Fort Myers, FL (Part 7) – A Visit to Naples

On our last day we wanted to be pretty low key so we’d have time to get packed and have a good night’s rest that night.  Besides, Mom was starting to get tired.  At 86, it was a big trip for her and she did so well the whole time!

Alice suggested that we take a leisurely trip down the coast to the beautiful town of Naples. It was a gorgeous drive along the coast and actually over several islands linked together by simple bridges.  When we got into town we made a quick stop just to see the beach.

The weather was a little cool, but the day was still gorgeous to sit and enjoy the beach.  The sand there is much more fine than it is in California.  Not sure why.  Does anyone know?
Aren’t these birds just sweet in their chorus line?
Next we went into town and had lunch at Tin City, then took a drive around the lovely neighborhoods.
There was such a variety of architecture there.  I love the boldness of the tropical colors in the aqua house.  That one’s for you Linda.  Most of these homes back up to the water.  Besides that, it was an area similar to Beverly Hills, although not sure that the price tag is quite the same.
The Banyan trees in the front yards were amazing as well.  After seeing the huge one in Fort Myers, you can tell why they would have to keep these well trimmed so they don’t take over their whole yard.  They’re so unique and a little spooky at the same time.
I must say that there were quite a few “For Sale” signs in the yards.  Just another indication of the state of the economy all over the country.
Now we made one more stop at Sea Salt before we ended our day, but I’ll save that for the next post since it had surprises that were both fun and a little sad. That was our last official event of the trip.
Come back tomorrow to see what happened!
Maui – Saturday

Somehow this post turned into somewhat of a children’s theme…not sure how that evolved, but enjoy!

This first picture is a view of the mountains east of our hotel just before sunset.
It was a relatively quiet day today. I spent the morning editing photos from Friday and posting on my blog (below). In the afternoon, Terry and I did some grocery shopping to pick up a few things for the rest of the week. We’ve got a good stock of food and plan on grilling steaks down near the beach one night this week. We bought a fresh pineapple that smells delicious too!
By early evening we headed a few miles down the road to Lahaina to see the Christmas lighting of the Banyan Tree.

The link above takes you to a little more info about the tree itself. It’s really quite amazing how this huge tree sends out roots from it’s branches that eventually connect with the soil below, then become like additional trunks to help support the tree.
Photo # 2 is what the Banyan Tree looked like today bustling with people and an arts and crafts fair below it’s canopy. Remember, this is just ONE huge tree!

To give some perspective on the size, photo # 3 shows several children sitting on the branches. What an awesome climbing tree this is! Can you imagine the hours you could spend playing there? It’s definitely a Swiss Family Robinson Tree.

This photo shows more detail of the aerial prop roots that grow down from the branches. They are a bit creepy looking and could be pretty frightening for a youngster with a vivid imagination, especially in the dark.

The last photo of the tree is after the Christmas lights were lit. The ceremony was somewhat anti-climactic unless you’re 5 years old, but the tree itself is very impressive. I’m glad we saw it. It would be fun to go back when it’s not so crowded and take a few kids to enjoy it with you.

Oh and Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance as well. I guess they dress a little differently when they’re in Maui. I almost got a great pic of Santa holding a 6 month old baby in just a diaper who was terrified of him. It was so cute (and a little sad).

After the tree lighting, we decided to do some window shopping along Front Street to see if we could find some Christmas presents.

As in many resort towns, there were large amounts of tourist shops filled with T-shirts and paraphernalia, as well as galleries, restaurants, bars, ice cream shops. etc. My absolute favorite was “Rip Squeak & Friends Gallery“.

I don’t think I’ve seen these particular characters before, but the place was filled with children’s books, puzzles, original artwork illustrations of the most colorful and imaginative characters I’ve seen in a long time, created by Leonard Filgate and written by his wife, Susan Yost-Filgate. I just love great illustrations in children’s books and these are some of the best I’ve seen, as you can see from this example, called “Bedtime Stories”. If I had a grandchild I would have spent quite a bit of money in that store. His illustrations would make amazing artwork for a nursery.

And speaking of kids, here’s one of the big kids that I get to work with (just kidding, friend). Aren’t Michael and Ali such a gorgeous couple? And so much fun too! Michael reminds me of my older brother, Rusty who was constantly wreaking havoc, teasing and playing practical jokes. But he’s so sweet and fun, you just can’t get mad at him. Ali must have quite a job keeping him in line at home along with the other kids. I enjoy having him around the office. It tends to be quiet a lot of the time and he adds more life to the place.