PLANT CITY – Kristen Hare said when she and her family first relocated from the Midwest, she was eager to visit Disney World and the beaches.
But the 36-year-old news reporter said she found that there’s a limit to how many times even visits with Mickey Mouse can be interesting and entertaining.
She was already starting to explore other places of interest in the region when Reedy Press offered her the chance to write a book, “100 Things to Do in Tampa Bay Before You Die.”
The book includes nearly a dozen destinations in the Plant City area, from the unusual trees with exposed root systems at Medard Park to antiquing in historic downtown.
Hare said she loved finding hidden treasures that weren’t familiar to even longtime residents.
“It’s easy to overlook what’s in your own backyard,” she said.
She was surprised how helpful everyone was during her travels and research.
“I didn’t expect Florida to be so friendly and the people to be so welcoming. Everywhere I went, people were eager to share what they knew,” said Hare, who covers the media for the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school of journalism.
Hare spent her life in Missouri, except for two years in the Peace Corps in Guyana in South America. In 2012, her husband Jailall Jairam was transferred to Lithia, where they moved with their 7-year-old son Max and 3-year-old daughter Leela.
Hare signed the book deal in August but she said she already had a head start on visiting places around the area. She thought her husband’s job would only keep them in Lithia for a year, so she was trying to make the most of her time in Florida.
Her 140-page book includes suggested itineraries, grouped into such categories as Outdoor Goers, Eaters and Drinkers, and With Kids. She also breaks down favorite places to visit by season.
She tried to keep the suggestions affordable, and most places are suitable for children, although a few bars make the list.
Hare’s book is similar to other books Reedy Press has printed about other cities across the country, including Atlanta, Miami and Nashville, Tenn.
“100 Things to Do in Tampa Bay Before You Die,” has a cover price of $16 and is available wherever books are sold or at www.reedypress.com.