America’s state parks have lined up to help you start 2021 off with a healthy new habit – hiking. Called “First Day Hike,” these events are held all throughout the country on Friday, Jan. 1. There are two such events near Vero Beach. At Sebastian Inlet State Park, a self-guided hike begins 8 a.m. and lasts until 5 p.m., going along the Hammock Trail. The program is free with park entry fees, which are $8 per vehicle. While you’re there, you should plan to watch surfers ride “First Peak” and “Monster Hole.” The park also has a lot of appeal to those who like to fish. And just walking along the sandy oceanfront you can find shells and enjoy the winds of a new year. Or, if you have a kayak, you can venture into a different area of the park, which cozies up to the Indian River Lagoon. There’s also a café and a pier, which is a great spot for relaxing and just looking out over the great expanse of a new year. The manmade Sebastian Inlet slices through the barrier island to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Indian River Lagoon. It comprises 1,000 acres of pristine Florida, two ocean jetties, boat launches, a marina, 51 campsites and two museums – the McLarty Treasure Museum and the Sebastian Fishing Museum. The Park operates 24 hours, making it an ideal spot for stargazing as well. Sebastian Inlet State Park is at 9700 S. Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach. The entrance is immediately on the north side of the bridge going over Sebastian Inlet. You need to wear facemasks. Call 321-984-4852 or visit FloridaStateParks.org. If you’d rather take a guided hike, then head south for a First Day Hike at the Savannas Preserve State Park in Port St. Lucie. There, Ranger Paul will walk you through trails near the park’s education center and canoe launch. That ranger-guided walk is available from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. You can walk for as long or little as you like. The walk is free with park entry fee, which is $3 per vehicle. The Savannas Preserve State Park is a basin marsh that once covered part of Florida. It gives visitors a glimpse of what Florida’s indigenous peoples and first pioneers saw in southeast Florida. There are pavilions and picnic tables. Canoeing, kayaking, fishing and photography are welcomed activities. The park also has more than 17 miles of multi-use trails. You’ll see people on foot, riding bicycles and even riding horses. The park also comprises a scrub habitat. Savannas Preserve State Park is at 2541 SE Walton Rd., Port St. Lucie. Call 772-398-2779 or visit FloridaStateParks.org.
You’ve got until Sunday, Jan. 3 to see the “Avery to Warhol” exhibition at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. And, yes, the museum is now open. However, the museum is taking the high road and doing it the smart way. Visitors need to wear masks. Temperatures will be taken upon entering. Social distancing is a must. And, if you’re feeling sick, you’re urged to stay home. You’re also urged to wash hands regularly and use hand sanitizers. And, you should buy your tickets online. Now that all the caveats are covered, here’s a look at what you will find upon visiting the museum. The “Avery to Warhol” exhibition has been curated from the museum’s permanent collection. A visit to the exhibition will bring you immediately to Henry Hubbell’s 1907 painting “Portrait of Three Sisters.” This is significant because the three sisters were daughters of the founders of Vero Beach’s Riomar neighborhood. Also on view is “Chul Hyun Ahn: New Light,” which runs through April 30. The artist, who was born in Busan, South Korea, works in light to compose “Zen notions of the infinite and the void.” Her work is influenced by Op Art, light and space, and theories of the subconscious. She is a member of a group of young artists working in light. She has exhibited around the world and her art is held in many private and public collections. To see how the installation at the Vero Beach Museum was done, visit VBMuseum.org, go to “Exhibitions & Collections,” click onto current exhibitions and then click onto Chul Hyan Ahn. The Vero Beach Museum of Art is at 3001 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach. Admission is $8 for non-members, $7 for non-member seniors, and free to children under 17 years of age. Call 772-231-0707 or visit VBMuseum.org. n