At the end of November we went on a quick trip down to Florida and I’ve been meaning to share our great time visiting the Historic River District in Fort Myers.
We happened to be down there on the third day of their new free trolley service and took full advantage of using it to explore the area.
We hopped on both of their trolley lines to get our own guided tour from the super friendly bus drivers. They were very eager to point things out for us to check out and make recommendations.
It was pretty surreal to see it all done up for the holidays…with us in our shorts. We definitely stood out as tourists who were used to a colder climate.
One of my favourite buildings we saw on our walks in the area was this beautiful pale yellow home with amazing wraparound porches. The Borroughs Home dates back to 1901 and was given to the city of Fort Myers by the family.
Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
Another beautiful building in the area is the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. This is where we went to see the Fort Myers Festival of Trees.
One cylinder lists the botanical names of plants used in Thomas Edison’s experiments and the other is the Native American Maskoki (Creek) migration story.
Ford’s Garage Restaurant
For lunch, we decided to stop into a little restaurant that was highly recommended by my gearhead dad – Ford’s Garage.
The centerpiece of the bar is this Model A suspended from the ceiling, complete with working headlights.
At the back of the bar is a penny tile mosaic, which highlights the array of beers they had on tap. They also swapped out traditional cabinets for tool boxes instead. This would be a great man cave idea.
Inside the restaurant they are trying to go for a service garage meets prohibition bar vibe, with old fixtures, dark wood, brick walls and a tin roof (with a few well placed “cracks and holes” in the ceiling).
I ordered “The Low Carb-uretor” (no bun so it’s low carb) and their awesome sweet potato fries. I can definitely see us going back there for lunch.
Naples Soap Co.
I love the way that they decorated their shop with clean lines and exposed brick, letting the soaps show off themselves.
We ended up picking up a bar of Key Lime Pie for Garrett’s mother as an addition to her Christmas gift. My suitcase stills smells like it from bringing it back. Yum 🙂
Lee County Courthouse
A highlight of the area is the Old Lee County Courthouse, built in 1915. As beautiful as the building is, it’s two of the trees in the landscaping out front that get the most attention.
Directly in front of the entrance is this oak tree, which in it’s heyday was so big that it took five adults holding hands to reach all the way around it. Despite efforts to save this 220 year old tree, breaking limbs finally started to bring it down. In an effort preserve it’s history, local officials worked with Florida artist Marlin Miller to turn it into this carved eagle, soaring above those who enter the building.
Just to give you an idea of how big it is, here is Garrett standing on the side of it. The front of the tree is almost twice as wide as this.
We had a wonderful day walking around the area and I’m looking forward to going back again soon to explore some more. We still have to go to the Winter Estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford!
If you’re in the Fort Myers area and looking for something to do away from the beach crowd, I highly recommend checking out the Historic River District. It’s the perfect play for an afternoon visit or a dinner out on a patio.