I love giving the kids the camera and seeing what happens.
We decided to stop downtown tonight and explore the area ... not much going on in the early evenings, it turned out. We were drawn by the aroma of fresh baked bread to an awesome little pizza restaurant and we sat and ate on their back patio. After dinner the kids confiscated the camera and had fun.
Each child got a turn. I wish I'd had another camera to take images of them taking images. So much concentration and thought into each picture, yet still young enough to not worry about "the perfect shot", which really leads to many perfect shots seen from a unique point of view. It was fun to watch.
Having the camera created a need to meander throughout downtown, slowly, looking at architecture and character. And there's a lot of it. We've been driving through this area for years and have only stopped to explore once or twice.
Our downtown area has never really thrived, at least not as long as we've lived in this area. The city has hired planners and developers to come in and make it work, but they just haven't gotten it quite right. At this time the main street is completely torn up, as are a number of the side streets. What they're hoping to do is beyond me.
Why, when we're in this area so often, do we not stop? A few reasons come to mind - like many downtowns there are one way streets everywhere that are hard to figure out, parking is not self-explanatory or logical, lack of promotion - I had no idea what retail/dining establishments were in the area, a lack of open businesses (kind of a catch 22 there!), and crime, which isn't bad but bad enough (and dark enough) to keep me away. Hey, the city should have hired me to solve all their problems!
The downtown area does border the Caloosahatchee River and has a beautiful waterfront park. In my ideal world they'd make the riverfront lit and inviting in the evenings and entice reasonably priced restaurants to open with outdoor seating. But for now we've got the pizza restaurant with it's patio picnic tables, to which we'll return soon.