Today was a very leisurely day with not a great deal to report. Of course you know that’s not going to stop me waffling on at length…
Breakfast, shops, sightseeing, more food…
No alarms were set, but Nick was up and drinking coffee in the lobby when I went down. I had my own coffee while Nick got ready, then we hit the road. For the second morning running we set out for Cracker Barrel and this time we actually made it, passing a baptist church with an incredibly large and packed car park on the way. Cracker Barrel was also really busy with a lot of people waiting for a table. However, most of them were families there for Brunch, so as a ‘party of two’ we were seated straight away. Breakfast was fine, if memorable only for the fact we both politely declined the offer of grits as an accompaniment.
Back on to I-75 for a couple of junctions and we arrived at Miromar Outlet Mall just as it was opening at 11:00. The sun was well and truly out by now and the temperature rapidly climbing to the predicted 83˚F. This mall is a very impressive place which seems to go on forever in a kind of reverse J shape. It certainly makes ‘MacGlenn’ look a bit poor. One of its more remarkable features is the fact it has several ornamental ponds with huge goldfish and turtles roaming about. Both fish and turtles appear attracted to human proximity; presumably not everyone obeys the Do Not Feed The Fish or Turtles and/or Do Not Throw Coins in the Fountain signs.
None of the shops at Miromar appealed to me, but I happened to notice we were just five miles from the Coconut Point Apple Store at Estero. When he had done mooching, the seed was duly sown with Nick and we were on our way. As I have observed before, Apple Stores do not necessarily have to be a destination in their own right, but are usually a good indicator of an interesting neighbourhood. In this case, Coconut Point is a large shopping area which I am hesitant to describe as a mall as the shops are laid-out along a series of streets with parking outside… almost like a conventional ‘high street’, except it is all relatively new and clearly specially developed as a shopping centre. Radiating out from the shops are further parking lots, a Super Target, a cinema and lots of condominiums set around golf courses and waterways – all part of the same overall development. I realise I have made a poor job of describing the place, but the point to make is it is nothing like anywhere I have ever seen before.
Once we’d explored this to our mutual satisfaction, we drove south through the town of Bonita Springs and west to the coast. The road then forms a long circular route northward along the coast, over a series of bridges linking several islands, including Lovers Key State Park then into the town of Fort Myers Beach. We paused a while at one of the bridges and had a little walk around. Several people were fishing off, or close to, the bridge, including a group of lads using a large net to scoop up tiddlers. As we got to Fort Myers Beach we were able to spot a condo block where we stopped as a family (me, Mum, Nick, Sue and Christopher when he was three or four – he’s 25 now!). [Nick has just checked his archive of holiday diaries and confirmed it was Sept 1992].
The traffic for us, travelling north, hadn’t been at all bad. As we reached the centre of Fort Myers Beach, however, it started to get a bit congested. We were through and heading over the bridge back to the main land in only a few minutes, but the queue in the opposite direction, to enter the island was huge. It was around 14:30 by this time, so these people weren’t going to get long on the beach when they finally got there.
We continued to follow our noses toward Downtown Fort Myers – but carried on through as the bushiness district was pretty deserted. I’d picked a leaflet up in the hotel advertising the Fleamasters Fleamarket so as we were heading toward it, we decided to check it out. It is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but in British terms it is like a huge Sunday market. Stall after stall crammed with ‘stuff’ that you never knew you needed – and really don’t. It was fun to browse, but other than Nick splashing out the princely sum of $5 for two belts, there was nothing either of us couldn’t live without.
As the afternoon wore on, we headed back to the hotel and — and I’m not ashamed to admit it — I had an hour’s siesta. Bliss. Suitably recharged and freshened, we headed out again in search of dinner. It was my choice tonight and I went with Outback Steakhouse on Cleveland Ave. To our mild surprise, we were seated straight way and looked after very attentively. I had NY Strip washed down with a huge glass of Sam Adams Cold Snap, while Nick had Prime Rib – both preceded by a salad! Excellent all round.
As it was still only 18:30, we felt compelled to call in at Best Buy on the way past, then back to the room.
Told you there wasn’t a lot to report about today! Enjoyable none-the-less.