Naples, Florida
Gulf dream: A bit of the Mediterranean in Naples, Florida.

From the March 24, 2003 Issue of New York

See Naples and sigh. The soft light, bone-white beaches, plaid shells, and vermilion sunsets will do that to you. The feel of cozy, historic Old Naples evokes the Côte d’Azur—casual and sophisticated. Roam the fine shops, boutiques, and especially the art galleries—Eckert Fine Art shows work by contemporary artists such as Christo and Rauschenberg. Bunk at the lovely Hotel Escalante, a gem of comfort, quiet, and grace smack in the center of town. Nearby Campiello has a fun, lively vibe and an innovative hybrid menu (balsamic-glazed short ribs with spaghetti). Ridgeway Bar & Grill serves up cold stone crabs—a Florida must—freshly hauled in from the Gulf of Mexico. Forty-five minutes away is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, owned and run by the National Audubon Society. A gentle, bug-free, two-mile stroll along a winding boardwalk takes you back 500 years to primal, beautiful cypress forest and to views of barred owls, wood storks, great egrets, and alligators.

-- Frederic Tuten

JetBlue flies from JFK to Fort Myers, Florida, in a scant three hours. Hotel Escalante (doubles from $250 until April 26, from $165 April 27–October 5; 877-gulf-inn;; Campiello (239-435-1166); Ridgeway (239-262-5500).

Related Stories on New York Metro
Iced Tee (March 11, 2002)

Related Websites
Naples Florida - Activities, boating information, and a health and fitness guide.