Archive for September, 2014

Punta Gorda Souvenir Shopping: Find a Gift for Everyone on Your List

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

by 20140830_083743

It’s fall and you’re in Punta Gorda. You lucky duck. While everyone else is bracing themselves for the next six months of misery, you’re drinking a margarita.

To friends and relatives, this may seem unfair. Why do you get to enjoy fruity frozen drinks while they’re winterizing their homes? Of course, it is fair. They don’t know how you suffer.

You’re the one giving up seasons. You’re the one who traded frolicking in the snow for basking in sunshine. You’ll be the one throwing on a light sweater come January.

Heck, for your sacrifices, you deserve another round.

But they may not see it this way. You may feel the need to placate them with gifts. Fortunately, Punta Gorda is ripe with souvenir opportunities. You may even find something for yourself. You deserve it, after all.

Fishermen’s Village: Let’s face it, you need a t-shirt that says, “In dog beers, I’ve only had one. Punta Gorda, FL”. It’s a wardrobe staple.  Your friends up north won’t appreciate it.  T-shirt season is over for them, but you’re sure to find something just as appropriate for them in Fishermen’s Village.

Shell Factory: At the Shell Factory, you’ll find more than just shells. It has every thing you need, from a cabbage dog for Uncle Bruno to a carrot chipmunk for Cousin Mike. While you’re there, you can pick up an assortment of beautiful shells and fun holiday decorations that would suit almost anyone.

Muscle Car Museum Shop: If you haven’t been to the Muscle Car Museum, you should go. And while you’re there get some shopping done. Not everyone can appreciate a clock featuring a 1970 El Camino, but those who do will probably forgive you for having it so good.

Clyde Butcher Photography: While you get to enjoy the gorgeous Florida landscape every day, everyone isn’t so lucky. However, you can show them what their missing with a Clyde Butcher photograph.

Clyde Butcher started taking pictures over 40 years ago. Since then he’s been given the Florida Artist Hall of Fame Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Photography Association. He photographs all over Florida and has two galleries right here in Southwest Florida, one in Venice and the other on Marco Island.

 The Sea Grape Gallery: Art is an expression of life. And if you want to really understand a local culture, you view their art. The Sea Grape Gallery is a local co-op that featuring art from over 20 artists. You can find paintings, jewelry, and other crafts in the gallery.

What are you waiting for? Go out. It’s a gorgeous day to get some Punta Gorda souvenir shopping done.

How to Survive Your First Autumn in Punta Gorda

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


While Punta Gorda residents don't worry about winter, how to find a coconut bra for your mailbox is a valid problem.

While Punta Gorda residents don’t worry about winter, how to find a coconut bra for your mailbox is a valid concern.


When you move to Florida, you can expect one of your northern friends to say to you, “Won’t you miss the seasons? I just love having seasons.”

For most of these “Season Lovers”, the seasons they love are: fall, spring, summer, and the first hour of the first snowfall.

Spring and summer Punta Gorda does better than anywhere. Mid-september through June is spring-like. The other two and a half months is summer.

When you move here, you’ll have to give up on the first hour of snowfall. But you also get rid of the next four days of slush and the next four months of hoping it stops snowing.

Yet we don’t really have autumn—at least not in the traditional sense. And autumn can be nice. I lived in Boston for several years and for two weeks every year I liked fall. (Of course, fall actually lasts three months, but the “Season Lovers” tend to ignore this point.)

If this is your first fall, you might even miss some aspects of northern life. So, I put together a list of things you can do to distract yourself during your first fall.

If you miss…

…looking at dead leaves. This is what most people miss. You could take a weekend trip to Maine, skip the 2.5 months of fall cold, and still get your fix. Or just go outside and appreciate all the live plants in Punta Gorda.

 …doing extra yard work. Plant a garden. Instead of raking up dead stuff, watch plants grow and flourish. If the kids miss jumping in a pile of leaves, take them to the beach. We build and destroy sand castles year round in Florida.

…scouring your home for the slightest draft. If you love thick curtains and sealing up windows, this fall could be tough. Open your sliding glass doors. It’s time to become accustomed to endless fresh air.

 …pulling out your winter wardrobe. It’s likely you have a pretty nice winter wardrobe. You’re going to miss it. Go shopping. It’ll make you feel better. And the clothes you buy today, you can wear tomorrow or in January.

 …wallowing in winter dread. Some people like to wallow in their misery. I don’t judge. But you can’t do that here. You can’t spend the fall worrying about winter. People won’t know what you’re talking about. If you’re looking for something that most Punta Gordians will empathize with you about, worry about your golf swing, fishing tides, and how you’re going to decorate your mailbox.

I hope this helps you get through your first warm-weathered fall. If you know anyone who’s about to experience their first Florida fall, help them out by sharing this post on Facebook.

More Evidence that Living in Small Town Florida Rules

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

by Wieners

Wiener races. Need I say more?

I probably don’t. What better evidence could there be that Punta Gorda is the best place to live? Forget all the ‘best of’ lists that feature Punta Gorda. Forget the gorgeous weather, the boating, the golfing, the lazy days on the lanai. Wiener racing makes us number one.

While most of you are already convinced, I’m going to say more anyway. Because you might not live in a place that has Wiener races. Sadly, you might not know how great this kind of event is. It’s a shame. And we should talk about it.

First, the facts. What is a Wiener race?

It’s an event that takes place during the Fishermen’s Village Fall Festival. The Festival runs this Saturday, September 13, from 10-6 and features live music, food, and dancing. The Wiener race, a.k.a. the Wiener Dog Derby, is a 10-Yard Race for spoiled-rotten Dachshunds.

How do I know these dogs are spoiled?

It’s more of a suspicion I get when I see some of the costumes these dogs don. Also, the whole event is put on by Salty Paws pet store which hosts a monthly Yappy Hour for dogs. While their owners can come too, the whole thing makes me wonder: Do dogs need their own sporting events and happy hours? In Punta Gorda the answer is yes.

Who enjoys Wiener racing?

There are no statistics on this, because there’s no need to take a poll. Everyone enjoys wiener racing. (Except cats, I’m told they’re disinterested.)

Why is this event better than a big city Wiener Dog Derby?

My gut answer is ample parking. But it’s more than that. It’s the low-hassle lifestyle of Punta Gorda. If I were telling you about this event in a bigger city, I’d have to tell you about how to stay safe, find parking, and avoid traffic. Instead, all I have say is there’s going to be cute dogs and celebrating at Fishermen’s Village this weekend.

Many small towns have wacky events. What makes Punta Gorda’s better?

Cordova, Alaska has an iceworm festival. Fruita, Colorado hosts a Headless Chicken Fest. In Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, they gather to throw cow chips. While all of those sound fantastically fun, it gets cold in those places. And cow chip throwing just doesn’t seem worth spending six months every year trying to keep your socks dry.

So, now you know. Still not convinced? Head to Fishermen’s Village this weekend. Cheer on your favorite pup, and realize how lucky we are to live here.

5 Punta Gorda Places to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


Punta Gorda ice cream aficionado

Punta Gorda ice cream aficionado


The best part about living in Punta Gorda is it’s always ice cream season. Ok, maybe the best part is it’s always boating-golf-and-tennis-with-a-side-of-ice-cream season. Or sunshine ala mode season, if you will.

While your northern buddies might be doing all they can to get their ice cream fixes in before the dreary weather hits, Punta Gorda residents needn’t worry.

Here you can comfortably pamper your sweet tooth 12 months a year at several shops around town.

1. Cubby’s Homemade Ice Cream: This quaint, downtown shop is known for its delicious homemade ice cream, but during lunch hours (11:00-3:00 p.m.) they also serve Cuban sandwiches and wraps. If you’re looking for more than just dessert, Cubby’s is the place to go.

Located: 264 Marion Ave. Punta Gorda

Hours: Ice cream 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Deli 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

2. Harborwalk Scoops and Bites: Watch the sunset as you enjoy a cone. Harborwalk Scoops and Bites serves 28 flavors of Blue Bell ice cream, banana splits, and vintage sodas. They’ve also been known to host ‘Super Hero Days’ when kids in superhero costumes get discounts. Follow them on Facebook to learn more.

Location: 150 Laishley Court Suite 1111

Hours: 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.

3. Sugar Island Cupcakes: They’re not an ice cream shop, but sometimes you need to shake up your dessert life with a little cake. Sugar Island has been around since 2008. They’ll even deliver 6 or more cupcakes to Punta Gorda or Port Charlotte. There’s no better way to make friends at the office than a cupcake delivery!

Location: 3769 Acline Rd

Hours: Tues-Friday 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

4. Island Life Yogurt: For as long as I can remember, a trip to Fishermen’s Village meant a stop at the frozen yogurt shop. With over 40 toppings and 12 flavors of Honey hill frozen yogurt, Island Life encourages patrons to design their own frozen dessert.
Location: Fishermen’s Village 1200 Retta Esplanade

Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat  11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Sun 12:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

5. Simply Sweet A Confectionary Café: Despite its ‘simple’ name, this café is all decadence. Located in Fishermen’s Village, everything your sweet tooth ever wanted can be found here. From chocolate truffles to gelato, Simply Sweet satisfies simply everyone.

Location: Fishermen’s Village near the main parking lot

Hours: Mon-Thurs 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m
Fri-Sat 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Sun 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.


Where do you go to get a sweet treat in Punta Gorda? Have a favorite? Let us know on our Facebook page.