Exploring Our New Surroundings

Notice the unripened coconuts.

Notice the unripened coconuts.

We’ve been doing a little exploring to familiarize ourselves to what’s nearby & the best routes to take to get there. We’re conveniently close to I-75 so that’s a bonus but a few of our destinations can’t be reached from the Interstate & that necessitates finding good travel routes to avoid as much traffic congestion as possible. This is a densely populated area, at least to us. Possibly the busiest we’ve been to since early June. We’re missing the slower pace.

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach

Estero Beach

Estero Beach

First on our agenda, locate the beaches. We made our way, slowly, to Estero Island & the city of Fort Myers Beach which has several dog friendly beaches, Fort Myers Beach & Estero being the nicest. Fort Myers Beach was shoulder to shoulder crowds when we visited & the parking lots are few, pricey & way to small for our Ford 450 to navigate easily.We made our way further south to Estero. It was much less crowded, apparently because it’s away from the touristy part of town. This was more to our liking. Lovers Key beach is in a state park & therefore not accessible to Tucker. Dogs are allowed on all public beaches except at state parks & a few of the county/regional parks.

Ft. Myers Ft. Myers Historic District Ft. Myers too

We also explored the Fort Myers downtown historic district. Nifty, interesting shops to investigate & lots of cafes with outdoor seating. We plan to return at another time to check this district out more thoroughly.

Casita w/a paint job     IMG_1293

IMG_1291     IMG_1289

Love this house!

Love this house!

Matlacha trailer park

Matlacha trailer park

IMG_1299     IMG_1300

WHAT A COLORFUL LITTLE TOWN, EH?

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

On another day we drove over to Pine Island in search of a beach closer to the campground. Although it’s my understanding that there is one on the island, we came up empty handed. I believe it’s location is a well kept secret. No matter. We decided to walk around Matlacha, a quaint artist colony of vibrantly painted shops in an array of tropical hues. We stopped for lunch at a popular watering hole called Bert’s Bar & Grill. Bert’s is where tiki bar meets dive. We selected a table on the deck overlooking Pine Island Sound & ordered beer, wine coolers, shrimp tacos, & fried grouper fingers with homemade potato chips. To our delight Bert’s had live music, a steel drum band. I love the sound of a steel drum.

IMG_1284     IMG_1285

IMG_1282     Calypso band at Bert's Bar & Grill

On Sunday the 3 of us spent the better part of the day at Sanibel’s City Beach soaking up rays. I had told myself that morning that I absolutely would not do any sea shelling while I was there. I have way too many shells on board the Suite Pea already. Who am I kidding? Don persuaded Tucker & I to walk the coastline with him & ultimately we all ended up doing the “Sanibel Stoop”. We added 3 more shells to our collection of which one is a whelk in perfect condition.

City Beach on Sanibel

City Beach on Sanibel

Don & Tucker

IMG_1312 See why shelling is so popular here? IMG_1315

Whelk

Whelk

IMG_1318     IMG_1314

We vacationed on Sanibel 11 years ago with our daughter Bobbi-Leigh for her Senior Year Spring trip. We were very pleasantly surprised to see that the island hadn’t changed one iota. Many of the businesses & restaurants we had enjoyed all those years past are still here. We ate a late lunch, early dinner at Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger. We hadn’t eaten here before & didn’t remember it being on the island when we’d last visited but the hype was that “the cheeseburgers served here were what REALLY inspired Buffett to write “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Well we ate  the cheeseburgers & they were good BUT, we’re not buying into the Buffett hype, after all, we’ve eaten at The Dew Drop Inn in Buffett’s hometown of Mobile, Alabama AND it came Buffett recommended. We will say this though, it was the most expensive couple of burgers we’ve ever had. Two burgers, 2 small fries, 2 beers & 1 small shake, $50.03. This did not include the tip. Needless to say, those will be our last Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger cheeseburgers. After popping in & out of several junk shops we went to Pinocchio’s for ice cream. The original Pinocchio’s. (The other is in our hometown of Greenwood, Indiana.) We ordered our usual, the Dirty Sand Dollar. Delicious of course.

Sanibel Canal

Pinocchio's     Pinocchio's outside

Yesterday we signed up for Seminole Campgrounds Euchre club. Everyone who played was either from Indiana or Michigan, imagine that. Who knew that Euchre was a Midwestern card game. It was a lot of fun socializing with & getting to know this group we have so much in common with. We’re looking forward to this being a weekly event.

Our oldest phoned later that night. She was on her way to pick up our grandson Brad from drivers ed & had a few quite minutes to talk & get us caught up with the happenings in her household. Quite moments are hard to come by for Kristi with 4 children, 3 dogs & 2 cats underfoot. Brad commandeered the phone soon as he climbed into the car. It was his first drivers ed training class & his first time behind the wheel. He was so excited, he was talking faster than my ears could keep up. I had to laugh at his bubbling enthusiasm. I confided in him how, when his mother had first learned to drive she wrecked both our truck & our car. When we bought a new truck, we told her she wouldn’t be allowed to drive it as we didn’t want it wrecked too. Well she never did get behind its steering wheel but she did crease the side of it backing out of the driveway in her car. Brad thought that was hilarious.

Today we spent shopping. Our first stop was Camping World where we purchased a new outside patio rug. Don had run over the side of our old one with a lawnmower that chewed up the edging. We’d been waiting to reach Florida before replacing it as we wanted the new one to have a tropical look. We figured we’d have our best chance of finding one here. Bingo, we did.

IMG_1335     IMG_1341

Next stop, Sun Harvest Citrus. The wonderful citrus scent hits your nose immediately upon entry. Mmm, Mmm. Someone should bottle this aroma. Our purpose for coming was the Honeybell Tangelos. The name is derived from the unique bell shape & the nectarous taste of its ancestors, the pomelo grapefruit & the tangerine. They’re sweet & juicy. They’re only available in January so they’re a very hot commodity right now. Don bought 4 Ruby Red grapefruits, tangerine marmalade & orange flavored licorice too.

IMG_1338

IMG_1339

Sun Harvest is more than your typical Florida citrus stand. The stand has a wide array of popular Florida candies & cookies. There’s a variety of citrusy sauces, dips, mustards, wine & jams. There’s juices you can sample before making your decision. There’s Key Lime Pies. There’s a bakery full of mouth watering delights. There’s souvenirs. And, there’s soft serve ice cream where the specialty is an orange & vanilla twist cone. It tastes like a creamcicle. I can see return trips in our future.

IMG_1336 IMG_1340 sun-harvest-citrus

Here’s lookin’ at you kid……………….

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One thought on “Exploring Our New Surroundings

  1. That sounds like a great area. We have never visited that part of Florida…maybe one day! Can’t believe the price of those burgers and fries….I do love a good citrus stand and looks like you hit the jack-pot there! The yellow-crowned night heron is beautiful…I do miss the shore birds!

    Glad you are having a great time!

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