Summer Re-Cap Part 1: Tampa, Naples, Key West, Birthdays and More

naples beaches

Myself, Asher & Jake in Naples.

Why have posts been infrequent? In addition to managing the first stages of my new fashion line, I spent much of the summer and early fall away from home.

It all started in May with Marissa’s graduation from the University of Tampa. We spent an extended weekend in Tampa followed by three weeks in our beloved Naples. Enjoying time with family and friends was priceless and offered many great memories…boating, fishing, beach time, and swimming in the backyard pools of our vacation rental homes. Shopping and dining out on the world renowned 5th Avenue and Historic 3rd Street were some of our highlights.

florida fishing

Jake enjoyed some great Florida fishing.

We rented a golf cart to cruise around town…some called it “The Banana” as it was an extended, yellow 8-seater! We loved it! We also re-considered a more permanent move to Naples and enjoyed a few outings with our very patient broker. It was eye opening to see what our money could buy as Naples is bustling and the real estate market is very healthy…up almost 27% year over year! It’s great to see the market so healthy, but we feel we may have ‘missed the boat’ so to speak. Our perfect Naples property may need to wait just a bit longer. The time will come.

naples family vacation

Getting ready for another ride in “The Banana”!

Our first trip of the summer to Florida offered a great place to get away and enjoy some fun in the sun with those closest to us.

naples family trip

A family ‘selfie’ in Naples.

Here are some of our highlights and ‘must sees’ if you plan a trip to Naples soon…

Campiello on 3rd Street – Great food and awesome staff. They treated us like family and we must have shared a handful of dinners and lunches with them while we were in town.

Sea Salt on 3rd Street – One of Jake’s favorites for amazingly fresh seafood and great indoor/outdoor ambiance.

Tommy Bahamas on 3rd Street – Great cocktails and live music weekly.

Jane’s on Third – Amazing breakfasts – every omelet you can think of.

Cafe Lurecat on 5th Avenue – Great al fresco dining (Please recall, I have a thing for eating outside…check out some outdoor dining in Raleigh.)

Bice on 5th Avenue – Great al fresco dining and people watching right on the western most corner of the main shopping district.

The Cafe (on 5th Ave) – Great stop for breakfast and fresh juiced drinks…our favorite stop to bring “The Banana” with our friends and family.

In July, Jake took a trip to The Maldives to surf and enjoy some time with the guys. (More to follow on that as it’s definitely worth chronicling with some images…amazing trip for him!) I certainly didn’t want to be left behind with a toddler, so I decided to go back to Naples to spend The 4th, my birthday and some more time with extended family…almost another 3 weeks!

naples beaches

More time at the beautiful Naples beaches.

Jake’s plan was to meet us just after he returned to the states to enjoy some more fun in the sun. The trip started out great, with an amazing 4th of July with family, dinner and cocktails out and fireworks on the beach. However, the trip didn’t continue so seamlessly. I woke up on my birthday feeling ill. A not-happy birthday surprise. Perhaps with all of those good meals out with friends I ate something not so friendly.

By the time Jake arrived, I had recovered mostly and we were able to enjoy some more salty air with our son. This time we rented a house further north of our normal stomping ground in an area called The Moorings. It’s a bit more residential and quiet, but offered a great place to retire at the end of the day.

While the neighbors were very gracious and the beaches beautiful, we decided we must be located in Olde Naples when we decide to eventually build our home. Closer to shopping, walkable to dining and everything in between. Olde Naples stole our heart years ago. In fact, it’s where I attended Elementary school in the 80’s. 😉 St. Ann’s Catholic School. We used to walk to the beach with our Girl Scouts troop to pick up trash as our community service project. A really “tough” place to grow up! I certainly don’t take it for granted!

key west vacation

Back to Florida for child-free time with friends in Key West!

After returning home for a couple of weeks, Florida was back on the agenda. We went to Key West to celebrate our good friend’s surprise birthday the first weekend in August. This was a five-day “parents only” trip! It was hot and muggy, but we couldn’t have had a better time with such a great group of people and dear friends. We stayed in an amazing VRBO rental called Cloud 9. It was perfectly located just steps from Duval Street and all the hustle, but it felt like we were in a different world—a secret garden behind a wall and iron gates. Absolutely stunning and a real vacation FIND.

key west trip

5 days with great people.

We spent two days fishing and snorkeling. Some of the guys went diving, including Jake! We had some great dinners out and enjoyed a night of dancing. Great fun and just a well-deserved and long overdue “parents only” trip. While hard to leave my little one behind, he was well taken care of by Nana and Papa and enjoyed quite the social calendar while we were away.

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