Saturday, January 22, 2022

Isles of Capri… Southwest Florida’s best kept secret

Michael Yergin

Michael Yergin

When Leland L. (Doc) Loach moved from Dunlop, Tennessee in 1955, he purchased four mangrove islands totaling 600 acres. His dream was to create a hideaway fishing retreat. He built a water processing plant, dredged canals, and built a road to connect to the mainland. Thus the inception of southwest Florida’s best kept secret: Isles of Capri. Our neighbor two miles to the north also has a rich history. In 1870 W.T. Collier, wife, and nine children moved to Marco Island, opened a 20 room hotel in 1896. Known today as the Old Marco Inn. In 1962, Robert, Elliott, and Frank Mackle purchased the Collier Estate for a mere seven million dollars. I was working for the Mackle brothers forty years ago. And yet I still had not discovered Isles of Capri.

Fast forward to seven years ago when I moved my dad to Naples and opened an office on Fifth Avenue South. I had a lot of clients from Chicago and New York who had moved here. They asked if I would open an office here to serve them. I was living in Chicago and spent my winters in Scottsdale, Arizona. My role as a counselor, consultant, and  marriage/relationship counselor fortunately let me be wherever I wanted.

And yes, I love it here in paradise. Manatees, dolphins, playing at my dock with the tarpon, snook, barracuda, snapper, and grouper swimming as I gaze at the pelicans and ospreys amidst the gorgeous waterscape. Recently I met a woman at one of the Isles’ favorite places to view the sunset. She was taking pictures, then clapping as the sun set in all its polychromatic splendor.

“You must be visiting,” I queried. “No, she replied, I have lived here forty years and I clap every night watching the miraculous sunset.”

As it happens, a retired New Jersey cop turned me on to the Isles of Capri: I met Jerry (not his real name) in downtown Naples at my favorite hang-out on Fifth Avenue South, He explained that his girlfriend and he were always fighting and could I counsel them. Sure, I said. He seemed nice enough. He asked me to meet him and his girlfriend at their home in Isles of Capri. “No problem,” I replied, “but where is Isles of Capri?”

I had never heard of it. Although Jerry gave me explicit directions, I am geographically impaired and, once on the island, as I approached downtown I got lost. However, I could hear in the distance two people loudly screaming at each other. I quickly found Jerry and his girlfriend!

I have one role when I counsel people, I gently informed them. No one is allowed to assign blame. “Yea, but she is always…” I cut Jerry off. “No finger pointing,” I said. “But he is always,” Jerry’s girlfriend intoned and I likewise reminded her about my rule. They sat for a half hour in silence, much to the delight of their neighbors, I’m sure. Finally, they started talking. It was obvious they were deeply in love. I told them we would have another session tomorrow afternoon.

When I drove back to the island the next day, I was at once struck by the beauty of this verdant tropical paradise. We had another session. I pointed out the obvious to them. “Look where you live, and stop to smell the roses.” They were married a month later. I firmly believe the charm of this Mayberry R.F.D. town is what saved their relationship. There is an ambiance and charm to the Isles, like a Leave it to Beaver atmosphere, from twenty years ago that truly makes Isles of Capri paradise. I am grateful every day to be a part if this wonderful island.

Michael Yergin is a nationally known happiness guru, relationship and positive psychology expert, management consultant, entrepreneur, and life coach. He has been featured in Time, Fortune, Money Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, CNN (Italy), CNBC, and WGN TV, and hundreds of radio stations. He has lectured to high-level U.S. government officials and Fortune 500 companies. Yergin is the author of four books, including Wealth Building in the 90’s. Visit his web site at

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