Monday, October 2, 2017

4 Days in Ft. Myers



THURSDAY / / SEPTEMBER 21

"Final boarding call for Delta flight #1709 departing for Atlanta," I watch the guy announce over the intercom as I nervously waited for Carl to meet me at our gate. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:40 AM, so we figured if we were at the airport by five, we would have plenty of time to check our carry ons before boarding.  We figured wrong.  With an entire volleyball team ahead of us, and only one TSA line open, we barely made it to our plane in time.  After getting stopped by security for a couple ice packs, Carl had to literally run from TSA to the gate in order for us to make our first flight. From there, however, it was smooth sailing flying. On both legs of our flight to Florida, we were the sole members in our row on our side of the plane. Carl let me have the window seat both times too!

         
We were picked up at the airport in style by Carl's parents who arrived with the top down on the BMW.  We swung by their condo and got situated before heading to The Dixie Fish Co. for lunch.  There is something about being in a new place that inspires me to be a little extra adventurous in my food choices, so I ordered the Yucatan Shrimp tacos with parsley potatoes for lunch.  (If you didn't know, I am not a seafood fan.  In fact, I tend to avoid it at all costs...I'm working on it.) Any place that serves me potatoes AND tacos is a good place in my book.  It was tasty, too!



We walked the beach and marveled in the change brought about by Hurricane Irma.  Since I'd never been to this part of Florida, I didn't have a "before" to compare the area to, but I learned that the size of the beach had changed due to water levels, and there were a handful of dead sea life washed up onto the shore.  One of the fish I saw in the sand was the size of my head! I should have taken a picture.



After wandering the beach, we went to downtown Fort Myers to explore a little more.  There were many cute little boutiques we wandered into before stopping for a drink at Ford's Garage.  Y'all. the onion rings we had there were the best I've ever had.  From there we wandered down towards the marina.  There was a sunken sailboat, likely leftover damage from the hurricane, but it just looked so goofy.  Another missed picture opportunity (sigh). 



For dinner we went to an Al Capone themed restaurant, conveniently named Capone's.  It is technically a pizza joint, but the pasta and meatballs were calling my name.



FRIDAY / / SEPTEMBER 22

Carl spent the early part of the morning on an 8 year long bike ride with his dad and a neighborhood friend, so I took some time to read out on the porch. (Side note: I'm not being dramatic when I say an 8 year long bike ride.  I say 8 years because that's how long it would take me if I rode as far as they did...but I digress.)  I couldn't believe how warm it was so early; what a great way to start the day!

Once everyone was home and ready, we drove out to Bowman's Beach on Sanibel Island to walk along the water before our cruise at 2.



We left the beach and headed for Captiva Island to hop the on boat for our Captiva Cruise!  Two hours on the water with the wind in my face and the sun warming my skin was just the thing that I didn't know I needed. Our tour guide, George, gave us a spiel on the history of the area, the damage caused by the hurricane, and a PG run down of how the dolphins like to "play" with each other in the water. We got the see how the salt and fresh water combine to make brackish water, boat houses in the middle of the water, and an airfield that ran east-to-west on a narrow north-to-west island.





Sun-burned and sandy, we headed back home for a sea food dinner.  Though I'm not a seafood lover, I was excited (albeit a little bit nervous) to try home cooked shrimp, scallops, and triple tail fish.  While I can't call myself a sea food lover, I didn't hate it either.  It was definitely a texture over taste kind of thing. I'm so sensitive to texture that sometime foods I like I can't even eat (bananas, yogurt, etc.)

After dinner, the community pool finally opened for the first time since Irma, so we walked down for a quick dip before the sun sank below the horizon.


SATURDAY / / SEPTEMBER 23

Beach day!  Slathered in sunscreen, we laid out the beach chairs on Fort Myers Beach and waded into the water in search of shells.  I don't like to touch things I can't see, so when I stepped on something that I thought felt big enough to be a cool shell, I had Carl reach under my foot to grab it.  Yep, it was a LIVE SAND DOLLAR, all fuzzy and stuff.  I was not a fan.  The no-longer-live ones that were found were cool though!

The water had receded since we had been there on Thursday, leaving a larger beach area to relax on.  Carl and his dad went off to rent a sailboat while his mom and I stayed back and read, soaking up the sun.
Eventually the guys came around with the sailboat and threw a life jacket at me.  After being chased down by an employee of the boat rental kiosk to sign a waiver, I jumped on and sailed off with them.  Let's just say I am surprised that I am still alive to tell the tale... Okay, I'm being dramatic.  It was a lot of fun, but when the boat leans too far onto one side or the other, I get a little nervous that I'm going to fall into a pool of sharks.  (being dramatic again)

 

After a little more sailing and a little more beaching, we packed up the car and headed back home.  Guess who didn't get sunburned? This girl! (That never happens).  On the way back, we stopped at the infamous Love Boat Ice Cream.  I had orange creamsicle and blue moon- YUM!



We ventured back out to Captiva Island for the Island Hopper's Singer Songwriter Festival.  The first stop was Doc Ford's for dinner and music by Natalie Hemby.  Unfortunatly, the small area that the music was in was already full by the time we got there, so we had to sit near the area out in the restaurant dining room.  Despite being right outside the room housing the performance, we could hardly hear the music.  The service was not great either, and we were delivered a wrong meal (and cold fries!)  After three strikes (and finishing dinner), Doc Ford's was out, and we left for R C Otters.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich from Doc Ford's on Captiva Island

At R C Otter's we got front row seats to Carl Anderson (and another guy whose name I have forgotten!)  They were mediocre, so when I realized that it was time for the sun to set, I wasn't disappointed to leave and run off to the beach for a few minutes.

Y'all I love sun sets.  I could watch them every night- especially sitting on the beach!  Unfortunately it was a little cloudy, but I didn't let that dull my excitement.


The last stop of the night was at the Key Lime Bistro for Kim Paige (and another lady who clearly didn't make an impression on me as I don't recall her name). Y'all I would highly recommend you go listen to Kim Paige.  You can find her facebook page here, her instagram page here, and her twitter page here.

We drove home with the top down and it was awesome.  I wish I had a more descriptive word but I don't.  Night drives are hands down one of my top 10 favorite things, and they're made that much better when you're with people you love, the music is turned up, the stars are out, and the wind is blowing your hair into so many tangles it will take two handfuls of conditioner to be able to brush out.

SUNDAY / / SEPTEMBER 24

Ah, the unwanted day of departure.  We were originally expecting to have a late flight Sunday night, but it was canceled and rebooked for Monday (whoohoo!).  Carl had to be back to work though so we called and were booked onto an earlier flight (boo!).

We spent the morning at the pool before showering and packing up for one last drive into town before heading to the airport.


With our last day, the one thing I really wanted to do was go back to the Edison Ford Winter Estates and see the (now tipped over via Hurricane Irma) banyan tree. The fact that Mother Nature could take down a tree of this size just floored me.

Root system from the bottom


I didn't take any other pictures of the Irma damage, but throughout Fort Myers there were piles of brush and downed trees lining the sides of the road waiting for pick up.  I only saw one or two houses that trees had fallen onto, and a handful of business signs that had been severely damaged.

By 3PM we were at the airport, waiting for our first flight to Atlanta.  I was definitely NOT ready to go home, and can't wait for another trip back!



Travel Reading:

 
Lifestyle Blogging Basics by Laura Lynn
Closure by Randall Wood







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