The Dock at Crayton Cove, Naples, Florida

As I mentioned in my review of the Snook Inn, Nancy and I got together for lunch with one of  my high school classmates at Indian Springs, Al Hudson, and his wife Dorothy.  At that time, Al and Dorothy were about to pull up stakes in Naples to live a nomad’s life, traveling around the US and Europe with the seasons.   A year later, we again had lunch with Al and  Dorothy, again with longtime DC friends Joyce Deroy and Willie King, who’d been staying with us.  You remember Al and Dorothy —

snook inn

Al and Dorothy had returned to Naples to vote against a candidate for US Senate.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they voted in other contests as well.  But the Senate was the draw.  Al and Dorothy’s votes were important.  This year especially, every vote counted in Florida.  Well, they counted except in Broward County, the County that puts the “fun” in dysfunctional.  This year they chose a special “hide the federal offices” ballot.  What larks they have!  Having done their civic duty, Al and Dorothy met us all at the dock at Crayton Cove in Naples for a late lunch.

Crayton Cove is the site of a marina in Naples, and the Dock looks out on it.  The restaurant has a warm, relaxed atmosphere, just what you’re looking for in a waterside restaurant.

dock view

Nice view.  That’s what you see unless you’re facing the bar, which is one of the attractions of the Dock.

dock bar

With a confidence born of broad experience, Al reports that it has the best mojito around; and that the Dock is a great place to enjoy a happy hour mojito or two.  It wasn’t happy hour, so I took his word for it.

The Dock also has very good food.  I had the red grouper sandwich on Cuban bread with a creole remoulade, and a side of black beans and rice.  The sandwich was good, fresh and well prepared, and the black beans and rice were great, very flavorful.  Al swears by the Dock’s black bean soup.  Everyone else enjoyed their lunch.

I didn’t take notes of what everyone else had — I was too busy catching up with Al and Dorothy.  Al was a basketball star in high school, despite having, if my fading memory serves, the thickest glasses in the school, even thicker than mine.  Al was a good guy — still is, for that matter.  I remember that he once got ahead of me on our reading lists.   Each student maintained, in a file drawer open for all to see, a list of all the non-assigned books he read each year.  That encouragement to do outside reading certainly worked with me.  I had always been a reader, but I read more, and the reading of unassigned books became a habit that continued through college and beyond.  If I had developed a habit of reading the assigned books, my grades probably would have been better.  They certainly had room for improvement.

Al went to Chapel Hill with five of our classmates, survived college, and went on to have a noteworthy career doing things with computers for Texas Instruments and others.  He even had a stint in government.  Al was brought in to fix the ICE computer system, which had been designed and was being operated by the Broward County elections office.  The specifics of Al’s computer  work are far beyond my poor understanding, but Al certainly made a great success:  He’s in a position to travel full time.

Al and Dorothy spent the past year working their way up to Maine, where his older brother, Knapp, another Indian Springs grad, lives when he and his wife, Ella, aren’t going to remote places around the world to take sensational photographs.  Browse through Stone Coast Photography.  Really, do.  Al and Dorothy returned to Naples to vote before living for five months in Charleston, South Carolina, before spending six months in the Hawaiian Islands.  After that, who knows?

The idea of throwing off our worldly possessions (except credit cards and Iphones, of course.  We aren’t crazy.)  and hitting the road is seductive.  Nancy and I have other friends, Barbara Somson and Ross Eisenbrey, the blog’s Senior Paris Correspondents, who are preparing to sell their house here in DC and head to France and then Italy for a few months each for a test run.

It sounds like fun, but Nancy and I are deeply rooted here.  In Washington, where you don’t notice the heat in summer because the humidity is so bad, and where winter is marked by days when it’s 35 degrees and raining sideways, the idea of great weather is enticing, as is the siren song of the food in France and Italy and ….  But nothing can hold a candle to the joy of living so near Liza and Mike, and watching Ella grow up.

And we can get to the Dock from time to time.  As should you.

***

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