Archive for the ‘Southwest Florida’ Category

The Historic Edison and Ford Estate Gardens

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The great inventor Thomas Alva Edison was also an impassioned amateur botanist and enthusiastic gardener. Edison and his wife Mina began gardening soon after arriving in Fort Myers, Florida. Today, gardens at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates encompass 20 acres and contain more than 1,700 plants. The collection includes more than 400 species from six continents. These gardens are on every “must see” list for SW Florida, and a visit is easily incorporated into a stay at a Cape Coral or Bokeelia Bed and Breakfast vacation.

Largest Banyan Tree In The US / Thomas Edisons Estate / Fort Myers / Florida

Banyan Tree at Edison's Winter Estate in Fort Meyers

Edison approached his gardens as he approached his work, methodically and with purpose. Ever the inventor, Edison constantly researched the uses of plants. He used bamboo in his lightbulbs, and by the late 1920’s was known throughout the world for his work with rubber trees. Yet he and his wife also loved nature; many of the flowers were planted to attract birds and butterflies, and many fruit trees were planted for their fruit. (more…)

Visit Naples, Florida

Friday, April 8th, 2011
Tropical Bar on the beach - Naples, Florida

Cool off with a drink at this tropical, beachfront café in Naples, Florida.

Naples is one of Southwest Florida’s gems. It boasts superlative beaches and many beautiful, challenging golf courses. It is widely recognized for its world-class shopping and abundant restaurants. Opportunities for outdoor recreation are numerous and varied: salt-water and fresh-water fishing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, bird watching, and more.

Explore the nearby Florida Everglades or take a manatee sightseeing tour. Enjoy a Champagne Sunset Cruise aboard a Catamaran, or look for alligators and panthers during a wilderness adventure tour. Kayak into the backwaters of the Everglades, or learn to sail. The possibilities may not be endless, but they are numerous enough to keep guests of Southwest Florida Bed and Breakfasts happy for weeks.

In addition to outdoor activities, Naples is home to several fine art galleries and museums. The Naples Museum of Art displays sculptures, paintings and drawings by acclaimed artists from around the world. Its permanent collection continues to grow and includes French Protest Posters from May 1968 and Masters of Miniature; current visiting exhibitions include Modern Mexican Masters and Leaders in American Modernism.

Other draws of Naples Florida include the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra - considered one of the top regional orchestras in the country – and a variety of festivals that take place throughout the year. Book a room in a Southwest Florida Bed and Breakfast in April during the Venetian Carnival. Visit in May for the Outstanding Artists of Florida Exhibition and the Kayak Fishing Classic, or come in June for the Festival of Great Organ Music.

Couples will find Naples, Florida, ideal for romantic getaways. It is a place made for long walks on sugary beaches and cool drinks at sidewalk cafés. There is fine dining in Naples, Florida, as well as plenty of casual places to enjoy a meal. Seafood is of course a specialty here, but guests of Southwest Florida Bed and Breakfasts will also find a wide variety of cuisines such as Thai, Caribbean, French and Irish.

Naples is less than 30 minutes from the Florida, Everglades and an hour south of Sanibel Island. It’s a wonderful addition to any SW Florida Bed and Breakfast vacation.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Friday, February 11th, 2011
Chouette rayée / Barred Owl

Barred Owl.

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of many delightful spots tucked away in SW Florida. It is open daily (weather permitting) from dawn until dusk. Corkscrew is just over an hour southeast of Cape Coral FL Bed and Breakfasts, and an hour northeast of Naples.

The best way to visit the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is on foot. A boardwalk meanders more than two miles through marsh, cypress forest, wet prairie, and pine upland. Interpretive signs relate the various qualities of these four distinct environments, and volunteer naturalists wander the boardwalk, answering questions. It is best to allow two to three hours to walk the boardwalk, as there is much to see. (more…)

The Canals of Cape Coral

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

People tend to think of Venice, Italy, as the city of canals, yet Cape Coral, Florida, trumps Venice by a long shot. There are over 400 miles of canals and waterways in Cape Coral, resulting in hundreds of waterfront properties. These canals spill into the Caloosahatchee River, which in turn leads to the Gulf of Mexico.

West Indian Manatee are frequent visitors to the Caloosahatchee River and the canals of Cape Coral. Manatee can’t survive in cold water; when the water temperature drops and stays below 60 degrees, manatees head to warm, spring-fed rivers and the shallow, sun-warmed canals. Look for them while staying at a Cape Coral Florida Bed and Breakfast. (more…)

Sanibel Island

Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Duo--Explore 06/01/09

Seek shells on Sanibel Island

On Sanibel Island, the most difficult choice you’ll have to make is deciding which direction to walk on the beach, and how big a pail to bring for shells. It is, in other words, an ideal destination for a relaxing holiday. Travel to a  Sanibel FL bed and breakfast is best when you are determined to leave all work at home.

Sanibel is considered to be one of the Top 10 North American Islands (Conde Nast Traveler). It’s sugar white sandy beaches are a magnet for shells, due to the east-west orientation of this barrier island (most of the barrier islands run north-south). Be sure to incorporate yoga – or at the very least a lengthy swim and nap on the beach – into a daily routine while on Sanibel, for scanning the beaches for sea shells inevitably leads to the Sanibel Stoop. (more…)

SW Florida’s Cayo Costa Park

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Cayo Costa State Park is an island unto itself, and is only accessible by boat. It sits just west of Pine Island – home of Bookelia FL bed and breakfasts – and just north of Sanibel Island. Pine Island Sound lay to the east, its protected waters dotted with small islands. Cayo Costa State Park is a wonderful place to spend time during your SW Florida vacation.

Florida manatees

Look for manatees around Cayo Costa State Park, in SW Florida

The entire western shore of Cayo Costa is a beach, and there are over nine miles of beach on the whole island. The eastern shore of the island is dotted with bays and coves: large Pelican Bay to the north and intimate Pejuan Cove to the south. The waters of the island are ideal for kayaking – circle around nearby Pine Island National Wildlife Refuge, or down along The Narrows. Kayak rentals are available on Pine Island, though many SW Florida bed and breakfasts have kayaks or canoes available for guests. Keep an eye out for dolphins, manatees, and colorful shore birds. (more…)

Golf in Southwest Florida

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Golf is an activity with die hard fans. Golfers will tolerate any kind of weather, from extreme heat to bracing cold. They love a challenge. They withstand sun burns, wind burns, sore backs and tired feet for the love of the game. They travel the world in search of the most challenging course, the most scenic course, the most fascinating course…. You get the picture.

If this sounds like you, come to Southwest Florida. There are more than a dozen excellent courses in and around Bokeelia and Cape Coral Florida, each with its own unique personality, and each worth playing. The ideal place to stay while improving your game is a Bokelia FL bed and breakfast or a Cape Coral Florida bed and breakfast – a little pampering may be the best way to end the day under par. (more…)

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

These men were giants, and they were friends. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford transformed our lives. They brought us the telegraph, telephone, and x-ray machine. They brought us the automobile, and paved the way of the future. Their winter estates in Fort Myers, Southwest Florida are fascinating – everyone should visit them.

It is easy to spend a whole day at the Winter Estates of Ford and Edison. Visit Edison’s laboratory, where he discovered that goldenrod could be used to produce latex. Visit his Botanical Gardens, which are home to more than a thousand varieties of tropical plants – many of which Edison used in his experiments. A tour of the botanical gardens reveals some of Edison’s uses for the plants, such as what bamboo has to do with the light bulb. As I say, fascinating.

The remarkable banyan tree at the Edison Winter Estate.

The remarkable banyan tree at the Edison Winter Estate.

The museum houses many interesting exhibits; learn about the young Edison and his inventions; see his collection of movie projectors, cameras and nickelodeons, as well as his extensive phonograph collection. See photographs of Edison, Ford and their families and friends in and around Fort Myers. Visit Ford’s gallery, and see the 1916 Model T Touring Car that Ford gave to Edison.

You will undoubtedly work up an appetite here, which may be satisfied at the Banyan Café between 10am and 3pm. There are also numerous restaurants in Fort Myers. Ask your Fort Myers Florida bed and breakfast innkeepers for a list of their favorite spots to eat near the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

You’ll be happy when you head back to your SW Florida bed and breakfast. It is good to learn about Thomas Edison and Henry Ford –  somehow it creates a sense of awe and optimism. These men had great visions and the perseverance to make their dreams reality.

Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve

Saturday, March 27th, 2010
Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve in Southwest Florida

Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve in Southwest Florida

Between Bokeelia Island, Florida and the mainland is a slender channel known as the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve. Mangrove islands and seagrass flats line the shore of the mainland. Wildlife abounds: oysters, seabirds, fish.

The Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve is an ideal place to kayak, fish, or go birding while you are staying at a Cape Coral Florida bed and breakfast. Lush mangrove forests shade you as you explore meandering water trails. You’ll feel as if you could wait forever for that fish to bite, or for a closer look at a bird.

Experience the unique geography of SW Florida.

Bokeelia and Cape Coral

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Thousands of islands, countless beaches, and unlimited opportunity for rest and recreation – that’s what you’ll find when you stay at a Southwest Florida b&b on Pine Island.

Bokeelia sits at the northern tip of Pine Island, a quiet island protected by barrier islands such as Sanibel. Once you decide that you are ready to peel yourself away from the beach or porch, you’ll find the best way to explore the region may be by boat. You can island hop down to Sanibel, where you’ll have your choice of restaurants and shops. Or you can walk among the mangroves on Cabbage Key.

Pine Island itself is worth exploring. The Museum of the Islands sits in the center of Pine Island. It is a fascinating place to visit when you want to orient yourself to your surroundings. If you are a golfer, you’ll be drawn to the the Alden Pines Golf Course in Pineland. Dodge alligators as you enjoy the quintessential Florida Golf experience. Your innkeepers will arrange a tee time for you.

Bring your binoculars when you putter through Matlacha Bay. You’ll see pelicans, burrowing owls and bald eagles. Or look for playful dolphins and manatee.

Fisherman will be aware of the world-class fishing areas in the region, such as Boca Grande Pass. Bring your own boat, or take advantage of one of the many guide services in the area. Ask the hosts of your Pine Island Fl bed and breakfasts for recommendations.

In short, you are sure to enjoy your travel to Southwest Florida.

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