It’s autumn again in Fort Myers, a really wonderful time of the year. Daytime temperatures are back in the 80’s with the nights slipping into the low 60’s. The humidity has moderated, orchids are blooming like mad, and it’s time to replace the summer potted flowers with impatiens, which much prefer the cooler temperatures. The torrential tropical rains of summer have disappeared, and we’re well into our dry season of bright sunlight, crisp blue sky, and fluffy white clouds. Lots of migrating birds visit our lake, and if not for the resident eagles discouraging long stays, some of them would likely winter here. Yes, for anyone who takes the time to notice, autumn has come to Bloom & Wallace headquarters.
But our seasonal changes are subtle in south Florida if you only pay attention to the clues of nature. For those of us who live here yeararound as well as for our “snowbirds,” there are much more obvious signs that autumn has arrived. Increasing traffic as the earliest “snowbirds” arrive, the best restaurants starting to take reservations again, non-profits putting the finishing touches on their fundraising plans (during season, you could go to dozens of fundraisers each week, dressed in anything from ballgowns to belly dancing costumes, and not even make a dent!), every conceivable type of studio and performance art on offer, weekend art festivals in full swing, and a whole world of arts/cultural/enrichment courses starting up.
There’s an incredible amount of cultural life here, far more than we ever expected when we left the city lights of DC for the sandy beaches of Fort Myers in 1999. Perhaps because so many moneyed retirees have brought not only their wealth but their expectations for cultural and charitable institutions, we have the infrastructure of a much larger community. Quality, accessibility, and affordability are the hallmarks of the cultural institutions in our area, and none more so than The Florida Repertory Theater, the only professional regional theater between Sarasota and Miami. If I sound like a proud parent, it’s because Ron and I have been donors and then show sponsors at The Rep since we discovered this wonderful theater company, and I’m a member of the Board. Don’t take my word for it; we’ve had top reviews, here and here, by the Wall Street Journal. If you’ve enjoyed theater in the intimate settings of London stages, then you’ll love our historic Arcade Theater in the heart of olde Fort Myers, just steps from the Caloosahatchee River. One of our dreams is to take our boat, m/v SmartyPants, up the River to downtown (I know that sounds funny, but she’s slipped near the Gulf), take a slip at the municipal marina, and just walk off our boat to the theater.
So, with autumn in the air, we’ll be launching our 13th season next Friday night 10/29/10 with Noises Off, one of my favorite British farces. And that’s just for starters. Gaslight, The 39 Steps, August: Osage County, and so much more. If you’re coming our way — and you really should — we’d like to introduce you to our theater with Bloom & Wallace courtesy vouchers, first come, first served. Each voucher entitles the bearer to two free seats for the performance of your choice, obviously subject to availability. So get those winter vacation plans in place ASAP, and let me know you’re coming. We’d love to meet you at the theater.