There is so much to see in SW Florida - the mind boggles - and while Feb was a bit brisk, March has been perfect for road trips and excursions. Last weekend we visited Placida and Historic Boca Grande.
The Placida Art Market and the Fishery Restaurant is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. The market takes place about 14 times during the winter season, usually every other Saturday. The art is all original, there's approximately 75 artists and they often change from market to market so it's always a pleasant surprise to see what each market brings!
In addition to the market there are several unique art galleries and shops. It's all very very colorful!
This Gator is happy to greet you and after you've seen it all there's the Fishery Restaurant... Oh My!!! I had the Calamari (of course) and Opie had the sautéed Clams. Yummo into Infinity and we look forward to returning. After lunch we decided to continue on to Historic Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island - just seven miles away over the Causeway. And we were so happy that we did since they were having an Art Show!
The show was great and when we finished we toured Historic Boca Grande to see the sights and were treated to a parade of Banyan Trees which were nothing short of amazing! This one was our absolute favorite...
It was the largest one we had ever seen in the States. For anyone not familiar with Banyan Trees, they are actually a fig tree that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant) and its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree. Like other fig species (including the common edible fig), banyans bear multiple fruit n structures called syncarps. The Ficus syncarp supplies shelter and food for fig wasps and in turn, the trees are dependent on the fig wasps for pollination and the seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most fig-trees, the leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge.
But what I find most interesting about these trees are the fact that they figure prominently in several Asian and Pacific religions and myths. In Hinduism, the leaf of the Banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the god Krishna and in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna said "There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas."
When I was a young teen I came across and purchased a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. It remains one of my most favorite and treasured books.
In any event... March was a spectacular month and this past weekend was the icing on the cake!