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ideal-LIVING
Retirement Blog
2015 Fall Issue

Fort Myers — Family-friendly City of Palms

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by Scott Kauffman

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are credited with inventing dozens of modern-day conveniences. When it comes to Florida, their greatest discoveries might very well have been their mutual love for Fort Myers.

As the story goes, Edison first came to what was then a sleepy tropical village on Florida’s southwest coast in 1885 as a place to recover from a lingering illness. The New Jersey native liked the place so much, he purchased a small house and 13 acres on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.

The following year Edison was joined by his wife, Minnie Miller Edison, and they became two of Florida’s original winter snowbirds. Soon after, famous friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone flocked to Fort Myers, turning the quiet Seminole War-era settlement into front-page headline news and launching a tourist industry that transformed the city.

Nearly 100 years after Ford purchased his winter residence next door to mentor and good friend, Edison, Fort Myers is thriving as much as the city’s 1,800 towering palm trees that line McGregor Boulevard and give the city its nickname.

Today, this Southern-influenced town has grown into a city with attractions and an atmosphere worthy of a bigger city’s envy. A big part of that energy and excitement comes from being the county seat and commercial center of Lee County and the gateway to the southwest Florida region courtesy of its shiny new Southwest Florida International Airport.

Consequently, Fort Myers, known for its beautiful weather, outdoor activities and world-renowned pristine beaches on nearby Sanibel, Captiva and Estero Islands, is a popular leisure destination that attracts visitors from all over the globe.

As local tourism officials put it, visitors can go from “baggage claim to beach” in under 30 minutes. One trip here and you’ll know why the Edisons and Fords first fell in love with Fort Myers.


Savory Eateries

  • Angelina’s Ristorante’s award-winning ravioli and 30-foot wine tower with 4,000 selections are just two of the highlights from this restaurant.
  • CRU Restaurant is home to a hip bar and classy indoor restaurant, and it’s the place to see and be seen in town.
  • Flippers on the Bay is part of Lovers Key Resort and is a hidden alfresco gem that overlooks Estero Bay.
  • La Trattoria Cafe Napoli is known locally as Gloria’s, in reference to the owner’s name, and is Fort Myers’ only true tapas bar.
  • The Mad Hatter, a beachside dining spot that has been an island favorite for three decades, boasts the perfect combination of food and ambiance.
  • Sweet Melissa’s Café serves local ingredients year-round, and this unique Sanibel restaurant is where foodies go while on the island.

Top Things To Do

  • City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin Float into Fort Myers and take in the revitalized historic downtown river district full of shops and restaurants.
  • Edison and Ford Winter Estates This National Register Historic Site features 20 acres of historical buildings, gardens and the Edison Botanic
    Research Lab and Edison Ford Museum.
  • Imaginarium Hands-On Museum & Aquarium Whether it’s running through a rainstorm, being blown away by a hurricane or handling sea life, learning is fun for the whole family at this science emporium.
  • JetBlue Park Watch a Boston Red Sox spring training baseball game or Minor League game during the summer in this replica of Fenway Park.
  • J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge This 5,000-acre refuge, home to 278 species of resident and migratory birds, including waterfowl, birds of prey and wading birds, is one of the highlights on nearby Sanibel Island.

Request More Information from Communities Near Fort Myers:

Babcock Ranch

Babcock Ranch

Babcock Ranch, Florida

New solar-powered town near Fort Myers in sunny Florida promotes active, healthy living with 50 miles of trails to get out and explore. Take in 9,000 acres of preserved green space, farm-to-table restaurants, community gardens, and the Healthy Life Center that align with the Babcock Ranch vision with a focus on wellness and sustainable living. Residents can choose from a mix of affordable, moderate and luxury residences that blend with the natural environment.
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Medley at Southshore Bay

Medley at Southshore Bay

Wimauma, Florida

Medley at Southshore Bay is designed especially for active adults who want the best life has to offer. The rich variety of amenities include a Metro lagoon by Crystal Lagoons, with 5.5 acres of crystal-clear blue waters, ideal for swimming and kayaking. Residents will enjoy private amenities including a social clubhouse, resort-style pool and tiki bar, a dog park, walking trails, golf-cart paths and more!
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FL


Naples Estates

Naples Estates

Naples, Florida

Naples Estates is being developed as the area's premier home community for active adults. With a beautiful new ballroom and activity center under development, we are sure to be the talk of the town. Our new Resort Style Clubhouse, will feature a grand ballroom with concert staging, a dance floor and catering kitchen to host your large events.
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FL


One Particular Harbour - A Premier Minto Florida Community

One Particular Harbour - A Premier Minto Florida Community

Bradenton, Florida

One Particular Harbour marina and residences now available in the Tampa/Sarasota area in Florida. Overlooking beautiful Anna Maria Sound, this brand new, Margaritaville-inspired deepwater marina with direct, no-bridge access to the Gulf of Mexico is under construction and will offer the fun of a restaurant, entertainment, and more!
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Del Webb Lakewood Ranch

Del Webb Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch, Florida

Del Webb Lakewood Ranch, located in 2018's 2nd best-selling master-planned community in the U.S., surpasses every expectation for your "Next Great Adventure". Stay healthy, active and socially involved all year long in Lakewood Ranch's only 55+ gated community. The amenities at Del Webb Lakewood Ranch start with its premier location, allowing proximity to fun, golf, renowned beaches and attractions, and extend to the unparalleled lifestyle and Resort Amenity Center.
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Del Webb Naples - Active Adult Florida Community

Del Webb Naples - Active Adult Florida Community

Ave Maria, Florida

Del Webb Naples is a 55+ active adult community located within the vibrant master-planned community of Ave Maria, near renowned Naples, Florida. Discover the world-class amenities, an 18-hole championship golf course, and extensive community events and social functions, providing an unparalleled lifestyle.
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Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

Lakewood Ranch, Florida

At Lakewood Ranch, it's all about the good life. Health, family, and fun are the focus. And, there's an activity to fit every lifestyle. The community hosts 54 holes of golf, a country club with two clubhouses, and tennis and athletic centers. Additionally, it's home to the Sarasota Polo Club and seven world-class polo fields. Lake Ranch polo tournaments attract players from around the world. Still, the list continues with a 75-acre premier sports campus, A-rated schools, and a hospital and preventative medical clinic.
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West Villages Florida

West Villages Florida

Venice, Florida

West Villages Florida is a vibrant new gated community in West Villages, Florida that offers new homes and resort-style amenities. Located in the fast-growing, master-planned community of West Villages, we offer new homes that will complement this beautiful Sarasota County area. Get ready to enjoy the Southwest Florida lifestyle and great weather all year long. Choose from an array of thoughtfully-designed Paired Villas and Single Family Homes with unique curb appeal. Amenities will include a clubhouse, pool, tennis, pickleball, bocce, full-time Activities Director and events, parks and more. You'll love living just minutes to Downtown Venice, award-winning beaches and I-75. Quick move-in homes are available.
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FL


The Isles of Collier Preserve - Florida Gated Communities

The Isles of Collier Preserve - Florida Gated Communities

Naples, Florida

Nestled within a pristine natural setting just minutes from downtown Naples and the vibrant 5th Avenue shopping and dining district, Florida's preeminent homebuilder is creating a colorful update of classic coastal living. Inspired by the timeless architecture and traditions of Old Naples, elegant new Minto homes will overlook miles of scenic kayak and biking trails.
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Minto at TwinEagles

Minto at TwinEagles

Naples, Florida

Minto is proud to bring over a half-century of achievement to Naples by introducing magnificent single-family and estate home to the premier country club community of TwinEagles. Priced from the low $500s to over $1 million, these masterfully crafted residences are a sensational value. And that value is even more amazing once you discover that a golf membership is included in the price of every new Minto home!
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Tidewater by Del Webb

Tidewater by Del Webb

Estero, Florida

The 55+ active adult community of Tidewater by Del Webb, perfectly situated in Estero, offers award-winning amenities and extraordinary lifestyle. Experience for yourself the two-story, coastal inspired clubhouse, with elegant community gathering room, state-of-the-art fitness center, group fitness studio, several activity rooms, 2nd floor balcony and catering kitchen. The famous Del Webb active adult lifestyle awaits at Tidewater.
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FL


Cypress Falls by Del Webb

Cypress Falls by Del Webb

North Port, Florida

The famous Del Webb active adult lifestyle awaits at Cypress Falls. And with its convenient location, you won't have to go far to enjoy all the top Sarasota area attractions. Experience for yourself the low-maintenance resort-lifestyle complemented by a vibrant array of amenities including the community's social clubhouse with state-of-the-art fitness center, grand ballroom, activity and game rooms, library and more.
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