If the people in Ithaca are telling everyone to visit Florida this winter, who am I to disagree?

In a tongue-in-cheek message on VisitIthaca.com, the local tourist agency raised the white flag of surrender when it told people to go to Florida with the following message:

“That’s it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West anyone?” 

Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit The Florida Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it’s for the birds here now (Still want to Visit Ithaca? Are you sure? Ok, click here. 

P.S. Send us a postcard.

Ithaca New York says to move to Florida

Ithaca New York says to move to Florida


The people in Ithaca have a hilarious sense of humor, but I am going to do as they suggest. I may not make it down to the keys, but this weekend Naples, Florida is beckoning.

Since I live in Sarasota along the Gulf of Mexico I don’t have to endure the stress of getting to an airport on time, lugging all my luggage, or worrying if my flight has been canceled or delayed.

I just pack a weekend bag, get into my car, drive 2 hours and I’m in a vacation wonderland . Tourists may be aplenty in Naples right now because of the record-breaking harsh winter the rest of the country has been enduring, but there is room for me.

I’ve been googling potential accommodations, attractions, dining options, nightlife and day trips to find out where I should stay and what I should do. I found a great New York Times article, “36 Hours in Naples, FL” that gives you a timetable for your trip beginning with a Sunset Cruise and includes tours to the Wetlands, biking and swimming at the beach and a host of other fun activities.

You could probably spend years in Naples and still not get to do everything this sunshine state paradise has to offer. My trip, however. is more casual, but it is set against a luxury backdrop.

I’ve settled on a hotel in Naples that suits my relaxation needs — The Inn on Fifth, which has that old world atmosphere with its Mediterranean motif. Don’t you just love Italian marble and tile?

For me, the Inn of Fifth is nicely situated in the heart of Old Naples, just minutes from the entertainment, shopping and dining district.

That’s important because I don’t plan to go far afoot. This weekend retreat is to relax and enjoy. I’ve brought my I-Pad to read the latest Rizzoli & Isles mystery and to surf the internet (I am addicted to my I-Pad. I also have a Kindle so I can I read at the rooftop pool deck with its outdoor pool and hot tub. Can’t do that up north today!

I also won’t have to worry about when to work because there is a 24-hour fitness center (I need to get my 60 minutes every day on the treadmill.). But the real reason I chose the inn is because of the Spa on Fifth.

I plan to pamper myself (spas are not just for women) this weekend with a manicure, pedicure and daily several deep tissue massages. I might even get a Dead Sea mud facial (I am not getting any younger)

After a day of pampering myself, I plan to enjoy an evening in the heart of Old Naples and walk along Fifth Avenue South with all its entertainment, shopping and dining destinations. Cafe & Bar Lurcat caught my eye with its nightly $5 beer, wine and appetizer during happy hour. But I am especially looking forward to its marinated sea bass.

After happy hour and an early dinner, I plan to walk Fifth Avenue South to check out the local highlights. A friend told me about the Old Naples Pub, a neighborhood tradition located near the fishing pier. There is also a lot of window shopping I can do because of all the art galleries in the area. I will check out the Gulfshore Playhouse nearby to see if there is a show I can catch while I am in town.

Throughout the weekend I plan to rinse and repeat. Read, pamper, eat, drink and enjoy. Most mornings I will probably wake up to walk on the beach and venture into the gulf before I go to work out at the gym. On Saturday, I might check out one of the many golf courses in Naples — that’s about as far as I plan to venture from the Fifth Avenue cocoon I’ve created for myself at the inn.

By Sunday, I will have read at least two mysteries, played at least 18 holes of golf, enjoyed at least three massages and eaten at some of the best restaurants Naples has to offer. What more can a weekend vacation offer? It will be a sad two-hour drive back to Sarasota, but I’ll return for more fun and relaxation  another day.

Did you know there are more than 130 golf courses in the greater Naples area and I only played at one this weekend.


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