This month I'm participating in the A to Z blogging challenge and posting every day in April (except Sundays) with the corresponding letter of the day. The theme I chose for this year is 26 Days of Gratitude. I'll be posting about people, places, things, and events in my life I'm grateful for. Today is the letter...
No, I'm not talking about Italy, sorry to disappoint you. Rather, I wanted to highlight another Naples, probably a little less well-known. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the southern, west coast of Florida--Naples in particular--but it is a beautiful place to visit. We are blessed that my husband's parents live there which makes for a nice vacation when we go down to see them.
Naples is located on the Gulf of Mexico with beautiful, clear, turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and an abundance of palm trees. If you're looking for large waves for the kids to run and play in, then Naples beaches probably aren't the place to be. The water is calm and warm, and my kids have fun snorkeling for starfish, sand dollars, and my personal favorite, conch shells.
|Photo courtesy of tourismnewsinfo.com|
I'm a conch shell junkie. Every year we go to visit and come home with a bucket of conch shells (no inhabitable creatures inside, of course). I think I enjoy looking for the shells more than my kids do! You have to be careful though. Sometimes, the shells have a "smell", especially the larger ones.
A couple years ago when I was pregnant with our last child, we went down to Naples for Spring Break. We rented a pontoon boat and drove to a small island where there was an abundance of conch shells in the waters just off the beach. It was amazing. We found several LARGE shells, about 10 inches in diameter. I was so excited! We packed them up and took them back to my in-laws house.
Once we were driving in the car and away from the salty sea air, I noticed the awful smell. Like something had died. My husband said there was no way we were bringing them back to North Carolina with us, a twelve hour drive, but I was adamant. There was no way I was leaving those shells behind. We washed them and cleaned them, but it didn't help. We quadruple bagged them, but still, not much help. But, it was better than nothing.
Needless to say, we endured the twelve hour trip with those stanky shells. I think my kids only complained about half the time, and I tried not to barf in the front seat (being pregnant and all). Once home, we bleached them (a couple times), set them in the sun to dry, and viola! They were good as new! Now my son has these awesome shells in his surfer-themed room, and we only had to endure a little discomfort...okay, maybe a lot...but it was worth it!
|My mother-in-law showing off one of the large conch shells.|