B.B. Free always had a book on her nightstand from the age of three, and so began her love affair with language. As a teenager, poetry became her favorite vehicle for expressing the rollercoaster of those angst-filled years. When she became an elementary school teacher, she discovered the range and quality of children’s books and began creating thought-provoking storylines appropriate for children six to eleven. This is when ‘The Rescuers’ was born, a South Florida Writers Association award winning story, which will also be published in Spanish.
Her passion for writing has now expanded into the realm of adult fiction, and while she will continue to produce literature for children, she is now midway through completing a poignant, funny and stylish novel about female friendships, food, love and reinvention in sexy Miami.
B.B. Free is married and has raised a daughter, now 25. She continues to teach and foster the love of reading in young children. She also writes a food blog where she chronicles her adventures in pursuing another passion… fine dining!
Florida, the southernmost state of the USA, is known as “the Sunshine State”, and yes, no one can deny the delights of its sultry tropical weather. During the winter months, a temperature of 50 is considered icy in these parts. But weather is not the only reason I love my Florida life. There’s plenty of history to revisit in the North, beaches, fishing and colorful carnivals in the South. Commerce and tourism bustle in the East, the place I call home, and God’s canvas displays the most dramatic sunsets on the quiet western coast, the place I hope to call home someday.
Northern Florida: The ever-growing glossy modern cities of Florida can overshadow the rich history of the state. St. Augustine, for example, is the first European settlement in the mainland.
It retains its historical flair with willow-canopied streets, its legendary fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, and the always mystical Fountain of Youth Archeological Park.
South Florida: If you’re heading to the southern end of the state, my haunts, you’ll need a survival kit- sunglasses, sunscreen, and sandals! I find the ride through the Florida Keys magical. Every inch of rocky shoreline is prime real estate for bountiful fishing starting in Key Largo and all through the lively towns of the middle keys like Islamorada and Marathon.
If fishing is in your wheelhouse, stop at any random spot, and I guarantee the waters will reward you lavishly.
Countless restaurants flank the road, all with that lazy feel we daydream about on particularly challenging work days. You sit with your feet in the sand, a drink in your hand, and watch boats come in and out of the dock. And everyone smiles. You just can’t help it. When you finally reach the southernmost tip of the United States in Key West, where it is said that on a clear day, you can see Cuba, be prepared for rollicking nightlife and spirited carnivals.
Florida’s East Coast: Eastern Florida bustles with business and tourism. Sophisticated Palm Beach is the playground of the rich. Further south, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, with their swaying bays framed by glittering skylines, wear the look of progress with pride.
And I can’t forget Miami Beach, mecca of tourism and a hub for travelers. To get almost anywhere in the Caribbean or South America, you must touch down in Miami first. But if this is your final destination, the Miami Beach lifestyle, with the best in cuisine, hotels, shopping and entertainment will dazzle like no other. Miami Beach is not an experience you will soon forget.
Florida’s West Coast: This is where I plan to spend my twilight years, God willing. It’s lovingly and accurately called ‘The Quiet Coast’. The quaint yet modern towns that dot this area outlined by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, all have an atmosphere of island life with a pinch of refinement and a dash of sparkle. Sarasota, Naples, Ft. Myers, all thriving cities that offer hidden treasures in the form of quaint little beach towns like lazy Anna Maria Island, well-to-do Sanibel, and ridiculously affluent Captiva Island.
And then we have the west Florida sunsets. I collect sunsets like others collect seashells. I study color palettes, cloud patterns, and how the ocean twinkles in excited anticipation. Will I ever get tired of chasing sunsets? How can I when each one is different?
I believe when you travel, you pick up fragments of your scattered soul everywhere you go.
I’ve been blessed to travel to many places, and I’ve picked up many pieces of my soul. I’ve even lived in some of those places for extended periods of time.
But when the traveler in me is weary, Florida beckons and always, no matter how long I’ve been away, receives me in a warm homecoming embrace.