Anna Maria Island – Too Much Paparazzi?

Anna Maria City PierAnna Maria Island has been getting a lot of publicity lately.  We can all agree that is a pristine paradise – that’s why we live here, right?  Well, now everyone else is getting in on “our little secret” (as an old ad campaign once referred to our island).  This week, Forbes.com listed Anna Maria as one of “America’s Prettiest Towns.”  It also noted that Europeans have discovered Anna Maria, but nine out of 10 people who live in Florida have never heard of it. Usually during the summer months, the locals (us!) have a chance to enjoy some of our favorite restaurants without waiting to get in or fighting for a table (ahem, Starfish). This summer, I have been stuck in traffic on Manatee Avenue backed  all the way up to 26th Street, trying to get out to the island. I have stood in line for 45 minutes for a donut at Anna Maria Island Donut Shop.  Granted, it was for a euphoric (and caloric) maple-glazed donut with bacon sprinkles – but 45 minutes?  The line was not because of poor service – the service was spectacular. The demand was the reason for the line. The line was out the door, and I mean it was all the way out to the street!  People want their donuts!  People want their AMI!  This is fabulous, really.  New businesses are being opened and thriving – we love that!  Pine Avenue is flourishing!  We love that!  And people are enjoying the island! Yay, people! So, are we being a little selfish?  Yes. And by “we,” I mean “I.”   Yes, sometimes I miss the little island where,  when I was a kid, after a day at the beach, my dad would carry me on his shoulders down the beach to go get an ice cream sandwich from the public beach snack bar. Wait a minute, er, that sort of thing is still possible. Fathers and daughters are still enjoying the beach and still getting ice cream cones.  You might have to wait in line now, but having an ice cream cone on an Anna Maria Island is still a great memory that many people are making and loving. Enjoy it while you can!
Wow, the blog has been good therapy.  Feeling better now. Does anyone else need therapy for how over-popular AMI is getting?  Go ahead, share your feelings!