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Now that it’s not sweltering in Florida, some things to do outside

By Stephanie Hayes

A few weeks ago, when the temperature dropped below 80 degrees for the first time, I broke out the opaque tights and boots.*

"It’s tights* season!" I said, gleeful, full of hope for a sweat-free tomorrow.

"We’re not quite there yet," my husband said.

He was right. We weren’t quite there yet. But we Floridians like to get fall-oriented the second the weather turns anything less than Dante’s 8th circle. It’s scarf and sweater time, and no one will tell us otherwise. A couple of recent cold fronts have made our dreams of crisp weather a reality. Monday morning, it was 49 degrees! I repeat, 49 degrees.

Things continue to fluctuate, but it feels like we’re out of the most severe heat of the year. Take advantage. This issue highlights some outdoor events, from St. Petersburg’s Asian Lantern Festival to canopy tree climbing to 95.7’s Beats By the Bay concert. In the same spirit, here’s another handful of very Florida moves when the temperature drops.

GRAB A BIKE

Spokes are great for all-day adventure, but remember bicycles for quick errands, too. A friend was seconds from ordering a Lyft to go a short distance when she remembered Coast Bike Share. After a quick ride, she felt invigorated, environmentally friendly and savings-oriented, all at once. The program has dozens of bike hubs in Tampa and St. Petersburg. You can pay by the hour ($8), month ($15) or year ($79). Check it out at coastbikeshare.com or the Social Bicycles app.

EAT AL FRESCO

"Inside or out?" Restaurant hosts have been muttering this since the invention of podiums. In Florida, we often shoot back with "IN." Take this rare opportunity to say "out," but keep a few fried potatoes on your napkin to hold it down in the breeze — we call these "anchor fries." Suggestions: Moon Under Water in St. Petersburg; Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor City; The Living Room in Dunedin; Catcher and the Rye in Palm Harbor.

WORK OUT(SIDE)

Ditch the gym in favor of an outdoor fitness zone. There are 20 communal-use outdoor gyms in Pinellas County, and several have wheelchair accessibility. From ellipticals to chest press machines to pull-up bars, now’s the time to get swole without the sweat. For a list of fitness zones, visit pinellas.


floridahealth.gov.

USE YOUR PATIO

It’s the dream scenario on every episode of House Hunters. "I could picture myself out here in the morning with a cup of coffee," the wife says, standing on a screened-in lanai. "Or a glass of wine in the evening," the husband adds. Many of us have patio areas at the ready, but for much of the year they’re little more than dusty flip-flop collectors. It’s time to finally take that mug outside. It’s time, everyone, to live that dream.

*?I wrote this column while wearing tights and boots. I will not be stopped.