Mid-Winter isn’t everyone’s idea of seasonal fun. The lack of sunshine, the cold weather and other wintry side-effects often add up to that dreadful Blue Monday feeling at the start of each week.
But we have an antidote for all this seasonal gloom, and we have another week’s worth upcoming on our social media. So, instead of miserable Monday, we’re turning the whole idea around and celebrating a true blue day, the Sunshine State way!
Instead of feeling down in the dumps, we’re highlighting all the magnificent colours associated with Florida holidays this January and February. We started with Pink Monday, continued with a gorgeous Green Monday and followed up with last week’s Yellow Monday.
Now, we’re giving the Florida First technicolour treatment to that archetypal dismal day, Blue Monday, and celebrating it with all the glories of sea, sun and excitement in our favourite destination.
And, if you head on over to our Facebook pages, you can also join in a whole week’s worth of Blue revelries with the final chance to win a pair of ornamental garden flamingos to brighten up your winter!
So, if that’s the Plan, here’s how we implement it.
It starts with the Sky, of course, that impossibly blue, startlingly bright and state-wide cerulean splendour that typically covers Florida on a daily basis. Even in the depths of winter, the skies remain a steadfast and reassuring blaze of brilliance that lets you know this is where the perfect holiday climate is yours for the asking.
Yes, it can be a touch chilly at this time of year, but even on the rare occasions when the temperature dips into the single digits, you can be sure of a suitably sky blue background for your vacation gratification. And here’s the proof – just last week, our resident Florida experts Susan and Simon Veness reported a rare frost in Orlando, and took the photos to prove it – but just look at the colour and clarity of that morning sky!
If that is our delightful destination starting point, it continues with that other obvious source of holiday happiness, the Sea. Now, you may think, ho hum, of course the sea is blue, what other colour could it be, and why make a big song and dance about it? But, if you thought that, you’d be down-playing the visual value of the state by roughly a million per cent.
Because the gently lapping seas that surround the extensive peninsula of this south-east corner of the United States are not a uniform blue. Oh no, far from it.
On the Atlantic side, they can be the deepest cobalt. On the west coast, they are often sighingly sapphire, verging on green in the Panhandle, where the waters are absolutely crystal clear. Then, encompassing those glittering jewels of the Florida Keys, the ever-present sea becomes a sparkling patchwork of azure intensity, lighter in some places, thrillingly deep and satisfying in others, but all with a measure of lucidity that truly takes the breath away.
If those are the two headline attractions in blue, how about some of the supporting cast?
You certainly can’t overlook the Wildlife, as Florida’s birds offer another enchanting variety in blue, from the stately Great Blue Heron to the Eastern Bluebird, and the dainty Tree Swallow to the seasonal Blue Jay, as well as the non-native but still captivating Blue Macaws at places like Wild Florida, Central Florida Zoo, Jungle Island, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and many others.
In fact, it is the birdlife that often draws visitors from all over the world, with the Florida Birding Trail – a network of 510 premier viewing sites – providing a magnificent opportunity to capture an exotic variety of winged wonders, whether you’re an avid bird-watcher or just a casual fan of the birdie kind.
If the birdlife doesn’t tick any boxes for you, how about the Buildings? While blue isn’t an obvious colour of construction, it has been used to hugely eye-catching effect by several iconic builders throughout the state, and you’ll find several breathtaking examples in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, as well as Orlando and Palm Beach.
Take the spanking new Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in Hollywood, by Fort Lauderdale, for example. This massive guitar-shaped monument to high-end resort style cost a whopping $1billion (and yes, billion, with a ‘B’!) to build, but is now easily one of the most eye-catching buildings in the region, and should definitely be on your radar for somewhere to stay in future.
Likewise, Universal Orlando’s Aventura Hotel is an equally impressive blue-glass edifice that welcomes guests in high style, while the ultra-chic Conrad Miami is a mammoth sky-scraper of mind-boggling proportions in the heart of the city – and somewhere we always enjoy staying for the true Florida feelgood factor when we’re in the Miami area (which you can also see on our website, on this link). For another vision in blue-and-white, we are also huge fans of the new Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa (below) in Palm Beach, where it shimmers in its idyllic beachfront location and offers a blissful combination of cutting-edge spa pampering and totally chilled-out seaside relaxation, all wrapped up in an air of unpretentious sophistication. Check it out on our website here.
Finally, we do have to offer you our now-obligatory Blue Cocktail to complete this picture of holiday perfection. So far, we have featured the Rose Margarita (Pink Week) and Tequila Sunrise (Yellow Week), and, for Blue Monday, we are proud to present – the Fish Bowl!
Possibly the most Instagrammed restaurant in the USA is the Sugar Factory, and one of the reasons why is their amazing array of cocktails, which are headlined by their eye-popping Fish Bowls (for two, naturally).
With locations in Orlando (at ICON Park), Tampa (at the Hard Rock Hotel) and Miami (in the Hotel Victor on Ocean Drive), the Sugar Factory is a sure-fire bet for fun food and libations, especially of the grown-up kind, and the one that really takes our fancy, inevitably, is the Ocean Blue, a heady concoction of Hypnotiq liqueur, blueberry vodka, raspberry vodka, blueberry schnapps, simple syrup, fresh sour – and gummy sharks. Yes, seriously. It’s a superlative infusion for the sweet-toothed, and instant entertainment for all concerned.
If there is one drink that could accurately sum up our Blue Monday feeling, with all the verve, fun and excitement of Florida, it is the Ocean Blue. Just don’t try to drink more than one!
PS: Don’t forget to join in with our Facebook holiday chat, for a chance to win a pair of those must-have garden flamingos, on this link.
Susan & Simon Veness are the UK’s leading experts on Florida, having written about it for more than 25 years and sold more than half a million copies of their books about Orlando, Disney and the Sunshine State.