Hello, friends! Long time, no talk. Yes, I am temporarily emerging from my self-imposed sabbatical…how could I not when I have what I have what I consider to be a very important PSA for you all (wink, wink).
So as those of you who follow me on social media know, I recently spent a long weekend with my best friend down in Marco Island, Florida. It was a trip to celebrate many things: our 40th birthdays, 27 years of friendship, surviving motherhood for a decade….you know, the important stuff.
We spent awhile researching destinations when we decided to go away. Mexico, the Caribbean, the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, Sanibel and Anna Maria Islands.
Our objective were clear:
- Good food
- Tropical cocktails
- Amazing views
In the end we landed on Marco Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida that’s linked to the mainland by bridges near Naples.
Why Marco? Well, to be honest, our first requirement was that the destination needed to have a Marriott property, since we were using Marriott points for our stay. Which, surprisingly, was harder than you might think.
Second, since we knew we were only going to be able to sneak away for 3-4 days, it needed to be somewhere we could fly to easily and quickly (limiting us to the East Coast), and where the flights were not insanely inexpensive.
The combination of the incredible Marco Island Marriott Resort & Spa, along with the direct flights from Boston to nearby Ft. Myers on JetBlue, were too hard to ignore.
And boy, did we make the right decision.
We caught the most breathtaking sunsets.
Watched a fire show.
Lounged at the gorgeous pool.
Sunbathed on the exquisite white sand beach leading out to the turquoise (and surprisingly bathwater-warm) Gulf of Mexico (although can you call it sunbathing if we were huddled under an umbrella to avoid sunburning?).
Watched a family of dolphins—including the most adorable baby—splash through the Gulf on what ended up being a private shelling and sailing excursion (which we were able to book through our hotel, and departed right from the private beach).
Enjoyed delicious meals, from a rather affordable prix fixe at one of the hotel restaurants (Aria) to a much-talked-about breakfast at Doreen’s Cup of Joe (lemon ricotta pancakes for the win!)…
… to our one “night on the town” at HobNob in Naples (which sadly was a bit of a ghost town, given that it was the off-season, but the restaurant was yummy…especially the homemade chips smothered in blue cheese dressing and topped with Gorgonzola).
Basked in some fabulous customer service, including a bottle of champagne and two glasses that were delivered to our room after we told one of the staff members that we were there celebrating our birthdays.
(Side note: if you are traveling to celebrate any important occasion––a birthday, an anniversary, etc.––tell EVERYONE whose path your cross. In addition to getting the champagne, we also scored a free upgrade on our rental car. Thanks, Unique at Alamo st the Ft. Myers Airport!)
Although I’d say the real highlight of our trip was spending such quality time with my bestie, uninterrupted by kids and husbands and work and everyday life.
And, I’m not gonna lie, it was heavenly laying by a pool for hours and not having someone continually yelling “Mom!” or wanting something from me. I could just unwind, relax, and be as lazy as I wanted. It was a trip that was good for the soul…and was the recharge I didn’t realize I so desperately needed.
So here’s my advice to anyone looking to plan a girls weekend or getaway, but are unsure where to go…
- If you’re on the East Coast, definitely consider Marco Island. It’s a way to get that tropical, Caribbean feeling in a 3+ hour flight without the hassle of international travel. I’d go back again in a heartbeat.
- Think about going when we did: late September. Seriously, guys, the island was pretty empty. We heard time and time again that this is their “quiet period,” and things pick back up again from Thanksgiving-Memorial Day. Sure, it’s also hurricane season, so you do run that risk, but it was that much more relaxing to almost have the place to ourselves. Plus it’s still pretty darn steamy that time of year: most days hit the low 90s.
- If you’re going to Marco Island, grab your rental car at Ft. Myers and make a stop along the way to stock up on the essentials, like snacks, sunscreen, wine, bottles of water, etc. We also grabbed instant oatmeal bowls for breakfast.
- Find a way to get out on the water, whether’s it’s on a catamaran, a sailboat, a jet ski…For an East Coast girl who grew up on the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico was just so different and tropical.
And, yes, we are already making plans for our 45th and 50th birthday celebrations…
(Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this trip. )