Every day I look around and I can not believe I am in such a beautiful place. Each city we've visited has been more wonderful than the last. Well, except Fort Lauderdale, which I may go back to next week for a meeting of the minds.
Now we're in Naples, probably the most beautiful city we've seen yet. I thought Sarasota was nicely manicured ... this place looks like one big post card for the rich and famous! If I could afford to live here I probably would.
We reserved one night simply because I didn't want to drive five hours straight from Miami to Sarasota (did I mention that I hate driving?) We ended up staying two because we were having a good time. We checked in on Thursday, unpacked, and ate BBQ sandwiches at the hotel's happy hour. The plan was to watch the sun set on the beach, but we had a couple of hours to kill so we went to the pool. There was an 11 year old girl there! It took about 30 minutes to get those two to speak to each other, but once they did they were inseparable. Since Casey hasn't been around kids very much since we came to Florida, I didn't want to pull her away to watch a boring old sunset with her mom. She and Kylie hung out until dark and we went on to bed.
I've been told that when you're in Naples you should get up early and go shelling. When the tide goes out I guess you can find incredible shells here. So we got up early (8:00 ... early for us) and were out the door by 8:45. By the time we stopped at the store (three times) and left two beaches that we didn't like at all, it was noon. So much for shelling, but at least we'll get some beach time in.
The "Naples" you see on all of the postcards is in Old Naples at Naples Pier. If Naples has some of the best beaches in the world it must be there, so there is where we headed. The sand was white and wide, but the water was full of sea weed like Wiggin's Pass and Clam's Pass were. What is it with this place and sea weed?
We decided to stay anyway and Casey jumped right into digging in the sand. Every so often we'd brave the sea weed and go swimming in the 85º water, but it was just too gross. We made the most of it by tossing ball, playing a tennis-like game, and walking the Pier. We even picked up a few shells.
This place is a fisherman's heaven. The Pier has some umbrella license that covers everyone who wants to fish there. People were catching mackerel like there's no tomorrow (have you ever seen the teeth on one of them? OUCH!) We watched them and we watched a tv crew record them. One lady was particularly chatty and she told us about the red tide.
We saw pelicans diving for their supper. WE SAW DOLPHINS PLAYING IN THE WATER! We saw sting rays hovering the sand bar, and we ate hot dogs. All in all it was a pretty great afternoon.
On the way back to the hotel we passed another Skyline Chili! So I don't have to tell you where we ate dinner (my poor arteries). Now that Casey had a full belly I figured it'd be easier to drag her 20 miles north to the biggest outlet mall I have ever seen: The Miromar Mall (I was wrong).
Now *I* was in heaven! We bought a bunch of clothes in the Ralph Lauren Factory Store, a little bit at Harry and David (cherries, yum!), and stopped in a few other places before it was closing time. I may have to revisit Naples at Christmastime just so I can shop here again!
That pretty much wraps up our time in Naples. We'll be checking out of our hotel and heading back to Sarasota within the next couple of hours. We'd stay longer, but we're out of underwear.