Bonita Springs Getaway

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By Kelly Green

Lee County is a short drive from Central Florida and families looking for a quick getaway should consider the trip. Home to white-sand beaches, abundant seafood, tree-lined avenues, and glorious sunsets… the area has much to offer.

As part of our mission to #GoFurtherORL, we took a 3-day vacation to Bonita Springs and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa[1].

I grew up visiting the beaches of Fort Meyers and Sanibel, and went to the Edison Ford Winter Estate one summer when I was very young. In honor of our Ford Fiesta “Go Further” mission[2] we made a stop to the property where Mr. Ford himself vacationed.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

2014-08-06 11.46.15bIf you ever have a notion to step back into a more genteel era, visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Walking along the Banyon trees and up the rocky paths, I couldn’t help but envision a parasol in one of my lace-gloved hands and an ice cold Mojito in the other.

Each room is appointed in either authentic artifacts from the home, or era-appropriate antiques. Looking in each window I wanted to go back in time so I could stroll on in and listen to the lively conversation in one of the parlors, or raise my glass in a toast at the dinner table. What would we toast? I imagine a new invention or discovery… or perhaps a family member’s birthday or engagement. Whatever the celebration, I could see how one could become at ease in such a place—to create and dream and get refreshed to change the world. After all, two giants of invention and ingenuity spent time there. Fotor082712626

In both the museum area and garage, vintage Ford automobiles are on display. Technological marvels of their time, the behemoths of the long-gone road seem unimaginable to drive. While looking at one I found myself thinking of the Ford Fiesta we were testing out. Talk about coming a long way! What would Henry Ford think of where his company has come? Did he ever imagine how far his dream would go?

Throughout the property are artifacts, exhibits, and inventions. When visiting, I recommend savoring the “flavor” of the place instead of rushing through as if trying to get through it and onto the next queue.

In addition to moseying about on the spacious grounds, guests can also add on a scenic river tour at The Marina at Edison Ford. We were invited on board the Pure Fort Myers boat, the M/V Edison Explorer, for a trip up the Caloosahatchee River.[3] 140806_Canon (138b)

Our captain and guide had much to share about the area’s history and ecosystem. We heard stories and scientific tidbits while spying for wildlife. Along our route we saw cormorants sunning, pelicans diving, and dolphins jumping. I would definitely recommend including the trip when visiting the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa

Late afternoon we arrived at the tropical Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa where we immediately felt the island vibe! Welcomed with Champaign or mimosas, we felt relaxed as we listened to the hotel’s amenities and those of their sister property (which can be accessed by a free air-conditioned trolley).

Fun activities on tap include: looping corkscrew water slide, waterfall pool, adult pool, lazy river (at adjoining property), championship golf course, rock-climbing wall, fire pit, bicycle and kayak rentals, tennis courts, private beach, spa and more.

From our corner room on the 16th floor we had a nice view of the protected landscapes around Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. We found the room to be nice sized, even when the travel bed came out! I loved having a magnificent view from even the bathroom, though I would have put up a couple more towel racks or bars if I had designed the space. Forget something? No problem. I did not bring a curling iron nor a robe and—voila—loaner items appeared at my request (along with a couple “to keep” items I neglected to include such as slippers, and a few toiletry items). The service staff met each request promptly and with a smile.

We visited the hotel’s Big Hickory Island Beach the next morning. Walk down the boardwalk to the dock to meet the boat, and you’re off.

Insider tip: Arrive early if you want to be in the first group over as it’s the most popular time to depart.

Later this year the beachside pavilion will have concessions for sale, but for now guests need to pack in snacks, food, and drinks. We have a folding rolling cart which came in handy for our munchies, towels (provided by the hotel), shovels, scoops, cameras and sun block (which we sorely under-applied when we “thought” we were being diligent).

Insider tip: The best shells can be found on the south end of the island, and on the south-facing sides of the pilings that jut onto the shore.

The next day we enjoyed the beach again, plus the sister property’s lazy river (advance reservations required). Take the free shuttle over, and grab a tube. Not sure how many laps we did, but who’s counting. I wasn’t! I was on vacation.

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point is a beautiful resort. I look forward to heading that way again.

[1] Hyatt Regency Coconut Point kindly provided us with one complimentary night stay, but all opinions are my own. [2] Read about our time in the Fiesta here.  [3] The Edison Ford Estates and Pure Fort Myers graciously hosted our visit in exchange for an honest review.