As I mentioned in my last post, Vishnu surprised me with a short trip to Marco Island, Florida. We both really regret the fact that we didn’t take more weekend trips over the past few years, so he took matters into his own hands and planned a little getaway for us. And can I just say that this was probably the most relaxing 36 hours I’ve experienced in a long time. Because it was!
Marco Island is located on the west coast of Florida just south of Naples along the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a small ish island with lots of beachfront properties, golf courses, and restaurants.
We left St. Petersburg after work on Thursday and arrived on Marco Island just before 8 pm with no plans except to eat good food and lay on the beach. I’m happy to report that we accomplished our goals!
WHERE WE STAYED
We stayed at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa. While this is an older property, I really appreciated how clean everything was – the lobby, the pool, our room. We lucked out in a way because the room we were supposed to stay in had issues, so the manager upgraded us to a larger room with water views. Vishnu wanted a room with a king bed, however our upgraded room came with two queens. I honestly didn’t care as long as the beds were comfortable (and clean!), which they were.
Other than a great room, this hotel afforded us the benefit of walking right out on to the beach. Exactly what we were looking for!
I know we weren’t here for that long, but from what I could see, this is a family friendly property with lots to offer, including on site restaurants.
WHAT WE DID
Friday was our day. We could do whatever we wanted. There were no set plans, no agenda, nothing.
We opted to spend the whole day (9-5) on the beach enjoying the beautiful weather (with the exception of a quick brunch break!). We talked, read, went in the water…it was glorious!
The beach itself is clean as is the water, however, the sand is a little too coarse for my liking. I prefer the powdery stuff, but I’m not complaining! Also, it was likely good timing on our part, but the beach wasn’t super crowded. I suspect that may change this coming weekend.
On Saturday morning, we went for a long walk along the water. The perfect way to end our time on Marco!
WHERE WE ATE
We wanted to stay close to the hotel on Thursday night, so we walked over to La Tavola for dinner. This farm-to-table restaurant takes simple ingredients, keeps them in their purest form, and creates delicious (and beautifully presented) dishes.
Vishnu and I shared a refreshing beet and heirloom tomato salad that was almost too pretty to eat. For my main entree, I ordered a “small” plate of fried eggplant, beefsteak tomatoes, and burrata cheese. There was nothing fancy about this dish, but the freshness of the ingredients really brought it to life. Vishnu raved about the shrimp pizzette he ordered. He loved the unique combination of ingredients – truffle goat cheese, roasted red peppers and artichokes, olives, arugula and fig balsamic.
We broke one of our own rules when we visited Doreen’s Cup of Joe twice during this trip (a big thank you my friend Thea for the recommendation!). We usually like to experience as many new places as possible, but after a delicious savory brunch on Friday, we knew we had to come back on Saturday to try the sweeter options.
We started our Friday morning brunch with coffee and OJ. I don’t say this lightly but this was honestly the best brunch coffee and OJ I’ve ever had. The OJ in particular was freshly squeezed and perfectly sweet. For my meal, I ordered the Southern – a split biscuit topped with fried green tomatoes, poached eggs, and the most flavorful creamy cheesy grits. Vishnu ordered a biscuit sandwich with scrambled eggs and sausage.
Saturday’s brunch was all about the sweet stuff. We started with coffee and OJ once again (too good to resist!). For my meal, I ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes topped with strawberries, and Vishnu ordered the dutch apple pancakes.
You guys! So much deliciousness over the course of these two meals. We HIGHLY recommend Doreen’s Cup of Joe to anyone visiting Marco Island. Definitely a must try restaurant!
Vishnu really wanted a fish dinner on Friday night. The only problem was that most of the “fishy” restaurants have no vegetarian options. After what felt like hours of searching, I found Pelican Bend. While there was no vegetarian dish on the menu per se, there were enough veggie sides for me to create my own (surprisingly filling) meal.
I ordered hush puppies for us to share, a wedge salad topped with a creamy garlic dressing, and a baked sweet potato. Vishnu ordered the catch of the day, coleslaw, and french fries. My meal, while nothing special, was really good. Vishnu, on the other hand, enjoyed every bit of his fish – it was perfectly cooked, super flaky and light.
We really enjoyed our dining experiences on Marco Island. Although a little pricey, there’s no shortage of fresh, delicious food!
Overall, we both loved relaxing and escaping our day-to-day responsibilities on Marco Island, even if only for 36 hours! So much so that I have a feeling we’ll be back at some point in the future.