Vacation Pictures

After more than twenty years, I finally took a vacation for more than two days! I stayed at The Westin Cape Coral Resort At Marina Village in Florida. Below are some photos I snapped during my stay in the area. I am working on a post with a video to show you all the pieces I took in my carry-on bag and a tote bag for the five-day visit to Florida.

The hotel was very nice with a couple of restaurants and shops and docks for walking and bikes to borrow for the day. I enjoyed walking on the docks by the yachts and window shopping. I walked about ten miles each day in the process of sightseeing and to get some much needed fresh air and sunlight after being trapped inside during all of the frigid weather back in East Tennessee.

I asked a lady to snap this photo while I was in Fort Myers Beach for a couple of hours. Guests of the hotel were invited to take a ride across the bay in a shuttle boat. The best part of the visit was the lobster salad I enjoyed at Nervous Nellies located at the dock. I walked briskly through several blocks of town, but it was mostly touristy beach souvenirs, so I returned to the dock area to watch the pelicans soaring by and to sit in the sun while watching people until it was time to catch the shuttle boat back to the hotel. I saw many seabirds and dolphins playing in the water along the way.

On another day, I visited the fabulous Edison and Ford Winter Estates Museum. The plants and trees were unusual, and the weather was perfect for strolling through the gardens.

Another guest of the hotel snapped the photo above on the final evening of my stay. I read, walked, rested, ate well, toured museums, islands, and walked on the beach. It was a much needed solo vacation, and I have already started planning my next one while the lessons from this trip are fresh in my mind. I spent a lot of time driving and sitting in traffic during this trip, so I plan to stay on one of the islands and not try to do everything within a one hundred mile radius next time.

  1. How wonderful to be in a warm, beautiful place with no responsibilities and be free to do as you wish. You inspire me to think about doing the same. It’s been too long since I’ve seen the ocean!

  2. Susan, your pictures are beautiful. Hopefully you returned rested and renewed. Can’t wait to read about the wardrobe and packing tips. Especially the navy blazer. Stunning!!

  3. Oh, that looks heavenly! I was in the Naples area 2 years ago January, and would definitely plan another trip there. I could use the warmth and sunshine right abut now – sigh.

  4. Love this post, Susan!! I can relate to all you said. It is so “renewing” to be able to take time and enjoy Fl. We leave soon for Clearwater Beach, for a month. Have been doing so for about 4 years. Having said that, don’t think I could move there. Enjoy the change of seasons too much…
    even like the snow, knowing we will get a break from it…lol We stay in “old Clearwater Beach”…old beach houses refurbished, amazingly, by a couple. We can walk everywhere (even to a Pilates class at the local community center), except the grocery store, which is across the bridge, so not bad. Can stop there, on way back to the island, whenever we have been “out and about”…Look forward to your upcoming post…always open to downsizing my packing…

    1. Oh wow that is so brave to go by yourself! It sounds so fabulous to do exactly what you want to do. We all get in a routine and it is nice to do something different.

  5. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures of FLA. It looks very inviting from Michigan. I’m glad you enjoyed your long overdue vacation!

    1. He is fine. He dropped me off at the airport and picked me up. We do not always travel together, but we do enjoy our summer trips together in our area. We are not married, but we have been dating for about twelve years.

  6. Lovely pictures of my growing-up territory.
    Not this century, of course.
    Ford & Edison estates were there along with
    a Start-up called Chico’s.
    Fun to see u vacationing!


  7. Susan, you have truly inspired me to take a solo vacation that I have wanted to do, but didn’t know if I had the nerve
    Is this a good time to be in Florida? I love the navy blazer too.

    1. It is a great time to be in Florida! There are lots of other tourists there too but the weather was wonderful. It rained off and on Tuesday but otherwise, it was sunny and close to 80.

  8. I have been reading your blog for a few years and have always enjoyed them and learned a lot. It was fun to see that you were vacationing in Cape Coral since that is where my husband and I spend 3 months away from the Wisconsin winter weather. Glad to see that you had a nice vacation but you are correct about the traffic here. We spend a lot of time in traffic and at stop lights!

  9. Thank you for sharing your photos. Please keep doing so. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see a flower. I am in rainy, dark Seattle. So, you wore flats. You still look long and lean. Your outfits look great.

  10. I recommend either Sanibel Island or Marco Island. St. Armands Key near Sarasota is also lovely. I lived in Naples, Marco and Sanibel over a 20 year period. I also lived in Limestone, Tn, near you. Now I live in the Asheville area an love to see your posts when you visit here.

  11. Hi Susan—beautiful pictures and looking forward to hearing more about your vacation. I saw the card that Mr. Mickey gave you upon your return and I’ve never seen anything like that. Would you mind asking Him where he purchased the card or the manufacturer? I’ve never seen crystal embellishments like that on a greeting/note card before. Thank you

  12. I bet you had a lovely time. I think it is wonderful that while you would certainly have enjoyed MM being with you, you weren’t afraid to go alone. Many women don’t have the confidence to be on their own for fear people might think they have no one in their life. I love every moment I spend with my husband, and hope to spend many more years with him, but have to admit that some occasional alone time is very relaxing. Welcome home.

  13. No more than a 2-day vacation in more than 20 years? We Americans are so bad that way. I really enjoyed your photos and happy you got such nice “me-time.” Solo traveling is different in a really good way. I notice when I travel without my husband and am alone, I tend to meet more people and get chatted up more often. That is always nice. You need to make sure you get more vacation time! And then share with us too. Always a pleasure to see you and your pictures.

  14. Susan, Thank you for sharing! It looks heavenly from over here in Arkansas where we’ve had mostly humdrum back and forth weather for weeks and weeks I admire your ability to vacation solo and I would love the opportunity if it arose. It sounds like you were well overdue and you deserve many more respites. Thanks for all you do and share

  15. Susan, I love Ft. Myers Beach! My husband and I celebrated our 50th anniversary there. Stayed at the Pink Shell Hotel; that was several years ago in 2007. Unfortunately, I lost him 4 years ago but still have all my wonderful memories. The pictures are lovely. Thank You!

  16. Thank you for taking us along through your lovely photos. I think you’ve provided this info in a post before but I can’t find it. What kind of camera do you use? Thank you

  17. Susan:

    I love these pictures. You have inspired me to take a few days solo too.
    I live in Southern Ca – and in my area our temps are pretty much in the 70s right now. I have so enjoyed your site and your sharing all of your fabulous tips. Plus I love the clothes, scarves, shoes and purses I have purchased too.
    Hugs to you always…Kris

  18. Your photos are beautiful and you look lovely, as always. Please hurry with your post on packing. I’m leaving for South Carolina next week, and I always struggle with what to pack!

    1. I too am very much interested in reading your post about packing for your trip. I’ll be traveling soon to Hawaii. I’m a walker too and feel like I need to take a variety of clothes to accommodate hiking and dinners out. By the way, did you slip into that cute swimsuit? I’m so glad you had a get away. Even though I’m not alone when traveling, I’d be interested in knowing how one does it with the wonderful gracious attitude that you have.

  19. You look so fabulous in these photos, as always. I hope you will consider writing a post on traveling alone—strategies, mind set and anything else that will help your readers have more confidence in traveling alone. I’ve done this before and I have one area that still feels uncomfortable: eating dinner alone. Breakfast and lunch, no problem, but dinner? Uncomfortable. On the other hand, I still laugh remembering the comment by one of the garden docents when I did the Savannah Hidden Gardens tour by myself, “Honey, couldn’t you even find a girlfriend to come with you?”

    1. I have heard, “Just one?” about a million times. I just smile and say, “Yes, just one.” I have been single for much of my life, so I have no hesitation at dining or traveling alone. I was considering writing a post about solo travel. Thanks for letting me know that someone is interested in the subject.

  20. Wow what is that amazing looking white flower? The tree (or is it trees) looks prehistoric! Thank you for sharing these lovely photos, so awesome and cheering on these dark days (I live in Shetland, Scotland with not very many big trees). Also just want to say that I very much enjoy and appreciate your posts and glad to see you enjoying some time off.

  21. Your walking outfit – white jeans, blue shirt, KEDS, straw hat and big sunglasses is perfect! Comfortable looking but very classy!
    Walking 10 miles a day is amazing. My arthritic knees & hips make it difficult for me to walk very far at all and have put serious limitations on travel.
    Did you say that before you changed your diet years ago you suffered from arthritis and that removing meat etc. reversed the painful symptoms?

  22. What no pool side pictures with a cool drink and beach wear… what kind of vacation was that? But the pictures you did provide capture the winter in Florida well!

  23. Susan, I’m so glad you finally treated yourself to this much needed trip. My husband and I (a 2nd marriage for us both and getting ready to celebrate 36 years together) don’t have any children, so we’ve been able to travel a lot through the years – we’ve been to 59 countries and territories, 14 cruises ! Even tho’ we are college graduates, travel has proven to be the best education. It’s so interesting to ‘see’ all the things that you’ve studied in books. I know you have a thriving business and perhaps you traveled earlier in your life, but I encourage you to see more of the world. Connie Briggs

    PS: Most of our travel has been international, so we are planning more USA trips. Fort Myers is on my list, as is Sarasota to see Ca’d’Zan (Ringling’s home). I’m also following your lead to see those things within 100 miles of Anderson, SC. It’s amazing all the interesting things you can find close to home, if you take the time and energy to look ! Thanks for that inspiration. I love your website.

  24. Oh my goodness! You weren’t far from me. I live in Bonita Springs. The weather here in southwest Florida hasn’t been the best for tourists, but I’ve certainly been enjoying it.

    Getting away is good for the soul. It’s non-negotiable for me. Glad you enjoyed and looking forward to seeing what you packed, as I’m a carry-on-only girl.

  25. I thought before you even mentioned……she look like she’s in Fort Myers (we used to live in Cape Coral, just across the bridge). Love the pics and I know you had a great time. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Susan such a beautiful place…your outfits are my top priority I love using
    what I can for me.I will read on . Thank you

  27. Wonderful that you did this for yourself! I have had a number of women say they would never travel on their own. As long as I feel safe,I will. It is the only way I can truly be centered on my own wellbeing. We give so much of ourselves away. We need the self-care. I am making the assumption here you had some time for yourself. I hope you did.

  28. We are leaving for Key West first then Sanibel, my favorite place for three weeks. Wish I would have seen you at Chicos. Just tried my clothes on to take and keep elimimenating , always take too much, but always shop too much also, oh well…..Jan

  29. Susan….I loved the Banyan trees at the Ford and Edison place…was there many years ago. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us…I think I had blog withdrawal …not getting your blogs , which I look forward to and enjoy so much. I copied a little info on the Banyan tree…”The largest Banyan tree in the continental US is growing on the grounds of the Edison and Ford Winter Estate in Ft. Myers, Florida (now a museum open to the public for tours). Thought to have been planted around 1925 at what was then Thomas Edison’s winter home, this record holder is 84′ tall and 376 inches in circumference. Some people speculate that the original tree was a gift from Firestone. In addition to his electrical experiments, Edison was known for his experimental work with trying to produce rubber (he was interested in a commercial venture) and the thousands of plants he grew”. ..sure you saw this info when you were there…. I don’t recall seeing the largest Banyan tree…described here, but I was fascinated by the ones I saw. Brought back good memories seeing them in your post ! Thanks !

  30. Hi Susan — so glad you were able to have a real vacation. And, I hope you post your travel bag video soon. I’m leaving for Sanibel Island on Feb 15th for 5 days. This is my annual birthday trip with my daughter. Her February birthday makes the perfect excuse to escape to warm weather. This is the first time we’ve gone to the Fort Myers area so I was very interested in seeing your pics.

  31. Looks perfect. And of course, so do you! We were there a couple of years ago about this time if year. What could be better than calm balmy days after all the fun and friends of Christmas? Warm days flowers water just doesn’t get much better!

  32. Sanibel and Captiva are lovely islands to consider as well as Anna Maria Island up near Bradenton. I love them all!

  33. I am so pleased that you took this time for yourself. Sometimes we get so used to our hamster wheels, we don’t realize how much we need to detach & regenerate! Another valuable lesson you have shared with us

  34. So glad you had a great time. There is just “something” about walking, sun and water to reset yourself! Great pics

  35. ahhh….wonder if our paths crossed??? We have been in fort myers for the entire month of January. We headed to Cape Coral every Sunday for church. We also were at the Ford Edison homestead on the 9th touring it ourselves. Your pictures are beautiful and i love the idea of a boat ride from cape coral to ft. myers and back.

  36. Susan,

    You are an inspiration to me. I have been thinking recently of traveling alone as well, but I’ve been a big baby about it, and quite frankly, nervous being a woman traveling alone. I’ve actually been looking at some companies that specialize in Women traveling alone, but found the trips to be more expensive than doing it on your own.


  37. Thank you for sharing what you took on your vacation. I really enjoy your Blog delivered to my e mail.
    It brightens my day and makes me think how can I improve my choices of my clothing either when I’m buying something new or putting together a outfit for the day.

  38. You should vacation at Amelia Island, Fla. No traffic, slow pace and wonderful restaurants. A gem that many have not yet discovered. Gloria Bailey

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