If someone were to ask me whether I’m a city girl or a country girl, I’d have a very difficult time answering that question. I was born and raised in the city, but most of my summers were spent either at my grandparents’ farm or on the lake in a verdant, scenic area of Kentucky. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of spending Saturdays watching a movie in a grand, ornate theater, then lunching and shopping with my mother. It was a Saturday ritual for most of the year, and I loved the culture and excitement of the big city. But then, my summers were spent in the country—swimming, playing and exploring—and I cultivated a deep love for the outdoors as well.
After I married, I moved to Ocala, which I believe is the ideal blend of town and country. I suppose that’s what drew me to it in the first place. Ocala mirrors my affection for both the city and country ways of life, and since I suspect many of you are nature and city lovers, too, it reflects your personality perfectly as well. Here, you can be as citified as you’d like, all without sacrificing your outdoorsy side. You can view a world-class exhibit at the Appleton Museum, catch a live production at the College of Central Florida or dine at an elegant restaurant downtown. But then in no time at all, you can be out in the country. Just head out via car or motorcycle, and you’re in another world altogether—far from the traffic and the noise, enveloped by nature and a general sense of peace and tranquility.
This is why I’m particularly pleased with Ocala Style’s first-ever Town & Country feature. We bridge both worlds with an article that is filled with ideas for adding a little adventure to your calendar, which is particularly timely with the kids out of school most of this month. We focus on the outdoor fun that’s right around the corner in places like the Ocala National Forest, Croom and Steinhatchee, and we also introduce you to far-flung locales like San Francisco, Austin and Denver that offer big-city glitz. I believe the best gift you can give is the gift of sharing an experience together with loved ones. Consider a getway instead of a toy, something less tangible but more memorable.
It goes without saying that the last few years have been a particularly strained time in all of our lives. I hope you find this issue to be a valuable guide to escape the stress, to carve out some time for fun and relaxation—whether you prefer the soft light of a campfire or the bright lights of the big city. Or both, like me.
Until next time,