I'm simplifying things by doing a guy thing. Well, I'm sure there are girls who do lists, heck magazines live and die by them, but it's not something I would ordinarily think to do. Furthermore, each experience was great in it's own way, some, however, stand out more than others. So, without further ado:
Best overall was in Naples at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. The link: http://www.waldorfastoria.com/search/property-details.cfm?intPropertyId=33
Bruce booked this room, or at least a room, with Hilton points, hoping it would be nice. Originally our intention was to stay one night, but as you can imagine, once I saw this, I begged for another night. Fortunately, the Marriot in Marco Island agreed to cancel our reservation there.
If we ever take this kind of trip again, I'd love to stay here for as long as the money holds out. In fact, Bruce wanted to move in!
I promised lists, lists I will deliver!
The GOOD, in no particular order. You didn't really expect me to do a top 10 list, now did you?
- Steve somehow outdid himself this year. The party has become so popular that more than 200 people came, spending at least part of the day. I even had my caricature done! The cost to throw a party like that was more than some people make in a year. He's rethinking the party model...
- The Edison-Ford Estate (http://www.efwefla.org/home.asp) was a thrill for me. As a child I read every biography in our elementary school library. I can still see the covers if you can imagine. Anyway, inventors, and in particular Thomas Edison have always fascinated me, I guess that's why I married one. Bruce can create things out of nothing, however, in the patent department, Thomas Edison rules! Over 1,000 if you can imagine. Our tour guide, Ryan, was terrific.
- Gorgeous blossoming reddish orange trees, found particularly in Ft. Myers and Naples.
- Photographing the beach has it's challenges, looking somewhat similar wherever you are. You can either use lighting, or structures to add interest. Yesterday's photos mostly came from the wide beaches of Ft. Myers.
- The checklist! I barely forgot a thing.
- Great food in Naples, from lunch at Handsome Harry's to a delicious and stylish dinner at the hotel.
- Great wings in Ft. Myers at the Fish House. Sacrilege, right?
- Bagels, orange juice, and tea at Fifth Avenue Coffee on 5th in Naples. You may recall the time I did a convention a few years ago. You don't? Well I can't say as I blame you, it was largely forgettable aside from a cup of the BEST hot tea I ever was lucky enough to consume. I'd seen it once at Williams Sonoma--the cost--20 bags for $8.00. Too much for this little lady. Well, there it was for consumption and boxes for sale--$4.25. I caved. What kind you ask? Hot Cinnamon! http://www.harney.com/coffeandteafestival.asp
- Bruce's joy at receiving the kayak for his birthday was priceless. He is still a strong man, but lifting a canoe over his head is not done with quite the same ease as it once was. We've discovered why kayaks are so popular! He took it out into the calm waters of the Gulf in both Fort Myers and Naples.
- Huge shade shelter at the Blue Dolphin cottages in Sanibel island. Invaluable!
- Great fun at the wedding.
- Fantastic weather.
Moving on to the NOT AS GOOD:
- Sanibel was a disappointment. I'm not sure what we were expecting, but I think that after Naples, most anything would have been a let down. Although there were tons of crushed shells, there were only common whole shells. I collected by color, which in itself is kinda neat because although they all were similar, each shell is marked differently. No sand dollars, no starfish, almost nothing. Plus, there were no-see-ums, which is probably spelled incorrectly but it most certainly is descriptive. I nearly scratched myself raw!
- Ft. Myers beach, or more correctly, Estero Island was a bit tacky. That said, the photos I took there were I think some of the best.
- Humidity, air conditioning and camera lenses are not good friends. My biggest disappointment was missing the VERY FIRST rainbow I've seen in years. Leaving the cottage with the Nikon just after dawn, I discovered it was lightly sprinkling. You can guess where I left the camera. I walked the few yards to the shoreline and right in front of my eyes was a great, BIG, BEAUTIFUL rainbow arcing across the sky into the sea. Running back to the room, I grabbed the camera, only to watch the rainbow dissipate while I was busily wiping and wiping the lens to remove the moisture. Boo hoo!
- Arriving at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota before our check in time, we went outside, finding our friends having lunch on the sizable pool patio. After joining them, we all decided a dip in the pool would be just the thing before it was time to get ready for the wedding. In his enthusiasm, Bruce hopped right in without removing his iPhone from his swim suit pocket. Not a good way to end a vacation, although he did his best not to let it get him down. A stop at the Apple store to get a new one before we returned home was in order. All's well that ends well.
- Those famous Gulf Coast sunsets you've heard of? MIA last week.
So, there you have it--a most wonderful time.