Archive for the ‘Daytrips’ Category

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

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

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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.

Southwest Florida Camping: Leave Your Beautiful Lanai Behind and Sleep on the Ground

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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Lanai view from a Punta Gorda home

Lanai view from a Punta Gorda home

Sleeping in a tent. Roasting marshallows. Singing by the campfire.

Does just the mention of these activities make you want to get your sleeping bag?

You’re in luck. Southwest Florida offers a variety of scenic camping opportunities. And because this blog aims to uncover all the beauty and fun around Punta Gorda, I’m going to tell you about them.

However, before I do, I must make a confession. The Andreaes are not campers. As a family, we’ve never been camping.

While I enjoy camping, Nancy Andreae, family matriarch and Andreae Group originator, misses the point of sleeping on the ground. She and I went camping once in Alaska. Although she knew before we left that we would be camping, when it came time to sleep in a tent, she seemed mystified (and very amused) that we were really going to do this.

In turn, I was mystified by her mystification. My mom is adventurous. She has hiked around China, biked through Vietnam, and raised three children. She can rough it.

Yet it must’ve been hard for a woman who spent thirty years traipsing in and out of Punta Gorda homes to fathom a night in a tent. After all, most Punta Gorda homes have lanais and sliding glass doors that allow you to enjoy the outdoors from your sofa.

It makes sense that she would wonder why we were sleeping on the ground. But maybe you are the type to eschew the comforts of your beautiful Punta Gorda home for a few days of outdoor fun. While Nancy would tell you to install a hammock on your lanai, I’m going to take you through some of the best places to camp in the area.

Sleeping on the Ground in Southwest Florida

To the north, Oscar Sherer state park has fully equipped campsites with electric and water hookups for tent or RV camping. The park centers on Lake Osprey, a scenic freshwater lake where visitors snorkel, fish, and swim. You can also take a guided canoe tour.

In Fort Myers, you’ll find the Pine Island KOA. Like most KOAs, it has campsites, RV parking, and cabins. Outside your tent, you can take a dip in their pool or participate in one of their scheduled community activities.

Boat Camping at Cayo Costa State Park

Not every state park offers boat camping, but that’s what makes Southwest Florida camping great. While Cayo Costa has one-room cabins and 30 campsites, it also has a bayside park dock. You need a boat to get to Cayo Costa, making this a convenient and sometimes luxurious option. (Nancy Andreae also recommends boat camping.)

Cheat a Little: Rent a Cabin at Camp Venice

You don’t have to sleep on the ground to get back to nature. On the Myakka River, you can rent a rustic cabin at Camp Venice. These simple accommodations come with a bed, air conditioning/ heat, electrical outlets, and a patio. If you go, rent a canoe and take a ride down the tropical Myakka River. You won’t be disappointed.

Are you a camper?
Do you have a favorite camping spot? Let us know on our Facebook page.