Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas from Naples!

With all of our Christmas shopping and shipping done, and me off work for the rest of the year, we had some time to get out and about around Naples to enjoy some of the holiday decorations and festivities.

Last Friday was a beautiful day, so with the top down on the Jeep, we headed out along the beach to Naples.

It was pretty windy, but there was still a good crowd at Vanderbilt Beach.

We stopped in at the Ritz-Carlton Vanderbilt Beach to check out the gingerbread house in the lobby.

It was very elaborate, with tons of gingerbread and candy decorations.

It must have been “Breakfast with Santa” day, because there were lots of kids around at the dining tables, all dressed in their fancy Christmas outfits – very cute!

Lots of bears lounging around on the couches, too!

Continuing into Naples, we drove down 5th Avenue, but didn’t stop to do any more shopping.  We stopped at several of the beach access spots in the residential area along the coast.  They all look pretty much the same – and were definitely less busy than the public beach up at Vanderbilt Beach.

We had found ourselves in a very upscale neighborhood, and just drove around for a while with my app open on the phone, checking out prices on houses for sale . . . the highest we came across was $66M, and there was nothing under $1.5M . . . definitely not our market!

We ended up by the marina and stopped in at Tin City to take a walk through the shops.  We were getting hungry by then, so headed out in search of something to eat.

Santa standing outside this little Italian restaurant on 41 got our attention,

and we stopped in for our favorite dinner – pizza and salad!

YUM – it was good, and as typical, we took half of it home for another dinner later in the week!

On Saturday after mass, we took a drive through a neighborhood we had heard about that puts on quite a light show.

It was as good as promised – every house in the neighborhood had lights  – some of the displays were extremely elaborate.

Many of the streets had themes – trees, snowmen, candles, snowflakes . . .

and one street had even built archways over the road.

All of the lightposts and mailboxes were decorated in the theme of the street, too.  It was raining lightly while we drove around, and it looked like if the weather were better, there might have been more people out in the yards – most of them had firepits and chairs set up in the front yards.

There was one house where they had a snow-making machine, and they had a good part of the yard covered in the fluffy white stuff.  You don’t see that often in Florida!

Lots of inflatable displays!

We spent about an hour hour driving through the neighborhood streets, and lots of other people had the same idea – we even saw a few trolleys driving through, and trucks pulling trailers full of kids (they were getting a little wet, though!)

It was an enjoyable evening!

The park we’re at has a catered dinner on Christmas, so I did my cooking on Christmas Eve – I made spaghetti with meatballs and pork tenderloin; it was Tom’s Mom’s traditional Christmas meal.  Mmmm – very good!

French Silk Pie for dessert after “Midnight” Mass (at 9pm!)

Mass at St. Leo’s was very nice . . . the girl who sings there is very good – we could listen to her all night.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of our friends around the country!  We hope everyone had a nice Christmas like we did!  We missed having the boys with us, but we’ll be seeing both of them soon . . . and that is the evolution of life!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Back in southwest Florida

We spent Thanksgiving Day cooking with our friends at their house – and enjoyed a thoroughly filling and delicious meal!

It was a really nice day spent with great friends!

After the holiday, it was time for us to pack up the motorhome and move south for a while.  Our first destination was the Lake San Marino RV Resort in Naples.

We got a good deal for December – a concrete site, with a shed too.  The sites are pretty close together (typical), but the site on our patio side has been vacant most of the time we’ve been here so far, so it’s like having a big yard.  The roads are pretty narrow, too, so backing in was a little tricky, but Tom did a really impressive job of getting the MH backed in on the first try!  I guess he’s getting pretty good at it, and I’m getting better at giving direction!

The park is nice – lots of activities, a nice pool and amenities, and even a produce truck that comes to the park every Tuesday morning.

We’re somewhat familiar with the area – we volunteered at Lovers Key State Park on Fort Myers Beach our very first year on the road, which is just a few miles away, and we spent another winter in Fort Myers, near downtown.

The weather has been great since we’ve been here, so we’ve enjoyed plenty of time at the pool and Tom has found a group of guys to ride bikes with a couple mornings each week while I’m working.  I’m almost done working for the year, and it’s supposed to cool down a little (back into the 70s), so we’re hoping to do some more biking on our own in our last two weeks here.

We did get to the beach one weekend.  Delnor-Wiggins State Park is just down the road, so we packed up our chairs and a lunch and headed to the beach for the afternoon.

It was a beautiful day!

It was very quiet when we arrived, and with several miles of shoreline, there was plenty of room for people to spread out.

As the day went on, more people arrived, and we took a couple of walks along the shoreline.  Further down, there was a large collection of driftwood, probably washed up during a hurricane.

We reached Wiggins Pass,

where there were quite a few people fishing, boats going through (including this interesting one),

and lots of pelicans!

We followed this little guy back to our chairs.  After we’d had enough sun and salt for the day, we went back to the RV Resort – and to the pool for a cooling swim!

Yeah, I’m still not much of an ocean person!

This past weekend, we needed to finish up a little Christmas shopping so we could get our packages to the boys in the mail.  We had several stops to make around Fort Myers, and ended up at Fort Myers Beach in the afternoon – it was a cloudy day, and still early in the season, so it wasn't too crowded at the beach.

We walked out on the pier and through the shops around Times Square.

That’ll make a nice Christmas photo!

Interesting sights around the beach . . . that’s quite a vehicle for getting around on the sand . . .

and anybody need a boat motor??

On Sunday, we heard about an outdoor Christmas concert in Bonita Springs, performed by the Bonita Springs Concert Band.

It was a beautiful afternoon, and the band was very good!  Santa was even there with an elf, passing out candy canes to the crowd!

Looking forward to Christmas and New Years celebrations here, and doing some more exploring of the area during my time off from work!