Short trip report: Ft. Myers, Florida 2.12-2.17
"Ft. Myers Hotel: Marriott Residence Inn"
We just got back to a snowy Connecticut after spending 5 days in sunny (but chilly) southwest Florida.
Hotel: Marriott Residence Inn in Ft. Myers, Sanibel on Summerlin: This was the perfect place for us to base ourselves. We had easy access to the causeway to Sanibel and Captiva as well as to Routes 41 and 75. This new hotel is beautifully decorated, the hotel customer service was outstanding, the complimentary breakfast was plentiful and did the job every morning. Staying in an apart-hotel was truly wonderful. Our two room suite gave us plenty of room and the sliders to the pool area were soundproofed so we didn't hear any noise at all. Another guest was grilling steaks one night and I didn't know he was using the outside grill until I went to open the window. The hotel is set far back from busy Summerlin Road and is next to a Publix grocery store. The hotel staff is happy to do a bit of grocery shopping for their guests. We enjoyed the location especially for the easy access to Sanibel and Captiva. We'd stay again and highly recommend this hotel to others.
"Ft. Myers, Sanibel/Captiva, Miami Restaurants"
We had some great meals! We were on vacation so we had a few splurges. We didn't really choose family restaurants either.
Naples: Highlights were Campiello in Naples where I had the most delicate frittatta I've ever had. Doesn't sound like much, but it was delicious. The fried calamari were a stand-out too. Service was professional and the entire experience was fun. We ate outside near a heater and were very comfortable. Naples is lovely, isn't it?
Sanibel: Sanibel Steakhouse provided one of the finest dining experiences we've ever had. Service was absolutely remarkable in that our server always met our needs without hovering. Perfect meal. The steak we had was outstanding. The chef came out and told us they sear the beef in butter before grilling the cuts. Everything was perfect. They have an extensive wine list. We didn't have a reservation as we arrived rather early for dinner, but I'd suggest one be made.
Captiva: The Green Flash: Lovely pasta in a gorgeous setting outside. Again, fantastic service from a rather overworked waitress who was just outstanding. It was warm enough to eat outside and enjoy the views. Their Key lime pie is delicious and a bit different because it's the consistency of a sherbet. We really enjoyed our afternoon there.
Mucky Duck: What can I say? We had the Best cheeseburgers of our life here. The meat is ground locally and then served at the Muckey Duck. We ate at the bar to avoid the long wait, and enjoyed the bartenders' banter and the local flavor. They had 16 choices on draft yesterday; we had a Buddingtons (hope that's right. lovely draft).
Miami: We ate on the sidewalk in South Beach. We had an unbelievable paella at Cafe Cordoza. I don't care if this is a tourist trap or overated or what it is because we loved the place. The dish we shared was filled with shrimp, calamari, a whole lobster, mussels, clams. The chorizo and chicken were missing, somehow, but we didn't care. The seafood was amazing. The mojito I had was also amazing (probably why we didn't care about lost chorizo) and big enough to take a bath in the middle of all that lovely mint and ice.
The only bad food we had was at the Island Cow on Sanibel. Watered down drinks were served in glasses hot out of the dishwasher (a quick swirl or two of ice in the glass would have taken care of the heat quickly), the grouper was grilled within an inch of its life and service was mediocre. We went once on the recommendation of the hotel desk person and wouldn't return nor recommend.
"Ft. Myers, Captiva/Sanibel, Miami Sightseeing"
Edison-Ford Estate in Ft. Myers: Lovely grounds. The experience is negatively impacted by the 'outsider looking in' format they've adopted to preserve the houses. Visitors can only look into the houses through windows and open doors rather than by walking through the houses. I understand this is a solution for those wishing to preserve the spaces, but it isn't the way I enjoy touring historic properties.
Miami Beach: A lot more antiseptic than I imagined but we were there in the middle of a weekday. Lovely beach that's pristine.
Captiva and Sanibel: I didn't find one shell worth taking! What did I do wrong? The only shells I saw were the little thick white 'clam' shells and there were a trillion of them. No conch shells at all. Are any of the island beaches protected by lifeguards? They're lovely but the surf was wild while we were there. The water was too cold to swim in without a wetsuit.
We loved our visit and would consider a longer stay next time. The Sanibel Steakhouse and the Mucky Duck are powerful inspirations for another trip during warmer weather. The people of Florida were lovely, by the way. We truly enjoyed their gentle and polite spirits.