Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fort Myers Beach Florida

When we first arrived in Fort Myers Beach we weren't sure we were going to like spending a week there. It didn't appear to have a lot to offer and I didn't immediately see any good eating places. First impressions can be deceiving.
What we discovered was a more natural beach with more wild life than we had experienced at other Florida beaches. Near our condo were 3 saltwater lagoons teaming with birds and aquatic life. Nestled away among the residential houses and buildings were some very nice eateries that blend so well with the residential buildings they are not immediately identified. Then there is the Boardwalk and what I call the strip, which is a series of shops and various eateries that are all within walking distance. There is a trolley that runs all day and into the night if you decide not to drive and park (pay per park and it is limited) the trolley can transport you along Estero Blvd. which is the main artery.
We also discovered that traveling at no more than 45 MPH with an average speed on the island of 35 MPH is not a bad thing. If you're from Chicago area like we are 35 MPH is unheard of.

Linda and I try to do something different each time we go travel and on this trip we decided to tame it down and a little more laid back, we decided on a sunset cruise. I know "yawner", so we looked up anything in the area and found Fort Myers Princess Sunset Cruises of Fort Myers Beach. Groupon had a coupon so at least it was not going to cost us a lot. The Princess is locally owned by Dan Heselton and on this cruise Capt. Josh was piloting the Princess.

The Capt. and crew were excellent hosts pointing out the various sites along the way and providing photo opportunities. We had calm waters and a beautiful sunset. Then when the sun went down things turned a little wild. The Captain turned on the party lights, converted the sunset cruise ship into a party boat, cranked up the music and people started dancing. What fun! Did I mention they have a bar on board? I heard someone say "What happens on the Princess stays on the Princess"! Dan and his crew made the entire cruise interesting and fun. If you are ever in Fort Myers Beach Florida make sure you look up the Princess and her crew, take the two hour sunset or the daytime dolphin cruise you won't regret it. The price is very reasonable, the boat very clean and comfortable, and the crew is outstanding. At the end of our cruise I met Dan and discussed briefly the idea of placing a hovercraft down in his area, won't that be awesome. Looking forward to returning to Fort Myers Beach with my hovercraft and doing some exploring of the area. Check out the Fort Myers Princess at

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Saugatuck/Douglas Michigan

We arrived on Thursday night it was quite cool around 46 degrees. The little condo we rented for our two night stay was very nice, our compliments to the folks at the Beachway Resort for providing us with a very nice clean condo and a very friendly and helpful staff. We were actually their first guest of the season but the room was ready. My wife and I rented this condo so we could enjoy sitting on the patio and relaxing, however 46 degrees with a 10 mph wind blowing in from Lake Michigan and down the Kalamazoo river made for a very short time on the patio the first night. With that plan cut short we decided to check out the town.

What wonderful little towns with so many unique shops and things to see. I was not aware that Saugatuck & Douglas communities were such popular tourist destinations but after spending just two days there I could see why. Art galleries, ice cream shops, fudge shops, clothing stores, and wine shops like Petter Wine Gallery in Douglas (you have to stop by and say hi if you are in the area) with an attached art gallery was a fun stop during our stay. The stay was one of the most enjoyable we've had in quite a while.
Petter Wine Gallery 161 N. Blue Star Hwy, Douglas, MI 49406
However my attention was drawn away from all of that by the Kalamazoo River. Deep out to the lake but shallow out to the east, I've always been fascinated by the Kalamazoo, for years Linda and I have traveled across it on our way up toward Grand Rapids and I've always wanted to hover on the river and never had the chance. So wouldn't you know it the one time we actually not only stop by it by stay on it I do not have my hover. Of course that didn't stop me from checking it out and talking to the locals. I am told the east end of the water way heading east from Saugatuck right on the edge of Douglas, the river gets real shallow and boats have a hard time navigating it do to the sand bars and patchy swamp areas that stretch out for about 10 miles to the east.

I have to tell you June will find me back at Saugatuck, Douglas with the hover. After our enjoyable stay and a warm up in temperature on Friday and Saturday we had plenty of sun and patio time watching the boats run up and down the river, we will definitely be back and the next time it will be hover time.
View of the Beachway condo and Kalamazoo River North