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Gulfshore Highlights

Summer Deals

Cool Eats, Shops, Outings


Food and wine

1. Lazy Sunday

Brunch is best when there’s a crowd. And you can afford to pick up the tab for the whole table at Naples Tomato with the return of the $14.95 Sunday brunch deal. All summer, sample a mix of breakfast staples and classic pastas from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kids eat for $4.95. 598-9800,

2. Get your Persian fixe

Some of Naples’ best ethnic food is offered up at a good price all summer. Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro has prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner where you can sample its bold take on classic Iranian food for $14.40 for lunch and $23.95 for dinner. 594-5557,

3. Mussel mania

As if you needed another reason to skip out on work early on Mondays, Sea Salt is offering its take on happy hour. Get drinks half off and free mussels at the bar. But you have to act fast—the deal runs only from 4–6 p.m. 434-7258, www.seasaltnaples.com.

4. Tony wines

Sample a selection of some of the best wines offered at Tony’s Off Third at the annual Summer Sippin’ Tasting on July 29. For $15, enjoy generous pours and one-on-one access with winemakers and distributors with unparalleled knowledge of the wines being served. Plus, $10 of that goes toward purchasing any one of your favorite wines from the night. 262-7999, www.tonys-offthird.com.

5. Two good

Practically every restaurant has some sort of dinner-for-two deal to keep tables filled during the summer. Here are some of our favorites: Ridgway Bar and Grill’s buy-one-get-one-free entrees (www.ridgwaybarandgrill.com); Bistro 41’s three-course-meal-for-two deal, which includes a bottle of wine, for $41 (www.bistro41.com); and Café Lurcat’s Saturday date night with a three-course dinner for two, plus a bottle of wine, for $60 (www.cafelurcat.com).

Shopping and splurges

6. Foot loose

Kick off your shoes this summer—literally. You’ll have plenty of new pairs to choose from after you’ve hit Marilyn’s in downtown Naples, where select footwear from Italian, French and Spanish designers is reduced to just $50 per pair. 206-4460, www.marilynhellman.com.

7. Dress down

Hot weather equates to hot deals at Lux Boutique in the Collection at Vanderbilt, and Mirage Boutique in Fort Myers, where men’s and women’s clothing and accessories are up to 75 percent off original prices this month. 514-5009, www.luxnaples.com; 437-4410, www.facebook.com/mirageboutiqueflorida.

8. Style know-how

Marissa Collections, the go-to source for all things high fashion in Southwest Florida, has reinstated its monthly Style Sessions. These free seminars offer tips on efficient styling and shopping (often simply by reimagining what you already own). This month’s edition, dubbed “Travel Essentials in a Carry-On World,” is July 7 at 10 a.m. No purchase is necessary and space is limited, so reserve yours by calling (800) 581-6641. Visit www.marissacollections.com for a complete list of topics through September.

9. Sail away

We locals know there are perks to the off-season; some of which are reduced prices and reduced crowds. Such is the case on the Naples Princess, where you can snag buy-one-get-one-half-price fares on cruises Wednesdays for dinner; Saturdays for lunch; and hors d’oeuvres on Sundays all this month. 649-2275, www.naplesprincess.com.

10. Stay and play

Skip the airfare and stay to enjoy what visitors pay big money for. The Ritz-Carl-ton, Naples, offers summer family packages starting at $399 per night, which covers a room with a coastal view, a complimentary children’s meal with the purchase of any adult entrée, a $50 resort credit per night and daily breakfast for two in The Terrace. Kids, as always, can enjoy fun activities like the Nature’s Wonders program or virtual-experience games in the high-tech entertainment lounge. 598-3300, www.ritzcarlton.com.

11. Getaway with the girls

Round up your girlfriends and get to the Inn on Fifth for Beauty and the Beach, a two-night escape that will make you forget you’re only a few miles from home. Beginning with a bottle of sparkling wine in your room upon arrival, you’ll choose rejuvenating spa treatments, trade gossip over a poolside lunch, enjoy professional hair styling and makeup application, and head to the beach with a stocked cooler bag for a day of sun and surf. What stress? Prices begin around $400 per night. 403-8777, www.innonfifth.com.

Get out, get going

12. Big bites

Discover why it’s silly to be scared of sharks, see exceptional work by master artists and learn about the king of the ocean, all during the Summer of Sharks at Rookery Bay. A lecture series featuring experts in marine life runs from 5:30–7 p.m. on July 20, July 27 and Aug. 17. Plus, kids 12 and younger get in free on Fridays. 417-6310, www.rookerybay.org.

13. Channel your Ginger or Fred

Learn how to fox trot, rumba and tango at the Riverside Community Center in Fort Myers for only $5 a lesson this summer. Dance classes are every Monday from 6:30–7:30 p.m., followed by social dancing until 9:30 p.m. 321-7530.

14. Farm fresh

When you’re hunting for the freshest fruits and veggies, head to the River District Farmers Market for deep discounts off the supermarket. It offers the best produce and pastries, plus everything from natural skincare products to flowers. Shop every Thursday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Centennial Park parking lot, under the U.S. 41 Caloosahatchee Bridge. 321-7100, www.cityftmyers.com/farmersmarket.

15. No money, more music

Free concerts abound over the summer. SummerJazz on the Gulf on the Watkins Lawn of the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club brings cool tunes to the beach at 7 p.m. on July 23, Aug. 27 and Sept. 24. 261-2222. If you’re looking to catch a show in Fort Myers, head to the Friday Night Live Concert Series at Patio de Leon in the downtown River District. Concerts are every Friday from 6–9 p.m. 334-4638, www.naplesbeachhotel.com.

16. Hometown nine

With Two-for-One Tuesdays, Thirsty Thursdays and Happy Hour Friday specials on concessions, there is no reason not to attend a Fort Myers Miracle game at Hammond Stadium this summer. Plus, Kraft Singles—that’s right, the cheese company—offers a buy-one-get-one-free ticket deal on Tuesdays if you bring in the wrapper. 768-4210, www.miraclebaseball.com.

—Kristie Aronow, Jennifer Freihofer and Jonathan Foerster


Fun for the Fourth


If there’s one thing southwest Florida goes crazy for each summer, it’s Independence Day. Here’s your guide to parades, fireworks and more July 4 fun. (All events are on July 4, unless otherwise noted.)

Naples Fourth of July Parade. Enjoy a patriotic procession along Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South. 213-7120.

Naples Pier Fireworks. Watch fireworks fly over the Gulf beginning at 9 p.m. The display will be shot from the end of the Naples Pier, but it can be viewed from anywhere in the Naples beach area. 213-7120.

Bonita Springs Fourth of July Parade. On July 3, watch the parade march south on Old 41 Road and end at Riverside Park.

Star Spangled Bonita Party. The City of Bonita Springs hosts its annual celebration from 6–9 p.m. at Riverside Park featuring children’s activities, live music, contests, food and a laser-light show with a fireworks finale.

Miromar Outlets Fireworks. Celebrate Independence Day early on July 3 with fireworks at dusk. 948-3766.

Fort Myers Fireworks. Celebrate the day at Riverfest in Centennial Park; fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Other firework shows ignite at dusk near Fort Myers Beach fishing pier and Times Square. 454-7500.

Fort Myers Beach Fourth of July Parade. The parade starts at 10 a.m. at the Seagrape Plaza and heads north on Estero Boulevard to Times Square.

Red, White and Boom. Cape Coral hosts its annual celebration at the Cape Coral Bridge on Cape Coral Parkway. The festival features more than 100 vendors, live music, obstacle courses, free prizes and fireworks. The fun begins at 4 p.m., ending with fireworks at dusk. 549-6900.

Sanibel Island Independence Day Celebration. The Dunes will host the celebration beginning at 5 p.m. with live music, food, children’s games and a view of the island’s annual fireworks display at dusk. Fireworks are launched from the north end of Bailey Road; for the best view, go to the bayside of Sanibel or any of the Sanibel Causeway islands. 472-1080.—Kristie Aronow


See It!

The tibetan artist zhou hua, who painted this oil on canvas Little Girl in Blue for the Galerie du Soleil in Naples, is well known for her ability to capture the essential presence of her sitters. A graduate of the University of Tibet College of Art in China, she holds a solid reputation for portraiture. Her ability to capture the unique characteristics that distinguish the native population of Tibet sets her apart. Hua connects us with this unnamed little girl, drawing us in with her soulful brown eyes, ruddy complexion, dimpled chin and rosebud lips. 

The canvas has been richly stroked by brushes laden with colors from steely gray to brilliant blue and pink blush to peachy orange. She mixes colors both ahead of time and on the surface as she paints. Using oil paints, which dry slowly, permits the artist to blend new colors with others applied hours earlier. Painting with oils enables the artist to create skin tones the way one might apply makeup: layered and blended. Additionally, oil paint has a luminosity that allows the artist to make eyes appear as wet as they are naturally in life. Spending time with this work of art, we want to adopt this child into our hearts and visual memory.
—Mark Ormond

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