Day Trip To Naples

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Naples, Florida sits 45 miles south of Fort Myers and is about an hour drive from Sanibel, so it seemed like an ideal day trip destination. However, we would’ve driven twice as far just to see the Naples Botanical Garden.

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Located a few miles southeast of downtown Naples, it’s as lovely as botanical gardens in Maine and my hometown (and, at this time of year, far warmer and more lush than either).

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I posted this photo on my Facebook page with the simple but apt caption, “Paradise”.

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Don’t harass or disturb the alligators; we didn’t see any, so perhaps they were napping.

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One of seven sections of the Naples gardens, the Kapnick Caribbean Gardens did, in fact, remind me somewhat of terrain in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The blue-and-silver shack on the right is Chattel House.

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A close-up of Chattel House’s exterior and interior.

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Also part of the Caribbean Garden: the Coral Stone Pergola.

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In addition to flora and fauna, the gardens have a few giant, colorful mosaics on display.

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The mosaics above and below can be found in the Asian Garden.

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Also at the Asian Garden: the Candi Suka Ruin. My, don’t those faces look inviting…

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One of the garden’s more peaceful, isolated vistas.

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After the gardens, we checked out downtown Naples, which has two major business districts. First up: 5th Avenue South.

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Block after block of vivid, sunny Spanish architecture–like an upscale, more refined (and more spacious) version of Key West’s Duval Street.

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We didn’t dine at the HobNob, though I hope to eat at some restaurant with that name (there’s gotta be more than one, right?) one day.

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This coffeehouse/diner looks like a place to which one of the Golden Girls would take a casual date.

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A half-mile away from 5th Avenue South, 3rd Street South is Naple’s other business district and possibly even more upscale…

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…though still laid back (it is Southwestern Florida, after all) and home to the original Tommy Bahama’s.

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Across the street is their sister store, Relax. From a purely aesthetic point of view, I prefer it.

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Above and below: my best close-up pix of flowers all week were of these right outside Relax.

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A pair of matching-like-bookends stone labradors.

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I always park my midlife-crisis-mobile with the top down whenever I’m in Naples.

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One last row of towering palms (now with Christmas tree lights!) before leaving Florida.

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