February 21 – 27, 2020 Fort Myers, Part I

We rested after our stressful ride to Fort Myers; then we walked around the marina to check it out. It’s located right in town – great location – but our boat location – not so great.  We were backed up to a city sidewalk, just off of a street. We were planning to leave the boat to go home for a while and we weren’t comfortable with the very unsecured spot. We would have a struggle to get another spot – even tho’ there were several open.  To add to the problem, our only exit off the boat was onto a fixed wall – doesn’t float and depending on the tide level, I was sometimes having to take a “leap of faith” to step off the boat.  It got to be quite a concern for me that I might take a fall.  

Docktails were on our boat that evening.  Adagio came over from the Edison-Ford Marina and joined us as well as Honey Queen and Pura Vida III.  We all talked and talked – catching up on what everyone had been doing and seeing.  

Six of us later headed into town for the Music Walk, an event held every third Friday of a month.  The idea is that various musicians/groups perform and different locations in town, and people can walk around to enjoy (or sometimes not) the music.  The streets are closed off and drinking is permissible.  It’s a great idea, except that this night was freezing cold!!  We were all bundled up with layers and layers. We tried to find a place for dinner, but inside seating was about a 2 hour wait.  We finally settled on sitting outside – in an alley to block some of the wind.  The company and food were wonderful – the table location not so much. Brrrrr.  The restaurant was named Capone’s.  It was at one time a bank, and during renovations, an underground room was discovered that is believed to be the secret vault of Al Capone, notorious gangster.  The room was kept as found in the floor, and a plexiglass cover was made to cover it, so that it would still be visible from above.  No one is really sure of the authenticity, but that’s their story!

The next day it started getting warmer and we walked around town.  Lots of sculptures and artwork to see.  We also caught glimpses of a wedding outside of the Art Gallery.

On Sunday, we walked to church – about a mile away, and enjoyed some more artwork along our walk. That evening we had  “Dockluck” dinner with some Loopers.  

On Monday we headed over to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.  These were their winter homes and a place where their friendship really grew.  There was much to see here.  There are the two homes and the grounds, and a museum, which showcases many of their inventions. The museum also runs DVD’s which tell of some of their “camping trips,” although I don’t know that you can call it such when you have cooks and servants and Press people, and you wear a coat and tie every day!  Edison’s laboratory is also there.  He ran many experiments in this location, but his primary goal was to discover an alternate source of rubber other than rubber plants.  He felt that America was too dependent on other countries for rubber and especially during war time, he sought to discover an alternate plant.  His most promising plant was goldenrod.  When he died, the research was turned over to the US Dept of Agriculture Office in Savannah, GA.   Nothing came of it, as soon after there were synthetics being developed at a much lower cost.  We returned several times to the Estate while we were in Fort Myers – there was a wealth of things to see there.

The tour of the Estates revealed several personal stories of the two families.  One of my favorites was about the Edisons before they were married.  Mina Miller was a very smart woman and when she saw Edison using Morse Code on his telegraph, she wanted to learn it.  As the story is told, she learned it within a day, and thereafter, whenever they were in a group but wanted to say something privately to each other, they tapped the message in Morse Code on the other’s arm or hand to communicate!

The 25th was Fat Tuesday and we celebrated with a Hot Dog dinner with Adagio on our boat, and of course had King Cake for dessert!  Then we walked into town and enjoyed some of the music and festivities there.  

On Wednesday, we attended Ash Wednesday service, and on Thursday I got a haircut.  This event would have special significance in the not too distant future.  We also picked up a rental car.  We had debated whether or not to take the boat down to Key West.  Winds were an issue as well as some rather pricy marinas.  The best prices are for a month, and we didn’t feel that we really wanted to stay there for so long. We compromised and decided to drive there so that we could visit several boat friends who had decided to go there for a month or longer.  Additionally, Ed needed to go to Amelia Island and I needed to go home to get our taxes filed.  We were finally able to get the boat moved to a more secure spot, although it was still on a wall and not a slip. We must have done something to make that dock master mad at us!