Travel Destinations

Naples, FL

Florida
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January 2022
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By
Richard
Kern

If you're traveling down Florida's west coast, Naples is one of the last places to restock and refuel before setting off for the Keys, 100 miles south. But Naples is worth more than a quick stop. The city offers boaters a myriad of recreational opportunities, great restaurants and first-class beachfront accommodations that invite you to linger longer on the Paradise Coast.

naples - destination - marinalife
Courtesy of Rick Fesenmeyer

Naples was founded in 1886 but was only accessible by boat until 1927 when the Florida railroad system was finally extended; the Tamiami Trail highway linking Miami to Naples and points north wasn't completed until two decades later. This relative isolation spared Naples the fate of its east coast neighbors, keeping runaway development in check.

Today, Old Naples the roughly 15-block area south of Central Avenue retains much of its early-20th century charm, and Naples Pier, the neighborhood's 130-year-old focal point, is a great place to get your bearings and catch a brilliant Gulf sunset before heading out to the area's top-flight eateries. Pier amenities include restrooms and a concession stand selling bait, food and beach supplies.

For a unique food and entertainment experience, Celebration Park in the Bayshore Arts District near Naples Botanical Garden is home to a permanent food truck rally, pavilion, picnic tables and open-air tiki bar. The brainchild of local entrepreneur Rebecca Maddox, Celebration Park is a magnet for foodies, lovers of live entertainment and visitors seeking a laid-back Florida vibe.

Looking for a special spot to spend a night on land? Consider the Hotel Escalante, an 11-bungalow Mediterranean-style retreat with a pool, spa and first-rate restaurant set amidst courtyard fountains, tropical gardens, private patios and verandas.

naples - destination - marinalife
Courtesy of Rick Fesenmeyer

Saltwater and freshwater fishing is a top leisure pursuit in Naples, netting ambitious anglers an array of species such as redfish, snook, tarpon, grouper and snapper. How about an Everglades airboat or kayak tour? Or maybe a hike at one of the area's many parks? Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park are two local favorites. Also, 10 public golf courses are at your fingertips. And don't forget the Naples Zoo, Botanical Gardens, upscale shopping on Fifth Avenue South, or just stretching out on miles of pristine beach. Seagate Beach and Lowdermilk Park Beach are two of the best.If you're here in November, January or March, check out the Swamp Buggy Races at Florida Sports Park the only place in the world to see these weirdly awesome machines.

If your transportation interests trend toward the classics, Revs Institute on Horseshoe Drive has 100+ restored and preserved automobiles of historic significance on display.

Where to Dock

Naples Bay Resort & Marina
239-530-5134
Billing itself as Southwest Florida's only waterfront hotel with a fully operational marina featuring direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, the marina offers 97 wet slips with electricity, complimentary Wi-Fi and pump-out services, onsite fuel, and dock box storage and transient slips in the summer.

Naples Boat Club
239-430-4994
Naples Boat Club encompasses a dry-rack boat storage boathouse, 47 wet slips for monthly, seasonal or annual dockage, and related businesses, including the Wharf Tavern Restaurant, Molly's Marine Service, Allied Marine and others. Amenities include a full-service fuel dock, clubhouse, pool and waterfront storage with quick access to the Gulf, Gordon Pass and Naples beaches.

Naples City Dock
239-213-3070
Located at the end of 12th Avenue South about three miles north of the Gordon Pass, Naples City Dock boasts 84 slips on floating docks and mooring balls. The 400' frontage can accommodate various size vessels, and the marina offers high-speed diesel, ethanol-free gas, laundry, an outdoor lounge area and complimentary pump out.

Where to Dine

Bleu Provence
239-261-8239
This award-winning French restaurant began as labor of love in 1999 after Jacques and Lysielle Cariot retired to Naples from France. Retirement didn't stick; starting an elegant eatery was their new plan. With a 49,000-bottle wine cellar and a menu that redefines fresh and fine dining, you're in excellent hands.

naples - destination - marinalife
Naples City Dock | Courtesy of Rick Fesenmeyer

Captain & Krewe
239-263-1976
Open every day, this casual café serves local seafood, simply prepared, in a laid-back atmosphere. Small plates include ceviche, crab cakes, spicy shrimp, fish tacos, chargrilled oysters, chowder, lobster roll... choose one, or choose them all, and kick back and enjoy! Tip: The raw bar tucked in the back of the place is a local hotspot.

Dolce e Salato
239-300-0444
For adventurous and authentic Italian cuisine, this breakfast and lunch spot might make it seem like you've died and gone to heaven. This combo market and eatery serves croissants, cakes and biscotti with its cappuccino and espresso. Italian frittatas and special egg dishes round out the morning menu, followed by lunchtime appetizers, signature sandwiches, pasta creations, Italian classics and weekly specials. Happy hour includes complimentary tastings from the menu.

Veranda E
239-659-3466
Located at the Hotel Escalante, Veranda E serves what it calls Global Haute Cuisine with an Asian twist. Featuring an on-premises sustainable organic garden, the chef crafts culinary classics with local grouper and snapper, short ribs, rack of lamb and filet mignon. An impressive wine list rounds things out. Atmosphere abounds.

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Lyman-Morse: Breathes New Energy into a Coastal New England Town
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The buzz of construction at the docks of Camden, ME, is finished, and it’s been replaced with an air of excitement among residents and visitors who watched a beautiful new development emerge along the waterfront.

The rebirth of Camden’s harbor started in 2015 when Lyman-Morse bought Wayfarer Marine. Based in nearby Thomaston, Lyman-Morse has run a successful boat-building business since the 1970s. More than 120 vessels have been constructed in the yard, located in the same site where Malabar schooners, Friendship sloops and other fine vessels have been built for nearly two centuries. Lyman-Morse has expanded beyond custom sailing and motor yachts, now offering high-quality refits, and other services.

Lyman-Morse’s boatyard and nine-acre facility enjoy a long maritime tradition on Camden’s shoreline, ranging from building schooners in the 19th century to U.S. minesweepers and troop transports in World War II, and servicing vessels from high-end yachts to recreational boats.

The location of this acquisition is idyllic. Nestled in a lovely cove on Penobscot Bay, Camden has been a bastion of seafaring activity and a world-
wide nautical travel destination for centuries. The scenery is dramatic, with forested mountains that meet the ocean and offshore islands that are an explorer’s
paradise. The 1830s Curtis Island Lighthouse near the harbor keeps watch over the town’s quaint homes, shops, restaurants, opera house and galleries.

Inspired by the area’s natural beauty, the new development’s designers also understood Camden’s historic role in the region and wanted to carry that forward in modern form. They studied vintage photos, matched the style and created 33,000 square feet of new buildings for marine services and mixed-use commercial space.

Lyman-Morse’s Camden boatyard attracts maritime professionals and boaters with essential services for carpentry, mechanics, electronics, rigging and more, and brings the general public back to the working waterfront with amenities such as restaurants, a distillery, a few overnight accommodations, and a boardwalk big enough for a morning stroll or brisk dog walk.

Added bonus: Sensitivity to the environment was not overlooked in construction. Engineers took a sustainable approach when they elevated all structures above the flood plain, installed LED lights and upgraded all systems to today’s energy-efficient levels.

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Camden, Maine
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True boaters say the real Maine coast doesn’t start until you reach Penobscot Bay. This is “Down East” from Kennebunkport and Portland. The dramatic stretch of coastline from Camden to Mount Desert Island sparkles with granite shores, dotted with archipelagos of pine-tree covered islands and mountains cascading into the sea. This region offers some of the best cruising ground in the world.

Camden is a magical little seaside town in the heart of Maine’s mid-coast. It’s historic but hip. “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” is their moniker, as Camden Hills and 780-foot Mount Battie stretch down toward the bustling waterfront where this 1769 New England village sits, creating a postcard scene.

Camden is super foot-traffic friendly, starting at Harbor Park and the beautiful brick Public Library that graces the top of the bay by the Town Docks. Enjoy a picnic on the sprawling park lawn; there’s often a craft festival or free concert at the outdoor amphitheater. From the waterfront, stroll the quaint sidewalks leading to cafés, boutiques, craft stores and art galleries, pubs, and surprisingly trendy restaurants.

You can hike, bike or drive the toll road up Mount Battie in Camden Hill State Park, which encompasses 5,500 acres and 30 miles of trails. Your reward is spectacular panoramic views of the harbor and Penobscot Bay below.

Eaton Point, at the eastern entrance to the harbor, is home to a new Lyman-Morse yacht facility. Camden remains a working harbor with lobster fishermen, boat builders, ferries and tall-masted schooners taking folks out for scenic sails.

Camden hosts festivals throughout the summer season of jazz, film and its trademark Windjammers. In winter, the U.S. National Tobogganing Champion-ships are held at Camden’s namesake Snow Bowl – our country’s only ski area with views of the Atlantic.

Camden is an ideal boater’s gateway with all the services and shops you need in walking distance from the waterfront. Excursions from this protected harbor are countless and legendary. A quick cruise brings you to quiet Lasell Island for a sunset anchorage. Farther on you reach Maine’s Maritime Academy home in beautiful Castine, and the rustic islands of North Haven, Vinalhaven and Deer Isle. Ultimately you can cruise north and east through beautiful Merchants Row, or the more protected Eggemoggin Reach, to Mount Desert Island, home to famed Acadia National Park, Northeast, Southwest and Bar Harbors.

WHERE TO DOCK

Camden Public Landing
Town Docks
207-691-4314

Contact the harbormaster for overnight slips, limited but in town, and moorings throughout the harbor.

Lyman-Morse at
Wayfarer Marine
207-236-7108

Across the harbor on Camden’s east shores, this revamped marina is a half-mile walk to town, with new docks and a marina facility, home of Lyman-Morse Boatyard and 30 slips plus moorings.

WHERE TO DINE

40 Paper
207-230-0111

Relish artful cuisine locally sourced from farmers, fishermen and “foragers.” In an historic wool mill in downtown Camden, it’s comfy but chic. Savor octopus, lamb, mussels, salmon and more with fresh produce and creative sides. Save room for dessert made from scratch.

Peter Otts on the Water
207-236-4032

Get your chowder and Maine lobster fix from Chef Peter. This classic setting overlooking the harbor is a Camden staple you “ott” not miss. Open for lunch or dinner.

Franny’s Bistro
207-230-8199

With a neighborhood feel, Franny’s serves up lobster fritters, crab cakes, shrimp dumplings and land-lubber faves, too. A fun menu in a cozy setting.

Bagel Café
207-236–2661

For fresh-brewed morning coffee and daily “boiled then baked” bagels or breakfast sammies served all day.

Read More
Jamestown, Rhode Island
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Located on Conanicut Island, Gould Island and Dutch Island, Jamestown welcomes boaters to Narragansett Bay.  Its southernmost point is on Gould Island and marked by Beavertail Lighthouse and State Park. The northernmost point is marked by Conanicut Island Lighthouse.  While Conanicut Island is the second largest island on Narragansett Bay, it is near the western mainland in Kingston, and Newport lies to the east on Aquidneck Island.  Hop on the Jamestown Newport Ferry to get the lay of the land and sea.

Jamestown was settled early in colonial history and was named for James, Duke of York, who became King James II in 1685.  By 1710, many of Jamestown’s current roads were already in place and a lot of its early architecture is well preserved. Soak up some local history at the Jamestown Fire Memorial Museum, Beavertail Lighthouse Museum and Park, Jamestown Windmill, Watson Farm, Conanicut Island Sanctuary, Fort Wetherill State Park, and the Jamestown Settlement museum.

The main town, shops and restaurants are located on the eastern shore of Conanicut Island.  But even from the western side, Dutch Harbor and other attractions are easily accessed with a one-mile walk.

WHERE TO DOCK

Conanicut Marina
401-423-5820

This full-service marina has a ships store/chandlery, gift shop, extensive dockage and a large mooring field.  It’s located in the heart of town overlooking Newport and the Pell Bridge, but bring your fishing poles for the kids.

Dutch Harbor Boat Yard
401-423-0630

Located on the west passage of Narragansett Bay, this small, local marina has good moorings, launch service and facilities.  At times, the harbor can be rolly from a SW wind up the West Passage.  The holding ground is excellent for anchoring, but the dinghy dock is by seasonal permit only.

Safe Harbor Jamestown Boatyard
401-423-0600

Jamestown Boatyard is renowned for excellent workmanship on all types of boats.  It also has a large mooring field and is in a beautiful location on the East Passage.

WHERE TO DINE

Slice of Heaven
401-423-9866

This family-owned café and bakery with an outdoor patio is an ideal spot for breakfast and lunch, especially if you’re looking for tasty gluten-free and vegetarian options.

J22 Tap & Table
401-423-3709

This lively, year-round restaurant specializes in classic American cuisine and local seafood dishes such as New England clam chowder, lobster tail and seared yellowfin tuna while accommodating meat eaters with wings, burgers and steak tacos.

Village Hearth Bakery & Café
401-423-9282

Take a seat inside this rustic eatery or outside on the patio to enjoy wood-fired bread, pizzas and pastries with a cool beer or wine.  To start your day with a smile, order a cup of the eco-friendly coffee.

Bay Voyage Restaurant
401-560-7979

Inside the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn, this casual dining establishment presents a seasonal menu of American cuisine standards and seafood with fresh ingredients and a stellar view of Narragansett Bay.

Read More

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