Friday, June 12, 2015

Fun, Sun, Dining, Shopping Naples - FL, That Is

Mr. P. and I recently spent a week in Naples, FL for the first time. What a lovely surprise it turned out to be, in so many ways!

We ordinarily go scuba diving each year, but with recent oral surgery, my dentist (also a certified diver) advised against it for me due to pressure issues. We still wanted the white sands and clear waters that our favorite place in the western Caribbean provides, so we tried Naples. We really liked it!

We have been searching all over FL for a place where we could go, in the hopes of coming close to our little paradise in the Caribbean, and while Naples doesn't offer diving, it does provide:
  • Calm, relatively clear waters with beautiful sunsets on the Gulf shore
  • Overall quiet, uncrowded beach space
  • Beautiful, white sandy beaches
  • Great weather in general. Ocean and air temps were nearly equal during our stay, at about 86° degrees. The ocean temps drop to between 68-75° during the coldest month, February.
  • Oceanfront accommodations
  • Great grocery and dining options
  • Super-friendly people - from service staff to residents
We've now visited the areas of FL including the Keys (Islamorada and Key West), the Golden Coast (Jupiter Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami), the Disney/Orlando area, the Sun Coast (St. Pete Beach), the Emerald Coast (Seaside, Rosemary & Seagrove), and have driven through numerous others, stopping to check out the sand, water and overall vibe. Naples has come the closest to what we like best in a seaside community. We chose Edgewater Beach Hotel's oceanfront suite accommodations for this first trip, and I would recommend it for both couples and families.
Edgewater Beach Hotel, Naples FL
Beachfront suite - Edgewater Beach Hotel, Naples FL
Edgewater Beach Hotel accommodations, Naples FL, and view from beachfront suite
While in Naples, we explored the "Old Naples" section on Segways, with a guide. Old Naples is the heart of the shopping district, both retail and thrifting. That was fun, and it was our first time on those machines that we've had on our bucket list since they came out in 2001 (remember they called it 'Ginger'?). The Segway has now been moved to my Christmas wish list. Along with a condo in Naples. ;) 
Inaugural Segway ride - Naples FL
Naples FL Pier 
We also checked out the streetscapes and shops in Old Naples.
Streetscapes in Naples FL
Naples offers several great dining places, both in the old section and surrounding areas.
Compilation of dining while in Naples FL
We rode bikes another day, exploring the Gulf Shore Blvd length of about 6 miles, checking out the real estate, looking at future condo rental possibilities. Other days we spent on the beach and poolside. My latest bout with poison ivy dried up (mostly) while there, smothered in meds, sunscreen and shade.
My day job while in Naples
We may or may not have met a realtor to visit a few condos that were for sale (talk about a domino effect in about a domino effect in home ownership/lifestyle?! I know many of you are either doing this or have recently done this, and it's such a huge thing, I'll leave it alone for now). The prices are huge, too. Housing in Naples is approximately double the national average when comparing cost of living allowance (COLA).

While in Naples, I celebrated my birthday, so a little shopping was included. Happy Birthday to me presents included the two little gems pictured below, found in an antiques shop in Naples on Central Avenue. These are both fine additions to my antique purse collection and dish collections.

The first acquisition is a sweet, little leather coin purse, probably French but no maker's marks were noted. It most likely dates from the later part of the 19th century.
The second item found was a unique, near-mint, brown transferware butter dish, incised and stamped, W.T. Copeland and Sons, Stoke Upon Trent (circa 1880). Pedestal-style, the removable lid is for ice placement and butter pats, the bowl for the melting ice. It's approximately 6.5" wide by 2.5" high. I have an octagonally shaped Copeland plate that's similar with its castle scene.
Of course, there are lots of freebies (shells) along the sands of Naples' beaches, and I brought home plenty of those too.

Sunsets were gorgeous right outside our balcony windows from our suite most every night along the Gulf waters.
Whether the weather was clear or stormy, even alongside the sunset, each was spectacular. Catching the light on the Gulf waters as the sun was rising up from the bay to the east of us made for glorious mornings when we would walk the shores.
Naples is definitely a place we will return to in our future, hopefully very soon, and many times more. It's the closest rival yet to our paradise, AND it's in our own country!

Where's your paradise?
As always, thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply

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