Florida is a beautiful state, with sandy beaches, excellent fishing, fun people and a great enthusiasm for golf. When I dreamed up Trish, I knew she'd have an awesome family, but I never expected her parents to have a house on a golf course. Trish's grandma, Claire Stanley, is a legend in her own right. I've never met her, but I knew I loved her when Trish's dad first told me about her "layered shots". When I saw Claire's name listed several times on the walls of the The Country Club of Naples, a deep respect came over me. Claire picked out her house on the 17th hole (Trish's favorite number) of the Country Club in 1966, when the establishment was founded. My bus was born in 1966.
Today, Trish's parents have turned it into a golf and relaxation oasis, complete with beautiful orchid gardens, a sweet pool and Japanese decorations from the country where they first met.
As a golf enthusiast, I'm embarrassed that we've only visited her parents in Naples once before. We bought Abbie and Jack golf clubs last year for Jack's birthday, and they both like to play the game. To make up for our lack of visiting family in Florida, we took our kids on a golf vacation for this year's Spring Break.
We learned a technique for kids golfing in September 2012: have them tee off from the 150 marker so they have a chance to par the hole. We arrived in Naples on a Saturday, had a nice family brunch on Sunday and played golf with the kids that afternoon. The kids had a really good time, even beating us on a couple holes.
The sunset on Sunday evening was gorgeous, especially with the kids frolicking in the waves.
On Monday, we woke up early and boarded the Key West Express before sunrise.
We arrived in Key West around noon and hung out by our hotel pool for most of the day. That evening, after marveling at the sunset, we took the kids on a Key West Ghost Tour. It was a bit long at 1.5 hours, but the story of Robert the Doll was excellent.
Tuesday morning, we met up with Abbie and Jack's Mom, Julie, and her fiancé Dave. They had Dave's kids with them, and we all headed out for a sailing, parasailing and jet skiing adventure together. Everyone had a great time, as is evidenced by the photos below.
Trish and I handed the kids over to Julie that afternoon and spent a few more hours in Key West. We rented bikes, visited the southernmost point in the US and enjoyed a cocktail on the beach. We especially liked seeing the house that Trish's Mom, Maureen, grew up in.
Around happy hour, after visiting the World of Beer, we boarded the Key West Express and traveled back to Trish's parents.
The rest of the week was an ideal vacation: golfing, swimming in the pool, swimming in the ocean, walking on the beach, dinner on the beach and fishing in the Everglades. Trish's Dad, Joe, booked us a fishing trip in the Everglades, starting from Everglades City. He and I had to wake up before dawn on Friday to meet our guide, who was waiting for us at the dock at 7:30. From there, we spent six hours boating, casting, reeling, catching some, losing some and having a fabulous time. Our catch at the end of the adventure was two Trout and one Flounder (caught by our guide, Tony). Nevertheless, we had a delightful day and savored the sun and the water in a beautiful location.
Saturday, we played some more golf and took an evening flight home. It was a fun spring break and I'm glad the kids got to enjoy it with both parents and multiple grandparents. More than anything, thanks to Trish's parents for their hospitality and fun-loving lifestyle. We had a blast!