Happy September! Wow; where did the summer go? Bob and I just returned from a couple of fabulous trips. The first was to Osterville, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod to visit beloved long-time Boston neighbors (also part-time Neapolitans) in their spectacular home. And the most recent trip, which ended on Labor Day, was a visit to our wonderful Naples neighbors in yet another spectacular setting—their lakeside home in Asheville, North Carolina. In both places, Bob and I managed to eat and drink from just about every kind of food imaginable. We did not care if it was fried, baked, sautéed, sweet, spicy or sour—we ate and drank everything in sight. It was vacation, after all.
Now, back home and to reality, what a joy to be able to come home to paradise. It is so beautiful here with the last few days being totally amazing … a bit less humidity, blue skies … and then the afternoon Texas-style frog-strangling downpours to keep everything green and fresh. There is truly no place like home. Having said all that, let’s get down to business.
First of all, I need to give a shameless plug to my husband, Bob. Many folks have asked and wondered how The Bob Harden Show is doing on the Internet since he left his show on WGUF radio. The answer is simple—the show is a hit. Last month alone, he received more than 119,000 hits on his website. That is a far bigger audience than he ever had on WGUF. In July, there were more than 100,000 hits. The good news is that anyone with an Internet connection can hear Bob’s show from anywhere at any time. He broadcasts live Monday through Friday, from 7 until 8 a.m. All of his past shows are archived not only on his website, but podcasts of all of his shows can be found on iTunes. On his website, bobharden.com, you will see Bob’s smiling face along with lots of information about shows, guests, local weather and more. I had to sing his praises because he built this Web show on a wish and a prayer, and determination after leaving WGUF.
On the Naples front, there are lots of things happening on a daily basis. For those of you who do not already know, Charles Mereday of Mereday’s Fine Dining in Naples Bay Resort and Alto Jazz Kitchen in Bayfront is opening yet another restaurant, this time in the Coconut Point mall, where the former Grill Room was located. Kudos to Mr. Mereday for making such a large footprint in Southwest Florida in such a short period of time. The new restaurant is called Mereday’s Brasserie, with the focus on dishes that are classically French, but as a brasserie, beer and craft beers will be a main ingredient for the concept. And also opening in Coconut Point will be a second location of Bokamper’s, which has been a big hit in the Shoppes at Vanderbilt.
While we are still talking about Lee County, the Promenade in Bonita Springs is getting ready to open DeRomo’s Gourmet Market & Restaurant any day now. Founder and CEO Francis J. Cuomo (no relation to THE Cuomos, from what I am told) is overseeing the finishing touches to the 18,000-square-foot facility, which will provide authentic Italian food in the restaurant and shopping for gourmet items in the market and bakery.
Changes, changes and more changes abound, and here are some examples: the former King Richard’s Amusement Center on Airport-Pulling Road is gone—totally gone. In its place, a brand spanking new, and enormous, Hyundai car dealership. Just south of that, the Temple Citrus store, which had been there for what seemed like forever, is also gone. I am told the property was sold for a tidy sum to GL Homes to make way for a new housing development. And just next to Costco, a 50,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods is being built. On the corner of Goodlette-Frank Road, a new hospital is rising from the ground; Landmark Hospital will be a 50-bed, long-term acute care facility totaling 86,676 square feet. The three-story hospital will specialize in wound care, low-tolerance rehabilitation, mechanical ventilation and treatments. And all of these changes are just in North Naples. It’s amazing what goes on in the summer in paradise.