My Playground

Ever since my hubby moved me to Naples, I’ve resisted making this place “mine.” I didn’t even know why I resisted falling in love with Southwest Florida until recently.

…and here’s why…

If Naples is my playground – and I’m standing in the sandbox of my life – then I want to be able to play. My way.

Here’s what’s missing for me: bike paths and educational pride. The two might not seem like they go together, but they are two things I loved about living in Northern Virginia. Right outside of D.C. where the energy of everything could pulsate so strongly it overwhelmed me and recharged me at the same time. I want to find that same feeling here.

Missing playground item 1: Bike paths

Naples is known for beautiful beaches and sunny weather. With an abundance of outdoor activities, it’s sad that broader bicycle paths are not established for couples to ride side-by-side or even single-file but safely. The bike lanes are narrow or non-existent and where there are bike paths, they are disconnected or short-lived. Where are the miles and miles of open greenways? I have a bike, want to use it, but am afraid of being hit. Last year the Collier County Sheriff’s Office reported 99 accidents between bikes and cars and 49 pedestrian accidents.

So I live in hope that one day I’ll find the perfect bike path where I’ll feel safe and the wide lanes will be connected to various parts of the city without disruption.

Onto my second missing “feeling” of making Naples my ultimate playground: educational pride.

Naples has fantastic higher education institutions, but having moved from a thriving college town, I miss the deeper sense of community established with sports teams, mascots, and local pubs with pics of college teams hanging on the walls, displaying the benefits to local high school students of not only attending a four-year college but also staying local to do so.

Perhaps Naples isn’t looking for that college community feeling, and I could move a bit north to try to find that “feeling,” but for right now, I’ll stay put and figure out some other way to make Naples my ultimate playground. After all, with beautiful beaches, fabulous restaurants, and wildlife, I’ve discovered my playground is a pretty awesome place to live, work, and recreate.

Do you love your playground? What kinds of activities do you enjoy?


One comment

  1. It really is important to have safe bike corridors. I feel blessed to live in a town (Bellingham, WA) that has made it a priority to connect the greenways with street bike lanes and we are also a university town. That said, it sounds like Naples is more rural and probably doesn’t have the tax base for all those bike lanes. It’s usually a trade-off, as you have the beaches and, I’m guessing, less people in all your favorite haunts.

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