Posts Tagged With: Naples

Pure Naples: Into the Sunset

Teddy on Sunset Cruise

TEDDY’s RATING: 

One of the great things about Florida is that you can watch the sun rise in the east over the ocean in the morning and then drive a few hours across the state to watch the sun set in the west over the Gulf of Mexico.

While in Naples, Florida earlier this year, we took a wonderful sunset cruise on Pure Naples’ Double Sunshine.

Sunset cruise          Sunset cruise

Departing out of Naples’ historic Tin City, this 90 minutes, fully-narrated tour sailed out through Naples Bay into the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout the cruise, the tour guide pointed out all the stately homes in the area. Now, the tour has been criticized by some because the narration is mostly about the huge, luxurious homes that are along the bay, but that’s what Naples is all about, luxury. I found some of the back stories about the houses quite interesting. And our tour guide was very entertaining and knowledgeable.

Sunset cruise          Sunset cruise

Sunset cruise          Sunset cruise

The cruise culminated with the lovely sunset over the ocean. When there are more clouds in the sky, the sunsets are even more gorgeous, but this one was beautiful nonetheless.

Sunset cruise         Sunset cruise

In addition to the sunset cruise, Pure Naples also offers several other types of tours: Dolphin watching, sightseeing and kid’s scavenger hunt cruises.

Tours depart daily at different hours. Check their website for times and tour pricing. Bathrooms and cash refreshments are available on board.

Dates of Visit: January 2013

http://www.purenaples.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Categories: Florida, Play | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tavern on the Bay

Teddy at Tavern on the Bay

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll love Tavern on the Bay. But even if you’re not, and I’m not, I still had a good time there.

Tavern on the Bay says that they are the only waterfront sports bar in Naples. They have 13 plasma TVs and Southwest Florida’s largest big screen HD TV at over 130 inches! Puts you right in the game, I guess! They also claim to have Naples’ best Happy Hour from 3pm to 7pm Monday through Friday.

It’s a great location, right on the bay. And is accessible by boat. We sat outside on the patio so we could watch the sunset. We ordered the sliders. The portions were huge, big enough to share. We got the BBQ pork, meatball, Cuban and All-American burger. They all were quite tasty.  They also have chicken wings, flat bread pizzas, burgers, salads, sandwiches and other entrees.

Tavern on the Bay          Sliders

They have a large selection of signature drinks including the Soco Hurricane, which I got (pineapple juice, sour mix, grenadine and Bacardi Rum). It was good, but I not as potent as I would have thought. I also tried their frozen Mudslide (vanilla whipped vodka, Kahlua and Bailey’s) and again, not that potent. Still both tasted good. Some of their their signature drinks are: Neapolitan Cosmo, Grand Slam Margarita, Classic Mojito, Blueberry Brain Freeze, Frozen Chocolate Razz and the Tavern Rum Bucket.

Soco Hurricane          Mudslide

Tavern on the Bay has gotten mixed reviews online. But I thought it was pretty good. And if you’re a sports fan, you’ll probably enjoy it even more.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.tavernonthebay.net/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rib City-No knife required

Rib City with Teddy

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I usually don’t like to write about chain restaurants, but in this case, I just have to. While researching a trip to Naples, Florida, I saw mention of Rib City and thought about giving it a try. They claim that “if you have to pick up a knife to eat our baby back ribs, then we’ll pick up your meal.”

We got there after lunch and before dinner, so there was a shift change and there was only one waitress on duty. She was super friendly and apologized several times for taking so much time. But the food came out promptly and piping hot.

Rib CityI ordered the baby back ribs platter which came with two sides, cole slaw and French fries. I like sweet, creamy cole slaw and this did not disappoint. I also like sweet barbeque sauce and again, I was not disappointed. Considering these were lunch-sized portions, they were huge. Plenty of food, and very good food. For dessert, the waitress recommended the coconut cream pie. Again, wonderful. Super huge and delicious.

The menu includes all the traditional barbeque options: pork, beef, ribs (baby Rib Citybacks and St. Louis), chicken and turkey. Sauces: Sweet, Tangy, Hot or Carolina Mustard. Sides: French fries, corn on the cob, cole slaw, baked beans, apple sauce. Desserts: Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Southern Pecan Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, Chocolate Chocolate Mania.

Rib City started out as a small family-style barbecue in 1989 in Fort Myers, Florida. They branched out into nearby Cape Coral and several other Florida cities. They now have locations in Colorado, Utah, Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.ribcity.com/rc/index.php

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Wild Ride at Corey Billie’s

Corey Billie's sign

TEDDY’s RATING:

I’ve lived in Florida for over 30 years and I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to go on an airboat ride. I have always wanted to, but just never got around to it. What an absolute blast it was!

While visiting southwest Florida, just 15 minutes from Naples, we found Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides.

Airboat ride          Airboat ride

The 45 minute ride took us through Corey Billie’s 200-acre private piece of the Everglades which is surrounded by Collier Seminole State Park, National Wildlife Refuge and Panther Preserve.

Captain Dan          Teddy on airboat

Our guide, Captain Dan, piloted the airboat through a type of racecourse around the swampland, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes up to 60 miles per hour. And at the end, spun the boat around over 360 degrees!

Airboat ride          Birds

Throughout the ride, Dan pointed out different plants, birds and animals, including several huge alligators. He was very knowledgeable about the surroundings and had an excellent sense of humor.

Alligator    Baby alligator

And if you’re brave enough, you can even hold a baby alligator at the end of your tour.

I’d definitely do this again. There are airboat places all over Florida, many of them down south in the Everglades, but there are a few closer to my home in Central Florida as well.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.cbairboatrides.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Florida, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Breakfast at Blueberry’s

Teddy at Blueberrys

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Had it not been for the fact that we couldn’t find Peace, Love and Little Donuts that morning, we probably wouldn’t have gone to Blueberry’s. But even though we didn’t get donuts that day, we had a nice breakfast here.

Pigs in a blanketThis restaurant kind of reminded me of Joey’s Pancakes in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It’s not a chain restaurant and tries to come across as being “homey.” The breakfast was very good, but not as good as Joey’s. (If you read my post about Joey’s you’ll understand why.) At Joey’s you feel at home. You get your food quickly, but you’re never rushed and the wait staff is extremely friendly. I didn’t find that at Blueberry’s. The service was a bit slow and yet they tried to rush you out.

I had pigs in a blanket, three pancakes with sausages. The pancakes were light and the Pancakes with eggssausage not spicy. There is an extensive menu. In addition to several types of pancakes, they have crepes, waffles, Eggs Benedict, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, skillets and, of course, eggs any way you like them.

For lunch they have sandwiches, salads, chicken grillers, wraps, and burgers and Reubens. The dinner menu includes chicken pot pie, pot roast, meatloaf, pasta dishes, steak, ribs and some all-day breakfast items.

Their website boasts that they were voted “Best Breakfast” in 2012. But they don’t say by whom or where.

Blueberry’s is open 7 days a week, from 7am, but not for dinner on Sunday.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

www.blueberrys-restaurant.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Naples Depot Museum

Naples Depot Museum

TEDDY’s RATING: 

The history of Naples and the railway industry in Florida is in full display at the Naples Depot Museum in downtown Naples, Florida. Train enthusiasts and history buffs alike will enjoy the interactive exhibits and artifacts at this small, but entertaining museum.

Interior          Interior

The museum is set inside the restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station which originally opened in 1927. But more than just trains are showcased here. The museum tells the story of Naples and Southwest Florida and “how trade and travel transformed Naples from a small village of 300 into the Gulf Coast resort city it is now.”

Interior          Interior

The museum is free, but donations are welcomed. On Saturdays, kids can ride the miniature train around the property.

Kid's train          Interior train car

The Naples Depot Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of a group of five museums in Southwest Florida. The others are the Collier County Museum in Naples, the Marco Island Historical Museum on Marco Island, the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City and the Immokalee Pioneer Museum in Immokalee.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.colliermuseums.com/locations/naples_depot.php

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Psychedelic Donut Delights

Peace Love Ext

TEDDY’s RATING: 

As I’ve written before, I always like to promote small businesses. And when a small business is really worth promoting, that makes it all the better. Not only are the donuts at Peace, Love and Little Donuts delicious, but the owner has such enthusiasm for his business and his product, you can’t help but promote both.

Peace Love DonutsPeace, Love and Little Donuts is located in Naples, Florida and is owned and operated by a part-time private pilot, Mark Couch. When I told Mark about my blog, he was very interested in finding out my thoughts on his donuts. He was super friendly and told me all about the business and why he started this venture. (He’s a Gulf War veteran who was looking for a career change.)

These donuts are smaller than your average donuts, about two and one quarter inches in diameter, so they’re a bit expensive for their size. But what you’re paying for are the unusual flavor combinations.

There are 32 different flavors, but not all are available every day. Prices range from $0.85 to $1.29 per donut depending on the toppings, or lack thereof. The donut flavors are inspired by desserts and other sweet treats: apple pie, blueberry cheesecake, banana split, s’mores, Nestle Crunch, strawberry shortcake and pina colada. There’s also raspberry Peace Love Donutslemonade, lemon ginger, chocolate coconut, Boston crème, chocolate pretzel with sea salt and Devil’s Food.

If you read the reviews on Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon and Yelp, you’ll see people raving about the maple bacon donuts. I love maple, bacon and donuts, so I gave this one a try. It was an interesting collection of flavors, definitely worth trying. Not that I’d eat a dozen of them, but really good. I also tried the apple pie and raspberry lemonade, both of which were quite yummy.

I’m not a coffee drinker, but there are people who rave about the coffee served here. It’s called “Intelligentsia” and apparently isn’t served in very many establishments.

The only negative I have to say about the place is that it’s hard to find. Your GPS will tell you that you’ve arrived, but if you didn’t know that the place was part of Wayne’s World BP gas station, you wouldn’t see it. There are no large signs near the road because businesses in the area are restricted as to what signage they can post.

The Naples location has a Facebook page, but no website. You can read more about Peace, Love and Little Donuts on the website for the three Pittsburgh locations.

http://www.peaceloveandlittledonuts.com/home.html

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paradise at Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden

TEDDY’s RATING: 

There’s nothing more relaxing on a beautiful day than strolling through a lovely, peaceful garden. And one of the most lovely that I’ve been to so far is the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida.

This 170-acre site is located between the 26th latitude north and the 26 latitude south allowing it to showcase some of most diverse plants from around the globe, including those from Asia, Brazil, the Caribbean and, of course, Florida. And throughout the gardens, there are some amazing sculptures done by a native from Zimbabwe.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The garden is comprised of 7 areas.

In the Children’s Garden, kids can interact with the environment, water plants, play, and explore the incredible Butterfly Garden.

Teddy at Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Brazilian Garden, with its bold colorful flora, pays tribute to Roberto Burle Marx, known internationally as the “father of modern landscape architecture.”

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Caribbean Garden features tropical forests, exotic plants and even cactus.

The Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden displays sabal palms, bougainvillea and silver palmettos, as well as Florida’s grasses, wildflowers and citrus trees.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Lea Asian Garden is divided into several different “rooms” depicting the cultural diversity of that area of the world. It’s not just rice paddies and coconut groves. You’ll find ferns, palms, hibiscus and bamboos throughout this area.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

Cross the boardwalk over the Water Garden and see water lilies, lotuses and papyrus.

And The Preserve is a 90-acre nature sanctuary that is home to pines, oaks, marshes, mangroves and hundreds of animal species from eagles to otters, bobcats to tortoises.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

There are also 2.5 miles of walking trails on the property where you can lose yourself in the peace and quiet beauty. It’s also a perfect place for weddings or other events.

The Naples Botanical Garden is open 9-5 daily, 8-5 on Tuesdays.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.naplesgarden.org/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Florida, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Take in the view at the Bayfront Inn

Bayfront Inn sign

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I had intended for my next four-day weekend getaway to be on Marco Island, Florida. Now, Marco Island is a lovely place, but after some research, I found that there was much more to do in nearby Naples. (I’ll be writing about all those fun activities in weeks to come.) And I also found I could book a really nice hotel in Naples at an affordable price. That hotel was the Bayfront Inn on 5th Avenue.

Bayfront RoomThe luxury bay view room indeed had a wonderful view of the bay. The pillow-top beds were very comfortable. (Premium luxury rooms have Sleep Number beds.) And the huge shower was great.

There’s complimentary on-site parking, even a small parking garage. There’s a lovely heated pool and spa, although the pool seemed rather cold to me. And the Bayfront Inn is within walking distance of touristy Tin City and the upscale shops of 5th Avenue. This 5th Avenue is similar to its namesake in New York City with many posh restaurants and quirky, fun stores.

The Bayfront Inn is less than a mile from the beach. They have a 12 slip marinaBayfront Pool where you can dock your own boat or charter or rent one. The Naples Trolley Tour has a pickup/drop off point on site and you can catch a water shuttle right outside the hotel. Segway, kayak and bicycle rentals are also available.

The restaurant, The Bambu Tropical Grille, is a covered and open-aired dining area where you can sit by the marina and grab a bite to eat or sip your favorite tropical drink. And in my opinion, they make those drinks nice and strong.

Bayfront ViewI do have to say there were a few negatives at the Bayfront Inn, dropping the rating down from 5 to 4 paws. The landline phone was not working, but the front desk did send someone up to repair it right away. And unfortunately, there are a few little things that bothered me that are out of the hotel’s control. The Bayfront Inn is located on a major roadway, so there was a lot of noisy traffic. And the hotel is directly in the flight path of Naples Municipal Airport. Also, though it’s great that there’s weekend entertainment down near the marina, the music was quite loud and could be heard even though the windows were closed on our 4th floor room.

But overall, the Bayfront is a great place and I would stay there again. The staff was very friendly and attentive. The room was clean and comfortable and the location centrally located to all there is to see and do in Naples.

Dates of Visit:  June 2010 & March 2011

http://www.bayfrontinnnaples.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Florida, Sleep | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brook’s Gourmet Burgers & Dogs

ExteriorTEDDY’s RATING: 

Naples, Florida is a very affluent city. You expect to see lots of high-end shops and expensive restaurants on every street. And mostly you do. But there are a few small places where you can dress very casually and enjoy a burger and a beer. One such place is Brook’s Gourmet Burgers & Dogs.

InteriorWhen Todd Brooks moved his family to Naples from Kansas City he was looking for a location for his new restaurant that was small and personal, a place where he could get to know his customers. He found that in Lindburgers, a Naples landmark restaurant for over 25 years. Brooks renovated the building a bit, created a menu of 20 unique burger and hot dog options, and Brook’s Gourmet Burgers & Dogs was born.

The menu includes all beef hot dogs, Black Angus beef burgers, as well as turkey, bison and chicken burgers. With unusual combinations like Todd’s Way – bacon, three cheeses and a fried Western Burgeregg; Greek – onion, feta cheese, kalamata olives, green peppers and Greek dressing; Farm – barbecued pulled pork, fried egg and cheddar cheese; and the Reuben Burger, which is a Reuben on a burger, of course, you’re sure to find something to your liking.

I’ve read that the menu used to include a Twice Baked Potato Burger and The Donut Burger where two glazed donuts replace the bun. Yikes! Those two weren’t on the menu when I was there. I tried the Western Burger – onion ring, cheddar cheese, bacon and barbeque sauce. Delicious and overwhelming!

The portions were huge and the prices reflect that. The service was exceptional, very friendly staff.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.naplesburgers.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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