The Making of a Marginal Snowbird

I found myself looking at pictures that I had taken of Manhattan Beach and Naples Beach and, straight up, I can’t tell them apart. It’s like the Where’s Waldo game or Spot the Difference where you’re trying with all your might to focus on something that is out of place, and I’ve got nothing. It’s probably from reading the news too much, where the Blue and Red coasts are presented as more distant than night and day. California was always king, more similar in politics and lifestyle to Canada, despite wildfires and the constant threat of earthquakes. Florida was gators and hurricanes and guns so, not really somewhere where you would enjoy life. Alive anyway.

But Southwest Florida is quite friendly and charming. People are very kind. I landed in Fort Myers and wandered around there a bit, met some of the locals, got a bit of the lay of the land before heading over to Naples and enjoying lemon gelato and paella as if I were smack in the middle of the Mediterranean. I felt very much alive as my body unfolded itself from a permanent shiver, and even the dolphins seemed to mirror very accurately how I was feeling to be in the sun.

There are awesome little businesses there (Emily James, 5th Av Diner), great architecture (Gondolier Inn and Naples Mariner are as Americana as it gets for me), some great food (looking at you Mediterrano, Truluck’s and Brooks) entertainment (courtesy of The Naples Players and Gulfshore Playhouse) and of course, the gorgeous Naples pier, 3rd Street, and 5th Avenue Districts.

Goodbye winter, you harsh and bitter jerk. Give me a few months and maybe, maybe I will miss you again and we can have gluhwein and play Ticket to Ride by the fireplace.

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