Our ride will start on the Tamiami Trail and Airport Pulling Road South, just before reaching the old part of the population, going northwest. In this huge block we’ll find buildings of county government departments, including, among others, the courts and the local police station. Going westwards and crossing the first of the bridges over the Gordon River, which flows into the bay and leads to the city center of Naples, the US 41 temporarily becomes the 5th Avenue. After passing the latter, the road begins to head west and then separates from the Trail that will turn north. Just in this part of the river is Tin City, a shopping center and leisure facilities that in the 1920s was the epicenter of the local fishing operations. In the 1970s it became The Old Marine Marketplace. Its current name is a remnant of about 40 old buildings with tin and zinc roofs that are still preserved there. Then we’ll find another one of those landmarks on the right, the Naples Depot, now a museum, which was the train station belonging to the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. In fact it was the southernmost stop of the state’s entire west coast and it operated between 1927 and 1971.
From the old railway station at 5th Avenue and 12th Street, heading west, we will be going through the buildings mostly dating from the 1930s, when the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh landed here with his wife. As usual, the wealthy people of northern Florida have acquired winter residences here due to the favorable weather of the south, and thanks to this the peninsula has always been favored economically. On this avenue there are many restaurants, cafes with terraces on sidewalks, art galleries, law firms, real estate companies, fashion shops, jewelry stores and other businesses. We will also see the Sugden Community Theatre, home of the local theater company The Naples Players that have existed since 1953. Upon completion of the third mile of our journey, the road will end at the municipal beach and there we will have to go back a few feet to continue the route towards the south, along the Gulf Shore Blvd.
Continuing along this street we will continue to be separated from the sea by just the houses. There will be some public and private parks and sports areas that we will see as we go. There are also numerous and quiet residential areas with artificial lakes, vegetation, birds, and other wonders that make the place very desirable and welcoming. Two miles after we join the Gordon Drive, we’ll reach the end of the small peninsula and will have to return again to the north. After retracing our steps and crossing the Broad Avenue, the road will change its name to 2nd Street and we’ll end up again directly on 5th Avenue, the busy and colorful main avenue of Naples.
Now we will go eastward, circumventing the dense, slow traffic, which allows us to move smoothly on the road because the sidewalks are being used by thousands of pedestrians. When we can go no further, we’ll turn right on Broad Avenue to go back to the left on 8th Street. A few more meters and we’ll be on the 12th Avenue, but on the opposite end of the narrow peninsula. The colorfulness and sea breeze are quite a sight.
Now comes the last leg of our journey, we will go back through the same streets where we have been, until this part of the city, until we end up again on Fifth Avenue. And here we will leave Naples to the right, arriving at Tamiami Trail and the confluence of the Airport Pulling Road South, where we began and now we will finish the route. Unofficially Naples is known as the golf capital of the world, because in the vicinity there are up to 80 approved circuits -hence the title of this post. Incidentally, there are also a few famous mini golf parks, with waterfalls and traps to be overcome during the game.