So, what does a couple do after spending 2 long, yet interesting, months at a kiosk in basically a cocoon state of mind? Well, after eating homemade salads and sandwiches each day – that is until we morphed into consuming a daily fast food mall treat as the weeks went on – one thing we wanted to do in Naples before we left town was eat a few “normal” meals!
Our first culinary experience was compliments of a Christmas gift card from my son Matt and it brought us to Mediterrano, a lovely restaurant located in what they refer to as Historic Old Naples. We sat outside – something we had not done since November – and feasted on swordfish, shrimp, and gazpacho! We had also made reservations for New Year’s Eve, so our second evening out a few days later occurred at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant. There we enjoyed a delicious dinner of filet medallions, short rib gnocchi and of course sampled some of the local wine.
Once we felt as if we were back in the world that we know, we explored a little more of the Naples area. One of our kiosk customers had mentioned that we had to check out Mercato – an area of specialty shops and eateries. Ironically, as we walked around the area and grabbed a cocktail, we stumbled upon an advertisement for the next movie being shown on the lawn. Bill and I rolled in laughter as we discovered they would be showing Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray! Have I mentioned that Bill and I had just spent two months in the mall, reliving that movie – every day was the same – same routine day after day! It couldn’t have been more perfect!!
Another day we took a drive down to Everglades City. Talk about being out in the middle of nowhere! Bill and Goldie Clifford, a couple who spend the summer in the RV Resort where we worked last summer, Indigo Bluffs, had stopped by the kiosk to say hello. They manage Everglades Isle RV Resort in Everglades City from November until May and had encouraged us to come down and see it. Can I share that I have never seen such a magnificent resort – restricted to Class A motorhomes and boats, the resort has 65 RV sites and 100 boat slips. Other amenities include a movie theater, pool, bar, spa…and the list goes on. Talk about a hidden gem! Located in a town of 400 people, several seafood and Cuban restaurants, and a Pre-K – 12 school with a total of 190 students, Everglades City is truly a place where you could easily fall off the grid!
Before you knew it, it was New Year’s Day and also our departure date from Naples. Our first stop was Sun-N-Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, where we had worked for four winter seasons. Although many of our colleagues have moved on, we caught up with Chef JoAnn, Gretchen, who we worked with at the pool bar, Nancy from the office and others. We had dinner with Joyce and Bill Clark, breakfast with Leesa and George Carlin, and also got to catch up with Gary and Linda – and Chino – Childs! We also dined at our favorite restaurant, Columbia, where we enjoyed the “1905 salad” and their delicious sangria!
Our next stop was San Antonio, Florida – yes, it’s really a town – to visit with my mother and sister for a few days. We caught up, ate very well, and just enjoyed each other’s company! Again, ironically, we left Florida with our next destination being San Antonio again – this time in Texas!
We arrived in San Antonio three days later and boy was I glad to get there! The devastation from Hurricane Michael was so evident as we drove through the Florida panhandle and then the roads in Alabama and Louisiana were horrible, and you can’t make me drive through Houston ever again – and remember, I never drive the motor home! Sometimes I wish that we could just “beam” ourselves from one point to the next!
Having worked at Traveler’s World in San Antonio for two previous winter seasons, it was great to see all of the “Winter Texans” with whom we lived and worked. Highlights of our stay include …
- Golf…although not enough, due to cold and rainy weather.
- Happy Hour … a weekly event but this one included a fish fry compliments of Tim and Nancy Lantz – unbelievable halibut from Alaska – and Mary Ann Vieville’s famous French fries!
- Concert at the historic Aztec Theater following a great dinner on the Riverwalk at Iron Cactus – Standing room only tickets turned into first row mezzanine seats with access to the Warrior Lounge – a private bar. Traveler’s World managers Terry and Brenda Vaupel were responsible for this adventure! Lick was the opening band, followed by Mothership, a Led Zeppelin cover band, and then Eclipse, a Journey cover band. We were disappointed in Eclipse but really enjoyed Mothership – I was flashbacking to high school!
- Dinners with friends at 54th St. Grill, Southtown Pizzeria, Tito’s, Texas Roadhouse, and Olive Garden! Let’s not forget Friday afternoon at Freetail Brewery! Do we like to eat and drink or what?
All in all, our time in San Antonio was wonderful! Never have we met a group of people so fun-loving and personable! Never want to lose touch with these Winter Texans!!
We left San Antonio this past Saturday and after traveling through west Texas (a.k.a. a whole lot of nothing) but a great homestyle cafe at the RV park, New Mexico, and Arizona, we are now in California! Tomorrow we arrive in San Diego and on Sunday our Baja adventure begins!
Watch for upcoming blog posts as we become part of a Baja caravan for thirty days! I can’t wait as we follow our own advice…
Stay Calm and Travel On…