Marco Escapes: January’s Jammin’ Events

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Time to put away the ornaments and kick those New Year’s resolutions into full swing, it’s 2015!

Many of our favorite local events are back for all of us in southwest Florida to enjoy! It is well known that January is host to hands down, some of the most beautiful weather we see all year—so grab your light sweater and flip-flops and get out there.

Southwest Florida Nature Festival

January 16 – 18, 2015, Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center

Explore the local environment through almost 40 guided field trips to 20 wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida and lectures at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours, are offered in conjunction with partners such as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Big Cypress National Preserve and Conservancy of Southwest Florida.”

Naples Daily News Half Marathon

Sunday January 18, 2015 Fifth Avenue South

Ranked the #1 Half Marathon by Runners World Magazine!”

The best distance course in the state! Certified! Flat-Fast-Shady-Loop!”

Participants are given 4 colored, gender specific race shirts. Unique quality medals will be awarded to those who finish the race within the time limit of 3 hours. Awards will be 5 deep for 27 different age groups. Door prizes include weekends at beachfront hotels along with the $11,300 in cash awards for open masters, grandmasters and senior grandmasters. There will also be a special $3,500 prize for U.S. citizens. Following the race, there will be a pasta party for all participants!

Winter Classics: Swamp Buggy Races

January 24 – 25, 2015, Florida Sports Park

Held at one of the largest premier entertainment venues in South Florida, The Florida Sports Park is pleased to once again host Swamp Buggy Races! Watch huge vehicles race around the muddy track in hopes of claiming the trophy and dunking the swamp buggy queen. This event is perfect for those who love cars, engines and a laid back day in the Florida sunshine.  This is one of the few places in the world that you can witness these unique races, all the while mixing in with the “local” crowd.

Seminole Tribe PRCA Rodeo Finals

January 16 – 17, 2015, The Lakeland Center

Though a few hours from Marco Island, for the rodeo lover, no event is too far. Don’t miss your chance to attend one of the country’s premier rodeo events and experience the “other” side of Florida—away from the ocean.

“Experience Polk County’s largest wild-west extravaganza as the Seminole Tribe PRCA Rodeo Pro Series rides into Lakeland for another amazing weekend! Top PRCA cowboys and cowgirls travel from across the nation to compete in the seven traditional rodeo events earning the points needed to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas! Grab your boots and spurs for a night of fun for the whole family.”

Sunshine State Steak Cook-off and Family Fun Day

January 24, 2015 Ave Maria Town Center

Does the thought of smelling 2,500 steaks cooking make your mouth water? I bet it does… This cook-off is hosted in lovely Ave Maria, just a short drive from Marco Island. Head over for some of the most delicious steaks you will ever taste!

“Over 20 teams will be competing for the Title of the best Steak in the Sunshine State– The day begins at 10:30 with the Grill Team parade and includes live music, vendors, a 5K Rib eye Run, family activities and more!  Serving lines open at 5pm and awards to grill teams are announced at 6:30pm.”

“Dinner tickets include:  16oz. boneless rib eye steak, corn, salad and drink for $20 in advance/day of $25 until sold out. It is strongly recommended that you purchase tickets early as the event has sold out in past years.

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Marco Escapes: Ringing in the New Year on Marco Island

Every year, come December 31st, there is always an air of excitement and electricity for what will come in the New Year. 2014 has been a fantastic year for us here at Marco Escapes and we can only hope 2015 will be the same or better.

If you are a visitor or resident of Marco Island, there are plenty of local events to attend to celebrate. Let’s bring in the New Year together, island-style.

Naples Beach Fireworks

December 31st, 2014

“Find a spot anywhere along Naples Beach for the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks, blasting off from Naples Pier. Most area boat sightseeing tours offer passage to watch the fireworks from the water vantage point. Advance reservations are required. Admission is free”

Naples Pier 12th Ave. S., Naples, FL 34102

Mango’s Dockside Bistro: New Years Eve Party

December 31st, 2014

“Come celebrate New Year’s Eve at Mango’s! Toast the night away with friends and family while you listen to the amazing Lauren Mitchell Band Live from 9 pm to 2 am! No reservations. First come, first serve! The Lauren Mitchell Band just released a new blues album that they will be performing from as well as other beloved favorites.

Located at Esplanade Shoppes, 760 N Collier Blvd # 109, Marco Island, FL 34145. (239) 393-2433

Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair

January 3-4, 2015

The Naples Art Association presents the 19th Annual Naples New Year’s Art Fair on Saturday and Sunday, January 3rd and 4th. Start the New Year off in style along 5th Avenue South in downtown Naples at this well-established art festival.”

The Naples New Year’s Art Fair offers residents and visitors with an alternative to football and a place to walk off calories from holiday overeating. Shoppers will have the opportunity to mingle with about 250 professional artists from around the country in categories ranging from original oils and acrylics on canvas to watercolors, 2D and 3D mixed media, limited edition prints, photography, digital art, sculpture, wood carvings, ceramics, hand-crafted jewelry, leather works and more.”

fireworks

Posted in Marco Escapes News

We Couldn’t Be More Excited For December!

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 3.44.13 PM“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” especially in beautiful Marco Island! Whether you have booked the holiday vacation of a lifetime, or are considering a last minute getaway, we will always provide you with all of the amazing, and worthwhile community events taking place on our fantastic (and seasonably warm) island this December!

Sunday, December 6, 2014- 6:00 p.m.

Marco Island Christmas Boat Parade:

Can you believe another year has gone by? Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the unforgettable annual Marco Island Christmas Boat Parade. Gaze at beautifully decorated vessels, gliding down the Marco River and around Collier Bay. Glimmering with holiday cheer, the participating boats are strewn with reindeer, garlands, lights and any other holiday decoration our captains could come with! There are many locations to view this not-to-miss event; we recommend The Esplanade and The Snook Inn. There is no way you won’t be in the holiday spirit after the last boat has faded into the distance.

Sunday, December 13, 2014- 6:30 p.m.

Marco Island Christmas Street Parade:

Grab your friends and loved ones, post up along San Marco Road and soak up the holiday atmosphere, island style. Admire floats, cars, bands and local entertainment as the street comes alive with Christmas cheer. A favorite for kids, this family-friendly event is sure to delight the little ones, as well as bring out the inner child in everyone. Attendees are welcome to dress in their best holiday attire and costumes. Keep an eye out for our on-island celebrities, school groups and charity organizations. Feel free to join in with all of our fantastic carolers, it is said, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

Posted in Marco Escapes News

November and Early December Festivities 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 3.46.19 PMFall is here at Marco Escapes, as well as on our lovely island. ‘Tis the season for some of our community’s most cherished events that are sneaking up sooner than you may think! There is a hint of a chill in the southwest Florida air and Marco Island is kicking off many of their annual season events this month. Get ready, that merry time of year is here!

The weekend of November 28th- November 30th is jam packed with opportunities to get yourself, your family and your friends into the holiday spirit!

Friday, November 28th – 6:00 p.m.

Santa’s Arrival at the Shops of Marco

Kicking off the holiday shopping season is the one-and-only Santa Claus, who always knows how to arrive in style! In southwest Florida, Santa ditches the sleigh and will usually arrive on a chopper!

Kids and kids-at-heart are more than welcome to line up and meet the man behind the beard, and we hope everyone is ready to begin spreading that Christmas cheer!

Located at the southeast corner of the intersection of San Marco Road and S. Barfield Drive. Marco Island, FL, 34146

Saturday, November 29th  – 6:00 p.m

Tree Lighting at Veterans Community Park

Once a year, the Marco Island community comes together to participate in the ceremonial lighting of our island Christmas tree. The ornately decorated tree is surrounded by children and adults alike, who, when the clock hits zero, “ooh” and “ahh” at all of the festive twinkling lights.

Located at 901 Park Avenue, Marco Island, FL, 34145

Sunday, November 30th – 8:30 a.m.

“Joy of Giving” Motorcycle Run at Porky’s

“All proceeds benefit the Joy of Giving Inc, which will generously supply presents for over 1000 underprivileged local children this year. Every penny collected goes toward giving these beautiful children a wonderful holiday—smiling faces, Santa and more!”

Located at Porky’s Last Stand Restaurant and Lounge, 2560 39th St SW, Naples, FL 34117.

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Farmer’s Market

011 Farmers-MarketWhile most of the country is heading into a deep freeze Marco Island’s Farmers Market is in full swing!  This is one of the best farmers markets you will ever experience.  Not touristy or flashy, it is all about simple goodness and local flavor.

You will find everything from fresh seafood, grass-fed beef, beautiful tomatoes, tropical fruit galore, freshly baked breads, vegetables, salsa, olive oils, cheeses and works from local artists.

The market is at Vetran’s Community Park (Park Ave and Elkcam Circle) every Wednesday from 7:30am-1:00pm November through April.  For additional information or to see a list of vendors visit the City of Marco Island’s web page at www.cityofmarcoisland.com/farmersmarket.  Be sure to bring cash as a lot of the vendors do not accept cards and you will not want to go home empty handed!

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Marco Escapes: Our Guide to October in southwest Florida

As our island slips into fall’s cooler temperatures, our city’s calendar of events begins to heat up. Whether you prefer to mingle with those who appreciate great food, or don’t mind getting your boots a little muddy, October is not a month to miss for those who like to be out-and-about. Whichever you decide to take part in, or attend both events, you are sure to take advantage of our beautiful southwest Florida weather. 

crabStone Crab Festival (October 24, 25, 26, 2014) 

This relatively new festival has become one of the sought-after events of the fall season. Hosted by The Old Naples Waterfront Association (ONWA), the stone crab festival is a huge block party style experience complete with live entertainment, kids events and of course—stone crab! Munch on stone crab served in many styles, each equally as delicious as the next. Spend the afternoon wandering between vendors, taking in the beautiful Naples waterfront, and hopping aboard discount boat rides. The festival does take place in both Naples and Tin City, but the Bayfront Naples location is closest to our island.

 http://www.stonecrabfestival.org/

Address: Bayfront Naples/ Bayfront Inn 

Swamp Buggy Races at Florida Sports Park (throughout October 2014)

Held at one of the largest premier entertainment venues in South Florida, The Florida Sports Park is pleased to once again host Swamp Buggy Races! Watch huge vehicles race around the muddy track in hopes of claiming the trophy and dunking the swamp buggy queen. This event is perfect for those who love cars, engines and a laid back day in the Florida sunshine. This is one of the few places in the world that you can witness these unique races, all the while mixing in with the “local” crowd.

www.thefloridasportspark.com

Address: 8250 Collier Blvd, Naples, FL 34114

Phone: (239) 774-2701

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Marco Escapes: Your One Stop Destination For Island Fun

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While staying at Marco Escapes vacation rentals, we have listed some fun activities you can enjoy while you are visiting the area in October.

Kiwanis Family 5K Run in Hideaway Beach

When: Saturday, Oct. 4, 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

Where: 490 Hernando, Marco Island. The event is family friendly and is ideal for all ages and abilities. Whether you are running, jogging or walking, the course offers beautiful views. The scenery on this 3.1-mile course includes the exclusive Hideaway Beach community and its gorgeous preserves, scenic golf course and Gulf views. Net proceeds from the event will go to project, eliminate a charity dedicated to ending maternal/neonatal tetanus. Stroller runners are also welcome.

The race will begin and finish at Tigertail Beach. All runners, volunteers and sponsors will be eligible for free parking.

Early Bird Registration Fees:

Adults (13 years and up) $17.50 plus $2.50 sign up fee
Children (5-12 years-old) $12.50 plus $2.50 sign up fee
Young Children (1-4 years-old) FREE

Race Day Registration: (payments by cash or check only):

  • Adults (13 and up) $25
  • Children (5-12) $20
  • Young Children (1-4 years old) FREE-no time chipping or t-shirts

Please register between 7:00-7:45 am (*Shirts & Gift Bags Not guaranteed if you register on race day*). For more information go to www.marcoislandkiwanis5k.com/

2nd Annual Golf Tournament for the Arts

When: Sat. Oct. 11
Where: Island Country Club Marco Island
Cost: $125 per player includes lunch, cart and green fees. Shotgun start is 1 p.m. The top prize is a two-year lease for a Mercedes Benz. For more information call (239) 394-4221.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday October 24- 26 Fifth Annual Stone Crab Festival in Naples.

For those of you who love stone crab, the season begins in mid-October. You can come and enjoy these succulent crustaceans as well as locally harvested fish and shellfish at the Fifth Annual Stone Crab Festival October 24-26.

The event is taking place at the historic Old Naples Waterfront including Tin City, Bayfront and Port O’Call Marina. Event goers can enjoy free admission, live music, a variety of events and can enter to win valuable prizes by completing the Stone Crab Festival Treasure Map. By visiting the key locations on the map, getting it stamped and turning it in you will be eligible for all the drawings.

Parking is $5 at the former Grand Central site and Port O’Call Marina. For more information call 239 430-7020 or go to www.stonecrabfestival.org

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Orange Facts

Florida’s sandy soil and sub-tropical climate are ideal for growing oranges. The most common types are Navel, Hamlin, Ambersweet and Valencia. Orange season typically runs from October through April. More than 80 percent of America’s orange juice is made from Florida-grown oranges.

Oranges are full of vitamin C which protects cells by neutralizing free radicals that cause illnesses like cancer and heart disease. They are also full of potassium that keeps the heart functioning properly.

A fun place for orange lovers to visit is Sun Harvest Citrus. The store is located in Fort Myers. Sun Harvest sells fresh squeezed orange juice as well as orange-cranberry, orange-strawberry and grapefruit juice. It also offers free juice samples.

During season, visitors can tour the facility to see how juice is produced. Sun Harvest also sell oranges grown in their own groves as well as jellies, wine, bakery items and soft serve ice cream.

orangechicken

Orange-Dijon Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts halves
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard
½ cup of onion
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place chicken in a 9 x13 inch baking dish. Spread mustard evenly over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped onion. Coat lightly with ¼ cup of brown sugar and pour in enough orange juice to cover chicken. Add butter on top.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 45 minutes, then remove remaining sauce from baking dish and pour into a saucepan. Sprinkle chicken with the last of the brown sugar and return to oven. Whisk flour into sauce in saucepan. Add any leftover orange juice and heat on high until the sauce thickens. Remove chicken from oven and place on a serving dish; pour sauce over the chicken and serve.

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Get a bird’s-eye view of Marco Island.

Marco-seaplaneIt seems to be an insatiable human desire to see things from above. On Marco Island, you can satisfy that need with Air Expeditions.
The company flies a seaplane, as well as other planes, for sightseeing over Marco Island and the 10,000 Islands. The flights are slow and low so you can actually make out what you are looking at.
As a bonus, because the plane can land and take-off from almost any navigable water, you can charter the flight to pick you up from your dock or boat, or pull up on a deserted beach to let you out to explore on foot.

This the kind of excellent adventure that Marco Escapes admires. It seems to us that guests staying in a Marco Escapes vacation rental property of distinction would find this an enjoyable way to get off the island – we mean really “off”.
In the category of information you don’t really need if you are discerning enough to be renting on Marco: Air Expeditions also offers charters to other places. But why would you want to leave Marco Island?

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Are you a resident of Marco Island? You may be and may not know it.

Marco residents beach 3Marco Island’s Residents’ Beach is one of the city’s most beautiful beaches, some say in the world. As the name implies, access is limited to Marco Island residents, with one exception

If you are renting a Marco Island residential property for a month or more, such as the beautiful, luxurious Marco Island vacation rental properties of Marco Escapes, you may apply for a Residents’ Beach “membership”. This grants you access to the Residents’ Beach for a year, and includes access to Sarazen Park. Both are managed by the Marco Island Civic Association (MICA).

The membership includes use of the Paradise Grill, with shaded tables, convenient parking, restrooms, showers and other valuable amenities. Plus amenities at Sarazen Park.
Application for annual membership can be submitted through http://www.marcocivic.com. Information via telephone is available at 239-642-7778.

Posted in Marco Escapes News