you there!