December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

As you may have gathered by now I live to travel.  If Dr. Seuss had written my story it would go something like this:

I will travel in a car.
I will travel near or far.
I would, could, on a plane.
I could, would, in the rain.
I will travel with my spouse.
I will travel to your house.
I will travel here or there.
I will travel anywhere.

Well, you get the idea.  Please forgive my pitiful homage to Dr. Seuss.  I'll try to stay away from the rhyming from now on and stick to what I'm good at.  I'm somewhat like a one woman Amazing Race without the bad food challenges.  I intend to see as much of the world as anyone can in a lifetime and I'm bringing you with me.  All of this will eventually lead to the TravelVision website (scheduled to launch June 2010) where you will find more useful destination information than you can currently imagine, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Since my early twenties I've been hitting the road.  I've backpacked through almost half of Europe and been as far away as Australia.  I intend to see every faraway exotic destination on the planet but I try not to take for granted what might be just up the road.  After all here is someone else's far away exotic destination.
I thought for the next little while we would go local and I plan to spend considerable time posting about places that you might only discover by chance or through word of mouth.  It is my hope that in your travels you just might explore some of them.  We'll start in my backyard.
Southwest Florida is home to some pretty popular cities.  Naples, Sanibel, Marco and Captiva Islands, and Boca Grande are all long time Florida favorites (playgrounds of the mostly rich) but with the glare of their luring ads you might have missed a few gems in between. To me the world is full of romance and charm from the local brew-ha to the most upscale and fabulous.  I'm very multi-dimensional and I like it all so let me be very clear by stating not every place I cover will appeal to everyone.  Eventually we will cover them all but for now we're covering an area that's pretty low key.  It's quiet but not less appealing.  It's just different.

In November of 1999 we were searching for a quiet private place to ring in the New Year with friends and found North Captiva Island which we'll discuss a little later.  To get there you have to go through Matlacha and Pine Island, FL.  These two destinations are an odd mix of palm tree nurseries, residences, parks, a thriving artist community and fishing village. Between them there is a handful of worthwhile art galleries and a smattering of restaurants and lodging. I think of this area as the little paradise with authentic local flavor. Matlacha (Mat-la-shay) is truly a throwback to old Florida Keys in the late 60's and early 70's. Its colorful shops, eateries, and cottages line Pine Island Road like a bikini clad version of San Francisco's painted ladies.

It's a GREAT area for fishing (claims to have "the World's Fishingest Bridge"), a kayaker's paradise and a bird lover's dream.  I spend hours each winter in the water surrounding Pine Island photographing white pelicans.  If you're looking for peace and quiet you'll find it here along with lots to explore including some Calusa Indian archaeological sites.  The Pineland site is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

There are a few places I recommend you try on your area tour and I'll feature some of these separately in upcoming posts.  The Tarpon Lodge, The Bridgewater Inn (pictured top right), Red's Seafood House and Tavern and Bert's Bar and Grill are a good representation of the area's diversity.  Every time the relatives come from New York they want to eat seafood at Red's and you won't get an argument from me!  Bert's Bar & Grill is a local character of its own and has great local musicians weekly.  The history on the back of their menu is actually true (they told me so)!  Through the words of Dr. Seuss, "Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!", I promise you won't soon forget a trip to Matlacha and Pine Island, Florida!


regan said...

Cool I realy love this area. Boating around this area will almost you will almost certainly see 4-30 dolphin in a day. sometime large pods playing with the boat wake. (do not feed them though very illegal)

Anonymous said...

Love the area. Berts Bar is a great place to eat. Great Blog...keep up the good work!