Andy Corty, Publisher
As the holidays approach, my thoughts turn to how blessed we are to live in Florida and in the United States. Certainly there are major challenges before us, as individuals, as a state and as a nation, but we still live in a safe place with abundant gifts.
Florida's natural environment is one of our many blessings. Driving back from Tallahassee a few weeks ago, I came down U.S. 19, passing through small towns like Perry, Cross City and Otter Creek. Pine forests lined the highway, with openings giving way to cows grazing beneath scattered oaks. A few days later, as I was driving across the Howard Frankland Bridge from Tampa to St. Pete, the sky blazed in reddish hues at sunset.
Our great state is a blend of natural beauty on the one hand and the hustle of commerce on the other. This ideal mix came into sharp focus when I met with Fort Lauderdale leaders last month to plan Florida Trend's special section (coming in March) to mark that city's 100th anniversary. From the 30th-floor conference room atop the Tripp Scott law offices, we were amid the downtown's major buildings, with highways and the airport just below. But not far to the east we gazed onto the gorgeous beaches and the Atlantic. Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward Alliance CEO Bob Swindell said he often hears his members say, "I can't believe how great this is; I can leave work and be home or on my boat in 20 minutes" — a statement that is true in many Florida communities.
Florida's naturally abundant lifestyle was a focus of the Governor's Conference on Tourism held recently at ChampionsGate near Orlando. Visit Florida President Chris Thompson presented the campaign "Share a Little Sunshine" encouraging Floridians to invite their friends and relatives to vacation here. He spoke about the importance of Florida companies holding their own meetings in the state, explaining that each visitor and each conference builds the vital hospitality sector and translates into jobs for Floridians. When you're looking for a great venue for your company's next event, see the special Corporate Travel section.
And because we all need to enjoy ourselves in spite of long work hours, please note that this issue also includes Trend's annual Golden Spoon Restaurant Awards. Beginning on page 60, you will see this year's listing of the top dining spots around Florida. You'll find the Hall of Fame list of restaurants that have won multiple Golden Spoon awards, the top brands known for consistent quality, and the highly anticipated list of best newcomers. Restaurant Editor Chris Sherman has details on each winner and contact information for you to easily locate the best restaurants during your travels across the state.
My best wishes to each of you for a happy holiday season.
New Year's Resolution Update: My weight has been in a holding pattern lately, but I'm 10 pounds lighter than on January 1st. So I'm declaring victory, though my wife, Betty, would prefer another 10-pound drop. Workouts will total 68 for the year — after a strong start, I regressed to about one per week. Still, that's better than in years past. Next year I'll spare you the pain and write about something else.
— Andy Corty