Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Special Time of Year




The homes and stores are looking so festive and cheerful as decorations adorn them, and people are baking and shopping and preparing for a special time of year. It’s a wonderful time to think of others and share friendship and kindness, and it seems like people are doing just that, especially after such a tumultuous few months. “It’s a most wonderful time of the year!”

• Exciting news about the newest restaurant to hit East Naples! It’s a fine dining establishment, which opened on Friday, Dec. 1st to a packed house! I couldn’t even find a parking space, which I was happy to see because we need these kinds of restaurants so badly. The chef and owner took the old Pate’s/Scallywags/ Mr. Mom’s/Bernice’s Barbeque and completely turned it around to be a lovely, charming, upscale restaurant that is a magnet for people of fine taste who like to hide away in a great place. The blue lights that gently emanated from the restaurant drew people inside. The name of this new eating establishment is Bistro La Baguette (Bistro Bagatelle) owned and operated by Chef Sebastian, who has been the chef at Le Lafayette in Old Naples for 16 years until Irma came along and destroyed the whole restaurant. It will be interesting to see how many people find this great little 60-seat restaurant quickly. Being that there were no seats available the first night, and busy at lunch on Saturday, I just dropped by on Saturday evening to look around! Two ladies walked in without a reservation, and there was one table left. I was just saying that I wasn’t staying because I couldn’t find anyone to have dinner with, so they invited me to join them at their table. Thanks so much to Gayle and Jennie of King’s Lake. It was wonderful to enjoy the evening with you in this new exciting place. My recommendation to everyone is: if you want to dine close to home rather than travel to the other end of the county, do make a reservation by calling 239-403-7861.

• The next Stormwater Public Workshop will be held on Monday, Dec. 11th from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the South Regional Library at 8065 Lely Cultural Blvd. Collier County Growth Management Department will have their consultant, Stantec Consulting Services, hosting the meeting (they will host all six meetings, and this one is for our area). Residents are encouraged to attend this workshop to provide input regarding the Stormwater Utility Study. This is an important subject that everyone should participate in. As you know since our recent visit from Irma, stormwater is a major concern, and is becoming a bigger concern as time rolls on.

• Saturday, December 9th, Santa Claus will be visiting Naples Manor riding on his sleigh, along with members from the East Naples Civic Association, East Naples Kiwanis Club, East Naples Foundation, Parkside Elementary School, Lely High School Key Club, Sheriff’s Office, and the Greater Naples Fire Department. Thanks to the Ladies of Naples Lakes who bagged all the candy, the children will delight in getting their own bags of candy as a treat. This event is in its 25th year, and is always a delight to the children (and us adults as well!). All volunteers are welcome to join us by meeting at 8:30 AM at Parkside Elementary School and walk or drive along with us. The children are all so cute as they squeal with delight, and some even dress up in their little Christmas outfits. Naples Lakes Country Club has always been a strong supporter of the East Naples Community and offers volunteers at the Santa Run some “treats” afterward as a “reward.”

• I was sad to see that all the toys collected for the little ones here in East Naples last year were sent to the main headquarters for the Greater Naples Fire Department, way out on 951 near Immokalee Road rather than a local fire station that the kids could get to. Many parents of these underserved children have no way to get all the way to the other end of town for gifts, so those kids go without. When we lost our East Naples Fire Department, we lost a community leader and a great contributor to our community. We don’t even know our firefighters anymore. They never come to meetings or participate in community activities. Very sad indeed.

• It’s my pleasure to tell you that the Lakewood Country Club has a new restaurateur, and he has hit the ground running! He and his team have redecorated the restaurant to look inviting and cheerful. The full bar seems to be a pretty popular place. The chef makes a dynamite hamburger, and his sandwiches are wonderful. He offers different specials that you’ll want to check out, and the best thing of all is they are nearby, not as crowded (yet) as other restaurants, with convenient parking close by, the walk to the restaurant is very short and not up a hill, and the drive to get there is easy rather than fighting your way through all the traffic. It is open to the public, and you will feel welcome as soon as you walk in.

• I have been asked to poll people, especially on County Barn Road, if they would like a sidewalk on their street. Someone had told a member of staff that a sidewalk was not needed, but I’ve heard from others that they really wanted a sidewalk and the safety of a sidewalk. Would you please write to me at and give me your opinion? We will tally your votes, they will stay with us, but the numbers will be passed along to our sidewalk committee. Please take the time to let us know soon.

• The County Median Landscaping project will soon be resuming, but first public meetings must be held which is happening now, but too soon for this publication to reach those who would like to attend. What we have learned so far is that once approved, the projects will begin on 951/Collier Boulevard, from US 41 E to Marino Circle, and on Santa Barbara Boulevard from Davis Boulevard to Rattlesnake Hammock Road. Before installation of plants can take place, all the dirt and rocks must be removed and replaced with clean planting material. Once the projects are “let,” which will probably be in spring, the actual installation of plantings will begin. A fountain will be installed near the intersection of 951/41, and right now we are looking for the perfect sculpture to adorn that intersection. If any of you are sculptors, or know of a great sculptor, please have them contact Pam Lulich at Collier County (239-252- 6291), or call Donna Fiala at 252-8601. We would like this intersection to become a showpiece as it leads to Marco Island, East Naples, and all the surrounding areas; sort of like a “welcome to our beautiful area” message.

Good wishes as we enter into this lovely time of year when we celebrate all the holidays and see all the colorful lights and happy people.

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