Saturday, March 2, 2013

Spending a sunny Sunday in Naples

February 24, 2013
North Fort Myers, Florida
Seminole Campground

I have written before about my family connections in Florida. It turns out I have more relatives here than any other state of the union. One of my first cousins rents a condo in Naples every winter and he invited me there to spend the day with him.  What a treat.  We have rarely seen each other in our adult lives, but still have close ties especially since both of our parents are gone. Now that we are the older generation, we have more appreciation for family ties and how easily time can slip away.  So we made a date to spend a day together—something just the two of us had never done before.  He invited me to go to his church, Unity of Naples, then treated me to a lovely lunch in an area of Naples I had not seen before: Venetian Village.

What lovely grounds they have at the Unity church. After the service, I had to go and get my camera to take photos of this peaceful setting. I imagine this gazebo by a lake is a popular place for weddings.

I also really loved the koi pond, outdoor chimes amidst lush greenery, and a labyrinth made of seashells.

Labyrinths are designed as a place to quiet the mind, meditate, seek insight, and acknowledge blessings. There are three stages to walking in a labyrinth: releasing on the way in, receiving in the center, and returning--taking back out to the world what you received. I always wanted to have one in my backyard.
labyrinth walk at unity

One of the most remarkable parts of the service was the music. The music director, Jodie DeSalvo, is a concert pianist with the Naples Philharmonic. She has played at Carnegie Hall and even the Vatican. The piano she played on at the church is one they are currently raising money to purchase as it used to be Dave Brubeck’s. He recorded his last CD on this piano. Her impressive talent made this most out of this remarkable Bechstein baby grand piano.

After the service, Glen took me to see the turn-key coach house he rents. He and his wife have been renting a place in Florida for the past eight years.  (She was still back in Illinois taking care of her aged mother.) They have rented all kinds of places in different locales, but seem to like Naples and West Palm Beach the best.  For lunch, Glen wanted to take me somewhere other than the well-known Fifth Avenue South where most tourists go. I learned that Naples got its name in the late 1800s because of the area's mild climate and abundant fish comparing it to the sunny Italian peninsula. Playing off the Italian theme, the bay in Naples is called Venetian Bay and, Venetian Village, is a waterfront area with over fifty shops and restaurants on this bay.


There is no doubt Naples is a town with money. The shops and cafes here were very high end and the condos along the water must be pretty pricey too.  I really enjoyed checking out the various restaurants, one of my weaknesses as a former restaurateur. I liked the looks of this place called Fish—with all the white tablecloths, blue-checkered chairs, and whimsical art.

We ate at a more casual place called The Village Pub where we had a great table overlooking Venetian Bay.

I even took a photo of my beautiful coconut encrusted tropical shrimp salad—something I don’t usually do but it was so pretty and deliciosa.

We strolled (seems like the right verb for Venice) around the waterfront just enjoying the beauty of the scenery and colorful shops. When Vic and I went to Italy we never did make it to Venice even though we planned to. For the last ten years, Vic has had to hear me lament our choice to skip Venice and so he has promised to take me there someday. We have been to the Venetian Hotel in Vegas which came as a close second. They even have gondola rides there, something I did not see in this Venetian Bay. As we walked around checking out the area, I took so many photos that I decided to make a little collage. I definitely would like to come back here with Vic and have a special meal at one of these hip looking places overlooking the water.

venetian collage

Glen and I had so much to share about the different paths our lives have taken that the afternoon just flew by. It was also heartwarming to share memories from our childhood when Glen’s family and my grandmother lived in separate flats in the same building on East Avenue in Berwyn, Illinois. Once again, I felt my mother, Eve, and her brother, Adam, (Glen’s father) smiling down on us. What a great way to spend a glorious Sunday. Let the good times roll. . . .


  1. What a lovely story about a really nice family occasion. I felt like a very relaxing time hearing you tell about it. I had a classical design labyrinth like the one at the church mowed into a secluded field on our property. I just loved it, especially at the full moon. The Chartres type are wonderful to walk too and the Unitarian Church in our former home town had one which they set up for public walking once a month.

    1. I had a feeling you would appreciate the labyrinth. We visited Chartres Cathedral in France, but I don't recall seeing a labyrinth there. I will have to look into this design. A friend of mine makes coffee tables with glass tops that have zen gardens inside. It would be cool to make a shell labyrinth inside just to look at and rake around from time to time. Maybe it would even fit in a motorhome!

  2. Very nice post. Thanks for sharing your Sunday.

  3. Loved sharing that beautiful Sunday afternoon with you, Pam. And yes, I am sure Eve and Adam were watching us from above with joy and love in their hearts. Hope we can continue our family connection in the future. Until then............

  4. This life-style is a great way to reconnect. I am sure you had quite a bit to catch up on. You cousin appeared to be a great host.

  5. You two are terrible. I would have screamed my head off with the lobster!

    What a wonderful day you two had. The area and wildlife look awesome. We hope to winter in that area next year.

    Thanks for visiting our blog...I now can follow you!


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