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Naples Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote all about the first-half of my short one-day road-trip to and from Naples. This week – it’s the second-half of that fun day some 2½ hours away from home.

My next stop on my museum tour was the Naples Historical Society Historic Palm Cottage a couple of blocks from the beach along historic 12TH Avenue South.

Here’s what I wrote about it on TripAdvisor:

This was my 4TH of 4 museum stops in Naples on this day, and it was the highlight of my day. I was the only participant for the 1 PM tour, and the docent was still eager to give the tour. Very admirable. He was very knowledgeable on the history of the house and the surrounding neighborhood. The house was beautiful and interesting. After the 45-minute tour I watched the 25-minute video, and that was very informative. I then looked around the house one last time on my own before emerging out into the front porch. I talked to the docents out there for a little while about the house, the neighborhood, and my own plans for next year when I’ll transition from a long career into retirement and serving as a docent in a few museums in nearby Highlands County Florida. GREAT experience at the Palm Cottage !

This visit almost didn’t occur. Parking is at a premium in this area. Nearly all of it is for the nearby beach and pier. It costs money ($3 per hour), and vacant spaces can be rare or non-existent – even during low-season in July. When I arrived no spaces were available. I drove over to the nearby shopping center where there was plenty of available parking, but signs were also posted stating no beach or pier parking. I drove back over to the “legal” parking area, and I stumbled across a vacant parking space right in front of the Historic Palm Cottage. I paid $7.50 for 2½ hours of parking, and I’m glad I did, as I spent nearly 2 hours at the cottage itself enjoying the tour (guided and self), watching the video, and then talking to the docents.

My final stop in Naples was Tin City – a historic and quaint shopping and dining village right along the banks of the Gordon River. It’s been there for over 100 years. Nowadays it’s a small collection of mom-n-pop shops selling antiques, knick-knacks, souvenirs, clothing, candy, and food. They also have a few larger restaurants there. I enjoyed an early-Dinner at Pinchers (a local Southwest Florida seafood chain). I then picked-up some monkey bread from Mon”Key” Bread Factory.

It was a fun day in Naples. 2½ hours to get there. 7½ hours of fun while there. 2½ hours to get home. 230 miles total. I need to do it again – maybe when the weather turns cooler in the dry season. I definitely want to visit the Historic Palm Cottage again. They also do guided walking tours of the immediate neighborhood. They look very educational. In conjunction with my next visit to Naples I also want to visit nearby Marco Island and Everglades City.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll head to the beach – 1,100 miles up the coast in Ocean City Maryland. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Marsh Harbour

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. 15 years ago this week I was on Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands of the northwestern Bahamas – about 195 nautical miles from home. (Marsh Harbour is adjacent to southern Palm Beach County Florida.)

I was with my brother, his fiancé, our parents, and her parents and siblings. Most of us arrived on Wednesday May 09TH 2007, and we stayed until the following Wednesday May 16TH 2007. We stayed at the Bahama Beach Club resort. My brother and his fiancé got married there on Saturday May 12TH 2007, so today is in fact their 15TH wedding anniversary !

It was a fun wedding. It was a fun week. We explored Marsh Harbour and some of the surrounding Abaco islands. I have some 290 photos of that week on my computer – chronologically sorted from arrival to departure. My brother took all of the photos. (I had not yet become an amateur photographer.)

Over 100 photos cover a fun 5½-hour family trip via ferry to and from the neighboring island of Elbow Cay – where we visited the Elbow Reef Lighthouse and the small village of Hope Town.

View from atop the Elbow Reef Lighthouse

This vacation was just 8½ months into my salvation (3½ months as part of my first church family). As a baby Christian learning and understanding God’s Way I was very conflicted as to how I should act in certain circumstances – particularly where drinking alcohol was involved. I chose to abstain from it completely. It really made me look like the odd one out, but I think that’s what’s God’s plan for each of us who believe and follow Him. Don’t blend in with others. Be different. Be radical.

I was also a bit ill that entire week. I had near total blockage in my right ear. I could barely hear out of it, and it gave me headaches all throughout that week. I played it off, and I didn’t tell anyone about it. Soon after I returned back home I scheduled an appointment with an #ENT. At that appointment the doctor removed multiple chunks of ear wax from my right ear and flushed both of them. My hearing was restored 100% after that.

One last thing that put a damper on this trip is that my cat’s health was quickly deteriorating in the days leading-up to it. I took him to his regular animal hospital before I left to be examined and kenneled. As it turns out he passed on the day after I returned back home. (I’ll post on that next Tuesday May 17TH 2022 – the 15TH anniversary of his death.)

I really did enjoy our family trip to Marsh Harbour. I’d like to go back there again with family, and enjoy the scenery, and do fun things like we did 15 years ago.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll visit Melbourne Florida. You know – I used to live there. I’ll tell you all about it. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Blogging Driving Food History Holidays Military Shopping Travel

Mexico

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Happy Cinco de Mayo mi amigos ! On this day 160 years ago (during our U.S. Civil War) Mexico was victorious over the French empire at the Battle Of Puebla (during the early part of the Franco-Mexican War of 1861-1867). It’s a day that’s observed mostly in the southern Mexican state of Puebla. Here in the U.S. it’s become a very popular unofficial holiday celebrating all things Mexican.

Here in my hometown of the past 35 years we have a very large Mexican population – one of the highest concentrations in all of South Florida. As a result we have many Mexican restaurants here, and Miamians come 30 to 45 minutes south to Homestead to enjoy a delicious meal at any one of them. Personally I’m not a big fan of Mexican food. It’s OK. I’ll only eat at one when I’m in a group setting, and the group overrules my wishes to eat somewhere else.

I do enjoy visiting Mexico. I’ve been there 9 times over the past 15 years via cruises – mostly to Cozumel (more than any other port-of-call). I always get off the ship and do a shore excursion on Cozumel because as many times as I’ve been there – I usually see something new, or I get to visit a fun place again.

Check out my Cozumel album on my Flickr site.

Once in July 1995 during the weekend in the middle of a 2-week military classroom training event in San Antonio Texas at Lackland Air Force Base a group of us drove to the border in Laredo, and then we walked across the Gateway To The Americas International Bridge into Nuevo Laredo Mexico to eat and shop. It was fun and memorable – especially since I remember that day nearly 27 years later.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll visit Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas exactly 15 years after my last visit there. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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My Spring Break Vacation 2022

And now – Week 3 of my 4-week series on my 6-day / 626-mile road-trip adventure here in South Florida and also up in Central Florida.

So my family flew in to South Florida (from North Texas) on a Thursday evening, and they arrived at their hotel at around Midnight. The next day – Friday – they did their own thing, as did I. (See my blog from last #TravelThursday.)

On Saturday March 05TH 2022 we spent the entire day together in Fort Lauderdale and adjacent Dania Beach. We enjoyed Breakfast at TooJay’s (one of my favorites). After that we went shopping at Five Below. (My nieces love that store.) From there we all proceeded over to the Broward County Convention Center where gymnasts from South Florida and beyond competed in various tournaments. My (almost) 12-year-old niece was one of the competitors from beyond – representing Allen Texas (near Dallas) – and she won awards. We were at the tournament for over 4 hours, and it was actually very interesting to watch. (I had never been to one before.)

That night we ate dinner at Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, and then we went shopping at T.J. Maxx. I had no idea that my sister-in-law absolutely loves that store. I think we spent over an hour there. I was bored after the first 10 minutes, but I was with my family, so that beats any other normal Saturday night for me.

The next day – Sunday – they did their own thing, as did I.

On Monday March 07TH we all cruised-up U.S. 27 (in 3 separate vehicles), and we all met at – LEGOLAND !

I’ve wanted to visit Legoland for the past decade, and just after opening time at 10 AM on that day I finally made it. (My family arrived about an hour later.)

Legoland greatly exceeded my expectations. I thought that I would just enjoy watching my nieces have lots of fun, but I had fun too. I even rode some rides including a scary rollercoaster !

My favorite part of Legoland is Miniland U.S.A. which features realistic Lego displays of various U.S. cities and their famous landmarks underneath several MASSIVE white canopy shade covers. You can walk around in this giant centerpiece of the park for a couple of hours enjoying it all and snapping photos all around.

I also appreciated the tribute to Cypress Gardens which was the original tourist attraction (and later theme park) at this location for almost 75 years starting in 1936 and peaking during the 1950s and 1960s. A portion of the original park has been preserved exactly as it used to be, and you can walk around and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Me and my brother actually visited Cypress Gardens on April 02ND 2005 when they had already converted over to a theme park (adjacent to the botanical gardens). We enjoyed the park during the day, and then we attended a Switchfoot concert that night at the park. The concert was quite memorable for us in that Switchfoot were at their mainstream peak back then, so a good crowd came to see them. Also a strong cold front had swept through the region during the day, so it turned cold just in time for the concert after dark. There were swarms of bugs flying around in the cold. It was quite eerie.

It was a fun day at Legoland. We were there from opening to almost closing. I would actually consider purchasing a limited annual pass to the park after I retire and relocate close to that local area. (It’s about an hour up the road from Sebring.)

Next #TravelThursday I’ll conclude my recap of this fun road-trip, and I’ll reveal the location of my next vacation (and series of blog posts).

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp