Summer Guide 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: A truly amazing story from Times writer Ben Montgomery

The fascinating saga of the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 2:07 PM

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So you’re thinking of going on a hike this summer. How long — 5 miles? 50? 150?

Wimp.

You aren’t fit to walk a mile in Grandma Gatewood’s sneakers.

Emma Gatewood is the subject of Ben Montgomery’s engrossing new book, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk. In 1955, at the age of 67, the great-grandmother became the first woman to hike the entire 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and she did so in tennis shoes (she wore through seven pairs).

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Day camps with a difference

Worthwhile summer camps with a creative and educational bent.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM

YOUNG TRANSFORMATIONS: Summer Stars Theater Camp teaches performance at the historic Friday Morning Musicale Theater in Hyde Park.
  • YOUNG TRANSFORMATIONS: Summer Stars Theater Camp teaches performance at the historic Friday Morning Musicale Theater in Hyde Park.

You love them, but the kids can drive you crazy during the long summer vacation. Here are some cool, creative camps to keep them occupied during those weeks when you need your own summer vacation — away from them. 

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Tattoo redux: Re-assessing the "skindecisions" of our 20s.

By summer's end, I'll have a new and more meaningful piece of art on my belly.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM

We get tattoos to mark a milestone or reflect our inner selves, to wear as a reminder of a joy or heartache we never want to forget.

A before and after of a tattoo re-imagined, by Jennifer Lynn.
  • A before and after of a tattoo re-imagined, by Jennifer Lynn.
Some get inked after careful consideration, others on a whim. But as the years slip by, these badges of honor no longer reflect who we are. Tattoo cover-up shows like Bad Ink and Tattoo Nightmares reveal the most drastic cases of poor ink decision-making. 

For me, it was my second tattoo — the fairy on my belly that was a celebration of turning 21. The artist I'd meant to see that fateful evening was Tom Kiernan, who happened to be on vacation (and is still active and much-sought-after to this day — see info about him below). But it was my birthday, a wad of cash was burning a hole in my pocket, and the need for instant gratification was strong enough that I ended up sitting down with the only guy in the shop at the time. The just-finished tattoo was lovely, too, even though my fairy looked more like an angel.

Problem was, she lost her color pretty quickly, despite my attention and care, and when I got re-inked a few years later at another shop for a nominal price, that artist either wasn't as precise with his outlines or he used a thicker needle, and the new ink didn't stay bright for very long.

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Family affairs: music, museums & more fun outings to enjoy with your kid this summer

From Sing-Along Mary Poppins to Marvel Universe Live!

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 4:00 AM

In the 7-to-17 section of our Seven Ages of Summer Guide, we offered you suggestions on where to drop your kids and run (read: day camp). Here, we're offering options where parents can have fun with their youngsters, beyond the usual suspects like the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens and even the Glazer Children's Museum. All three are practical but predictable diversions, and not necessarily always cost-effective ones. So here are some recommendations for outside-the-box family-friendly fun.

Sing-Along Mary Poppins is coming to Tampa Theatre.
  • Sing-Along Mary Poppins is coming to Tampa Theatre.
Freedom Fest IV Celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at this Memorial Day weekend street party in Oldsmar with live music, tasty eats, a big tent for shade, arts and crafts, and plenty of fun activities for the chitlins. May 23-25, State Street, Oldsmar.

Rock the Park The Thursday night live music series is always free, always full of kids bounding about the Curtis Hixon playground, and always delivers on food truck fare and solid live music options. Schedules vary; June 5 features Paleface, The Heavy Metals and Beartoe. Every first Thursday of the Month, Curtis Hixon Park, downtown Tampa.

8th Annual AMIkids Fishing Tournament Take your kids out for a day of boat fishing and support local nonprofit AMIkids, which offers an array of community-based treatment interventions for at-risk and delinquent youths. Holy Hog Barbecue caters the after-fishing meal. June 6, The Getaway, 13090 Gandy Blvd N., St. Petersburg.

Breakfast with Dali This interactive tour is geared toward introducing the Dali museum to families with children (recommended ages 5-12), and is led by a Dali docent along with select junior docents who present paintings and other works that appeal to children in particular. A Spanish-themed breakfast buffet and hands-on activities follow. June 7, Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg.

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Talking ’bout My Generation — two museums, an array of Chinese contemporary art

In June, the Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, team up to present My Generation: Young Chinese Artists.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:01 AM

BIG PANDA: Liu Di’s “Animal Regulation” can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts. - COURTESY OF THE COLLECTION OF ANDREW RAYBURN AND HEATHER GUESS AND PÉKIN FINE ARTS, BEIJING
  • Courtesy of the Collection of Andrew Rayburn and Heather Guess and Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing
  • BIG PANDA: Liu Di’s “Animal Regulation” can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts.

In the late 1990s, Chinese contemporary art was just beginning to garner international attention. Today, China rivals the U.S. as a market for artworks by living artists, Chinese youth vie for entry to super-selective art schools and tickets to visit an exhibition by Ai Weiwei — the 56-year-old artist who co-designed the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics — on Alcatraz Island, scheduled to open this September, go on sale three months in advance.

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Veterans immortalized at St. Petersburg Museum of History

The American Soldier: A Photographic Tribute runs through July 13 at the St. Petersburg Museum of History

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:00 AM

WALT DICKEY
  • Walt Dickey

In time for Memorial Day, an exhibition at the St. Petersburg Museum of History offers a chance to reflect on what it has meant to be an American soldier from the Civil War to the War in Afghanistan. Through 116 photographs, The American Soldier: a Photographic Tribute offers a look at the gamut of military experience from harrowing adventure to barracks humor, tearful family reunions and heart-stopping displays of courage.

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Stuff these books in your beach bag

Escape the heat with quality, off-the-radar fiction.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:00 AM

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Summer reading offers the chance to stop worrying about hurricane season, about expanding Russian nationalist fervor, or even about whether or not to refinance. 

But too often, like the movies, readers are offered only the too-slight entertainments of the season, the literary equivalent of Godzilla. The best books, whether discovered on the beach or by the fire, entertain. But as Graham Greene once described, they also pierce the living heart with their memory. Herewith, some choices for summer you can tote with literary pride on your getaway. 

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Florida’s springs offer a pleasant escape

Spring into summer at one of the state's most beautiful natural resources.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:00 AM

IDYLLIC GETAWAY: Wakulla Spings exists amid true old-Florida wilderness. - DANIEL VEINTIMILLA
  • DANIEL VEINTIMILLA
  • IDYLLIC GETAWAY: Wakulla Spings exists amid true old-Florida wilderness.

Living in Florida, people can be vocal in their complaints about driving-impaired seniors, snowbirds and overcrowded beaches. Few have a clue about our abundance of freshwater springs and the lovely parks surrounding them. These natural treasures can be found in less developed parts of north and central Florida — and could use loudmouthed support.

Florida’s springs and their surrounding parks are fun and affordable to visit, and are brimming with flora, fauna and wildlife. The sites include Wakulla Springs, Silver Springs, Fannie, Juniper, Ginnie and Blue Springs. They are a perfect refuge during hot summers and, tragically, may not be swimmable for long if they are not protected. Several are already closed during certain times of the year.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Oh, Mary! Roxanne Fay and summer theater options

Roxanne Fay’s modern parable and a preview of Summer theater offerings.

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 2:44 PM

BEYOND BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Roxanne Fay as Mary Magdalene.
  • BEYOND BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Roxanne Fay as Mary Magdalene.

Roxanne Fay first thought of writing and performing in a play about Mary Magdalene after she read Colm Toíbín’s short novel The Testament of Mary — about that other Mary, Jesus’ mother — and couldn’t get the publisher to answer her questions about adaptation rights.

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