On Friday, July 31, a blue moon will shine on Southwest Florida. Where can Neapolitans go to check out the second full moon of July? But first off, why blue moon? Elvis Presley’s version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” aside, the name blue moon derives from the rarity of the event: when a month happens to have two full moons. The lunar event happens once every few years, the last being on September 30, 2012 (there were actually two that year—August 31—making 2012 the year of double blues).
With this July 31 marking 2015’s only blue moon, taking in earth’s natural satellite is a must. Here, we offer a few places to take in the blue moon sight in true Paradise Coast style.
For the adventurous, the best way to experience July’s blue moon is by paddle. Kayak Marco Island will be leading its always-popular Moonlight Kayak Tour on Friday, July 31, launching from the Isle of Capri Kayak Park. With the moon lighting the way, paddlers will explore Marco Bay on a 90-minute guided kayak tour. Ideal for paddlers of all ages and experiences, kayakers have a chance to explore Southwest Florida’s waterscape by night, and catch nocturnal wildlife in their natural surroundings, all while enjoying 2015’s only blue moon.
Paddlers embark at sunset for Kayak Marco Island’s Moonlight Kayak Tours.
If paddlers are lucky, they might catch a glimpse of glowing water as bioluminescence-emitting dinoflagellates are disturbed as you glide by on your kayak, though full moons tend to wash out the delicate light produced by the dinoflagellates. The singe-celled organisms tend to congregate in the warmer waters surrounding Marco Island in the summer months, giving paddlers an underwater fireworks show once the sun sets.
- Admission costs $69 per adult, $44 for kids—price includes cost of kayak rental. For more information, visit kayakmarco.com.
Photo Credit: NASA
When it comes to stargazing, Southwest Florida offers some of the best places to peer into the heavens in the state. Just east of Naples proper, where the Everglades dominates, light pollution dissipates—just look at the picture above, taken from a space shuttle, virtually absent of light. Big Cypress Preserve is open 24 hours and offers ideal stargazing opportunities. A great place to peer into the night sky is at H.P. Williams Roadside Park. Located midway between Naples and Miami along Tamiami Trail, the park’s short boardwalk gives visitors a great platform to break out the binoculars and take in the blue moon’s glory.
With Friday marking 2015’s only blue moon, one would think that the gravitational pull would undoubtedly attract beer drinkers to imbibe on a few Blue Moons, right? Forget the macro brew disguised as craft beer (Blue Moon is brewed by Coors), and sip on a wheat beer from Naples’ true craft beer specialists: Naples Beach Brewery.
While Blue Moon may adhere to the Belgian style of white wheat, Naples Beach Brewery’s Liquid Sunshine (4.7% ABV) gravitates toward the German-style of wheat ales. With a hint of spice, clove, banana, and light citrus, this weissbier is the perfect summer sip for the Paradise Coast, and quite the quaff for the blue moon rise.
- The Naples Beach Brewery will be open for tours and tastings on Friday, July 31 from 5-10 p.m. For more information, call 239-304-8795 or visit naplesbeachbrewery.com.
Few Neapolitan restaurants offer open-air views quite like the Bayside Seafood Grill and Bar. Situated on the Venetian Bay, the two-floor eatery is known for its seafood, complete with plenty of fresh catches with touches of world cuisine, as well as classic American comfort food. But for this blue moon celebration, we’re directing folks to the Upper Deck Bar and Outdoor Lounge for some of the best full-moon views around. For the best moon gazing/bar sipping experience, arrive around 7:30 p.m. so you can catch the full mesmerizing effect of the Southwest Florida sunset (sunset is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.), and stay till close—9:30 p.m.—as the night sky is bathed in the silvery blue moon light. What to sip? The Sunset Martini is not a bad choice (pictured right).
- Bayside’s Upper Deck Bar summer hours are Mon-Thurs, 2-9:30 p.m. and Fri, Sat, Sun 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 239-649-5552, or visit baysideseafoodgrillandbar.com.
Take in the blue moon with the only nightcap apropos for the evening: the blue moon. More violet then blue, this classic cocktail calls for the little-used liqeuer Crème Yvette, or crème de violette, the same cordial used for the classic Aviation cocktail. Reportedly it was created by “Oscar of the Waldorf” (Oscar Tschirky, maître d’hôtel of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries), who created the Waldorf salad and popularized eggs benedict, among other dining gems. Oscar’s original cocktail calls for Crème Yvette, which is rather difficult to come by. However, crème de violette is much easier to find, and largely tastes the same.
- 2 oz. dry gin
- ½ oz. crème de violette
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a coupe.