Tag Archives: Fort Myers

Palm Island Resort, an All-Inclusive Getaway

Palm Island Resort, an All-Inclusive Getaway With Something for Everyone

Palm Island Resort is a unique getaway destination located off Florida’s southwest coast between Fort Myers and Sarasota. It is accessible by boat or ferry. The Palm Island Resort is on the north end of the island. Private homes, many available for seasonal rental, are on the south.

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Supplies must be carried in, so plan carefully, since the ferry ride is not cheap, even though the island is only100 yards across the Intracoastal Waterway that divides the island from the coast of Placida.

We’ve stayed at the Palm Island Resort twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experience both times. For those seeking privacy, I recommend Palm Island Resort Village 1, Unit #18. It is a duplex “cottage” on the edge of the property, offering three bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen and laundry directly on the beach. Bayside homesites are available, as well. Of course, as families with children return to the school year and legislators in Florida consider the value of standardized testing vacationing couples may prefer less spacious digs, so one and two bedroom units are available, as well.

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Unlike the beach at Dog Island, in addition to two miles of pristine white sand beach, the Palm Island Resort offers several swimming pools, eleven tennis courts, and a fitness center. Deep sea fishing packages can be arranged for you on island. Several nearby golf courses are available to those so inclined, and for those interested in eco-tourism, there are miles of nature walks.

Palm Island Resort Amenities

Palm Island Resort offers numerous amenities, from a small shop for souvenirs and sundries, to rentals for everything from golf carts to snorkeling gear. You can eat the food you bring in, or the resort offers two restaurants that feature island drinks and a menu that is heavily slanted to seafood (one off island, the other is located on the resort grounds) as well as a coffee café as dining options.

For those interested in destination weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats or small business conferences, the Palm Island Resort clubhouse can accommodate up to 120 guests, but larger events (up to 450 people) can be held in a tented facility. Planning, decorating, and catering is seen to by an attentive staff attuned to attention to the smallest detail.

Expect an unhurried pace, plenty of entertainment, and, yes, even a little family harmony as the kids clamor, “Please, Mom and Dad, take us to Palm Island Resort!”.

Nick and Matt at Palm Island

Or Not.

Nick at Palm Island #1

There’s no doubt…the Palm Island Resort means great fun!

 

Other Towns in Central Florida Offer Out-of-the-Ordinary Entertainment

Central Florida, From Fisheating Creek to the Brighton Seminole Reservation

We drove around Lake Okeechobee, enjoying the expansive views of the leading edge of the Florida Everglades. The sky is big in Florida, and the swamp stretches for mile after desolate mile, broken only by a cluster of live oaks or staked out individually by independent palm trees, whose round heads and lack of branches look very much like landscaped lollypops from a distance. The weather was clearing, but clouds still hung over the land like a dark umbrella bent on betrayal and we drove in and out of rain.

The larger towns in this part of central Florida have the usual chain motels, but most lodging offerings consist of RVs or trailers, some quite weary looking. Campers who don’t mind roughing it will have no trouble finding suitable lodging, but those looking for a little more comfort will have to dig a little deeper. We did find a few cabins. The most inviting were cozy log cabins with peaked roofs in a small enclave. One of the owners rents two of his units, #9 and #17, for around $500 per week. If you’re interested, call Abe at 561-234-0277. A future visit will most assuredly include a week at the Lake Okeechobee Resort in Pahokee. It is the only place with accommodations directly on the lake.

We made a stop at Fisheating Creek where I told my husband the story of my great-great grandmother who was taken (along with her kids) to Fort Myers by Union soldiers trying to flush out my great-great-grandfather who was aiding Confederate soldiers by bringing them cattle. She became disgusted with camp conditions and threatened to whip the soldier who tried to stop her from leaving. She went to her brother’s place on Fisheating Creek and stayed there until the War of Northern Aggression was over. I think I would have liked my great-great-grandmother. :)

The Seminole Indian Reservation in Brighton was a disappointment. No museum, no shopping, just gambling. The room was dark, filled with slot machines that flashed neon colors, and full of cigarette smoke. Once off the reservation, we stopped at a roadside stand and bought swamp cabbage. I look forward to breaking the trunk open and cooking up a pot of swamp cabbage, which tastes a lot like asparagus.

Brighton Seminole Reservation

Most of the central Florida towns around the perimeter of Lake Okeechobee offer airboat rides. Since the weather was bad the weekend of our visit, we decided against it, but if you’ve never been, I strongly encourage you to try it out. Most tours last about an hour, the cost is in the $30 to $40 range (per person) and includes picture stops. Airboat rides are exciting and fun, but not scary.

Inland Florida: The Crowley Property

How do you achieve a change of perspective? For me, it requires a ride out to the country…

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…and a walk down the old trail, a cattle trail which once led from the County Seat down to the Tamiami Trail. From there, the Crackers (named for the cowboys’ cracking whips) drove their cattle to Fort Myers for markets north or further south to Miami for shipment to Cuba:

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But, before we start… does anybody need to use the bathroom? (Don’t mention my name or you’ll get a seat with a hole in it):

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Should we go this way?

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Or would you rather take this way?

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Okay, we’ll take the stairs…

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… which leads to a path to nowhere…

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Which way should we go?

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I chose the right fork. The thing about swamps is that most of the time, the water isn’t that deep….

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…and beauty is a hard won concept:

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But fighting through the muck…

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…and the mire…

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…leads to wide open vistas:

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Since the weather was beastly hot with suffocating humidity, we were completely and utterly alone in the swamp, where dead silence is broken by the deafening noise from billions of grasshoppers, the buzz of bee-like creatures that seemed to dive-bomb from out of nowhere, and an eerie mockingbird that laughed at us from above, telling us, “Hahahaha, you’ll never get out alive.” Oh, and the rustling leaves from a scurrying animal trying to avoid meeting us…was that a snake or a frightened squirrel? The butterflies were abundant, delicately fluttering around us. Gnats buzzed around my neck and little biting critters tried to hitchhike on my shirt and I imagined how alone the first settlers must have felt out there.

I started out fresh and clean on our walk and emerged looking like something the cat dragged in! My hair was plastered to my head; I was sweating buckets, and watching my step carefully. But I went into the swamp as a bundle of nerves and came out calm. Why? The alone-ness of the area, I suppose, nothing more than a vast marsh at the end of a long hike. Perhaps it was the calming effect ancient oaks emit, or simply thinking about something other than money and world peace and whether we’re going to hell in a hand basket.

We stopped and bought ribs and brisket from the roadside BBQ man and had a fine lunch. My day was brown and green and dark and mysterious and, at the end, punctuated by rising white and gray clouds over endless marsh, a reminder that places of refuge can still be found, a place where the world cannot intrude.

May you find your refuge regardless of where you live in the world, but if you reside in Florida, I highly recommend a visit to the Crowley property in Myakka City.