Thursday, January 20, 2022

Wishes For a Happy New Year


Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope this is the best one ever!

Submitted Photo | Donna Fiala with her son TJ and friends Richard and Jean Kungle at the Old Marco Pub.

Just recently my son flew into Collier County to visit for Christmas, as he does each year, and we decided to celebrate the first night of his arrival. I wanted him to see a fun place with great food, so we took him to the Old Marco Pub. That little gem is always so warm and welcoming, and lots of fun! We all ordered dinner and were impressed with the above average quality of food! People were laughing and enjoying the band, which wasn’t so loud that we couldn’t hear our friends, yet loud enough that everyone had a tremendous time dancing and even at times singing along. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to be in a nightclub-type of atmosphere, where you let your hair down and just enjoy the night away.

  • It seems we just eat our way through the holidays at this time of year, and this year is no exception! We wanted to try the new Celebration Food Truck Park on Bayshore Drive. It’s a great place to eat outside, drink a couple special drinks (I’m really not a drinker though) and enjoy good food truck food. Parking can be challenging, but for $3 you can park across Becca Street at an empty lot the owner recently bought just for parking. If the is full, the owner also has arranged for a shuttle service from the shopping center at the entrance of the street which will pick you up and take you to Celebration. The food was better than the average food truck food, and they had a full bar and soft drinks. There were eight food trucks, each with a different specialty. The owner selected them carefully so there would be different specialties at each one. There were TVs at certain locations if you were interested in how a game was coming along. There must have been a special tour group from Scotland in the area, because I could hear that unmistakable accent that sounds so distinctive.
  • It felt like we were on vacation, as I traveled around with my son, who had lived here since he was eight months old but now is living out of state, to show him the new things going on in this area. He loved all the new additions to the community. We had a very special night, as we do every year, when we visited the “Night Lights” at the Naples Botanical Garden. Oh my gosh, how wonderful it was! There were more lights than ever plus this year they had a stunning exhibit of “Reflections on Glass in the Garden” by Hans Godo Grabel. (Last year they were closed because Hurricane Irma tore the Garden up so badly they had to close for months.) Each year you think they could never top this one, and there they go again! I hope most of you had an opportunity to visit the garden. It’s worth the time and effort. I believe they topped all records this year, by the way.
  • Speaking of the arts in flowers, let’s speak of the arts on Marco Island! The Marco Island Center for the Arts will be holding their elegant Gala called Celebrate Art by the Sea on Saturday, February 16th at 5 PM at the Island Country Club. John and Emily James are the Special Honorees, and Kimberly Porter is the Gala Chairperson. You won’t want to miss this wonderful evening! I doubt they could ever top last year’s gala, but knowing this remarkable group, they will! Their mission is to promote education and appreciation of the arts. For details and to RSVP by February 1, 2019, please call 239-394-4221. These dedicated people are truly making a difference on Marco Island!
  • Just a note: I went on a Home and Garden tour before the holidays, and was delighted to tour The Pineapple Cottage, home of Linda Turner and husband Dr. Jerry Swiacki. Every bit of that home was delightful! I hope you get to see it someday. You’ll want to see it again and again. It’s so cozy and friendly looking.
  • My son TJ and I went to eat a light dinner at the Low Brow Restaurant on U.S. 41E near the government center, and the place was a beehive of activity. They have a limited menu of types of pizza’s and sandwiches and salads, but the place is buzzin with fun and the Pizza was great. The restaurant was filled on a Sunday night with all age groups! I hesitated to go in at first because I wasn’t sure what they had to offer, but with all the activity I figured it must be something good, and it truly was.
  • Another place we ate was 360 Market on Bayshore Drive. Yes, the parking is limited, but who ever thought they’d be so successful! The owner, Rebecca Maddox, is an extremely astute businesswoman, and it seems whatever business she touches turns to gold! That whole street is buzzing with activity, and has more coming soon with the Brew House they are building right now, and two new condominiums being built or about to be built for moderate income residents and one specifically for teachers and nurses, law enforcement and paramedics. Our meal at 360 Market was delicious, as usual. Folks, this is an area that is just on the verge of becoming an overwhelming success! People are flocking here and it’s exciting.
  • Around the corner, on Thomasson Road, is a shopping center, and tucked in the corner is a little Italian restaurant owned and operated by an Italian lady named Brunina with her family working alongside of her. Oh yes, the name of that restaurant is Brunina’s! It’s the neighborhood restaurant that everyone says they want, not a chain, and their food is great! When you walk in, you feel at home. It’s just the way it is. I hope you stop in when I’m there.
  • And now, on a personal note about my family. Over 60 years ago I bought a crib for my precious little baby girl; the most beautiful crib I had ever seen. It served her well, and then went on to hold all five babies in our family. It still looked so good that I couldn’t just give it away. It was filled with so much love! Once the oldest of my children started having children, I suggested she use this same crib for her children that she had when she was a baby, and she loved the idea. We bought a new mattress, and started all over again, eventually having five more babies lovingly sleeping in that same crib. Along about the third grandchild, I took the crib to an artist friend of mine, and asked her to paint a family tree on the large side panel with each name of a child who had used that crib and their birthday. Now we have a third generation starting, with baby number two, who is already three weeks old, and we are going back to the same artist and having our tree updated and a new paint job applied to the crib (although it looks amazingly good for being 62 years old!) I’m not sure why I told you that, but I wanted to share it.

And now… I wish you the happiest New Year you could ever hope for, and for good health and lots of love surrounding you.

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