Fun in Fort Myers

Fort Myers Yacht Basin has been our home for the past three months. Our stay has been very pleasant, and we have met so many nice people.  It’s going to be hard to leave on Wednesday.  I have been told don’t stay to long in one place you get comfortable and then you don’t want to leave, how true.

This is a foggy morning in Fort Myers we don’t get to many of them, but it sure is a nice picture.

We are only two blocks from Historic Downtown with a lot to see and do.  There are many beautiful parks you can walk to.  If on your walk you get tired there is always a bench to rest on, and friendly people to talk to.  Centennial Park is very close to the boat and you have to walk by it every time you go to the grocery store or farmers market.  The park has statues of Edison, Ford, and Firestone.

This is a monument in Florida dedicated to the commemoration of the service of African-American troops during the Civil War.  It is specifically dedicated to the 2nd Regiment United  States Colored Troops in the battle of Fort Myers on July 20th, 1803.

This was once a post office built-in 1933 and is an example of Neoclassic revival architecture Florida style.  The logic columns on the front portico are reminiscent of Greek buildings, but they and the rest of the building are made out of limestone that actually has shells and coral in it.  The post office became a federal courthouse from the 1960’s until 1998 after a new court-house was built.  The building was abandoned and fell into disrepair until it was purchased on a 99 year lease from the city of Fort Myers to be refurbished.  In 2006 Berne Davis contributed  $1,000,000 towards the refurbishment and the building was named after her and her husband.  SIDNEY & BERNE DAVIS ART CENTER.

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If transportation is needed you have the local trolley that will stop at all the major stops. But it doesn’t run on Sunday, as we found out when Paul and Linda were here.  We wanted to take the trolley and finally decided to do it on a Sunday.  So we walked to the closest stop and waited.  When it was five minutes late we checked the schedule and found out they don’t run on Sundays.  We had to come back on Monday to enjoy our ride on the trolley.

These are some of the unique bars we found starting with City Tavern that had a good band every Saturday night, without a cover charge.  One of the bar tenders we had didn’t have to go to a gym she got more than enough exercise waiting on the customers.  She was actually quite entertaining to watch.  This is a sign I saw at City Tavern called Bar Phone Fees.

We found The 86 Room but don’t look for a sign on the door, because there isn’t one.  The bar is model after a 20’s prohibition era speakeasy and has some great old silent movies playing.  They have Jazz & Blues playing in the background.  The 86 bartenders are craftsman, with old-time mixers as their specialties.  The bar has a 1930’s inside decor and vibe that turns back time to the look, feel, and a taste of a prohibition night out.  You enter a dimly lite bar space showcasing and impressive wall of booze.

Then you have the back alley with tables and barrels set up that adds to the atmosphere. There are lights strewn between the buildings.

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I found out that in 1933 when prohibition ended our government gave out liquor license allowing no more than 85 persons in any bar regardless of space.  This is the origin of the expression “86” which is still widely used in today’s service industry.

Another unique bar we found was Space 39 Martini Bar & Lounge located in the entrance to Patio De Leon. This art gallery has been open for five yrs. and added the bar a year ago.  They have excellent custom martinis, friendly staff, and comfortable seating.

Here are a few of the restaurants that we dinned in.  Each and every one was unique in its own way.  We could have went out to eat every night and I don’t think we would have found them all.   Ford Garage opened in 2012 and is your neighborhood burger and beer joint located in historic down town Fort Myers.

The fords garage will give you the vibe of being in a 1920’s service station/prohibition bar with a hand hammered copper bar top.  It has many more unique features like the antique truck chassis suspended above the bar.

Ford Garage has a unique bath room, which is must to see even if you don’t need to use the facility’s.

They have  oil rages as napkins held together with a hose clamp.  They are known for their fresh Pretzels, this was a favorite of Paul Weber’s.  They are addicting and so good.  Then you have their famous gourmet burger with the ford stamp.  We have eaten several times at Ford Garage and always had good food and service.  Kent and I had to stop for our last drink and pretzels before we leave on Wednesday.

Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza opened in June of 2014 and was named after the notorious mobster Al Capone. Kent and I had their coal-fired pizza it was good.  I enjoyed watching the guys making the pizza throwing and spinning the crust in the air.  I wonder how long they had to practice not dropping the crust before they were hired for the job.

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Al Capone is mythic American figure and the most famous gangster ever.  Capone had a home in Miami and made frequent visit to Fort Myers.  Rumor has it Capone had a home in Fort Myers that had a large basement, which is unusual for home in Fort Myers.  It was said to be a large home conveniently located on the river and near the railroad tracks.  A perfect spot to run a whiskey business.  Every where you look in Capone’s Cold Stone Pizza there are pictures and history of Al Capone.  The decor and staff clothing is reverent to the 1920 Prohibition area.

Keeping with the theme the restaurant features an underground vault encased in glass, located in the center of the dinning room.  Its engraved plaque on the front of the vault explains the mystery behind Al Capone’s secret cellar.  This information is on the plaque. The historical building in which Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza is located, was previously used as an old bank.   Many have said”What better place to hide a secret vault belonging to a mobster than in a bank. Nobody would ever suspect it.” We believe Capone thought the same thing.  During our renovation at Capone’s we accidentally uncovered an underground room in which we believe to be the actual secret vault of Al Capone.

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We stopped at Capone’s and had a drink when Paul and Linda were visiting.  Our waiter was Eban from Iran.  He was a very good waiter and had been employed there for 16 yrs. He said his American mother trained him well.

Ichiban  Japanese and Chinese Cuisine Restaurant is family owned.  The restaurant is located in the lobby of the indigo hotel.

Ichiban prides themselves in providing the freshest Asian fare and their wide selection of Sushi.  They offer a wide range of Asian specializes which you can find on their extensive menu.  We have eaten there several times and always were very pleased with food and service.  We found out about Ichiban when we did the bus tour with Paul and Linda in December.

If you are from up north and you’re felling home sick just go to the Lodge and you’ll feel at home.  The Lodge opened May 6th 2015.  It reminded us of the lodges up north when we were snowmobiling.

The lodge brings you sports on SW  Florida’s biggest LED TV.  They have 28 different brews, and slow smoked BBQ specialties with regional sauces right here in Fort Myers. Kent was in heaven eating their great barbecue ribs.

The lodge has wood every where from the bar top to the beams and 102 year old pine floors. They have a self tap wall of beer where you can preload money on a card and try different ones.

It has a grizzly at the entrance and various taxidermy mounts around the dinning room, the hunting and meat theme naturally extends to the menu.

The Los Cabos in Fort Myers is new home for the tasty true Tex-Mexican meals.   The decor of Los Cabos feels as though you been transcended into a 100 yr. old cantina.  This was the best Mexican food we have eaten in a long time.

Firestone is the most unusual historical four-story building with the only waterfront rooftop bar in Fort Myers.  Indigo Hotel also has a roof top bar, however they have a solid wall so you have to stand up to look over.

Firestone is the newest addition to the downtown river district.  With views of the Caloosahatchee River, the downtown river basin, and park.

img_0186The first floor is the grill room and proudly serves the best prime steaks, and fresh seafood.   The second is the loft overlooking the grille with a beautiful waterfront view and offers another seating choice.

Then you have the jazzed up comfortable seating on the third floor Martine bar with amazing lighting dance floor, custom bar, with live entertainment.  Last but not least is the Sky bar with the beautiful view and breathtaking sunsets.

Our favorite place to take our family and friends is the Sky Bar.  You need to get there early for happy hr if you want a good seat.  The view is beyond words and the most amazing sunset.  Bob Bunting would agree with us about the view but I don’t think he was talking about the sunset.

Then you have the Hotel Indigo with another roof top bar and lounge, while you take in the stunning view of downtown Fort Myers and the Caloosahatchee River.  Indigo Hotel was built-in 2007 and the first multi 7 story building in Fort Myers.  They have live entertainment on selected night one being Christmas Eve.  Patrick, Anita, and Kent were able to enjoy the entertainment and warm night.  I really got the best deal being with Ella, and Lucy our granddaughters.

Kent has fun picking on the bartender Brenda.  What he didn’t expect was how good she is at giving it back.  We went back to see her for one last time, Monday night.  She made us one of her specialty drinks.  We always had fun when she is working and enjoyed having drinks on the roof top.

This was another place we would bring family and friends. The view is different and you can see more of Fort Myers from the roof top.

The floor leading into the hotel from the back is very unique along with the court-yard and painting.  The building that Indigo Hotel is in was called The Post Office Arcade and was the first building in Fort Myers specifically built to serve as the Post Office.  At one time the Arcade provided space for 20 stores and offices before Indigo Hotel was .  We were told that you can’t change the appearance  of the exterior in Historic Downtown Fort Myers only the interior. The painting is named Fort Myers An Alternative History. This 1999 public art installation by public artist and photography professor Barbar Jo Revelle encapsulates Fort Myers early history a 46 year period denoted by conflict, struggles and even abject shame.

We love walking to the Farmers Market very Thursday morning it’s the best morning of the week.  It was so nice to have fresh vegetables and fruits every week.  They also have breads, cheese, home-made items, and fresh flowers reasonably priced.  Kent didn’t have an excuse not to buy flowers.

They have live entertainment as you shopped for your fresh items.  If your better half gets hungry while you are selecting your produce he/she can find something to eat.  You can get a fresh made sandwich from one vendor or order breakfast roll up from another.

There are many shops in historic downtown Fort Myers.  Each one is unique in its own way filled with any kind of art by local artist.  You can find anything from jewelry to paintings and anything in between.   We found this very unique and interesting  store called Timeless and its sister shop Another time.

Timeless is known for electric tropical art and curiosities items of illumination and intrigue whimsical steam punk art and decor.  Steve creative this unique item on the table with many different parts including an octopus.

img_5832Another time is home to an inviting and diverse collection of home decor, lighting custom lamps original art, jewelry, unique gifts and more. Whimsical and Mystical creation of steam punk art decor and jewelry are made at Another Time by Eliza.

We found this band called Memphis 56 they are from Fort Myers.  They are the masters of Rockabilly and play in the Patio de Leon in Fort Myers.

Memphis 56 will bring down the house blasting music from the fifties playing, Elvis, Johnny Horton,  Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams Sr.  They are trying to be as pure as possible with their music.  It’s 1956 and they are playing on the equipment and dressing the part.  They have a grilled silver bullet microphone , a 1955 Gibson electric guitar and a stand up bass.  They use a 1955 RCA vacuum tube sound console replete with dials and knobs a wavy oscilloscope monitor.

Then you have all the music walk and art festivals.  You also have the car cruise and motorcycle cruise.  There is always something going on down town.

Every time you go down town you will always see Mosses with his staff.  He is a very friendly guy willing to give you advice.

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Then you have Brian who is 17 years old and has his own business as a mechanic.  He is a very polite, respectable, hard-working young man.  He learned the mechanic trade by working with his dad Mike since he was eight.  If we had more kids like Brian in this world we would have less crime and gangs.  This is a picture of our SCBA Diver that came and cleaned the barnacles of the bottom of our boat.  Barnacles are exclusively marine and tend to live in shallow & tidal waters typically in erosive settings.  They are short saltwater shell-fish that attaches itself to ship hulls, rocks and docks.  You need to have them cleaned off if you sit still for more than six weeks.

If we can’t move the big boat we take the little boat.  We went with three other rafts to a bar in North Fort Myers.  The bar was nice but finding a parking spot was more of a challenge.

We can’t forget about all the dock tails.  What a great way to meet new people and share information.  When you go to dock tails you must bring something to pass, boat cards, your own drinks, and never stay past nine which is loopers midnight.

If you need a dog fix just stop by the office were you will find the meeting of the dogs. They are all well-behaved and love attention.  Fort Myers Yacht Basin is their home so you get to know the puppies well after three months.  This is just some of them.

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Pam Short took me to Fleamasters Fleamarket Florida’s biggest and best Fleamarket with 900 unique stores jam-packed with bargains.  They had new and vintage art, jewelry, rugs, antiques, clothing  and so much more.  You name it and I am sure there is a booth for it. There are over 20 different places to eat along with several bars.  So it’s perfect the wife can go shopping and the husband can still stop for a drink.  It was crazy to see all the shops but I did find a top I liked.

We also had some Navy Seals stop at the marina, they were testing four prototype boats. You can see by the angled sides, that radar will not detect these boats.  The diesel engines were so quite that you can’t tell they were running.  Kent asked if he could take some pictures and not get shot.  The Navy Seals were all business each one had a job and they did it without much communication.  When the Seals left the boats tied to the dock they were all covered up at night.

Kent and I would like to thank all our family and friends that came to visit us.  We enjoyed each and every one of your visits.  Some were longer than others but they were all special to us.

Amy, Chad, and Camber Oldham came in November they were able to travel with us for a short time.  Jamie and Katie McDonough, and their boys came to see us in Clearwater and had dinner with us.  Jamie was so kind to pick up the kids at the airport that evening and bring them to the boat.

Paul and Linda Weber were so nice to drive our car to Fort Myers for us and spend some time before flying home.  Anita, Patrick, Ella, and Lucy were here to celebrate Christmas with us on the boat.  It didn’t seem like Christmas being so warm but we all had a great time.

John and Pam Short had a boat in our home port Frentress Marina until they sold it. They are also doing the loop in a 44 ft Defever.  They spent New Years with us and stayed overnight on the boat.  We were very glad to have Kent’s sister Karen McDaniel and her friend Pat Blackmore from Virginia spend five days with us.   Sue McDonough Patrick’s mother and a very dear friend stopped by to say Hi.  Wish she could have stayed longer but she was on her way to visit her son Jamie.

Then were very surprised when Less and Mary Jo Flemming a college classmate of Kent’s stayed with us overnight.  They were vacationing in Florida and stopped to see us.  It was nice visiting with them it had been over 30 years since we had been together.  Then we had our neighbors from Frentress, Bob and Jerry Bunting.  We all enjoyed the art fair together and we had to take then to the Sky Bar.  It was so nice to see them but our time was too short.  Our last guests were Tony and Marina also from Frentress we were so glad it worked out that we could spend some time with them. They were only able to spend one night with us.  We had a very nice visit and dinner with them.

Friends new and old what would we do with out them.

img_5738This is our end to a great day which is every day.  How lucky Kent and I are.

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