What’s New! A Return to Naples – Florida – USA

Enjoying the Pool at the House

A third visit to one location is unusual for us. We simply feel that there is just too much world to see in far too little time!  Why then, would we return to the same place over and over again?

Because some places … just feel like home.

I believe that is what has happened with our penchant for Naples, Florida in the USA . Certainly I enjoyed it when I first visited at the tender age of 7 months.  I also enjoyed it last year when we went for Mom’s birthday and a chance to recharge after a hectic winter.  As such, when the bipeds realized it just wasn’t financially possible to go to Bonaire on a dive trip as they had hoped (for Mom’s birthday this year) the fallback was not a disappointment. It was something to look forward to.

We are certainly lucky that family owns a home there. Even luckier that we were given the key and green light to go and settle in for a week… and settle in we did.

There are things that have become a tradition. The grocery store around the corner is a favourite. We love it there. It’s small but so perfectly well stocked. The shelves are dark mahogany wood and the curved glass domes always shine with cleanliness as we look at the amazing fish, meats and poultry on display.  We also always visit two cigar shops one near the house and, of course, the wonderful Marcus Daniel just off 5th Street downtown Old Naples. Oh we love it there – this year we even managed to go on the night they had a gentleman from Cuba demonstrating how they roll the home brand of cigar. This happens every Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  What an amazingly wonderful experience: Cuban coffee, music …If you love cigars, we recommend this fun activity.  Do take the dog out of the store from time to time.  Cigar smoke is not just bad for humans, it isn’t good for dogs either. Do keep that in mind. If you have a flat nose breed, then perhaps it isn’t a good idea.

Cigar Rolling Demo!

We always enjoy our strolls in Old Naples. 5th Street with its lovely stores and restaurants.  In the evening, it comes alive with music and white lights wrapped around palm tree trunks. We went to the Lurcat again for Mom’s birthday dinner. We were not disappointed and neither were our guests. The mini donuts Mom had waited for were exactly as she remembered. Perfect.  Then there is 3rd Street – with its stunning fountains that makes mom wistful for old Europe and the Thursday nights of live music in all the little courtyards. It is such fun to watch people just get up and dance. Third street is really extra dog friendly – even the free poop bag dispensers are beautiful!

The old pier is always a wonderful (not dog friendly unless you are willing to sneak) moment – especially at sunset,  and the Saturday farmer’s fresh market is a must, even if very small.   This year, Mom found a new addition – canelé… just as they make them in Bordeaux, France!

“These extraordinary little confections are a specialty of Bordeaux, where nuns were said to have created them more than 200 years ago using the flour they salvaged from the holds of sailing ships anchored in the Port de la Lune. I like to call them “portable crème brulée” because they contrast a crunchy caramelized exterior with a moist, custardy center. This recipe is a bit particular. You really need authentic copper canelé molds and you really do need to coat them with beeswax (which you can find at some health food store and farmers’ markets). The wax makes the unmolding easier and— most important — gives the canelé their distinctive, crunchy crust. Make sure you let the batter rest for the full 12 hours. The best way to eat these is with a cup of strong coffee. You can also serve them as a dessert, cut in half and drizzled with caramel sauce.” – Pascal Rigo

This year, the bipeds decided to bring me to the beach. I must flag at this time: only service dogs are legally allowed on the beaches of Naples – although I hear they are working on this and hoping to create either a time slot or area that would be dog friendly – I hope they win!  If you have a large dog we highly recommend you go to the dog beach at Bonita springs. But that beach is not a place we would recommend to tiny toy breeds; especially the under 5 pound crowd. Sanibel Island – not far from Naples, has an on leash dog friendly policy and makes for a wonderful day trip.

Time to DIG!

This year however, I did get to go and just hung out in my beach dog tent. I was glad to be with the bipeds, but it is important to note that the heat is extreme.  Make sure you bring lots of cool water, keep your dog in the shade (my tent was in the shade of the beach parasol) and a cooling vest or sleep pad is not a bad idea.

A new activity for us as a family this time around – the discovery of the trip – was the dog friendly botanical gardens.  I invite you to read my review if you have not already.  WOW … just go. Trust us … just go.

Naples remains one of the most dog friendly places on this side of the pond. To date it is the only place that is comparable to the kind of dog friendliness you find in parts of Europe. That is another reason we love going so much. If you are travelling with a dog, it really is a go to destination.  So many people seem to think that a dog bowl outside stores makes a town dog friendly. But for us, that isn’t really the case. Neither is a great dog park – no matter how amazing. What makes a town dog friendly is whether or not you can do what you would normally do anyway – with your dog.  This is especially true at meal time. In Naples Florida you are spoiled for choice of patios where you and Fido can sit down for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.

In review: Still a 5 paws rating. The more we go the more we discover how much this town has opened its heart to the canine world. From dog bars and bowls on 5th Street, to extraordinary dog parks and access to the botanical garden; from the friendly shopkeepers and citizens to the service staff.  What also makes Naples wonderful is that every time we go, we actually get to try and experience something new. Next time?  We heard there is a movie theatre that I can go to! With leather seats … and where the bipeds can have wine and … a meal? We must investigate!

Still not sure? Come and SEE the fun!

 

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7 Comments on “What’s New! A Return to Naples – Florida – USA

  1. Thank you for sharing Dear Monte! It’s a fantastik place! You’re lucky to have such wonderful parents that you can travel! )))

  2. Nice recap and tips, Monte! It’s nice to know you and your bipeds are able to enjoy so many activities together there.

  3. This post is awesome! As I’m looking for a place in Florida for a month long stay in the new year, obviously Naples is now top of the list! Some friends told us it is by far the nicest place in Florida they have ever visited. I am definitely going to looking at Naples!

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