Postcard from Afar

The family’s winter vacation to Florida this year included a new element, one that I highly recommend if you’re ever within striking distance…”taking the waters” at one of that state’s hot mineral springs. If I’d known about these natural spas before, I would most certainly have made it a tradition long ago. The setting was definitely funky old Florida, not sexy South Beach; the music piped through the trees was New Age, not Top 40 Hip Hop; and, surprise! the café featured Vermont beer to accompany our spa food menu. But it was the spring itself that was most fascinating: it maintained a steady 87 degrees as 9 million gallons of water flowed through it every day, and the water that we soaked in was totally and naturally changed every three hours. So while I slowly made endless circuits around the neck-deep natural pool, marveling at all the Russian tourists, I mused.

  • Florida is a great escape and some day we will spend larger chunks of time there to weather the weather, but until then I like our winter just the way it is ~ with piles of snow and cold, cold temperatures that rather keeps the natural order of things in check. But, Florida has more giant bugs, poisonous snakes, creepy alligators, lightening strikes, and homes under water or in foreclosure than almost anyplace else in the U.S. Vermont should use it’s lack of those things as major economic development messages.
  • Florida has an amazingly vibrant, diverse and active senior (55 years +) society. And I’m not referring to the stereotypic images of geriatrics parked in old folks’ homes. I’m talking about older, retired people with money that are out dining and dancing, playing outdoor sports, filling indoor movie theatres, attending arts and cultural exhibits, buying/selling/buying again, and generally using their leisure time to support an economy. Vermont has many of the same arts, cultural and social attributes as Florida, especially in our college towns that are like magnets for this demographic. We should actively promote these opportunities as much as possible. College towns aren’t just for college kids anymore.
  • Burlington International Airport must grow. Driving to Manchester, NH to catch a flight to our destination, and then driving home from Manchester is not fun, efficient or necessarily economical. However, it is often the only way to get From A to B. We need new carriers, additional flights into major hubs, and should strongly support this kind of investment for economic development. After all, for as much fun as it is to escape, it’s far better to return home.