Fort Myers, Florida

Being a working girl who lives in southeast Florida, I always see the billboards on I-95 for the Murder Mystery Dinner Train, a well-kept vintage train with nostalgic comedy mysteries and fine-dining – my kind of fun! Basically, anything that is culturally historic or vintage tickles my fancy. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about modern arts, technology, and the like – but I am most happiest when walking down (or up) ancient castle steps… but I digress. Upon further Google inspection, I noticed that the Murder Mystery Train is located in Fort Myers, a 3 hour drive to the west coast of Florida. I decided to ask if my road sister and Italian Study Abroad roommate, Pamela (Pame, for short) if she wanted to join me, so we could celebrate our Pisces birthdays together during a weekend mini-break. Once our mutually convenient dates were set and sealed, I booked the reservations for the train and a hotel online. I am also an avid audio-book listener during commutes, and bought Cleopatra for Pame and I to listen to on the ride, so we could gain further historic knowledge and inspiration from the story of such a strong woman – one who possessed the hearts and minds of ancient Rome’s leaders, Cesar and the handsome Marc Antony.

Once Pame and I arrived at the hotel, we had about an hour before boarding time. Usually Pame is always au-natural, so I did her eye make-up (with Chanel) and she instantly transformed into a beauty queen! She is also newly engaged so we have many things to celebrate! Our hotel was very cute and quaint, only ten minutes from the railway. We selected the “Murder Over Miami” show and were ready for a night of adventure! See the photos and video below to get a feel of our drive, the hotel, and the train ~ thus far…

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We guessed all of the answers to the Murder Mystery – absolutely spot-on – with the exception of the exact words of the bonus question (you really have to pay attention to every word!), or we would have definitely taken home the prize (a coffee mug). Speaking of prize, after everyone left the train (we were literally the last people off because of where we were seated), we bumped into the owner in the VIP car, shook hands and told him what a wonderful experience we had. This is when I noticed the hot guy… of course he walked right up to us with his torso facing me (how I read body language). I must have been emanating magnetic vibes. “Are you the conductor?” I guessed. “Yes,” said the hot conductor. We talked for a few minutes, then the owner wanted to show us some new information in his office, which took us outside of the train. When I walked back outside, the hot conductor was standing there, must have been waiting for yours truly. I spotted him and we conversed while semi-yelling across the lot as I walked to my car. An unforeseeable strong gust of wind then came out of nowhere and blew like a tornado. Pame begged me to let her inside the car. I tried to ask him what kind of historical things there were to do in Fort Myers, but Pame was practically banging on the car door so I could open it for her. I had to say “goodbye” and drove off as he stood there. Maybe next time, we shall meet again. (hint, hint!)

The next day, Pame and I had breakfast at our quaint hotel – waffles of course, and took extra apples. We decided to see and learn about historical St. Augustine, which used to be inhabited by the native American Indians, the Calusa tribe. I especially love Native Americans because: A) They were athletic and did not wear a lot of clothes. B) They were in tune with nature. C) They were healthy and lived for a long time. It was the Europeans who brought the disease with them to St. Augustine (see this Vlog for details on the history St. Augustine).

When we arrived, The Southwest Museum of History was closed, and we were pretty let down. Then.. lo and behold, like magic – a woman that worked there came to work for the day and was kind enough to let us in. She even gave us student discounts (we’re in Grad school), our personal audio-guides, and an educational tour. We learned very much about the land and sea wildlife, the ancient history of Fort Myers, the Native Americans and how they lived, the Spaniards search for gold, the cowboys ‘n crackers, and the Industrial Era. See the video below, and educate yourself on the native Americans with a guided tour!

After we learned about Florida’s past, we decided to do a walking tour throughout historic Fort Myers. We were pretty hungry for lunch and searched until we found the perfect spot to tempt our tasty palette: Lush French Bakery, a Parisian / Euro bakery. They had rose jellies for sale, pastries, and quite a few delicious panini options. We ordered two panini, and Pame took a half of mine and I took a half of hers, so we had the best of both worlds. The sandwiches came with a healthy side salad with delicious balsamic vinaigrette. We ate outside of the bakery on their patio, right in front of the historic post office with an adjacent mosaic mural depicting the history of Fort Myers, with the native Americans, Industrial era, and black soldiers. We then continued our stroll in downtown, historic Fort Myers and could not believe how well-preserved and clean this historic gem of a city is! Many of the buildings were built with coral, with coats of arms! I LOVE coats of arms, especially on buildings, because they express such history! I especially loved the coats of arms on one of the buildings because a palm tree was the iconic insignia. We then headed to the marina and walked among the boats. See the short video below and catch a glimpse of the beautiful city!

Afterwards, my camera’s batteries were dead. After our tracks covered the historic downtown district, we drove to nearby Sanibel island so we could swim in the waters, but we could not find parking for over an hour. After giving up hope, we decided to drive over the bridge and park on the side of the road, and rolled up our jeans into clam-diggers then waded in the warm west coast of Florida waters. After that, we filled up the gas tank to head home, and listened to the tales of Cleopatra via audio book CD for the whole ride.

If you want to learn about more places, check out The Five Treasures of Florida, Volume I, on the iTunes Store.

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