Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Valentine dinner, fieldtrips to Koreshan Historic Site and Jet Blue park, and other random happenings

February 14-17, 2013
North Fort Myers, Florida
Seminole Campground

We had a almost a full day of rain on Valentine’s Day followed by some rather cool temperatures with overnight lows in the high 30s one night and highs in the 60s a couple of days.  I found the cool weather rather refreshing especially since it was sunny and bright. We are now enjoying daytime temperatures back in the low 80s—plenty warm enough for me.

It is amazing where the time goes in this lifestyle. I have been trying to get to Zumba five mornings a week, come home and often swim, then shower and it’s already noon! Then there is the WDYWTDT (what do you want to do today question) which almost always involves the two other couples we came to this park to hang out with—Mike and BJ and Steve and Diane.  Aside from planning something to share for dinner most nights, we frequent the beach, local festivals, and general exploring together.

We also have some friends in the area which we have made plans to see. On Valentine’s Day, we had the great pleasure of having dinner at the home of  Lois and Mike, friends from Oregon.  I taught with Lois in the 80s and early 90s before she moved to Florida when she retired and our sons have remained friends throughout this time. We saw them last year when they lived in a home in Cape Coral. This past summer they sold their home and moved into a retirement community called Pelican Preserve. They gave us a tour of the area which includes a golf course, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pool, restaurants, ballroom, fitness center, pickle ball courts, boardwalk and nature trails, and a variety of home options. They live in an incredibly beautiful 2400 sq. ft. Carriage Home overlooking the 27 hole golf course.

I can see why it’s tempting to live where you have all these amenities and no pool to clean or yard to maintain.  For us, coming from life in about 400 sq. ft. area. their place seemed grandiose. It was interesting to learn about their new community and how they like it. We enjoyed a lovely evening together talking about lifestyle choices and sharing Oregon memories. (And as usual, I neglected to take photos of us.)

Valentine dessert

Once again, I have to say the quality of our travels is much more about the people and relationships we make than the geography we find ourselves in. Although that’s not to say we don’t love this warm and sunny weather!

bennetts donut pillows
On Saturday, I had a desire to go to a coffee place we discovered last year called Bennett’s Fresh Roast in downtown Fort Myers, about twenty minutes away. We invited Mike and BJ along and off we went. Bennett’s is not just a coffee place; it is famous for its homemade donuts with flavors like almond coconut, berry mascarpone, and maple applewood bacon. I rarely eat a donut, but these are pretty special for a once a year fling!

After filling our bellies with caffeine and sugar, we headed off in search of Oofos sandals—the most comfortable flip flops we have discovered in our constant quest for ones with cushion and support. We did indeed find them at a place called Foot Solutions in Estero. Our friend Mike was interested in trying their slides and they had one pair left in his size—so voila. Success. Vic and I already have a pair and they are our #1 go to shoe in this weather. (Remember: Vic’s main retirement goal is to wear cargo shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops year round.)

From here we were off to get a few accessories for our Hobie kayaks.  Thanks to the internet, we found a great Hobie dealer who carries a large inventory of parts and accessories: Estero River Outfitters.  They had everything on Vic’s list (a drive well seal and leash kits for the mirage drives) except a gear bucket that fits in one of the dry hatches. Another successful stop.

We noticed that the Koreshan Historic Site State Park was just across the road from Estero River Outfitters. I had heard that this was a good place to go kayaking, so we drove in to check it out.

As luck would have it, they were also hosting an art show with live music and guided tours of the historic buildings that were once part of the Koreshan sect who lived here in the early 1900s. I had never heard of this park or the religious group that once occupied it. The historic buildings in what is now a state park include a bakery, printing house, general stores, concrete works, mill shop, and power plant plus some of the original homes they lived in.  We happened to catch a guided tour of the mill shop and power plant which were fascinating. They even fired up the generators and ran the tools in the machine to show you how they worked—way back when.

engine cooling tower

Here are some photos showing the lifestyle of the sect in the early 1900s.

The art show was pretty small and the least interesting part of our day, except that I loved these ribbon mobiles.

I did find a great little blue green saltwater pearl and kyanite beaded necklace that I just had to have at one of the booths.  My resolve is to wear it with jeans around the campfire as I don’t have too many dress up opportunities these days, but I still love the bling.

On Sunday, we heard there was an open house for visitors to check out the relatively new Jet Blue Stadium, spring training home for the Boston Red Sox. 

This seemed like a perfect Sunday outing with the stadium about a twenty minute drive from here. (Seems like that is the norm. . . .) We are not avid baseball fans, but the Red Sox are one of our favorite teams and we heard this new stadium, which just opened last year, is a replica of Fenway Park.

Spring training games are a big thrill for many of our friends, some of whom plan their spring vacations all around going to the games—usually for teams in Arizona as it is closer for our Oregon friends. We also have three grandsons who are big baseball fans and players, especially since their dad played baseball for the Oregon State Beavers. They are only 4, 6, and 8, but we can see many baseball games in our future as grandparents.

We were very impressed with the stadium, especially the replica of the green wall. The big difference is, of course, the swaying palm trees in the distance and the wide open surroundings.

Vic and Mike couldn't resist trying a seat in the dugouts. Notice how chilly it was out here in
Florida—a down vest! Ha-ha.

On the ride home, I came up with a grand plan to check out The Hut, a new restaurant in Buckingham owned by the blues guitarist, Tommy Lee Cook.  The grounds are amazing, the drinks a good deal, and the food rather disappointing. We do plan to go back and give them another try—topic for another blog as this one is getting way too long.

Let the good times roll. . . .


  1. Walking through the historic buildings sounds like fun and to see the old machines working....what a treat!

    Gotta check out the Oofos...have never heard of them.

  2. Those shoes look interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out for some.

    1. FYI: They were less expensive on-line than in the store we found.

  3. Those shoes sound great! I'll have to try them sometime. We've heard of Pelican Preserve, we're looking at similar communities, but the fees--and there are lots of them for living in a community like that-- are killers!

    1. Interestingly, our friends chose to lease vs. buy their carriage house. The owner pays all HOAs!

  4. I have the same problem with losing my morning when I go out running. Seems like the day is half over when I get back, stretch and shower.

    Thanks so much for the tip on the flip flops, I'm going to try to find a place to check them out. Mine are flat and worn. Time for new ones.

    We spent a few days at Koreshan last winter. Pretty sure I blogged about it. Nice central place to be located with lots to do as you know. It was great to be in the "community" in the early morning when it was completely empty or late at night in the dark. Probably one visit is enough though IMO.

    1. I must have missed your Koreshan post as I only started to follow your blog last spring--although my memory is not as keen as it used to be!


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