Ft. Myers, FL - a quiet place to rejuvenate
Ft Myers Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
December 10th, 2009 – by: sweetsummerdaiz
Incredibly determined to make the two hour drive to the airport from my house, I knew that my old convertible would once again carry me through the poorest of road conditions. I set out South at 5:30pm over treacherous snow covered roads. It had snowed 18" in the last 24 hours so I would actually have to pay close attention to the drive and stay focused to arrive safely at my hotel in Milwaukee. What started out as a 30 mph drive, I was delighted to see the road conditions improve about 40 miles enroute. My speed could improve to 50-55 mph due to the rain along the way (yes, rain in December.) The journey took about 3.25 hours, vastly better than I was projecting, so my travel-luck was already kicking in and I was thrilled!
I have been traveling out of the MKE so often in recent months that my car headed to the Economy Parking parking lot as if it were on autopilot.
Awaking the next morning before the alarm went off at 5:30am, I leapt from my bed, started brewing coffee, packed, and headed downstairs for the airport shuttle. Checking in at Airtran kiosk at the airport is always a breeze. I entered my confirmation number into the computer and out spits my boarding pass, just like that. Since I only travel with 1 carry-on I have the security procedure down pat, too. Seated at the gate I was a smiling fool. I can't imagine why I don't get more scrutiny during the security check=== I smile too big and too much when I travel to be normal! My flight was on-time --- I have never had a late flight on Airtran ---- and was a non-stop flight to Ft.
I had studied the city and the area before the trip, so I knew I was not renting a car on this trip either. I found the tourist information kiosk in the airport to ask for the public bus-stop.
**Public Bus Stop Info from the Ft. Myers Airport (RSW): Upon arrival take the escalators downstairs to baggage claim. Exit the terminal through either door #2 or #1. Cross the traffic lane to the shuttle island, and turn left until you reach the bus stop (only about 100 feet).
My hotel reservation through priceline was for the Hotel Indigo located in the River District, about a 15 minute drive by car north of the International Airport.
**Bus route info to River District (and the Hotel Indigo or the courthouse area): Cost: $1.25 for one way or $3.00 for an all-day pass. You can get change (sometimes) from the Tourist Information Desk in the airport. Take the bus with Route 50 West - which also goes by Summerlin Rd. Ride the bus for about 10 to 15 minutes until you reach the Bell Tower Shops Transfer Stop - the driver will announce it and it is the first mall the bus stops in.
Get off the bus and sit on the benches until the bus for 140 North arrives. Slide your all day pass through the reader on the bus, sit back, relax, and enjoy the 20 minute ride. The bus will make a long stop at the Rosa Parks Greyhound and Lee Trans Transfer Station. This is a large building to it is impossible to miss- get off here.
To get to Hotel Indigo, walk to Hendry Street and turn right for about three blocks to Main Street and turn left on Main. Hotel Indigo sits on the corner of Main and Broadway - a taller white building, about 12 stories, with ornate trim along the top.
Once inside the hotel guests are greeted by an inviting smell throughout the hotel that is not overbearing, but manages to be clean, fresh, and friendly. Check-in was a breeze --- I arrived at about noon and was allowed early check-in, which was a bonus! The River District is newly renovated with millions of dollars pumped into the development.
I set off in search of lunch so here is a list of the places I tried in the River District.
Morgan House - I ate here for lunch. It was incredibly good food. I had seared tuna with ginger rice and vegetables. They offer live music 7-9pm on Fridays and happy hour M-F 4-8pm. Friday's happy hour also offers a free buffett with satay wings, dumplings, and a host of other delicious foods to choose from. I was happy to see that they carry Longboard Lager - a Hawaiian beer.
La Trattoria - I had dinner here with a coupon from restaurant.com - this place was average at best..... skip this place and instead eat in the hotel at the Vino de Notte (see below).
Vino de Notte - Italian restaurant just outside the lobby door. It is affiliated with Hotel Indigo and WOW! It was spectacular and reasonably priced! I had flatbread pizza of chicken, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and basic with garlic - best flavored pizza I have EVER had. **Hint: The bars/lounges inside the hotel do not open until noon and 2pm so guests may go to this restaurant and order cocktails "to go" and charge them to their hotel room. This worked out well for me :o) They open around 6am. They also offer a great selection for ala carte breakfast for again, reasonable prices.
Ichiban - Just outside the lobby entrance. They serve Chinese and Japanese food and are quick-serve. This place is full around lunchtime. I had a sushi lunch here one day. It was only $8.95 and was extremely FRESH and delicious!
Starbucks - Just a few doors down from the hotel on the corner of the block. For a frappuccino fix and banana bread, this was a convenient choice for breakfast.
Joe's Crab Shack - about 6 blocks west is this place which is situated on the river. A fun place for lunch or dinner. I chose lunch - and had mussels. They were swimming in a white wine and garlic juice and they were delicious. Nice view of a harbor, too.
BARS: (Keep in mind, December is the very slow season here to there was no nightlife to speak of.
Morgan House - good happy hour prices: 1/2 price on all beer and rail drinks - so my beer was only about $1.80.
Hideaway - across the street from Morgan House. Good place to watch a game or shoot pool. Ultra casual.
Bar Association - this place also is a bistro though I didn't eat here. It was recommended several times. This is a cool looking place with a little older crowd. Each table inside has a different room and each is different that the next. You must at least go see it - it is pretty interesting!
Phi In The Sky - this is the rooftop bar in the Hotel Indigo. Friendly service from Dale the bartender, and happy hour prices beginning 4pm.
My trip to Ft. Myers was a quick one, so I didn't get to the beach or any other area of the city. However, if you want to go to the beach by public bus, take 50W as far as it goes. On weekends that route will take you to Summerlin Road where you can catch the Summerlin Square Trollee which takes you to the island for about .50.
***Note: If you plan on taking the bus back to the airport on a weekend, note that the bus line is much less frequent and you may have to leave the hotel nearly 5 hours before your flight leaves to catch the bus in time to make the connection from 140S to 50E. If you miss the bus arrival time or opt to take a cap, be prepared to anti-up a heafty cab fare.
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