Sea, Sun & Shopping
Snowbirds flock to this Naples, Florida enclave for great holiday gifts
Adventurous shoppers, bored with formula malls, should consider an excursion to the specialty shops of the picturesque and historic Third Street South section of Naples, just south of Fort Myers on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Sandwiched between the sparkling Gulf of Mexico and Naples Bay, the original settlement site has been spruced up and preserved as a charming six-square-block enclave of boutiques, cafés, gardens and galleries.
At the heart of the district, the Mercantile Building, rescued and converted into the Antique Addict after WWII by businessman/philanthropist Junkie Fleischmann, led the way for future charming shops. Old English furnishings and paintings can still be purchased at The Englishman, native tribal pieces from Four Winds Gallery and excellent contemporary paintings at Gardner-Colby Galleries. But Third Street South has branched out far beyond antiques and art.
Shoppers drawn to familiar stores can browse at Lilly Pulitzer, Eileen Fisher, Tommy Bahama and J. McLaughlin, but one-of-a-kind shops offer special merchandise. Leggiadro carries custom jackets and pants made to its own designs; John Craig has well-tailored suits and sportswear; and there are colorful floral print dresses and slacks at Tickled Pink.
A Mano offers a wide variety of Italian and French tabletop items, books, jewelry and gifts, as well as an in-house garden for fresh flowers. Gattle’s, founded in 1904, has lingerie, accessories and linens from Porthault and Frette. Carlson’s Jewelry features Buccellati and estate pieces; there are giant gemstone pendants and earrings at Unique Boutique; and Cleopatra’s Barge and José Aragón will design jewelry to personal specifications.
Don’t miss the coffee bar at longtime favorite Tony’s Off Third, which also sells fresh-baked pastries and excellent wines. Next door at Ridgway Bar & Grill, entrees reflect French culinary roots. You’ll find light-fare brunches and snacks at Jane’s Restaurant, and the changing regional Italian menus at Campiello’s are renowned. Seafood is a specialty of chef Fabrizio Aielli at the nationally recognized Sea Salt.
Saturdays at the farmers market, next to bountiful displays of citrus, vegetables and berries, artisans show and sell their wares: handcrafted cypress cutting boards by Marlene, cultured pearls from mother-daughter team Pierre & Harry, Gatorbait’s Auntie Ann’s corn relish.
For a break from browsing, visit the historic Palm Cottage, or stop by the convenient concierge kiosk to find out what events are going on around town. December is a great time to visit, but any time of year Naples offers sea, sun, sand—and some serious shopping—in a very special setting.