We are back from our highly anticipated LONG family vacation in Naples, Florida & it was truly everything we had hoped for & more! I didn’t take my laptop along with me, but definitely did a great job of documenting our trip via Instagram, so I hope you follow me over there? If not, definitely be sure to like @coffeeandcartwheels so that we can connect! I love, love, love Instagram (like more than Facebook anymore)!
So you might remember that the kids and I flew out to meet my mom in Naples as she was already there with her cousin. It was Mimi, the kids and me for the first two weeks of our vacation & then my hubby was able to meet us down for the final week. The plan worked just perfectly – we had an easy flight into Fort Myers on Tuesday the 14th & it’s safe to say that the kiddies fell in love with our condo (which was a family friend’s & we are oh so grateful for use of it) upon first sight! Mac had been to this particular condo twice before (when he was 6 months & then again when he was 1.5 yrs), but Parker had never been! How could you NOT love this incredible view? I mean, this is from our balcony!!! THIS VIEW every morning, everyday, every night! Just incredible! Our condo is one of the only beachfront condos with (easy) beach access – as in the pool deck view was the ocean/beach. It was a two step drop down to the beach from the pool deck area & that makes this condo EXTRA special! The kids went between swimming in the pool & ocean ALL DAY LONG! They were so busy & truly swam their little hearts out daily! We took a few excursions while Mimi was with us – one to the outlet malls which were located just south of the Ft. Myers airport (rainy day trip) & then another down to the Everglades for an airboat ride / alligator watching! I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Parker was truly impressed with the airboat ride, but Mac and I loved it! It was amazing how fast those boats go & how swift they can turn & even go over marshy areas! Plus, seeing the gators out and about in their natural habitat was pretty incredible! (There are many different airboat companies south of Naples, but we chose Wooten’s because it also had a cool animal sanctuary to check out! We highly recommend this company! Our airboat tour guide (Marco) was awesome & so much fun! In addition to all of our swimming, pooling & beach exploring we also ATE amazingly too! I can honestly say that I didn’t have a single meal I didn’t absolutely love while in Florida! Between picking up fresh food to prepare in our condo (I mean, why not with that view, right?) or going out – we had some incredible food! A few of our fave restaurants? There are several:
- Tommy Bahama (a MUST in Naples): We ate here on our second night in Naples & despite getting seated super late, we had the BEST service & the most delicious meals. They have a GREAT kids menu which is always nice to see & you know you MUST have their famous coconut shrimp as an appetizer, right? My mom and I both had the blue crab salad, which was amazing! I know I have a pic of it somewhere, but it’s currently lost in the hundreds of photos I snapped!
- Cosmos Pizza (another MUST): We first tried Cosmos upon recommendation back when we were first in Naples with Maguire (2008), we went back again in 2009 & haven’t had it since! It was a MUST during this trip, especially since you guys know we REQUIRE pizza on Friday nights, right? We ordered carry out both times during our trip & were so happy each time – the hubs went with their Supreme & I did the Quattro Stagioni (with ham, artichoke hearts, and olives). The second round we added the Antipasto salad & it also did not disappoint!
- The Turtle Club: Chris and I enjoyed a date night while my mom was still in town! We hit the Ritz Carlton for drinks and appetizers, then walked down the beach to the Turtle Club for an amazing (but very late) dinner! We couldn’t pass up their signature “Oysters Turtlefeller”….and lots of Miraval Rose’!
- The Dock at Crayton Cove: Have I mentioned that my hubby has a talent for picking out great restaurants? We wanted a place to take the kiddies that was waterfront, but kid-friendly. The Dock was perfect & overlooks beautiful Naples Bay! The kids meals came in Bento boxes, which was super cute! The hubs had black grouper in key lime butter sauce & I had a seafood Louie salad with homemade “Louie” dressing. Both were delicious! We’ll definitely return!
- Tacos & Tequila Cantina: The hubs had visited Tacos & Tequila during his last golf trip down to Naples / Bonita Springs, so he knew this would be a fun place to take the kiddies! I mean, who doesn’t love tacos (and tequila)? It was a fun, laid back atmosphere & the food was great! The hubs and I split the fajita trio & we could barely finish it!
In addition to eating out, like I said earlier – we also ate in often & enjoyed the amazing view from the condo’s balcony! We took advantage of some amazing things from The Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s AND also visited the Third Street South Farmer’s Market to pick up the most amazing fresh crab cakes! The market itself is SO cute & actually located just behind Tommy Bahama. There are all sorts of gourmet and fresh vendors – fruits, veggies, breads, olive oils, olives, fresh eggs, coffees, salsas, etc. My favorite foodie vendor there is The Bowl which serves made to order acai bowls! They are amazing! During our first visit I enjoyed the Key West Bowl (Açaí, pineapple, mango, banana, coconut; topped with Granola, strawberries, banana, coconut shreds, honey) and for our last visit I had the AB&J (Açaí, blueberries, strawberries, banana, almond butter, almond milk; topped with Granola, blueberries, banana, hemp hearts, coconut shreds, honey). So good! The rest of the fam enjoyed fresh bagel breakfast sammies, of course! So, when we weren’t eating (and drinking), we were enjoying the beach AND pool. Like I mentioned earlier, the kids swam almost constantly from the time we got to Florida. Once the hubs arrived he picked up a bunch of fishing gear for his week! We had so much fun watching him! I loved that he was up early enjoying one of his favorite past times! Evenings on the beach were amazing (and better for fishing)! Once the sun would go down, we’d just chill on the beach. It was gorgeous! I mean….those views, that sunset! Could it get better than that? I’m at home day dreaming about it right now! It truly was a perfect family vacation. We are SO grateful we were able to spend that time together. We’ll cherish the memories we made forever! God is SO good!
Until we meet again Naples…..please let it be sooner, rather than later! We love you!
xoxo – Jamie
P.S. Did I workout on vacation? I’m proud to say HECK YES – I hit the gym, ran on the beach or walked 14 out of 19 days we were on vacation! I’m proud of that! Sure, some workouts weren’t as intense as I know they would be at home, but it was vacation! I kept pretty “on schedule” with my fitness and food just because I knew it would make me such a better mom, wife, daughter if I did! Haha! Not to mention….this mama DID rock a lot of super cute one piece suits! Mom-suits rock! P.P.S Did we shop? Again – of course, but nothing too crazy! My suitcase was heavy enough COMING to Florida – I didn’t need to add more weight to it! We hit my favorite outdoor shopping area (Waterside Shops) when the hubby was in town & had a really great morning browsing! Naturally we had to check out that Nordstrom & it was wonderful! It was just too bad it wasn’t during Early Access to the Anniversary Sale! Parker loved browsing through the Lilly Pulitzer store & picked out the cutest romper for herself! She’s an amazing little shopper! She knows exactly what she likes! We also checked out the Nordstrom Rack in another super cute outdoor shopping area – Mercato Shops. It was 2 floors & really a fabulous Rack! The kids enjoyed browsing the tiny stores at Tin City too! I remember loving them when I was younger as well! Downtown Naples also has great shopping, but we stuck close to Tommy Bahama & the stores that surrounded it! We didn’t want to get too carried away dragging the kids around into store after store! I’m sure we missed some great little shops here and there! There’s always next time!
P.P.P.S We dove RIGHT into the 4th of July festivities as soon as we returned from vacation! I think that definitely made our return easier because the past couple of days have been filled with friends, great food, and amazing fireworks! I think next week is going to be a tough one! No celebrations???