This past U.S. holiday weekend I enjoyed a 3-day / 3-county / 360-mile Florida road-trip to and from Fort Myers. It was my first visit to the region since last July. I always enjoy visiting Southwest Florida (Collier and Lee County). Usually I venture over there to see a concert at the Hertz Arena, and this trip was no exception.
My first stop though after crossing the Everglades via the Tamiami Trail was the flagship branch of the multi-site Collier County Museum in East Naples. It was my first visit since June 2012. Back then I thought it was my first visit ever – until I saw some of the exhibits outside – and then I realized that I had been there years earlier.
At the end of my 90-minute visit I picked-up a brochure for a nearby place that I never knew existed – the Naples Museum Of Military History – at the main terminal of the Naples Airport. So I went there, and I immersed myself in all of the awesome displays there. They were overflowing at the seams in the two rooms that they occupy there. They need more space, and hopefully they get it.
After that I took a ride out to the country and into the woods for another first-time visit ever – the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. What a wonderful and beautiful place this was – especially on a sunny and coolish day. I’m sure that it would be a miserable place to be during our 9-month bug season and especially our 5-month rainy season, but that was truly a great day to be outdoors strolling the 2.25-mile elevated boardwalk absorbing nature’s beauty – created by my Almighty God.
By the way all of the above was Day 1 of my road-trip ! Day 2 started in Fort Myers at probably their # 1 tourist attraction – the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. It was my first visit since April 2011. I love this place. I could work and have fun at this place after I retire from my military / civil service career. I took the 1-hour and 15-minute guided tour which was a lot of fun (even though I had done it before). I’d do it again !
On Sunday night I went to the Hertz Arena to see Franklin Graham conclude his recent tour of Florida. He led us in prayer for our nation and our leaders, and then he preached a classic Billy Graham Crusade sermon on Repentance & Salvation. That’s a topic that I’m quite familiar with, as many of my sermons are about the same. Jeremy Camp opened and closed for Franklin, as he performed 7 of his greatest hits. I’ll be seeing Jeremy Camp perform again at this very same arena in 6 weeks, as he opens for MercyMe.
Day 3 of 3 started back in East Naples at the Naples Botanical Garden – yet another first-time visit. I walked well over 3 miles for 2 hours at this fun place on a chilly and overcast morning.
I’ve got over 80 photos of this fun road-trip to and from Southwest Florida – also known as Florida’s Paradise Coast. At least 60 of those 80 photos will probably be uploaded and captioned on my Flickr site over the next few weeks. But I’ll close this blog post with a sneak-peek. It’s a photo of the chalkboard at the start of the boardwalk at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary where visitors can write-down what they’ve seen along their walk on the boardwalk. A little less than 90 minutes later – there were more sightings documented on the chalkboard.
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