Take me out to the ballgame....please!

Minnesota Twins
It's that time again - that first mention of pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.  Aaah...it makes me feel that yes, there is a light at the end of this long, gray depressing tunnel we call winter. February 17th is that magic day when the Twins are scheduled to report to Ft. Myers, Florida.  So, we'd better talk about what to do and where to stay.

Spring training is a treat for everyone from the "yeah, I've seen a game" baseball fan to the baseball psycho who never misses a pitch.  Sure the games don't mean much - the young kids are killing themselves to earn a spot while the marquee players are just getting into game shape. But, for the spectator, spring training is mostly about hearing the crack of a bat on a hot sunny day, having a cold beer, maybe some peanuts, and seeing some pretty great baseball.  Hammond Stadium is an ideal place.  It's beautiful and there's not a bad seat in the house.  Plus, it offers pretty up close and personal access to your favorite players. The employees are all mostly sweet little old guys who are quick with a joke, burn the brats just right, and are just plain happy to be there. Who wouldn't be?

Hammond Stadium, Ft.Myers, FL

There is literally a plethora of places to stay in the Ft. Myers area; Ft. Myers Beach, Sanibel Island and even Captiva.  What's your pleasure?  Hotel, condo, house for rent, resort?  My favorite hotel is the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa.  While it's not close to the ballpark (who cares? that's what rental cars are for) it IS on the water.  Check out my September post: "My Favorite 3" for more info on this resort. 

The kids love to watch dolphins jumping at the end of this dock
We rent a condo there directly from the individual owner, but there are hotel rooms available for shorter stays too. While it's called the "Sanibel Harbour Inn" it's technically in Ft. Myers at the start of the causeway that takes you to the islands of Sanibel & Captiva.  They are fabulous... some of the best beaches in the world.  The kids can spend days and I mean DAYS collecting shells on the beaches of Captiva. There's even a shell museum ...trust me we've been there.

The beach in Captiva
Just cruising around Captiva is an event itself.  The houses (mansions) are unreal. If you require a destination you might as well get yourself to the Mucky Duck. Located at the very tip of Captiva, it been around since the 70's and it's extremely popular for the simple reason that the food is good but the view is even better.  Get there early and don't come starving, because there's usually a bit of a wait for a table.

The Mucky Duck

The Mucky Duck's front row seat for the sunset.

Red Velvet cake
You can't mention Captiva without mentioning The Bubble Room.  Just take a look at their adorable website. It, too, is usually packed, the food is a bit overpriced, but the desserts are out of this world.  My kids are creeped out by all of the antiques - and they're everywhere you look - but it's definitely a must-see if you're in the area.

If Ft. Myers Beach is more your bag, consider the Pink Shell Resort.  It's big, it's on the beach and it has a great pool for kids. A little "heads up" about Ft. Myers Beach: it can get somewhat "spring-breaky" so plan your dates accordingly and research your hotel carefully.  Also, the constant traffic over the San Carlos Blvd. bridge can be a bit of an annoying hassle.  Leave yourself plenty of time if you're traveling into Ft. Myers to catch a game or heading over to the islands for dinner or shell collecting.

The Beached Whale
On Ft. Myers Beach, you have to hit the The Beached Whale for lunch or dinner.  Wait for a table on the rooftop deck.  It's worth it. Listen to some Jimmy Buffet (you can't escape it anyway) order a bucket of cold Coronas and try the shrimp in every way they make it: bbq, buffalo, coconut, stuffed....you might never leave. 

There you have it. So much to do, so little time....get cracking...

Insider tip:  when you land at the airport in Ft. Myers, have one person in your group wait for your checked luggage and send someone else on a mission to the car rental counter.  The lines get veeeerrry loooong.  

Vacation rentals:  VBRO.com or Homeaway.com or Beachhouse.com
Minnesota Twins Spring Training Schedule
Ft. Myers Imaginarium Hands-on Museum and Aquarium
Info on the beaches of Ft. Myers & Sanibel


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About Me

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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?