For the fourth year in a row, the Usual Suspects descended on Southwest Florida. This year, there were eight of us, with our numbers temporarily increasing from time to time with a couple visits from friends’ relatives, who have decided to forego the pleasures of living in the Garden State to become full-time Florida residents.
As in the past, we stayed here, where each of us owns a timeshare. It is small place, which is not overly fancy and most-definitely not overly formal. It truly feels like home away from home. In fact, we generally see the same folks there year after year, many of whom have been owners there for decades. I do, however, suspect that when the long-timers first saw the Jersey Crowd show up a few years ago, they considered changing “their week” for the following year. However, I think that once they saw that not everyone from Jersey is a hired killer, we passed muster and have since become good friends.
What always makes this a special time is the absence of having to do anything more stressful than choosing between eating out or firing up one of the grills on the property. As in the past, we did a good deal of not-too-much, other than bobbing about in the pool and having cocktails. Did I mention that we do cocktails? Speaking of cocktails (the liquor store owner jumps for joy when we show up), in prior years we did face the vexing problem of having to lug all the necessaries downstairs for each day’s refreshments. This year, we solved the problem by creating a very low-tech version of a traveling bar, using equipment that was already at the place. Traveling bar, ice machine, good friends, warm weather, beautiful sunsets. Nothing better.
We did venture out on a couple occasions to eat lumberjack breakfasts here and here. Both places serve breakfasts to die for (or die from, if one ate like that regularly). We also fond time to do our annual poking around at the factory outlets here. This year we also took a ride out to a Mondo Flea Market in Fort Myers. Shopping at this flea market, which is home to 900 vendors and seemingly miles of covered walkways, could easily fill up the better part of the day. However, after about an hour or so, we decided that it was cutting into our cocktail and pool bobbing time, so we headed back to the Boathouse and the rolling bar. However, while at the flea market, I was quite taken with the hundreds of mist-spritzing fans that constantly run in order to keep the covered walkways from becoming a virtual inferno at noon. Mist-spritzing technology has not yet taken hold in the Garden State, but it is something we are considering for the dog days of July and August ahead on Ken’s (the anal retentive “cruise director”) and Kathy’s Deck, which is the summer weekend meeting place of the Usual Suspects.
Oh, and we didn’t see any of these, which made me exceedingly happy.
We’ve already made our reservations for next year.