The calendar says Season is over, but so many of the things we love about our surroundings continue on, ever defining our corner of Florida and giving us bragging rights when the occasional guests show up here.
A few days back, precious family members from up North joined me and, within hours, were in serious awe of the sunset forming over the Gulf, witnessed from ringside seats at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples and punctuated, at the moment of truth, by the traditional ringing of a bell.
By the next morning, the Naples Botanical Garden, in all its brilliant hues and textures, became the inspiration of the day… right up to one playful comment that “A Rose is a Rose is a LEGO”—in appreciation of the LEGO exhibit currently on display there. Our host Kara Laufer, Director of Business Development, told us we were not alone in our enthusiasm for the Garden’s offerings.. “This past season,” she said, “we had our two busiest days ever. They were: Friday, March 28, the first day of the annual Naples Flower Show with 2,100 people enjoying the day of floral and horticulture designs plus (the exhibit) Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks—and the next busiest day was Saturday, April 19, our annual Egg Hunt in the Garden with 2,056 visitors.”
Can you take in the essence of Southwest Florida without experiencing the Everglades? A ride on Everglades Private Airboat Tours turned up an alligator, an osprey and a glide through the mangroves and the river of grass that are our cherished treasures. On the way into lunch at the Camellia Street Grill in nearby Everglades City, we crossed paths with a woman filling her basket from the garden there. “These,” she said, pointing to what she had collected, “will be in your salads within minutes.” And so they were, offering flavors and freshness thrilling even to this reluctant salad eater. In all, a taste of Southwest Florida rocks, undiminished by the turn of the calendar page and the flight of the snowbirds.