As much as I grump and moan about the traffic, nonstop parties and gatherings, dinners out night after night, the theater performances and dressy galas, I admit I get a bit melancholy when the “season” in Naples winds down. The car carriers are departing on a daily basis, heading out of town packed with cars of all makes and models. (Well, in the case of Naples, the makes and models are usually the finest of the fine and newest of the new.)
Friends and neighbors feel the need to leave this spectacular place for six months or so for a variety of reasons. It might be to be closer to grandchildren or to escape the “horrible” heat and humidity of the tropics during the summer. Some folks take this time to do their serious traveling to points all over the world or just to move their lives northward to their home base. And as they all leave, I feel sad for a little while. As of today, the “little while” is officially over. Today, I drove on U.S. 41 again for the first time in months. Naples belongs to the year-rounders once again.
When Bob and I tell folks we just meet that we live in Naples all year long, most of them are astounded. One of the first things they ask is how can we stand the aforementioned heat and humidity. Our answer is quite simple, really, as we describe living in Washington, D.C., for eight years. I can remember several times over those eight summers when the temperatures during the day exceeded 100 degrees and stayed that way for more than two weeks at a time. The humidity was near 95 percent, and not a drop of rain was felt anywhere, nor was there a breeze to be had. Sure, the temperature gets quite warm in Naples. However, it has not hit 100 during the 10 years we have lived here. In fact, The Weather Channel puts the all-time high at 99 degrees in 1986—and that’s a rarity. Plus, the beautiful sea breeze comes up every afternoon, followed by thunderstorms and the most glorious sunsets anywhere with perhaps a rainbow to boot.
The bottom line is that during the summer, it’s pretty much hot everywhere at least for a time and during the heat of the summer, I would much rather be here.
The summer means a little more space to stretch out and relax.
The other thing folks ask us is, aren’t we bored during the summer? What do we do after everyone leaves? The thing many people do not realize is that first, everyone does NOT leave. More and more people are staying put all year in paradise. More and more snowbirds are becoming full-time residents. Second, we do everything quicker and get places faster. Parking everywhere becomes easier. Shopping is a joy since the retailers are so thrilled to see the whites of your eyes. AND one of the best-kept secrets are the fabulous Naples restaurant deals. You see, nearly all of the restaurants in town try to entice those of us who are full-timers with half-price happy hours, or two for one entrées and/or a free bottle of wine with dinner. And the deals have already started at Barbatella, Sea Salt, MASA, Café Lurcat and Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro to name just a few. With so many terrific promotions, it’s hard to decide which restaurant we will hit each night.
Getting a table at super-popular MASA in Mercato is a pleasure.
What about playing golf, you ask? It must be too hot to play in the summer unless you play first thing in the morning. Not true. Bob and I have discovered that the afternoon is the very best time to play. More specifically 11 a.m. or after—because in the morning, the air is so still that moving around is just not that pleasant. But just after 11 a.m., the wonderful Gulf breezes start to stir and zipping around the golf course becomes a surprisingly refreshing experience. Certainly, the chance of storms is better during the afternoons but that really does not matter to us. We usually have the golf course to ourselves and can play in record time because everyone else decided to play in the morning.
So, paradise belongs solely to us for a few short months. We will enjoy each and every minute of every day until those car carriers make a U-turn and head south once again. And by that time, we will be ready to welcome them.