Naples…why, yes please!

I have been heading south to the left coast of Florida for nearly twenty years, and Naples is by far one of my most favorite spots to visit.  A few days here and you never want to leave!  From the perfectly perfect weather (when it’s blue it’s legit blue, when it rains and quickly clears out, and the clouds roll in to cover you at just the right time), the beaches (I’m a sucker for a low beach chair, nothing on the horizon, aqua clear water and some good old fashioned people watching), shopping (I’m a creature of habit and only go to my favorite places) and restaurants (tried and true, and a few new).  100%, this is a great choice for a long weekend visit or a spring break destination.

I haven’t really cooked much lately, but while I was there, my auntie showed me how a simple broccolini saute and pine nuts can turn into a spoonful of crunch!

STAY: If possible, rent something in Pelican Bay; you have access to the amazing North & South beaches via complimentary golf carts, umbrellas & cabanas and waterfront dining/drinks.  The water is perfect for kids (no giant waves), the view is unreal (nothing for days) and the sunset, oh the sunset.  Read the paper or a book in peace, walk up & down the beach, wade in the water, spot a few dolphins and relax with a Rum Punch or a Pina Colada.  Send the littles up to the sundries station and grab an ice cream.  Great spot for families!

SHOP: Waterside shops or Third Street South are  worthwhile shopping spots, but my standby will always be, The Best of Everything, right on 41.  I have to go, almost immediately after landing.  They have every kind of jewelry and accessory you could want; silver, pearls, faux diamonds, watches, toe rings, earrings, necklaces, shawls, wraps, beach hats and beach bags and funny little cocktail napkins for every person that loves a good laugh under their drink.  All sales are final and I have never ever, not once, wanted to return anything anyways.  This year I walked away with an overflowing bagful of goodies for $40.  Fresh Market for groceries, and they sell chilled Whispering Angel Rose, Saint Andre Cheese and water crackers, so, there’s that…

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EAT: There are umpteen places to head out for dinner; up and down 41, downtown and around town, but my top pick will always be Bleu Provence (now open for brunch, no lunches, dinners only and make a reservation).  A little secret spot, culinary happiness all wrapped up in “blues”.  My mom and I enjoyed the Croque Madame and Salmon and Creme Fraiche Crepes.  C’était délicieux!

We tried a new spot named Agave that was a nice treat; a flight of Margaritas and table made, home-spun and slung Guacamole, OLE!  I’m kidding, that’s what my mom called it. The carne asada and the chicken quesadillas – – delisioso!  They had live music on a saturday night and even better, they had a video in the back dining room to watch it. Hilarious and fun, lots of laughs.  Book a booth in the back, the view of the kitchen is cool!

I’m in charge of dinner tonight, but with all these splurge reminders on vacation last weekend, I just want to get back on a plane and head back down this afternoon!