On the way home we opted to travel Southwest Airlines. It's literally been years that we have traveled Southwest, although for a while it was the only way we flew.. Now that we pack less... ( I mean A LOT LESS ) the 2 free checked bags per person doesn't have quite the same appeal. At any rate, it was a good option for coming home this time because it was a non-stop flight from Fort Myers Airport ( RSW Southwest Florida International ) and PIT (Pittsburgh International)
We had no trouble dropping off our rental car, so long little Miata, it was fun cruising with the top down all week and we will miss you... *sheds a solitary tear*
And navigating the airport was fine. It was all fine, good, great, wonderful until we got to the security line. We were plenty early and there weren't many people in line. Yet somehow the line was NOT MOVING! I try to be a patient person, but as time went on I was starting to feel really agitated. There was only 1 line open to go through and the line of people waiting was growing and growing. I was confused by it. It was so inefficient it was absurd. Granted, the guy who was doing the security check was actually quite nice and friendly, it's just that the airport needed at least 1 more agent available, if not 2, to expedite the line.
When it was finally time to put my things on the conveyer belt, I set my carry on up there and went to grab a little bin for my small items, but someone had already started placing stuff in both stacks of bins. *eyeroll* so I let out a little sigh of frustration, and then proceeded to lift the bin on the top of the stack with someone elses stuff in it, so I could get the bin underneath to put my stuff in. Instantly I heard a, "Heeey, that's mine!!!" from an adult girl and a quick consolation of "She's not trying to take your stuff, honey".. from father-figure. When I turned around to say I just needed a bin, I realized there was an intellectual disability situation taking place and I felt so bad. Like... all day. Like.. still I feel bad. I hope I wasn't mean, I hope no one heard me sigh, I felt like a jerk! And all I wanted was a bin. >.<
It was a good reminder to me not to lose my cool. To always be polite and courteous. To keep training myself to be patient and kind to others. The fact is, no matter who is around whether they have special needs or not, whether old or young, whether from your home country or a far away land, you should always treat others in the same, kind way. That it was someone with a disability just made it more of a humbling realization. (If you ever find this and are reading it... I'm sorry! I hope I wasn't rude when I took that bin!)
Traveling can be a little stressful, trying to get here and there and not miss any connections, but try to take a deep breath and remember that you WILL get where you need to go. Hopefully in the way you initially intended, but maybe things will need to be adjusted. Either way, you'll get there. So chill out and enjoy the journey.
</rant> </babble> </lifelesson>
Southwest is always great. The staff was friendly. The flight was smooth. The drinks and snacks were flowing. I think they are a great airline, especially if you have checked baggage.
And I just realized they are a Partner Airline for Chase Sapphire's Ultimate Rewards Program-- so you can transfer your Chase points 1:1 value to Southwest to book your next flight! :) Fun Fact!
By the way, you can get 50,000 bonus points when you sign up for Chase Sapphire.. That's good for several roundtrips in the US, and atleast one way to Europe and Asia depending on which airlines you choose to use your points at! OR cash it out with a check!
Lover's Key State Park is a great place to visit between Fort Myers and Naples, Florida. There is a park entry fee of $8 per vehicle (2-8 people) $4 if there's only 1 person in the vehicle or $2 to walk in. Various tours and programs are available and included in the above fee. Check the schedule they give you with the map when you enter the Park.
What To Do At Lover's Key State Park:
As mentioned above, there are various programs available and included in your park entry fee. There is also a Tram that takes you from the parking area down to the beach. There are restrooms you can use, a gazebo and picnic area, and there is a concessions and near the parking area with food available for purchase.
Hours: 8 am - Sunset 365 days a year!
Easy to remember..
#1 Tip For Visiting Lover's Key State Park:
Use **copious** amounts of sunscreen!
Our tram driver told us to use sunscreen and said you WILL GET BURNED if you don't. She wasn't messing around. I applied sunscreen, but awkwardly missed a patch on my back and I absolutely did get burned. BAD. I rarely burn. In fact, I can't remember the last time I got sunburned like that -- maybe never. It was painful. And there was a (hilarious) outline of my fingers etched into my back (still can be seen) from where I tried to spread sunscreen initially and obviously did a terrible job. haha!!
I am quite a fan of this Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen. It doesn't feel greasy at all, in my opinion!
Capture one of these scurrying little guys on the beach -- try to get a clear shot, those buggers are fast!
Tag me on Instagram @tripd0ntf4ll so I can check it out!
I used my Nikon d3200 for these, let me know what camera you use to get your birdie shots! ;)
Plan Your Trip To Ft. Myers/Sanibel/Captiva/Cape Coral:
There's something irresistible about getting out on the water, feeling the wind in your hair, and seeing things from a whole new perspective... I love it! And you might realize that if you have followed this blog for some time. (Remember the Chao Phraya Express Boat in Bangkok, Thailand? or the Bridge2Bridge Cruise in San Francisco?) It's just a fun way to relax, get off your feet and enjoy where you are at.
That being said, looking for a family-friendly activity in Fort Myers area (there are a lot of options!) we decided to embrace our love of that breeze and take a trip with Pure Fort Myers! The 7:15pm sunset cruise seemed like a great option so we could squeeze in some beach time at Sanibel earlier in the day.
Hop on board and see some of the things that we saw! ;)
What You'll See: At The Marina
You may remember reading my post about being famished and excitedly picking up some Vietnamese food in Fort Myers on the way to our Homaway/VRBO Pool House.
Did it sound delicious to you? I bet it did!
You may remember reading my post about getting a Groupon for
The Grind Coffee House and Roaster in Fort Myers, Florida
The freshly roasted coffee beans made for a perfect start to each day of our vacation and the Espresso Shakes...
Well what do I even need to say about them.
How could you go wrong?!!!?
Unless you DON'T have one. That's how you go wrong..
Good News For You! (Giveaway)
I had searched Groupon for discounts to use in Cape Coral/ Fort Myers areas and one that I ended up purchasing was for the Grind Coffee House & Roaster.
Boy am I glad that we tried that place!
I couldn't resist getting an Espresso Shake. I chose the Hammer Espresso Shake which consisted of ice cream, espresso, white chocolate, and a hint of berry. OH MY WORD WAS IT GOOD!!!!!!
How cool is it that there is a rum distillery in Cape Coral?! I think that is the coolest!! So DH and I stole away from the family to enjoy a free tour and tasting here at the Wicked Dolphin Distillery.
I believe the tours take off Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and you can check the times on their website. When you get started they will introduce you to the product line as seen in the photo above. While explaining the distilling process, you will enjoy a rum punch (if you're old enough!!) and smell the strongest alcohol you've probably smelled! -- not the finished product.
I wish I would have taken notes or something about the process. It was all quite interesting.
In the barrel room you can see the rum being aged and various trials in process. Some top secret ;-)
They get various used barrels to add unique notes to the final product. Cool right?!
The tour guide we had (SO SORRY I forget his name) was super friendly and personable and very enthusiastic about the product. It made for a really fun tour, there were just 4 of us at the time we went, but other times it will be PACKED we were told.
The tasting area and shop is the final stop. You can try the rums, rum shines, bbq sauces etc. all available for purchase. The lady was extremely knowledgeable in recipes for all of the products. I wish we could have carried some on the plane with us! :( And they are not YET sold in our local liquor stores. YET!! But we did pick some up for family we were with.
They also gave us a coupon for a free Wicked Dolphin cocktail at a local restaurant with meal purchase. Unfortunately we had already eaten. But maybe you can go! ;-)
Fun fact: Their Coconut Rum is made with real coconut water. So the coconut taste is way better than other coconut rums!
Take a mini-tour in the gallery below!
A beautiful place to visit in Florida is Sanibel-Captiva island. I had hoped to spend a lot of time there on this trip, but it didn't quite work out. Next time ;-)
We did get to spend a few hours on Captiva and I was in the ocean for 98% of that time with the little tykes of the family so tragically, I hardly captured the beach! Amateur move, right?
I did, however, have an eagle eye on this:
Apparently some nesting was going on, and this mama (?) was on guard!!
I also managed to capture the cutest, pruniest, sandy feet at the beach.. not that I am biased at all...
Where are the pictures?!!!!
I mean, I swear I took more pictures than this.. maybe not. ARGGGG! What was I thinking? I know the day ended up being quite rushed.
We went out to Captiva for just a couple of hours. There is a parking lot there and the cost is about $4/hour if I remember correctly. So if you wanted to spend an entire day at the beach, it could get quite steep. But if you want to do some of the other things Captiva has to offer, or Sanibel, it wouldn't be as bad.
What Does Sanibel- Captiva have to offer?
* Marinas and Boating
* Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
* Water Sports
* Health Clubs
* Arts & Entertainment
* Bird Watching
* Science and Nature Centers
* Nature Tours and Historical Walks
* Bike Rentals, Mopeds, Segway Rentals
* Golf and Street Cart Rentals
So there really is something for everyone.. and more!
You can find out about any or all of those things by clicking the link above or visiting the Sanibel-Captiva Website which has an incredible amount of information to help you plan your trip!
If you love shelling...
If you love shelling, you should definitely visit the iLoveShelling blog run by Pam Rambo for incredible shelling tips, web cams, beach information, shelling trips, etc. It's really cool! She also has an instagram account that is fun to see in your feed! I mean.. she finds shells that I have never seen before, it's so incredible!! This is on my to-do list next time I'm in that part of Florida ;)
Azucar Restaurant & Bakery 3326 Del Prado Blvd Cape Coral, Florida 33904
You're going to need this address ^^^^ because after you see the food in the post, you will have to visit. ASAP. hehe..
I love Cuban food and any time I'm south (who am I kidding, any time I am ANYWHERE that has Cuban food) I make it my goal in life to eat there. Cape Coral is no exception! See what went happily into my belly below:
Cuban Bread & Papaya Batido (milkshake)