Marco Island Revisited

We spent a pleasant three days on Marco Island in the southwest portion of the state. Just south of Naples, this island has a tranquil atmosphere. From uncluttered beaches to gourmet restaurants, you can relax and unwind amid this tropical oasis.

Dinners

The first night, we ate at Marek’s amid its historical ambiance in an old house. Our meal began with Duck and Vegetable Egg Rolls followed by a Caesar salad. The entrée that we shared was fresh grilled grouper topped with rum banana puree and lemon butter drizzle. This was deliciously done. It came with rice and vegetables. The lively bar attracts a crowd.

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At Snook Inn, we ordered Shrimp DeJoghne which were coated in bread crumbs and sautéed in a garlic butter sauce. This came with a salad bar, soft bread, and a choice of potato. It was a tasty meal at great value with a water view of the Marco River. This place is popular with families.

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We ate our final meal at Café de Marco. I like the elegant atmosphere here with its white clothed tables and candlelight. We began with seafood stuffed mushrooms then progressed to house salads. We shared mahi mahi de Marco in a signature mushroom garlic sauce. It came with potatoes au gratin and plain green beans. The latter were chewy and not appealing. Broccoli would have been a better choice. But I still like the romantic ambiance in this place next to the historic Olde Marco Inn.

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Next time, we’d like to try Bistro Soleil attached to the inn. The hotel itself was built in the late 1800’s and is inspirational for a mystery or romantic suspense story.

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Hotel

As in the past, we stayed at the Hilton on Marco Island. It’s a good thing as the Marriott is closed for extensive renovations. I really like the Hilton though. From spacious rooms with a gulf view to comfortable beds and pillows, this hotel has nice amenities. There’s even a shower mat in the bathroom, handle bars so you don’t slip, and plentiful toiletries. Our room came with slippers and robes but that may be because we are Hilton Honors members. As far as dining, the  lounge opens at 5:00 pm. That’s one complaint. I wish they opened one hour earlier. And the Starbucks coffee bar in the lobby opens early in the morning but closes shortly after noon. So there’s nowhere to get an afternoon cup of coffee. Rooms do come with coffeemakers but you only get enough packs for the morning.

The hotel has two restaurants, a formal one called Sandpiper and an informal overlooking the beach called Paradise Café. We like to eat breakfast in the latter but be prepared for a $40 bill. In contrast, other days we ate breakfast at Ne Ne’s Kitchen not far along at 297 N. Collier Blvd. I had their cornflake crusted French Toast with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Or try Susie’s Diner in Marco Town Center. Dinner is also nice at Paradise Café.

The pool area is attractive. Chairs are free here and at the beach but umbrellas cost money. There’s a catamaran that leaves directly from the beach if you want a boat ride and tour to a private island for swimming and shelling. The water is clear with no seaweed or other debris. The powdery white sand is good for walking, and schools of fish might keep you company in the water. During our stay, the Gulf was very calm. I could sit in it like a bathtub and didn’t even have any swells come by.

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Besides dining and beach activities, there’s little else to do here. You can visit the shops in one afternoon. Sunshine Booksellers has the monopoly on bookstores. Or just laze at the beach or by the pool.

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See all photos on my Facebook page. Look for the Marco Island July 2015 Album and please Like my page while there.

Booklover’s Bench Contest: Enter to win $25 Amazon/BN Giftcard: http://bookloversbench.com/july-2015-contest/

 

Marco Island Revisited

Marco Island is our favorite beach getaway during the summer months. Located in southwest Florida below Naples, this quiet island holds pristine beaches and tempting seafood restaurants. We stay at the Hilton, enjoying its amenities and the café overlooking the water. I shop at Beachworks for tropical wear in Marco Town Center, a shopping strip with fun gift shops and boutiques. We visit Sunshine Booksellers that has two branches on the island. And we dine in our favorite eateries.

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Our first day, we had lunch at Snook Inn. I like their baked stuffed shrimp with a salad bar.

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That evening, we headed to Café de Marco. I had to get their seafood stuffed mushrooms again. It’s one of the best appetizers ever. We had butterflied shrimp there the last time, so now we tried delicious grouper with mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Crusty rolls and salads accompanied the meal. We enjoy this restaurant’s elegant atmosphere and excellent service.

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The next day, lunch was at the pool bar as we spent the day at the beach.

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For dinner, we returned to Capri Fish House for grilled salmon while overlooking a sandy stretch at a waterway where kids cast fishing lines and boats bobbed at a marina.

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We’d hoped to take the lunch cruise on the Marco Island Princess the following afternoon, but it was cancelled due to lack of patrons. So we visited the Marco Island Historical Museum instead and learned about the early Calusa Indians and the Spaniard explorers who brought disease that wiped them out.

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Lunch was casual at NeNe’s Kitchen and dinner was coconut crusted tilapia at our hotel’s Paradise Café.

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It was another refreshing weekend at the beach and just what I needed to get away from the computer. Here’s the blazing sunset that’s always a celebration on the west coast of Florida, and just a snippet away, an approaching thunderstorm.

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MARCO ISLAND, FL

If you’d like to escape for several days to a beach haven away from it all, visit Marco Island. There’s as much or as little as you want to do here, with expansive sandy beaches, boat rides, fine dining, shopping, water sports, and more. Driving onto the island, a two hour drive west from Fort Lauderdale and just south of Naples, we stopped at the Snook Inn for lunch. Located on a waterway, this rustic restaurant offers a scenic view along with outdoor dining. I had Baked Stuffed Shrimp while my husband had Conch Chowder and Crab Cake Sliders. Then we went for cocktails later to Quinn’s on the Beach at the Marriott. Again, we chose outdoor seating so we could watch the sun descend on the horizon.

Snook Inn
Snook Inn

We spent two nights at the Hilton with its lovely pool area, big wide beach, three dining places, plus a lounge. The food in Sandpipers and the Paradise Café was excellent, better than many other restaurants we’ve experienced, with an artistic presentation worthy of the best worldwide establishments. For dinner in the Paradise Café, I ordered Coconut Crusted Tilapia that was absolutely delish. My husband ordered Salmon Oscar, and we shared a Key Lime Pie for dessert. Here you have a choice of eating outside on a screened patio with a view of the sunset and beach or inside in the air-cooled restaurant.

The last night found us at Capri Fish House where we ate outside under the chickee hut facing a waterway. While we waited for our food (I ordered grilled grouper), a thunderstorm struck and lightning flashed all around. Rain poured down, necessitating our moving to another table to avoid getting wet.        

Snook Inn
View from Snook Inn

Other than the food, we enjoyed the beach. The lounge chairs and towels are free at the Hilton. If you want an umbrella, it costs $19 per day. We hunted for seashells, splashed in the sea foam, sniffed the salty sea air, and floated in the bathtub warm water. This mini-vacation came with its comedic moments, such as when the spouse spilled ketchup all over himself or got lost walking on the beach looking for the hotel entrance. I tried to unlock someone else’s room until I realized I was at the wrong door. Good thing our daughter came along to laugh at our mishaps. Family vacations, however short, are treasures to be stored away with memories and photos.

Quinn's on the Beach
Quinn's on the Beach
Hilton Hotel view
Hilton Hotel view
Marco Island Beach
Marco Island Beach
Nancy in the ocean
Nancy in the ocean
Capri Fish House
Capri Fish House
Capri Fish House
Capri Fish House
Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie
Nancy at Capri Fish House
Nancy at Capri Fish House
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset

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