Saturday, March 30, 2024

Friday, March 29, 2024

Children's Center

 I went to a dinner last night for the culmination of a fund drive for three local Naples charities.

One of the charities is an educational center for children of immigrant families that pick fruit and vegetables.  A group of kids sang for the attendees.

Kids don't come much cuter than these.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

This wonderful orchestra performed recently at Artis Naples.  

During intermission I went outside between the concert hall and Baker Museum.  Intermission during Daylight Savings Time is so much different.

The highlights were a Mendelssohn violin concerto (with star violinist and music director Joshua Bell as soloist) and a Schumann symphony.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Monday, March 25, 2024

A Great Blue Heron in Flight

I have had a lot of practice spotting a bird that is ready to take off and then taking six to 12 fast images of the bird in flight.  I usually pick the one I like best and delete the rest.  This time, I thought it would be interesting to show the whole sequence.

If you were to pick one and delete the rest, the way I usually do, which would you choose to save?

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Ochopee Post Office

The Ochopee post office is the smallest operating post office in the United States.  About halfway across the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Route 41) between Naples and Miami, Ochopee is at the edge of Big Cypress National Preserve, part of the Everglades.  It has a population of fewer than 500 people. 

The post office is in a former shed, roughly seven feet by eight feet.  There is a phone but no internet.


Donald Walters was the employee on duty when I visited last week.  He tells me that he is photographed hundreds of times a day.  

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Smallwood Store

 Ted Smallwood opened a trading post in 1906 in Chokoloskee, a small island in the Ten Thousand Islands offshore from the Everglades.  For decades the store was reachable only by boats.  Today a long bridge connects Chokoloskee to the mainland.  

Smallwood Store was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and stayed open until1982. 

Ted Smallwood's granddaughter opened it as a museum in the 1990s.  She was behind the counter this week when I visited.  Chokoloskee's population is below 400.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Everglades City Hall

Everglades City is about an hour east of where I live in Naples.  When Collier County was created in 1923, Everglades City was the first seat of county government.  Over time, population, business and government moved west to Naples, and this building became Everglades City Hall. 

Collier County was named after Barron Collier, a successful advertising man from New York City who completed the road from Tampa to Miami (the Tamiami Trail, today's U.S. Route 41).  Collier stationed his work crews in Everglades City.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Naples Bay Catamaran Cruise

Tuesday evening I took a cruise on Naples Bay on a catamaran with a group.   

I took iPhone photos because I didn't want to risk losing my camera overboard.

There are many big, lovely, waterfront homes to see.

Three men crew the catamaran.  

18 months ago Hurricane Ian did a lot of damage in Southwest Florida.  Many places are still undergoing renovations. 

Naples Bay pours into the Gulf of Mexico through the Gordon River at the southernmost point of Port Royal.  That is where a nine acre property is currently for sale for $295 million, the most expensive property in the country.  Here it is.

The sun was getting low out on the Gulf.

After the sun set, we reversed direction and headed back into port.  A line of boats followed us.

Back at the dock.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Hertz Arena and the Florida Everblades


Back in Naples. The biggest local sports arena in SWFL is Hertz Arena.  When the car rental company acquired the naming rights, the arena was repainted in Hertz's signature bright yellow.  One of the teams that is hosted in the arena is the Florida Everblades, a minor league hockey team.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Whispering Giant and Freeman House

 On the way back from Sarasota, we visited Punta Gorda for lunch.  Leaving town, we were stopped in our tracks when we came across a huge carved wooden head and a gorgeous yellow house. 

The wooden statue is the Whispering Giant Calostimucu.  In 1972 the Hungarian-born sculptor Peter Wolf Toth set out to carve big wooden statues of whispering giants and place at least one in each of the 50 states.  This is Toth's tenth whispering giant, placed here in 1974 and restored by Toth in 2005.

I found a website that lists 57 Whispering Giants.

The statue stands beside the A. C. Freeman House, built by Augustus Freeman in 1903 in the Queen Anne style.  The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.  Freeman was a successful businessman who also served as a tax collector, councilman, mayor, sheriff, and city commissioner.  The house is now owned by the city of Punta Gorda and houses the historical society,

Monday, March 18, 2024

The Greatest Show on Earth

 In 1989, Howard Feld, CEO of the owner of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus commissioned William Woodward to paint a mural illustrating the highlights of the circus over time, including many of its best known performers.

The brilliant mural originally greeted visitors to the circus headquarters in Virginia.  It was later moved to Sarasota along with the circus' headquarters.  It is too big to capture in a single image.

Linked to Monday Murals.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Naples has a very big St. Patrick's Day parade.  I interrupt the images from Sarasota to show far too many photographs from the parade that took place yesterday.

Before the parade.

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk never misses the opportunity to march in the parade.

Yes, St. Patrick himself appears in Naples!