Naples Potpourri by Bill Barnett

Bill Barnett

For the first time in my 48 years as a City of Naples resident this past Season even with the pandemic was probably one of the best and definitely the longest lasting ever. In a normal year March 31st, was the first sign of a mini exodus from Naples. Car carriers were reported being seen with glee from the year-rounders and by Easter it was always obvious that traffic had definitely lessened. Mother’s Day was the grand finale and the week after that Season was definitely 100% finished. No more restaurant reservations, no more driving around looking for parking spaces, and the beach ends for the most part were accessible. I guess what I’m saying is once again until late October we had proprietary rights to all of Naples.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have always been a fan of our Winter residents and our tourists and still am even though there are a lot more of them today than there ever were and like it or not we are going to continue to grow. I have to smile when I hear folks that have been here 10 or maybe fifteen years reminisce about what Naples was like when they first came here, and they want the growth to stop. Well, good luck with that! Okay, back to the Season that just finished.

In my opinion it was Father’s Day that was the conclusion of our 2021 Season. Many residents that would have normally left at the above dates decided to stay because their states might have still had COVID-19 restrictions and they very smartly decided to stay put here. After all, great restaurants, golf, beach and all the other great benefits that they have enjoyed so why not stay a little longer and they did. Most of you that have the patience to read what I write and come back for more, kudos to you! I have always been a food aficionado and really was the first food critic for the Naples Daily News many years ago. That’s another story and a fun one but I’m not sure I could do that today because Naples has so many phenomenal restaurants that I would weigh 300 pounds if I had to review them all.

My wife Chris and I were dining at Pazzo! on Fifth Avenue South last week and had the chance to talk with one of the servers about this past Season. She said it was the best ever, and her fellow servers were all ready for a much-deserved break. I knew from years past that as soon as Season showed signs of slowing down in Naples many servers would head North and work the Summer and Fall restaurant schedule.

This year was so different and many of them stayed here as well because we were so busy, and they had no Summer jobs yet because of COVID-19 and their states weren’t able to be open at full capacity. The problem is getting good employees no matter what business it is and that’s a real issue. When we hear about bonus money being paid plus insurance benefits etc.

I am wondering what next year is going to be like here in Naples and being the eternal optimist I’m sure we will be fine. It is hot and steamy here with lightning and thunder almost a daily occurrence. I’m so looking forward to heading North at the end of July to the Buffalo area to spend some quality time with my wife Chris’s family both old and young. I walk at least three miles a day in a gorgeous state park named Evangola. There will be cookouts galore, Buffalo wings by the dozen and all the fresh corn I can eat. There are two things I don’t eat when back in Naples, you figure it out!

I wish all of you a great Summer and Fall. It’s been a long arduous journey for many and my heart goes out to all that lost a loved one during that time. For those of you who asked, the answer is yes, our 12-and a-half-year-old rescue Bulldog Zsa-Zsa and our two rescue cats Maggie and Ava are all going strong. We will be once again driving North!

Bill Barnett
Retired Mayor
I do respond to e-mails at:

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