It certainly did not take long to be whisked full tilt into season. Gulfshore Playhouse just wound up its first shows of the season, God of Carnage and ‘Art.’ The Phil is bustling with activity and performances. Waterside Shops is bustling with activity—I could barely find a place to park there the other day. And the dining scene is burgeoning with newcomers: The Chapel Grill on Seventh Avenue South enjoyed wonderful attendance during its Grand Opening weekend and is now fully open for business. Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro (formerly in North Naples) has joined restaurant row on Fifth Avenue South and owner Michael Mir is warmly welcoming guests to its new home. D’Amico & Partners’ latest venue, Masa at Mercato, is scheduled to open within the next few weeks. At The Village on Venetian Bay, MiraMare Ristorante’s new sibling, FISH, is opening soon on the opposite side of the street.
Above: Cody Nickell, Scott Greer and Brit Whittle in ‘Art’
Below: Brigitte Viellieu-Davis and Brit Whittle in God of Carnage (photos: Gulfshore Playhouse)
The Chapel Grill (photo: Penny Taylor)
Yes, our social schedule is in full bloom—and what I have mentioned is merely a taste of what’s is going on around town. I have noticed a marked change this season. I told you some time ago that the car carriers were coming earlier; our friends from the north were arriving in paradise earlier than ever. Well, that was an understatement. Without having an official head count, I feel quite certain that there are more people in and around Naples at this particular time of year than I have seen in the last 10 years plus. Traffic is backed up, restaurants and stores are crowded and the beaches are full. The secret about our hidden treasure is out.
Now, because I have just returned from my errands in one piece after a much longer than expected outing (and a few close calls on the road), I have decided to offer a few helpful (I hope) tips in order for all of us to survive this busier than normal season unscathed. First, if you have an appointment somewhere, leave at least 10 minutes early. During our “quiet” period in the summer, I could get to my nail appointment in Bonita Springs in 12 minutes. Now, it’s closer to 25 minutes. Second, stay off U.S. 41 if at all possible and take the back way to your destination. For example, when going north, I take Vanderbilt Drive as far north as I need to. The speed is a bit slower but there are fewer stoplights and far fewer cars. Third, when going to Publix, Whole Foods, etcetera, park as far away from the store as possible. Your car will be happier (and safer) and you will be healthier, thanks to those extra paces. Finally, when making dinner reservations, MAKE THEM EARLY! A great tool I have relied on for some time is the Open Table website opentable.com. The ability to sit at your computer and check out all the restaurants and times available is priceless.
Happy season, everyone.