Grandeur Magazine October 2019

Page 1

| CELEBRATING THE GOOD LIFE IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

OCTOBER 2019


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| INSIDE |

OCTOBER 2019

CONTENTS 16 GRAND FACES

66

16

David Acevedo helped usher in the age of Art Walk; now he’s eyeing an entire art district, Gardner’s Park. Mary Limont uses nature’s inspiration to create one-of-a-kind jewelry.

20 MODEL BEHAVIOR

Peer inside a grand Fort Myers Beach estate with panoramic views of the water ­– all the way to the Naples skyline.

29 COVER STORY

Six influencers in Southwest Florida’s art scene discuss how art and culture have evolved in the region and their outlook for the future.

46 PETS

Meet the fashionista of Mercato; she’s got a unique look, a winning attitude and a wardrobe that just won’t quit.

66 MAKE IT A DOUBLE

20

It’s easy to fall in love with the craft cocktails at Ember Korean Steakhouse in south Fort Myers.

14 ALSO INSIDE

46

29

12 Editor’s Letter 14 The Colors Pages 24 Dining 42 Style 44 Wine & Spirits

48 Ride 56 Getaway 60 Open Door 72 Grand Times 74 Up Next

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 7


| STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS |

CELEBRATING THE GOOD LIFE IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

ON THE COVER A detail from David Acevedo’s “Ana’s Flowers” (Acrylics and Enamels on Canvas, 2019). Read more about the Fort Myers artist and coowner/ president of the DAAS CO-OP on page 16.

VOLUME 16, NUMBER 3 | PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Editor | General Manager Art Director Associate Editor Production Director Contributing writers

Kathryn Robinson Kinsey, kkinsey@gannett.com Lindi Daywalt-Feazel, ldaywalt@gannett.com Pamela Hayford, phayford@gannett.com Dennis Wright, drwright@gannett.com Gina Birch, Jennifer Thomas, Anne Reed, Lance Shearer, Andrea Stetson Contributing photographers Kinfay Moroti, Ricardo Rolon, Jamie Stoddard, Brian Tietz, Chris Tilley, Andrew West, Wangyuxuan Xu VP Regional Sales William R. Barker President Sales, The News-Press Nancy M. Solliday President Sales, Naples Daily News Shawna Devlin Advertising Account Executives Gloria Estrada Page, gestrada@gannett.com Nicole Holey, nholey@gannett.com Director Circulation Distribution Jim Keeble Circulation Support and Logistics Manager Cheryl Cushman, ccushman@gannett.com Distribution Manager Brian Franz, branz@gannett.com

Grandeur is published 8 times a year by The NewsPress, a Gannett company. Complimentary copies are home delivered to News-Press subscribers in select neighborhoods throughout Lee and Collier counties. Copies are also inserted into Sunday editions of The News-Press in Collier county – in newsstands only. Subscriptions to the magazine are $24.95, and single copies are available at The News-Press offices and at various locations throughout Lee and Collier counties. To read the free e-edition visit grandeurmagazine.com. To advertise: 239-335-0457 To subscribe: 239-335-0211 To reach the editor: editor@grandeurmagazine.com

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| ONLINE |

You can explore the Grand life anywhere you go with our mobile-friendly website. From galas and fine dining to the amazing homes of Southwest Florida.

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ARTFUL SHOPPING The past meets the future at Timeless in Fort Myers

imeless on First Street in downtown Fort Myers is the kind of shop that makes people stop and stare. They peer through the plate glass windows at the creations owner Steve Timcak has concocted with his particular blend of Victorian-nautical-steampunk flair.

Visit grandeurmagazine.com/shopping/timeless to read the full story.

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| EDITOR'S LETTER |

elcome to October – the month of slightly cooler and drier weather (fingers crossed) and kickoff to the 2019-20 season of Grandeur. We’re glad to be back from our short summer break to highlight the spirit of Southwest Florida and the surrounding area with compelling content, breathtaking photography and stories that reflect the lifestyle and interests of Southwest Florida readers. Fall in Southwest Florida is when the arts scene starts gearing up. With that in mind, our cover story this month gathers six of Fort Myers’ biggest voices in the arts world. From local actors, board members, singers and artistic directors, they share their thoughts on where we are today and what they hope the future holds, page 29-36. Also in this issue, our Wine & Spirits feature takes you effortlessly from summer to fall when choosing that perfect seasonal cocktail, page 44-45. Make sure to visit grandeurmagazine.com for a behindthe scenes video of how to make this tasty creation, and don’t forget to check out our Grand Events, pages 70-73, for pictures from an abundance of gatherings throughout Southwest Florida. I know for many of us this time of year can be a bit of a struggle. Our commute to work gets a little longer, we have a harder time getting a dinner reservation or we spend more time in long lines. But for me fall is my favorite time of year. It’s when I’m able to spend the most time with my family, and I love it. Each year my sisters and I head to Orlando for an adults-only trip. We plan it a year in advance, and over the years this getaway has expanded to cousins, friends and now friends-of-friends, but it always includes the Robinson girls. My mother always said, “You don’t need friends, you have your sisters.” Well that turned out to be totally true. Of course, we’ve had our fair share of misunderstandings, and yeah, maybe there was a boy or two who tried to get in the middle of us, but that never mattered because our bond is unbreakable. These women keep me grounded, love me unconditionally and support me in every way. Now that’s true friendship. It’s great to be back and especially exciting to share what makes our piece of paradise so amazing with more readers than ever. See you next month!

Kathryn poses, on location at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, in a Zimmerman leopard silk maxi dress provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, Waterside Shops, Naples.

12 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

PHOTO BY BRIAN TIETZ

Kathryn (left, middle row) with her family on Fort Myers Beach circa 1973.

KATHRYN ROBINSON KINSEY EDITOR & GENERAL MANAGER


GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 13


| THE COLOR PAGES |

Light of the party

• The irregular bands around Le Soleil by Foscarini give this suspension lamp personality that brings any party to life. Add autumn colors and it takes on an earthy tone with charm and character. Available at Richlin Interiors.

The Kaleidoscope

• A spectacular black opal weighing 15.82 carats creates a kaleidoscope of green, orange, red and yellow with each movement of your hand. This rare gem is surrounded by a halo of natural earth-toned sapphires set in 18-karat white gold encrusted claws with four carats of colorless diamonds. Designed by William Boyajian. Price available upon request. Port Royal Jewelers, Naples.

FALLIN

FLORIDA Autumn in the Sunshine State is unlike any other place on Earth, so why shouldn’t our fall style follow suit? The season here is still hot, yet a cool streak billows just below the surface. We might borrow from “up north” a warm yellow or burnt red, but we’re very likely to punctuate it with Key lime

Its time has come • The

Bowl Chair was a marvel before its own time. The late Lina Bo Bardi designed the chair in 1951, but the public didn’t see it until 64 years later when Italian design company Arper brought it new life. New colors and materials give her design a fresh, contemporary flair. This season, the chair comes in three new shades: sandy, shiny blue and iridescent brown, which can be complemented with monochrome or color block fabric cushions. Available at luminaire.com.

14 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

green or aquamarine. He’s how we celebrate fall in Florida. — PAMELA HAYFORD

Clarity and color • No murky

mustard here. This crocembossed crossbody clutch in honey citrine adds Florida fall brightness to your ensemble. $78 at White House Black Market, whitehouseblack market.com.


| THE COLOR PAGES |

Aston Martin advantage

• See what we mean about pop? The 2019 Aston Martin Vantage was made to turn heads. Its Lime Essence exterior projects autumn in full Florida style. Its eight-cylinder engine with rear-wheel drive follows through. Available through Naples Luxury Imports.

Too cool for school

• The Charleston sunglasses by Louis Vuitton give the classic square shape an update and herald the return of the iconic S-lock hinge. $700 at louisvuitton.com.

Strappy and sleek • The suede and snakeembossed Aquazzura sparkles in the autumn light. $725 at Saks Fifth Avenue, saksfifthavenue.com.

Shine like a star • Feel like a star in

this lightweight cotton and cashmere blend sweater. The frayed-edge stars on the front add a bold statement. $230 at Jennifer’s in The Design Center in Fort Myers. (239481-8582; jennifersfortmyers.com)

Salad surprise

• Eating your greens never looked so good. As guests dig in, they’ll uncover a colorful enameled interior that coordinates with the servers. From the Martha Stewart Collection, La Dolce Vita wood and enamel salad set was created exclusively for Macy’s. $125 at Macy’s and macys.com.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 15


| FACES |

ART IS HIS

LIFEBLOOD David Acevedo talks about art, his vision for Gardner’s Park and unity.

STORY BY ANNE REED PHOTOS BY KINFAY MOROTI

n an historically charming room surrounded by white walls that nearly pulse with the color red, David Acevedo, artist, coowner and president of the DAAS CO-OP in the Gardner’s Park district of downtown Fort Myers, sits cool, calm and collected. The artwork surrounding him ranges in style and form, all part of the current group exhibition simply titled “Red.” The color is significant for David as an artist and something he includes in his own art.

16 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| FACES |

“Red has to be in my work. Red is blood to me, and if it’s in a circle, then it means it’s the life cycle,” he explains. “When I think of red, I think of the living being, the aspect of being alive. I always associate it with the knowledge that we are all red inside.” When he wants to highlight something in his work, red is his color of choice. “It looks good in cars, too,” he adds with a laugh, a nod to his red Volkswagen Beetle parked outside. While red is often used as a highlight in his art, his color palette includes a lot of blue, from cobalt to a turquoise color that he compares to the shade of retro refrigerators. “I basically work with primary colors that I mix, then I combine to make other colors,” David explains. He describes himself as an intuitive painter. He’s been described by others as an abstract-expressionist and a pop artist but finds that the word “intuitive” suits him best. “Since I don’t use a strict subject or strict technique, I basically go with the flow and the moment, so I find that intuitive describes me best…I need to have a little bit of everything. I don’t want my art to be flat or boring,” he says. Art was always part of David’s life, and his creativity stretches back decades to his childhood in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. “Art for me happened on its own. I never had a moment where I said, ‘Oh, I love art!’ It happened on a natural level,” he says. Some of his early memories are of drawing and coloring, especially for his older sisters. “When I first started showing my skills, my talent for art and sketching, they picked up on it and they would make me paint stuff for them. They would play teacher and I was the student; not only were they teaching me real things, but then they gave me paint to draw for them.” David made comic books for his sisters, which he says they still have to this day.

“They were my first catalysts to get more ideas and explore what I could do with my talent.” He attended the University of Puerto Rico and studied art, starting at the age of 16. It was his first time away from home. “I was an hour and a half away,” he notes, explaining that once he left home, he didn’t go back except to visit. “An hour and a half is pretty far on an island.” After art school he intended to pursue his art education further, but his sister worked for the government and sent him a lead that they were hiring. He applied, was hired and arrived in Fort Myers in 2000. “Wherever I landed, I was going to do something art-related,” David says. “Either as an artist or I always wanted to have a business, because it’s in my family — most of my family have a business or have had a business.” He started by getting involved in the local arts scene through Alliance for the Arts and Arts for ACT. In 2006, David realized he needed his own space and opened his first professional art studio, David Acevedo Art Studio, and created his art there for about two years. Then the opportunity came to rent a space in downtown Fort Myers in 2007, which was a very different place than it is today. “I was newer to the area and loved downtown Fort Myers and saw so much potential there,” he says. He found a location on Broadway Street that was larger than he needed, so he made the space a gallery as well as a studio and stayed there through 2012, through the recession and the rebuilding and rebranding of downtown Fort Myers. “I got lucky and was in the right place at the right time,” he says. As the art scene grew and more artists and studios were attracted to the downtown area, an idea was born — Art Walk. “Nobody had a name for it, nobody had a clear concept,” David explains. The first planning meeting was in August 2008 and, two months later, the first Art Walk took place and brought about 2,000 people downtown, by David’s estimate. As downtown Fort Myers continued to attract restaurants and shops and galleries, rents began to climb, and David closed the downtown studio in 2012 and became part of the Union Artists Studios, located on

the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. He describes it as a working studio for multiple artists, and he is still part of it today. “It’s a great place and I love it,” he says. In 2016, he re-opened DAAS (David Acevedo Art Studios) as a co-op in Royal Palm Square and, in 2019, DAAS CO-OP moved into its new home in the Gardner’s Park District next to the Butterfly Estates. The space is filled with artwork from 15 local artists and staffed by them as well, giving patrons and shoppers an opportunity to interact with the creators of the works of art on display and for sale. “We’re very happy here,” David says. “There is a lot of community in this area and a sense of coming together.” That sense of community is something David would like to see grow into something much bigger — an entire arts district. He believes Gardner’s Park has huge potential and could be moving in that direction. “I think that Fort Myers as a city will eventually be like Wynwood, SoHo, the mere mention of the name makes you think of art and an art district,” he says. “Every time I get a chance, I always mention that, because I want people to realize the potential is there, but the support has to be there as well.” Support could come from individuals attending performances and visiting galleries and purchasing pieces from local artists; it could also come from city administration and funding on a local and larger level. More than anything, though, David believes conversations need to be had, and art creates conversation. And he sees, in our society today, a need for different conversations and a return to a time of respect for each other, no matter our backgrounds or beliefs. “There is a little bit of a disconnect with people in general,” David says. “We live in a time where people are too tense, whether from political reasons or other reasons… I dream of a time where we could just be free from that tension in a sense that we could respect each other’s opinions or have a different way of communicating them instead of posting [on social media]. We need more art that reflects unity, community, peace, the fact that we are all human, that we all belong to a place and have to share this space.”

“Art for me happened on its own. I never had a moment where I said, ‘Oh, I love art!’ It happened on a natural level.” — DAVID ACEVEDO DAAS CO-OP is located in the Butterfly Estates complex, 1815 Fowler St., Suite 3, Fort Myers 33901; daascoop.com David’s artwork website is acevedostudio.com; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at acevedostudio GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 17


| FACES |

STORY BY ANDREA STETSON | PHOTOS BY WANGYUXUAN XU

NATURE’S

DESIGNER ary Limont is finally doing what she loves. It took until retirement to get that satisfaction. For 20 years she worked in Massachusetts for Goldman Sachs. “I am glad to be out of that,” she says. “I didn’t care for finance, and I always liked making things. I went to a bead show and got some beads and made a necklace and my sister wanted one, so I made one for her. Then when my husband passed away, I just jumped in with both feet.” She has been making jewelry now for almost nine years. The guest room in her Naples home is her little factory. Mary never took an art or jewelry making class. “I am self-taught totally,” she says. “I don’t know if I am too cheap or too independent to take classes.” Mary says she learned mostly through books and by experimenting. Nature has often been her inspiration. “Shapes and nature, of course,” she says. “For instance this one I just saw a shape that I liked, and I tweaked it.” Mary’s jewelry showcases sterling silver or copper pieces that are designed to look like a seashell, butterfly, leaf, fish, turtle or just an unusual shape. “I draw the image and I cut it out and then I hammer the whole thing,” Mary describes. “If you have just a flat piece of silver or copper, there is no movement in it, so I hammer it and it gives it a really nice movement. Then I turn it over and I punch the design in it. I usually pick out my beads after I have the piece done.” Each work of art takes six to seven hours to complete. 18 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

Mary’s jewelry is usually large and makes a statement. It can also be a conversation piece. She loves to travel, so each year she picks up items from her vacations and incorporates it into her jewelry. “Last summer I went to Morocco,” she says. “I bought fossils there and did a whole series on fossils. I did that whole series last year and that was popular. I still have some for this year.” This year she headed out West and brought back leather. “I made some leather pieces, and they are big and bold,” Mary says as she holds up some samples. “This is bison leather. This one is ostrich.” Dolores Fernandez says she has purchased a lot of Mary’s jewelry. “I like the copper and the stone she uses,” Dolores says. “I like her designs. They are very different, and each piece is unique. You know that what you are getting is for you, and nobody else is going to have something similar to it. Every time I wear her pieces, people come over to me and ask me, ‘Where did you get those pieces?’ They just attract attention. They are very classy and very unique, and I love them.” Mary’s jewelry is for sale at the Naples Botanical Garden. She plans to be a vender at a spring show there. In November she will be in a show by the Naples Art Association. She will also participate in The Artisan Marketplace by the Naples Woman’s Club on November 2 and 3. Every year Mary takes part in the Wildlife & Wildlands Art Show in January art show at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. That’s a place that is very special for her art. Each year since 2006, the Friends of Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park has selected an artist in residence who leads workshops and creates art based on things seen in the park. In 2017, the organization named Mary that year’s Resident Artist.

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY TIM TETZLAFF

Jewelry artist Mary Limont finds inspiration in nature.


| FACES |

Mary was born and raised in West Virginia and her rural background has made her very trusting. “I don’t think I even owned a key,” she says. “We never had keys. When we sold our house, we had to go looking for keys.” That trust extended to the art show at DelnorWiggins. “I love that show. I had a really great experience,” she says. “The first year I went there, people came off the beach and didn’t have any money, so I had three sales of people who didn’t have any money and it amounted to $300 to $400 and I got all three checks within a week. People are underestimated. I am trusting.” The most popular jewelry pieces that she makes are flowers. She says shells, fish and other sea creatures are also respectable sellers. With earrings, the best seller is little swirl designs in sterling silver. Birds and trees are also popular.

“I like to make the nautilus,” she says. “I loved to make things with the fossils. I enjoyed that a lot. I try to come up with something different each year. Right now this year it has been leather.” Mary speaks with great passion as she talks about her work. That’s a lot different from her tone when she describes life before crafting. Mary’s degree from Marshall University in West Virginia is in education, and she PHOTOS PROVIDED BY TIM TETZLAFF taught at a preschool when her children were little. Then when she lived in Massachusetts, she was a support staff worker at Goldman Sachs. “I needed a job, so I went into Boston and got a job,” she says. Yet her heart was in crafts. She did crafts in a nursing home up north and even dabbled in pottery a bit. In 2000 she moved to Naples. “We had vacationed on Sanibel and a lot of people from where I came from came here, so we came here, and we loved it here,” she says. In her retirement Mary began doing the things she loved most: traveling and making jewelry. “I usually have three or four going at a time,” she says about her jewelry. “I have always done it that way. I can be working here on something and thinking of an idea, so I will just put it down and turn around and try to draw my idea and get on to something else.” GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 19


| MODEL BEHAVIOR |

Estatewith a

VIEW STORY BY ANDREA STETSON | PHOTOS BY ANDREW WEST

20 OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| MODEL BEHAVIOR |

This model on Fort Myers Beach takes advantage of height and location to provide its occupants vast views of Southwest Florida.

he panoramic view takes in so much more than sand and surf. There’s the green marsh that frames the beach and offers privacy. You can even see Big Carlos Pass, Lovers Key State Park and the tall buildings of downtown Naples in the distance. This three-story Fort Myers Beach house, with glass sliders, windows and glass doors leading to lanais and balconies, showcases extraordinary views from almost every room. “It is a really special view,” says Samantha Kirch, director of operations for The Grant Group. “Most homes have

just Gulf, but this has a lot of variety to it. You can see all the way down the coast to Naples. It has a lot more variety than a standard Gulf view would.” The five-bedroom-plus-den home has six full and two half bathrooms. It sits on .38 acres and spans 5,370 square feet under air and a total of 9,642 square feet of living space. When the house first went on the market, the original asking price was $4.395 million, but the home is now listed for $3.999 million. “You have a lot of privacy, a lot of insulation between you and the beach,” Samantha says as she points to the greenery between the home and the water. The size is also a big selling factor, says Doug Grant, Realtor and owner of The Grant Group. “The fact that this is on a 75- to 80-foot lot is pretty rare,” Doug says. “The outside area here is larger than most homes.” Gary W. Lau Inc. has built more than 25 custom homes on Fort Myers Beach, including this 2018 never-lived-in model. A circular driveway of gray pavers leads to the front of the home. Dark brown garage doors form a contrast to the light gray house. The home’s interior has a lighter, more coastal feel. The ground floor can’t have any living space due to coastal permitting regulations, so it’s built as a garage that can house at least six vehicles. Up one level is the main living area with a kitchen, eating area, great room and bar. Two sets of pocket sliding glass doors lead to the lanai. The doors have the unusual feature of being remote controlled. The kitchen is separated from the eight-seat dining room table by a wide, spacious island. Beyond that is the family room with its soaring white shiplap ceiling. Most of the rooms in the house have white shiplap ceilings above oak floors. The bar area has another island with additional seating. Beyond the sliding glass doors is an outdoor kitchen and sitting area under roof and a pool and spa under sunshine. “What we tried to do is to take advantage of the view and do the pool up one level,” says Gary Lau of Gary W. Lau Inc. “That is really nice when you are entertaining, because you don’t have to go to the lower floor.” The house also has two master bedrooms.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The lanai and pool are one story up in this Fort Myers Beach home. • Walls of sliding glass doors separate the family room and kitchen from the outdoors. Designer Jennifer Sloan of Design & Company says she especially likes the floating ceiling in the family room. • The five-bedroom-plus-den, home has six full and two half bathrooms. The home has two master suites, one on the second floor and one on the third floor.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 21


| MODEL BEHAVIOR |

“There is a trend of double master suites,” Samantha says. “It gives some flexibility for people who don’t want to grapple with the stairs.” “People have asked for that, especially if you have a mother-in-law. They have their own master,” Gary adds. One master has a single glass door between wider windows that leads to the lanai. From the king-size bed, a homeowner could see the marsh, beach and Gulf of Mexico. The master bathroom has a stand-alone tub, shower and his-and-her vanities. An open stairway leads to the third floor. “It is a custom-made stairway,” Gary says. “It just showcases the whole house.” The third floor has three guest rooms and another master suite. This master bedroom has a king-size bed that faces a wall of sliding glass doors that lead to a terrace. The panoramic view encompasses everything from the marsh, beach and Gulf, to Big Carlos Pass, Lovers Key State Park and the skyline of Naples. “It’s quite a view to wake up to,” Samantha says. The master bathroom has a large tub nestled in a corner with two windows overlooking the water. There’s also a walk-in closet that is so big it could be another bedroom. The closet has built-in shelving and a built-in island and bench seat. 22 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

Next to this master suite is a den with a wall of windows facing the Gulf. The peaked, white shiplap ceiling makes a stark contrast to the dark brown built-in shelving behind the desk. The three guest rooms are all suites with bathrooms and large closets. The loft on the third floor keeps with the beach theme with a blue couch set under a vaulted shiplap ceiling. Pictures of blue fish hang on the wall. Two tree stumps form tables and match the style of tree-branch tables in the family room below. Tree pieces on the wall keep the theme going. The designer-furnished, coastal contemporary estate features a beachy color palate and ocean themed design throughout the home. Glass starfish sculptures sit on the living room coffee table. Coral punctuates the bookshelves by the television. A scallop-shaped backdrop forms a wall behind the kitchen stove and counters. Intricate designs, such as light blue walls with white wood stripes beside the staircase, add to the details in the home. It also has an elevator that goes to all three levels. “There are high-end fixtures and high-end finishings throughout the house,” Gary says. Designer Jennifer Sloan of Design & Company created the luxury style.


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Since the ground floor cannot have living space due to coastal regulations, the main living room is one floor up. • The outdoor living space under roof is extensive. • Designer Jennifer Sloan of Design & Company says the staircase is one of her favorite things in the house. • Jennifer used aqua in the guest bedrooms. • The master bathroom has a stand-alone tub, shower and his-and-her vanities. • The kitchen is separated from the dining area by a wide island. Just off to the side is another island with seating by the wine bar area.

“When we get a set of plans, we have the basic walls and everything else is a blank slate. So we come up with all the details,” she says. Jennifer likes everything about the house but has some favorite elements. She especially likes the floating ceiling in the family room. “It has this glowing light; not only is it shiplap, but it glows,” she says. The carved benches are made from reclaimed wood, Jennifer explains as she continues to list her favorite things.

“I like to work with different materials: metals, wood, glass,” she says. “It gave it a little bit of a twist.” Jennifer likes the way the shiplap goes almost to the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, drawing the eye down from the tall ceilings. She also points to the staircase as one of her favorite focal points. She also enjoyed using strong blue and aqua tones in the wall coverings of one of the guest rooms. “This was a fun house to put together,” she says.

Laser Lunch & Learn Friday, October 18th in Naples 12-1pm

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239.333.1450 or AssuageCenters.com 1201 Piper Blvd., Unit 1, Naples, FL 34110 GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 23


| DINING |

AN uncommon

TREASURE

Great view, sophisticated atmosphere, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine — and no kids.

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| DINING |

STORY BY GINA BIRCH

ou’ll find Tesoro on the fifth floor of the new Lanai Tower at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. You’ll find a spectacular view of the beach and sunset. What you will not find are children. The completion of the new nine-story tower culminates a three-year $320 million renovation that features the Paradise by Sirene experience, a curated escape exclusively for adults. While the resort as a whole is family-friendly, the new tower caters to those 21 and older. It is chic, dripping with extra touches, and Tesoro is one of them. The restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Gulf of Mexico features Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by Chef Gerald Sombright, with the occasional nod to his St. Louis roots. The talented chef also opened the resort’s awardwinning steakhouse Ario and was a “Top Chef ” contestant on Season 14.

Tesoro’s plates are served tapas style, and all are meant for sharing. While tapas is trending, the chef says, “It’s strange to see how many people want to share appetizers but still want to have entrees all to themselves.” He laughs. “Some people still just don’t like to share.” One starter that’s a must is black baba ghanoush. Chef turns this classic Lebanese dish on its head, burning down the eggplant skins for a charred note before adding to the eggplant puree. He also flash fries pieces of eggplant then adds black sesame, black garlic and olive oil. Served with hot, fresh pita, it’s creamy, savory and just enough to whet your appetite. The charcuterie is also quite special. Not only is prosciutto from Italy served in paper-thin slices, but also Iberico Jamon from Spain; it’s a prized possession. Hand carved to order, this meat is a pricy, highly allocated product, and it melts in your mouth.

FACING PAGE: The Cured and Cultured Board at Tesoro is a treasure trove of meat, cheese and other goodies for noshing. THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Fresh tuna is layered between thin slices of seasonal stone fruit, then drizzled with balsamic and coco nibs for Tuna Crudo. • Sliced like a sushi roll, falafel is placed on top of colorful beet root mayo for a favorite small plate. • The strip steak is cooked to perfection and served with a horseradish walnut puree.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 25


| DINING |

Sombright also sources cured meats from the Spotted Trotter, a boutique charcuterie house in Georgia committed to sustainability. “They have pioneered a way of doing American charcuterie that feels very European,” he says. For another meaty small plate, try the lamb ribs in a sweet date barbecue sauce with a Moroccan seasoning for a touch of heat. The ribs are sous vide overnight then coated in rice-based flour and flash fried. Crisp on the outside, soft and tender in the middle, a dollop of smoked yogurt helps balance the flavors. Tuna Crudo is one of the more unique items on Tesoro’s menu. Sombright’s inspiration came while watching a food show featuring a grandmother in Italy who sprinkled cocoa powder on tuna. “It blew my mind. For me it was an aha moment,” says chef. He layers thin slices of tuna with seasonal stone fruit, adds balsamic vinegar and tops with cacao nibs that taste more like coffee than chocolate.

26 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| DINING |

Other seafood selections include a citrusy scallop crudo and raw oysters served in tangy burnt citrus mignonette with pink peppercorns. It’s not all about protein at Tesoro; small plates with colorful vegetables are also highlighted. “As a person eating more vegetables and as a chef, I’m finding more creativity trapped in vegetables and am pushing boundaries of what I can do to enrich their flavors,” he says. The spaghetti squash is a decadent example of how great they can be. It’s made cacio e pepe style with salty, flavorful Grana Padano, and it makes eating vegetables feel sexy. Squash is in for the fall season at Tesoro. Chef is bringing the vegetable full circle by combining fresh squash with squash that he pickled last season. More substantial plates to share include a beautiful whole grilled branzino in lemon, tarragon and black garlic, served with fregula (a pasta from Sardinia) and salmoriglio sauce. The perfectly seared coffeerubbed strip steak with a horseradish-walnut puree has carnivores drooling. Mirroring the menu, the wine selections also come from Mediterranean countries — no Napa Valley cabernets here — but if that’s your jam, you’ll find more than enough stellar substitutes. The bar is also stocked with spirits that aren’t commonplace. Try for instance Italian Malfy Gin, Italicus Bergamot or Pavan to name a few.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Chef de Cuisine Gerald Sombright, a former Top Chef television competitor, leads the culinary team at Tesoro. • Coffee Rubbed Strip Steak Tonnato is a savory, signature dish. • It’s called Pure Chocolate Emotion and the emotion is ecstasy: dark chocolate mousse, gelato and hazelnut crunch. • Hot pita bread and creamy hummus is a delicious starter. • The dining room at Tesoro has a view of the gulf and can be configured to accommodate almost any size party. GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 27


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| COVER STORY |

RAISING

ARTS’

VOICE

Six influencers in the arts community gathered at The Laboratory Theater to get intentional about the arts in Southwest Florida.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 29


| COVER STORY |

From left: Terry Tincher, Cantrella Canady, Annette Trossbach, Liz Abbott, Stephanie Davis

INTERVIEW BY ANNE REED | PHOTOS BY RICARDO ROLON

n a sultry summer Monday morning, after a weekend of performances, including the SalusCare “Laughter is the Best Medicine” fundraiser, six of Fort Myers’ biggest voices in the arts world gathered on stage at The Laboratory Theater of Florida to talk about how and when they became involved in the arts, the history of creative and performing arts in Southwest Florida, where we are today and what they hope the future holds.

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| COVER STORY |

How our panelists found art, or how art found them Lydia Antunes Black (LAB): I think I’m the only one on this stage who would not consider myself an artist. I think all of the people here have some inner power and inner talent to be a superstar on stage or are connected to the visual arts. For me, I respect, love, adore and am energized by all things arts and culture. Whether it’s theater, music, dance, language, culinary — and I grew up in a household that was from two different countries. I had the pleasure of going back and forth between Brazil and the United States. I had to reinvent myself every time I moved somewhere new. I took solace in the arts in a way of appreciation more than standing in front of people or presenting something in front of people whether it was on the wall or on the stage. For me it was just a high cultural appreciation. I think language is a kicker for me — I love

Portuguese, I love French, I love Spanish, I love Laotian — I’m drawn to languages and I think language tells a story, and I think the arts tell a story and artists like you all make people look at things in different ways. Stephanie Davis (SD): For me, as a child, it was the way that I got attention. I was performing for my mother and her friends during their cocktail parties, as young as I can remember… I think that was it for me. I knew I could command an audience, even if it was in my mother’s living room. As I grew up, there was really no theater arts nearby in this area at that time in the early ’80s… It really wasn’t until 1992 that I got involved in theater and that was at the Pirate Playhouse on Sanibel Island and I was cast in my first professional play. I was a late bloomer to it.

Liz Abbott (LA): I kind of want to piggyback on that because we have similar backgrounds. I’m an only child. I have extremely hardworking parents that are creative but not in the arts as much… Because my dad was in advertising/marketing, there were Lydia always actors in our home, always Antunes television personalities. We went Black to art fairs every weekend, visiting friends. We moved to Sanibel when I was nine and there was nothing except for the little Pirate Playhouse and I would go visit the Hunters and say, “I’ve got a play I’d like to do!” and she’d say “Well, come back in 20 years.” I did so much imaginative play. When I got my avocado green kitchen set, I was a waitress, I was a mommy, I was the daddy, I was probably the neighbor. I would pour myself a fake cocktail and read the mail and do all these things just being my mother or being someone else. Going on to what she [Stephanie] said, growing up in this area there were not a lot of arts. My drama really started in middle school at an after-school program… When I got to Cypress [Lake High School] I remember saying to my dad, “Well there are really talented people at Fort Myers High and Canterbury and Bishop Verot, all these other schools — little pockets everywhere.” And so my dad started a 501c3 called Young People in Dramatic Arts. All of these kids

were able to come to Cypress after school and rehearse plays, and we would perform them at Barbara B. Mann [Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers]. And he would get real people, union people to work, and it really then became what it is known as now the Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts. It was interesting, because you realized there was talent here but there weren’t resources. So to see it today after living in New York and coming back home and raising kids here, I mean, I get chills. Terry Tincher (TT): My story is a little bit different. I was a wimpy, nonathletic kid, so I was looking for a place. I never really fit in as a child. When I was in fifth or sixth grade, one of my uncles played the guitar. That was my first connection to the arts. He showed me how to play a song on the guitar, and then I played for someone else and I saw what that felt like. When I got into junior high and high school, a theater arts teacher snatched me by the nape of the neck and drug me in there. I was working as an orderly at the hospital after school and wearing a white uniform. When I went in to audition for my first show, I was wearing my uniform and I remember one of the theater kids said, “Who is the white tornado?” It gave me a place to be. It gave me a purpose in the arts. From there as I got into college I moved more into learning and knowing about the visual arts. Now I sort of dabble in all of them, from music to the theater… The arts gave me the ability to connect with people. Cantrella Canady (CC): I started singing very young, because my family is a very religious family. I grew up in the church. My whole family is from a family of singers, so singing is just like breathing. I was shocked to know that other people couldn’t sing… I didn’t really look at singing and music as art; I thought it was just as essential as breathing. I was exposed to the performing arts in elementary school where they had a free afterschool program to teach dance. Mrs. Markowski — I will never forget her name — she had the STAR Dancers, and she had a dance studio. She would take time from the dance studio to come to Heights Elementary and teach the kids whose parents couldn’t afford dance classes how to dance. It was really great, because she took the time to teach us what a plie was and all these different things and put on concerts at school. That was the first time anyone said, “You know what, you are really good at this.” That was my first exposure to any type of performing arts and seeing how it has such a great effect on everyone.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 31


| COVER STORY |

Annette Trossbach (AT): I grew up in another country, and I am very grateful for being surrounded by all the art and culture that I was. Even at the time, I didn’t take it for granted… Being surrounded by architecture that is a thousand years old and all of the art, street art, street musicians, theater and dance and music that I was exposed to was a very different upbringing compared to you guys being here in what sounds like a wasteland at the time. I am the black sheep of the family in that everyone else is in nursing or government-related things, so I’m the oddball. My parents were very supportive in my interest in the arts from a very early age. I started ballet at the age of 5, we had a couple of choirs in the church, and I was singing at a very early age — and that was an expectation in my Roman Catholic upbringing… I was handed a saxophone at a pretty young age, so there was band and jazz band and choir practice. As I got older, I became involved in speech and debate, theater, Model United Nations and peer counseling. I had

32 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

so many things on my high school transcript that were arts and speaking and cultural-related. It was very different from what my family was into, but they gave me a lot of free rein to explore.

The beginning SD: It has changed so dramatically, no pun intended, in Fort Myers in the last 20 years. TT: It’s insane. One of the very first projects I did when I first came here in the construction business was the Philharmonic in Naples. It was virtually the very first real arts facility that was here. When I moved I came from Cincinnati, where we had season tickets for the symphony and Playhouse in the Park. When we came here, Mimi and I, we were in a cultural wasteland. I think I met Kat Epple very early on. She used to have late night artist dinners in abandoned buildings downtown. That was my first introduction into the arts here in Lee County.

LA: Downtown was a wasteland. When I was growing up it was cool for five or six of us to pile in a car and come downtown and eat at the Snack House and go to that Mexican restaurant with the dead guy upstairs. (laughter)… It was the legend of the dead guy. LAB: Terry, some of the best stories I’ve heard have come out of the visual arts and have come out because of Bob Rauschenberg’s influence. We have all of these fun little elements at the Alliance that bring in people that always ask to see someone there and they have stories about the beginning, like “We painted a wall there and inscribed something over there.” And I think Kat Epple, Bob Rauschenberg, Darryl Pottorf, Mary Voytek — TT: Pioneers. Fearless artists that didn’t mind being alone. I think that artists are drawn to other artists, and when those people emerged in this area, they were virtually one of a kind. In 1985 I built Bob’s house in Captiva and he gave me a giant oil


| COVER STORY | Liz Abbott

of artists here: that you don’t have to go somewhere else to be who you are, to get that out. You can do that here. You can go there, you can take it there, but honestly, he taught people that you can be the most famous artists of the 20th century and you can live in Fort Myers.

The next generation AT: Do you feel like that is translating to kids now that are graduating from high school? The kids are such a resource, and they are taking their experience and their learning and often moving away. They are looking for larger metropolises in order to make their mark — or at least I felt that way five years ago. Now I feel like there are some people who are choosing to stay in this area because the art opportunities have grown so much. I think that’s a big cultural shift for us, to not be losing as many of our young people as we used to.

painting. When I was pouring the concrete sidewalks at the Philharmonic in Naples, Myra Daniels was out there one day with the construction supervisor. So I struck up a conversation and I asked her about what she was going to do about art. Here I was a 27-year-old goof in the concrete business and I ended up loaning her my Rauschenberg painting, and for two years it sat in the entrance there. It was my first real connection to the arts here. LAB: The biggest thing for him [Bob Rauschenberg] is that he drew international attention. He chose to stay. We say this about Marcus Jansen, who also chose to stay here, and there are other visual artists who have made a difference and pushed the needle, and they’ve inspired a whole set of visual artists here. And I think that because of the Rauschenberg commitment to this area, of staying and doing some funding locally, even with Arts for ACT and the social connections with the arts, we truly care about asking ourselves how do we use arts to move mountains, how do we use arts to start conversations that matter? Even in that era that Bob lived here, there was a lot of partying and a lot of fun, but there was also that desire to be incredibly inclusive and bring attention to fund projects locally and make sure our social services were top notch. TT: Especially in Bob’s case, he taught a lesson to a lot

LA: The neat thing this past year during Greg [Longenhagen]’s first season [with Florida Rep] was that they had interns coming back to work professionally. They had gone to New York, they had gone to these wonderful schools, and they came back. They really missed it here. I think we don’t recognize the community that has been built. I think it is pretty special. I know that it is starting to even get better, because we are seeing some layers of people. We know what our resources are… We now can pick up the phone and call these resources, and we used to have to call outside of the box. They are here now. CC: Growing up, everyone was like, as soon as I graduate I’m moving away. I never felt like that. I stayed because A.) my family was here and B.) I could create those experiences or I would latch on to people who were bringing those experiences here. I created the reality that I wanted to see in New York or Tampa. I didn’t need to move away to do that. I think that is what most students are seeing these days… They see that these resources are now here. TT: The one thing that we all have in common is that we had faith in the vision that we had for our own expertise. We said to ourselves, hey, we can make this happen right here and now. It’s just like me bringing [Marilyn] Manson to Fort Myers. Who would have thought that? I sold $400,000 worth of paintings out of 1,000 square feet in downtown Fort Myers at the beginning of the recession. It was insane! But I had faith that it was going to happen. Same with you, same with Annette, same with Stephanie: All of you have the same exact experience in the fact that we had a vision that we believed in, and we were willing to put the work in to bring the people together to make it happen.

Who are we? A short bio on each of the participants of our arts roundtable: Liz Abbott is an actor, advisory board member for Florida Repertory Theatre, crowd gatherer, PTA mom and housewife extraordinaire. She grew up on Sanibel Island and lives in Fort Myers. Lydia Antunes Black

describes herself as a nonprofit junkie, community volunteer and mom. She is the executive director at the Alliance for the Arts and lives in Fort Myers.

Cantrella Canady is an actress, singer and event host originally from Harlem Heights in south Fort Myers. She lives in Lehigh Acres and works as a revenue manager for a vacation rental company. Stephanie Davis is

an actor, director, arts marketing and fundraising dynamo. Stephanie grew up on Fort Myers Beach and calls downtown Fort Myers home, where she works as a freelance writer.

Terry Tincher is an art

dealer and representative, actor, husband and grandfather. Originally from Hamilton, Ohio, Terry lives in historic downtown Fort Myers and is the general manager at Seed & Bean Market.

Annette Trossbach is

the founder and artistic director of The Laboratory Theater of Florida. She was born and raised in Germany and now resides in Fort Myers with her family.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 33

h

v


| COVER STORY |

Terry Tincher, Stephanie Davis, Liz Abbott, Annette Trossbach, Lydia Antunes Black,Cantrella Canady

Diversity, inclusion and opportunity for growth LA: I’ve started to really become familiar with how old our audiences are. We don’t have a lot of young people in our audiences… You still have to please them [older audiences] and open their eyes without making them feel wronged. I know for that era, they want to feel included as well when something is new, but we also want to spark and do good things that are new. CC: The millennials have the highest buying dollar right now. They do the traveling, they support the arts. We have families; we are 30 years old. But what I’m seeing is some theaters are not using the resources to appeal to both the older audiences and the millennials. There are some theaters locally that don’t utilize social media…you need to use those different tools to bring people in. SD: Another thing we see with our audiences is we are seeing diversity on stage, but we are not seeing diversity in our audiences. And that’s really tough, and I’m not sure what to do about that. I remember at Florida Rep in 1999 we did “Having Our Say.” It’s a beautiful play. It’s two African American actresses on stage talking about their lives, and it’s based on a true story. I was down at the Dunbar Easter Parade handing out flyers 34 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

— we didn’t have social media then. On opening night we had a wonderfully diverse audience. And the idea was that the word would spread, and unfortunately, it didn’t happen… That is one thing we all have to work on — how do we market our arts? Fort Myers is still so segregated. It’s frustrating.

but were able to follow even if English wasn’t their first language. And for the English-speaking people, they were able to hear the language and see the translation at the same time. But it was, as you said, going out specifically into the community, which groups am I going to talk to, developing those relationships.

LAB: I don’t think it’s about marketing. I think it’s about being intentional about relationships… How do we open access to the arts and be intentional about relationships with people? At the Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, we have been intentional for the last two years to ensure that, if a kid is in the audience, and they look on stage, they have a role model that looks like them.

LAB: And continuing those relationships once the show is over.

AT: We did “Anna in the Tropics,” which is a Pulitzer-prize winning play about a multigenerational Hispanic family living in Ybor City outside of Tampa last year around this time, and we partnered with the Hispanic chamber to some extent but especially The Heights Foundation. The people at The Heights Foundation were incredible and brought in quite a few people… We projected over the stage, on the proscenium arch, everything that was presented in English in Spanish, and everything that was presented in Spanish in English. People were not only seeing their story told

AT: Or for the LGBT community. The shows that we do, handing out the flyers, going to the clubs… LAB: There are some cool statistics. We’ve seen 33% more diversification in our audience last season. We saw 42% of our actors were people of color, that 50% of the playwrights were female. There is a visually impaired community out there. How do we make sure that our productions have the touch tour access or audio description? What I love about the theater scene right now is we are committed to access. Sadly I think we are way behind the game and we are all trying to push in and move it forward. Theaters all over the country have been providing for audio and visually impaired folk for decades and we are just picking up on it. I love that about the theater and I love that we are looking at it for music and visual arts and dance. It’s all about access and being intentional about access.


| COVER STORY |

The necessity of the arts LAB: We can all love the arts and find it entertaining, but we need our Southwest Florida community and Lee County to see the arts as economic drivers and recognize that we have the ability to drive the arts as cultural tourism to increase our workforce. I think one thing our arts community has been receptive to over the last seven years is being part of data gathering and being better at saying hey, these are not just the qualitative ways that we do things, here are the quantitative ways that the arts make a difference. We can all talk about those social aspects, but the quantitative is so important. What is the economic impact? How much comes back into state and local coffers? And I think that the arts community here has done an amazing job despite being significantly underfunded in arts and culture from education through all of the arts, through all of the communities.

Terry Tincher

LA: It’s shocking to me that we don’t get bed tax dollars here. I’m blown away by that. St. Petersburg just gave all this money, just recently millions of dollars, to the [Salvador] Dalí Museum, because they know that people that come there go to that museum. LAB: And stay at hotels and go to restaurants.

Cantrella Canady

AT: You look at all of these successful governments and eras in history and the reason that we study them is because the governments understood that, in order to have a thriving culture, you had to invest in open conversation, intellectual thought and creativity. That’s why we study the ancient Greeks. LAB: And we can disagree, and still have a kind, considerate conversation and still agree to like each other in the end. And I think the arts are helping facilitate that, because I think we’ve lost that capacity. I don’t think that’s blaming local, state or national government — it’s how do our arts advocates do a better job at getting a seat at the table when it counts. And it means that we have to elect people that are engaging and care. AT: It’s not a government blame. It’s a whole culture of thought that has to be changed. CC: It boils down to the community seeing that the arts are needed. They aren’t going to support what they don’t see as necessary. That’s why real estate is booming — everyone needs a place to live. Restaurants are thriving because everyone needs a place to eat. But they don’t see that they need the arts. So what do we do? It’s a conversation that we feel and know is necessary, but do they? The arts are something necessary for my

...Restaurants are thriving because everyone needs a place to eat. But they don’t see that they need the arts. So what do we do? It’s a conversation that we feel and know is necessary, but do they?” — CANTRELLA CANADY GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 35


| COVER STORY |

child to grow up in their own skin and feel comfortable with who they are; art is necessary for me with work all week and I can just sit in this theater for two hours and forget all that and be enthroned and involved in someone else’s story. AT: Do you think that people forget that, without the arts and cultural investment, there wouldn’t be the radio for them to listen to at home? Or the creative writing, the magazines, the stories they are reading? LAB: Architecture, fashion design — AT: Not just music, TV, TV shows — are people not making those connections? LA: I don’t think they are making those connections. AT: What do we do then? As Lydia said, pointing out the numbers and showing what an economic driver the arts are in Southwest Florida doesn’t seem to be helping. So what do we do then to make that really clear? Do we take out billboards? Do we ask people to imagine life without the arts? Without music? Imagine life without television? Without fashion? TT: I think Lydia said it best. Honestly, we have to elect politicians that have a broader view of what makes society work, what makes a community work. AT: But who are the people doing the electing? I think we have to win them over first. TT: Damn, I hope it’s us, Annette. It seems crazy, but the reality is that you can make all of the proposals and all of the impact that you can, but without someone recognizing it as a valuable piece of the puzzle, then it’s a waste. AT: Are there people electable now that have a vested interest in the arts? SD: I think there are, they just aren’t getting elected. Not to get too political here, but this is a very red county and baseball is important, we get it. But baseball

only happens for a few months during season. Art and theater is happening all year long. That’s why I’m very passionate about getting young people involved. This may not happen in our lifetime. You guys have your summer camp; Florida Rep has camp for little ones, and now the teen conservatory, which is remarkable. I’m convinced that, if I had something like that growing up here, I’d be a different person.

Stephanie Davis

AT: There are a few small initiatives we’ve done here [at Lab Theater]. We received a grant from the city to start an arts internship with Dunbar Middle and High schools and we started that about a year and a half ago. Every other show we have these 11- to 15-year-olds come in and work backstage. Another thing we did was we applied for a grant from the LGBT Fund through the community foundation and, one performance per run, we invite LGBTQ kids to come in and have pizza. They meet the cast and crew. We have a counselor on site for all of those meetings and talk about the themes of the show and they see the show for free… It’s not just an arts experience. It’s seeing that they can be included in this and see themselves on stage and connect with adults who are like them and be welcomed into this community. TT: Stephanie, you just said something that I too have said two or three times in the last week: “This is something that may not happen in our lifetime.” It’s very sad, seriously. There are so many things that we’ve lived through that were on the road to serious recovery. The things that we fought for — not only civil rights but LGBT rights… We cannot stop being the voice, we cannot stop moving forward. AT: That is our job, to point these things out through the arts. LA: The way to get people to understand is to relate. People want to shed the day, they want to be entertained. If you can also get a life lesson in there somewhere and talk about something that raises awareness, I think that is the goal. Annette Trossbach, Lydia Antunes Black, Cantrella Canady

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The Pinnacle model at WildBlue by Pulte Homes.

Pulte welcomes first residents to WildBlue

WildBlue is already taking shape as a community with the arrival of its first residents. Pulte has completed its first homes for residents who have now moved in. In addition, Stock, Lennar and WCI all have homes for their customers underway at WildBlue, which was only released for sale a few months ago. “It is exciting to see residents move into this one-of-a-kind community,” said Darin McMurray, Southwest Florida Division President for Lennar. “There is so much excitement about WildBlue. Early sales have been phenomenal.” WildBlue is a spectacular 3,500-acre community nestled between Naples and Fort Myers in Estero. Featuring over 800 acres of freshwater lakes, and inspired single-family residences, it is being developed by Lennar with Stock, WCI and Pulte Homes as builder partners. Stock Development and WCI Communities are putting the finishing touches on new beautifully furnished models at WildBlue, while Pulte and Lennar have models open in the community. At WildBlue, the four builders are all having sales success and have already signed 85 new home sales contracts in WildBlue since its spring release.

38 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

WCI offers Estate homes that all surround the main 560-acre WildBlue Lake starting in the $500s. Homes range from 2,800 to nearly 3,800 square feet of living area and between three to four bedrooms. WCI home designs offer all sorts of entertainment throughout these models, full of lofts, dens and bonus rooms, and large open living areas. WCI will be opening The Iris and Baneberry models soon. Stock’s 148 lots are situated on WildBlue Lake and will offer breathtaking views from nine floorplans ranging from 2,500 square feet to over 3,400 square feet on 85’ lots. On the breath-taking Peninsula, Stock Signature Homes and Stock Custom Homes are offering a variety of award-winning floorplans and custom homes designs on 102’ and 140’ lots. Stock’s homes are priced from the $600s to more than $4 million. Pulte Homes has furnished models open. Seamlessly blending living and dining space in 1,600 to more than 4,000 square feet, Pulte’s one- and two-story single-family homes offer plans to suit families of all sizes and empty nesters alike, with flex spaces, media room lofts, and chef ’s kitchens designed for convenience. Pulte’s WildBlue homes

start from the $400,000s to more than $1 million. Lennar has furnished models open at Vista, an enclave within WildBlue of over 400 Executive, Manor and Estate homes starting in the $400s. Vista offers over 15 floorplans to choose from ranging from two to five bedrooms and between 1,800 to 3,800 square feet of living space. All the homes surround the 225-acre Vista Lake which offer all the same activities as WildBlue Lake, and Vista residents will also have full access to all the amenities WildBlue has to offer. WildBlue’s extraordinary Amenity Campus has been designed by the renowned architect David Humphrey, the Founder and President of Humphrey Rosal Architects. The amenities are located on a spectacular peninsular site that offers expansive views of WildBlue’s largest lake. A key component of the Amenities Campus is the Sports Center. This facility features more than 8,500 square foot under air with a large exercise room and state-of-the-art equipment. Please visit us to see Southwest Florida’s most exciting new community! For more information visit www.wildbluefl.com.


GRANDOPENING!

14 Models by Four Prestigious Builders NOW OPEN! Join us at WildBlue for the Grand Opening of 14 Models by four prestigious builders, a spectacular 3,500-acre community located in Estero, nestled between Naples and Fort Myers. With beautifully designed single-family residences situated around 800+ acres of freshwater lakes, WildBlue sets you free to take it all in— from sports and outdoor exploration, to a relaxed, resort-inspired lifestyle.

Come discover luxury lakefront living. For more information, go to WildBlueFL.com 17001 WildBlue Blvd | Fort Myers, FL 33913 | 888-295-1646 Take I-75 to Corkscrew Rd (Exit 123). Go east approximately 2.5 Miles. Community is on the left. from the $400s to over $4 million. BROKER PARTICIPATION WELCOMED. ORAL REPRESENTATIONS CANNOT BE RELIED UPON AS CORRECTLY STATING THE REPRESENTATIONS OF THE DEVELOPER. FOR CORRECT REPRESENTATIONS REFERENCE SHOULD BE MADE TO THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED BY SECTION 718.503, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO BE FURNISHED BY A DEVELOPER TO A BUYER OR LESSEE. NOT AN OFFERING WHERE PROHIBITED BY STATE LAW. PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.


Talis Park’s award-winning Vyne House clubhouse

“New Fashioned” Living at Talis Park Within the luxury, master-planned community of Talis Park, homebuyers seeking a “new-fashioned” approach to Naples living discover a curated selection of distinctive homes and an array of amenities that perfectly complement a modern-minded lifestyle. A Dream Home in Firenze An exclusive gated neighborhood of 13 grand estate homes within Talis Park, Firenze offers a homebuyer the final developer-owned lake- and golf course view-homesite, along with the opportunity to select their preferred builder to build their dream home. Positioned on a premium cul-de-sac location, 16602 Firenze Way includes a golf membership valued at $97,500 that affords year-round access to Talis Park’s Greg Norman and Pete Dye-designed golf course and the community’s state-of-the-art practice facility. Two additional homesites are also available from Harborside Custom Homes at 16603 Firenze Way and Gulfshore Homes at 16618 Firenze Way. Isola Bella, Talis Park’s Beautiful Island In Italy, Isola Bella means “beautiful island.” In Talis Park, it translates into a limited opportunity to select from 17 exceptional water and golf course view homesites in its newest, and final, neighborhood of single-family homes developed and built by Seagate Development Group, one of Southwest Florida’s leading full-service residential development and construction companies. The 4.5-acre enclave offers homesites to accommodate custom estate residences from 3,500 to more than 6,000 square feet. Since every Isola Bella homesite is unique, homebuyers may choose from a selection of five stunning floor plans or custom design one that suits their personal needs and style.

Single Family Style in Watercourse Homebuyers can select from two move-in-ready homes in one of the community’s most picturesque waterfront neighborhoods and take advantage of special final opportunity pricing in Watercourse. Built by Artisan Associates, Inc, the exclusive builder for Distinctive Communities, Watercourse is an intimate neighborhood of 29 lakefront single-family residences – and Talis Park’s only single-family neighborhood with exterior maintenance provided. Watercourse offers expansive, open floor plans with an abundance of natural light and a seamless transition from luxury interiors to tranquil outdoor living spaces with pools, spas and water views. A pair of Berolina floor plan homes, both offering 2,979-square-feet of living space, capture the spirit of Watercourse style by

40 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

showcasing views of the outdoor living area, pool and Lake Il Corso. A Fresh Take in Corisca and Viansa Talis Park also offers an expanded collection of newly constructed resortstyle Coach Homes, Terrace Homes and Penthouse Homes that blend the ease of open, spacious home designs coupled with breezy outdoor living spaces. In Corisca, FrontDoor Communities offers a fresh take on Coach Home living with thoughtfully-designed fairway, water, and garden view residences of 2,550 or 3,400 square feet that feel like a single-family home. Corsica welcomes homebuyers to their choice of three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath open concept floor plans designed specifically to maximize natural light in both the main living area and owner’s suite. An enclosed screened lanai spans the entire 53-foot width of the home, creating the ideal outdoor oasis. And now, for a limited time, Corsica homebuyers can enjoy a free summer kitchen to enhance their outdoor living experience. WCI, a Lennar Company, presents Viansa neighborhood. Terrace Homes offer 2,350 square feet of living area with nature preserve views, while Penthouse Homes feature more than 2,900 square feet of living area with wraparound loggias overlooking Talis Park’s legendary golf course. Both homes offer three bedrooms, a den and three-and-a-half bathrooms and feature modern designs and finishes and upscale appliances and fixtures, without compromise or additional cost, as part of Lennar’s “Everything’s Included” program. Reinventing The Club Lifestyle Talis Park has reinvented the club lifestyle with a relaxed, everyday elegance at the Vyne House, which offers formal and casual indoor and alfresco dining, fitness studios and spa, and a fully-stocked wine room. The community’s resort-style pool features a bar and deck overlooking the 18th green of the Greg Norman/Pete Dye designed golf course, while Casa Cortese, Talis Park’s sports pub located on the driving range, offers dining, billiards, shuffleboard, darts, a Trackman golf simulator and televisions in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. And when the beach beckons, residents hop on The Beach Runner, Talis Park’s exclusive complimentary Mercedes-Benz Sprinter beach shuttle. A full offering of move-in ready and to-be-built opportunities awaits future Talis Park residents. Homes start from the high $600,000s to $10 million. The Talis Park Garden House Information and Sales Center is at 16980 Livingston Rd.; models are open daily. Visit www.talispark.com for additional information.


NEW FASHIONED BUZZ at TalisPark

ISOLA BELLA

CORSICA

VIANSA

BY SEAGATE DEVELOPMENT GROUP

BY FRONTDOOR COMMUNITIES

BY WCI, A LENNAR COMPANY

Water and golf view homesites from $2.5 million

Coach homes with golf, water and park views from the $700s

Penthouse and Terrace residences from the $600s

MODELS OPEN DAILY

Garden House Information & Sales Center • 16980 Livingston Road 239-449-5900 • TalisPark.com A KITSON & PARTNERS COMMUNITY Broker participation welcomed. Prices, plans and specifications subject to change without notice. Oral Representation Cannot Be Relied Upon As Correctly Stating The Representations Of The Developer. For Correct Representations Reference Should Be Made To The Documents Required By Section 718.503, Florida Statutes, To Be Furnished By A Developer To A Buyer Or Lessee. Not An Offering Where Prohibited By State Law. Photography In This Ad May Be Stock Photography Used To Depict The Lifestyle To Be Achieved Rather Any That May Exist.

TP_GrandeurNeighborhoodsFullPg_Sept2019.indd 1

8/30/19 12:40 PM


| STYLE |

LIA

MARTINO An international model and artist, Lia, of Naples, holds a close connection between art and fashion. Here, she shares her insights and must-haves. — INTERVIEWED BY ANNE REED WHO IS SHE: “I am a painter, a clothing designer, I’m an international model, I’m a corporate, high-end worldrenowned artist. I also design jewelry. It’s so hard to pinpoint me. I do everything, but my No. 1 job is being a mom.”

A painting by Lia. HER FASHION INSPIRATIONS:

“I am inspired by everything. Because I model, I’ll model for any designer, and I’ll paint. I’ve always had my own kind of groove. I think also that is why people like me still at my age modeling. I’m very different, I’m very real. I’ve always just kind of done my own thing. Working for Armani, Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld — I love to take their clothes and rip them up and manipulate them and make them Lia-style.” HER FASHION TIP: “Let your clothes be your statement. But don’t look like you’re trying. When women try too much is when they lose their natural beauty. The most beautiful thing about a woman is her imperfections.”

3

“I love

beautiful, one-of-a-kind hand-painted scarves. I work with Turk & Turk and she just started her own scarf line. They are like pieces of art and I get dressed in them every day and I’m wearing art.” TURK & TURK TT GARDEN OF THE NILE LIMITED EDITION SCARF

42 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| STYLE |

5 Lia’s

FASHION

ESSENTIALS

A substantial piece of jewelry, just to make a statement. 1

PEARLMASTER 39 ROLEX WATCH

2

Hermes slides and an Hermes belt 4

ROYAL BELT BUCKLE WITH REVERSIBLE LEATHER STRAP

5

JEAN CUT-OFFS

“I design jeans, and I also design jean cut-offs. I take designer jeans like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci. I turn them into cut-offs and put every designer you could possibly imagine together, and I cannot keep up with my orders. They are all one-of-a-kind; they are all custom done.”

“They are all leather. They

come in a bunch of colors. They look like a golf shoe. But they are super cool.” LITFOOT SNEAKERS

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 43


| WINE & SPIRITS |

STORY BY GINA BIRCH | PHOTO BY JAMIE STODDARD

SIPS FOR THE SEASON This month’s selection guides you effortlessly from summer to fall. oing into fall you might want to put away the whites —talking wine not shoes. However, it’s still hot enough for them. In fact, as I write this, I’m sipping a beautiful Swanson pinot grigio ($21). It has good structure, bright fruit and goes down way too easy. I’ve visited this lovely Napa winery on several occasions, including once with Dinah Leach, wine director and sommelier at Angelina’s Ristorante in Bonita Springs. She joins me this month in not only offering a few of her favorite wines for the season, but also a beloved cocktail that she brought back from her travels to Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy.

COCKTAIL PICK Angelina’s featured cocktail originates from the sommelier of Piazza Duomo, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Italy. Dinah loved it so much when she visited that she asked for permission to put it on Angelina’s drink list when she returned to Southwest Florida. He said “yes,” and Dinah named the drink “Vittorio” in honor of him. She laughs and adds, “Only to find out six months later that his first name was actually Vincenzo. The horror! The drink was so popular at Angelina’s, that I couldn’t change the name at that point.”

RECIPE: 1 part Moscato d’Asti • 1 part soda water • Fresh sage • Lemon peel DINAH’S RECOMMENDATIONS:

I suggest using Elio Perrone Sourgal Moscato d’Asti from Italy. It’s lightly fizzy and sweet. In fact, it’s probably the best moscato I’ve ever had, and the best part is, it’s not expensive. I would also recommend buying the best soda water that you can get. Your cocktail is only

as good as your ingredients. I like to use a brandy snifter for the cocktail, as you can really see the pretty colors of the sage leaves and lemon peel. You could also use a large wine glass or even a highball glass. At the restaurant, we use a potato peeler for the lemon, as it cuts a much wider

strip and is prettier in the glass. All the ingredients are poured over ice and stirred gently. This cocktail is perfect for Florida: light, refreshing. In addition you can have more than one because the alcohol in the moscato is around 5%, that’s less than a lot of beers on the market.

Find a video of Dinah and Gina making the Vittorio online at grandeurmagazine.com. 44 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


GINA’S WINE PICKS

DINAH’S WINE PICKS

| WINE & SPIRITS | Pievalta Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Italy ($20) • This wine

is just spectacular! The nose has pretty floral notes along with pear and apple. The palate is dry, crisp with a slight creaminess and a slight spritz. The pear and green apple remain, but I also found it to taste of golden raisins. It has an herbal/grassy character that is not as “in-your-face” as sauvignon blanc along with nice minerality. It would pair great with a Low-Country Boil, salads, shrimp, lobster and clams and even pork or chicken.

Blindfold 2017 ($32) • Another urge I had to resist when writing this column was stacking it with wines suitable for Halloween. There are a lot of fun labels and names fit for the seasonal celebration, but I recently tried the latest vintage of Blindfold, and it’s got a lot going on. It also has a lot in it: chardonnay, roussanne, viognier, chenin blanc, (inhale) muscat, and vermentino (exhale.) It’s aromatic and the mouthfeel is big. Juicy with citrus notes on the mid palate, the finish is long with butterscotch and spice. It makes you think as you drink.

Tasca d’Almerita Tenuta Regaleali “Lamurì” Nero d’Avola, Sicily ($25) • That’s a

long name for a wine. Tasca d’Almerita is the name of the producer. “Lamurì” means “love” in the Sicilian dialect. Nero d’Avola is the grape variety. This wine smells of black cherries, evergreen and even coffee/coffee beans. On the palate it’s dry, has juicy black fruits, licorice and black pepper. It’s very complex, especially for the price. As we head into fall, we start to think about drinking red wines again, and this could not be a better wine to start with. Good with salmon and pork, but probably the best was when I had it with fried squash blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy.

Grgich Hills Estate Merlot, 2015 ($43) • October is National Merlot Month, and it even has a hashtag: #merlotme. While I’m resisting the urge to only suggest merlots here, I would be negligent not to include at least one. From Grgich Hills in Napa, this one is often called a “cab drinker’s merlot,” because it’s so full-bodied and rich. It has these wonderful hints of coffee and cherry, along with balanced acidity making it a perfect accompaniment for foods such as duck or juicy tenderloin. Nothing is blended in; the wine is 100% merlot and an excellent example of how amazing this grape can be.

Etude Chardonnay, Grace Benoist Ranch, Napa Valley ($32) • This wine

definitely makes you think of f all with its fuller body and notes of vanilla, cinnamon, butter and golden apples. This chardonnay sees oak, with all its attendant flavors, but it’s made in a very restrained way. Sometimes too much oak can overwhelm food pairings, but this wine has no such issues. Fantastic pairings include Thanksgiving dinner — and I mean all of it. I can’t think of one thing on the table that would not be complemented by this wine. Also try with lobster in butter, mushroom risotto or roasted pork loin with applesauce.

Eberle Cotes-duRobles, 2017 ($34) • I’m a sucker for Rhone blends from France. Eberle Winery in Paso Robles does France Californiastyle with this red blend of predominantly grenache and syrah. It’s a good transitional wine for the fall season. While it has lots of dark fruit and spice, it’s more elegant and soft than thick and muscular. I also love the sister wine Cotes-duRobles Blanc ($26.) It’s mostly grenache blanc, blended with roussanne and viognier, and wow is it aromatic and fresh, dry yet juicy with flavors of apricots and pears. Both wines are delicious with cheese. (Wine prices may vary.)

Gina Birch

Gina Birch is the wine columnist for The NewsPress in Fort Myers. Follow her social media here: Twitter: @ginabirch Facebook: GinaBirch

Dinah Leach

Guest columnist, wine director and sommelier at Angelina’s Ristorante in Bonita Springs GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 45


| PETS |

STORY BY ANDREA STETSON | PHOTOS BY ANDREW WEST

MERCATO FASHIONISTA Olive steals the show wherever she goes.

live is a fashion model. She prances down the street wearing a red dress. In August she attended a champagne puppy picnic in a gold and white striped party dress. She has been a maid of honor in a white gown with pink roses and a best man wearing a little tuxedo. Photos of her in an array of outfits appear on Instagram where she has 172 followers. Her photogenic appearance was one of the reasons she won a contest to become the Pet of Mercato in Naples. “We just saw the poster about it and thought maybe Olive would do it,” says her owner Olga DeCaprio. “She is so well-behaved, and she is very photogenic. She is always smiling. She is the sweetest dog ever.” Valerie Cope, senior marketing director for Mercato, says Olive was the perfect pet to win the Pets of Mercato contest earlier this year. Contestants had to post photos on Instagram of their pet anywhere on the Mercato property. Then Valerie and her colleagues chose the winner. “Olive’s photos were so adorable,” Valerie says. “She probably visited seven venues at Mercato and had a different outfit for every picture.” Valerie says the winner was also chosen for the creativity and execution of the photos.

46 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| PETS |

“It was just so cute,” she says. “Olive was in the movie theater, at some of the restaurants and on the lawn. She is just adorable. She comes to a lot of our events. She perfectly fits in with everything that we do.” Olive gets invited to all the events at the upscale shopping area. She also won a Fourth of July contest and came in second in a Paws 4 Kids fundraiser at Mercato. Olga’s husband, Ryan, got the Brussels Griffonpug mix in Connecticut eight years ago. When Ryan married Olga, they had one ceremony in Bali and another locally, so Olga could be both maid of honor and best man. Not every day is for dress up. Olive spends most days going to work with Olga at Pure Barre Naples, a fitness studio. “The clients love her,” Olga says. “She is super nice and super friendly. We have the workout room she is not allowed to go in, and she will never cross that line. She stays only on the wood area, and she greets the clients. They all want to take pictures with her.” Clients and her Instagram followers also love seeing her outfits. Olga says she spends about $100 a month on special dog clothing. Olive has swimsuits, pajamas and bows, a leather jacket and a denim jacket. She owns a raincoat. She has dresses and costumes for most holidays. Last year she was Wonder Woman for Hal-

loween. She has also dressed up as a piñata. She was an elf for Christmas. Birthdays are big for Olive, who was born on December 4. One year a friend made a special dog cake. She celebrated one year eating tacos at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. Last year she had steak and ice cream at The Bay House. Olive loves treats. Whenever they journey to Mercato, Olive and Olga stop at Sweetberry for a doggie bowl special that includes banana, peanut butter and whipped cream. Olive then hops up on a chair and licks her treat leaving little globs of whipped cream on her upper lip and splotches of peanut butter on her furry chin. But Olive is also a healthy eater. “She loves blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, berries and yogurt,” Olga explains. Olga says Olive loves to travel. She’s been to Connecticut, Miami, Key West, San Antonio, California and Maine. At home Olive is part of the family. “She likes to be around us,” Olga says. “When we are folding laundry, she is on the bed and she thinks she is folding laundry. She is in the kitchen when we are cooking. She sleeps under the bed and then she comes and sleeps in our bed.” Since Olga and Ryan are Tennessee Titans fans, so is Olive. “She is just the sweetest dog,” Olga says. GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 47


| RIDE |

STORY AND PHOTOS BY LANCE SHEARER

‘HOUSE OF

’ CARS Bill Young keeps his collection close at hand.

48 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

ost houses don’t come with a 16-car garage. So Bill Young had to build it for himself. Actually, he built it not for him, but for his cars. Bill and his wife, Karen, already had a home, a waterfront estate people on Marco Island still call “the Alan Jackson house,” after the country music star who was the previous owner. But the Youngs needed more room to house Bill’s collection of fabulous collectible cars, and he wanted to keep them nearby. In the upscale residential neighborhood, putting up a commercial facility was out of the question, so Bill disguised his garage as a house. It really is a house, with three bedrooms and three baths, great for overflow guests, but the point of the exercise is the ground floor. Driving by, it looks like just another nice home, but behind its two overhead doors, the garage holds 16 cars, plus six classic motorcycles, a wet bar, an automotive lift and a shop area, plus an elevator to the upstairs rooms. Just down the street from his primary residence, the “house of cars” is a one-minute commute by golf cart for Bill. It is a commute he makes often, as he regularly drives almost all the cars inside. “These cars need to be exercised,” he said. “I come down here with the golf cart and decide what I haven’t driven in three or four weeks.”


| RIDE |

Bill and Karen Young have lived full time on Marco Island ever since he retired as a car dealer. The car business was in his family, and in his blood, and collecting, buying, and selling cars just comes to him naturally, Bill says. “I’m just going back to what I did all my life, since I was 7 or 8 years old,” he says. “We lived in Indianapolis, and I’ve been going to the Indy 500 since I was 6 years old. My father was a Chevrolet dealer, and as my brother and I finished school,” they followed him into the business. “My first car was a ’67 Camaro convertible, a demonstrator on our lot, when I was 16. Eventually, we had 13 dealerships and 21 franchises — GM, Honda, Toyota, BMW, a little bit of everything.” That “little bit of everything” could describe Bill’s collection today, if you add a few zeroes and a European flair to many of the nameplates. On his “showroom floor,” the autos include three Ferraris and three Corvette convertibles (’57, ’58 and ’67), a 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S, a 1956 Austin-Healey 100 M, a 2013 Aston-Martin DB-9 Volante, and a hybrid ’30s Ford hotrod. Bill has a 1967 Jaguar XKE, an extremely rare Spyker C-8 Spyder roadster — you can’t call it a convertible, because when it was built in 2010, the Dutch manufacturer didn’t offer a top at all — a 2012 Mercedes SLS AMG, and a 2016 BMW i8, his first foray into electric, dual-power cars. Each of the vehicles is kept in meticulous condition, with some of the work performed by Bill Young himself. “On the older cars, I can work on them, but on the newer ones, you’re kidding yourself if you try. They’re all computerized, and you wind up buying a lot of parts you don’t need.” A professional detailer, Frank Fidelibus, spends at least one day a week with the cars, keeping them gleaming.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 49


| RIDE |

One of the cars Bill doesn’t drive regularly harkens back to his “Brickyard” roots. The 1963 Indy A.J. Watson Offenhauser roadster was raced in the Indianapolis 500 by Roger Ward, who won the race the previous year — in 1962 and 1959. The Indy car is not street-legal, so Bill can’t tool around Southwest Florida in it, but he did ship it to Indianapolis for a commemorative event and drove around the oval “at about 100 mph as an average. Remember, Indy cars only went 150 mph in the early ’60s. Now, it’s about 225.” The suit and helmet he wore, with “Bill Young” stitched on the breast, stand next to the car on a mannequin, which looks like a very young Bill Young. He calls the Indy car a “static display piece,” as opposed to the ones he regularly drives. He categorizes his 1958 Corvette that way as well, and since he found he wasn’t driving it, it sits up on the lift, not readily accessible for a spin. Most of his six classic motorcycles, bearing the names Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Norton and Ducati, are also static displays, kept in new “museum” condition, without even any oil in the engines. Young, whose name and family may be familiar to anyone who bought cars in the Indianapolis area before the turn of the century, had the chance to retire early when national groups including Penske and AutoNation went on a buying spree for auto dealerships. They acquired the Young network of 50 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

dealerships, although Bill still owns the land and the buildings. He stayed on three years as part of the agreement, and then settled down on Marco Island. While collections of cars are not in everyone’s budget, Bill says that, in the long run, they largely pay for themselves. “The cars sit here and gain value,” he says, “so it’s really not expensive.” Part of the reason for that appreciation is the meticulous dealer’s eye Young brings to his acquisitions, and buying the rare, the exotic, the “best of the best,” as well as the cars that just catch his fancy. His Ferraris include a 1999 355 Spider, a 2005 Superamerica, and a 2007 599 GTB. The Superamerica, he says, is the most valuable car he has, at about $500,000 — “but that’s over twice what I paid for it.” Bill’s oldest car is from the 1930s — or the ’40s, depending whether you are looking at the front end or the back. The hybrid is a mating of a ’32 Ford hotrod with a 1940 Studebaker body. Gleaming gold, the engine compartment appears clean enough to eat off. Like most car guys, Bill is endlessly knowledgeable about his cars, and loves to talk about them. One topic is finishes. The custom silver paint job on his Mercedes SLS, he says, was “a $12,700 option — but I didn’t pay that,” buying the car pre-owned. The one-off silver-blue finish on his 2007 Ferrari —

“the only one I bought new” — he got thrown in at no charge. “They don’t do that anymore.” Bill served for eight years as treasurer of the Naples chapter of the Ferrari Club of America, and often shows his cars locally. But automobiles aren’t his only passion. Along with Karen, Bill is heavily involved in local causes, including the YMCA, the American Cancer Society and Marco Island Academy, the local charter high school, which was able to purchase the property its campus sits on thanks to a $2 million loan from the Youngs, which they then converted into an outright gift. Karen has the newest car, a 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC AMG 4.3 SUV, and gets to drive “some, not all,” of Bill’s more exotic wheels. Her Mercedes lives in the “other” garage, at their own home, along with the 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur that is Bill’s everyday ride, and their latest acquisition, a 2008 Saturn Sky roadster. With all the different vehicles in his stable, remembering how each works can be a challenge. “Exotic cars have exotic controls, and yes, they’re all different.” And Bill doesn’t ask for sympathy for the mental stress of remembering which car he left his phone charger or his sunglasses in. “When you always switch from car to car, you get used to taking it with you,” he says.


WELLNESS DIRECTORY

Millennium Physicians Group A doctor’s breast cancer journey

Hoglund Family Hearing and Audiology Center Assessing the newest Tinnitus treatment and options

Elmquist Eye Group Relief for Glaucoma patients

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 51


Millennium Physician Group’s Dr. Dana Planer’s breast cancer journey In an instant, a phone call can change your life. That’s exactly what happened to Millennium Physician Group’s Dr. Dana Planer. Over the phone, all she heard was, “We are 99.9% sure you have breast cancer.” “No one is prepared to hear that. Being a physician, I deliver tough diagnoses to patients all the time, but as a patient you are never prepared to hear those words,” says Dr. Planer, an internist in Port Charlotte who has been treating patients for nearly 20 years. Her diagnosis came after her annual mammogram, a test many women try to push off. “I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family. And it is such a misconception that having a family member with breast cancer is the only risk factor. All women are at risk for breast cancer.” “Birth control or any type of hormone therapy does increase your risk for breast cancer. We are seeing this in more and more studies. I can’t stress enough family history is not the only concern. It happened to me,” says Dr. Planer.

Additional risk factors include: •Smoking •Excessive alcohol consumption •Hormone therapy of any type, including birth control and hormone replacement therapy •Reproductive history: never having had children, or having had your first pregnancy after the age of 35; additionally, having started menstruation early or menopause later, exposes women to hormones longer •Being over the age of 50 •Being overweight or obese after menopause •Having dense breasts •Family history of breast cancer, especially on the father’s side •Inherited genetic mutations, such as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene 52 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

Dr. Dana Planer, D.O. Dr. Planer recommends all women begin yearly screenings at the age of 40 – don’t put it off – and work with their primary care physician to come up with a schedule for screenings that fits their risk factors and needs. “My diagnosis came from a 3-D mammogram at Millennium’s Women’s Center in Port Charlotte. Because of my history of dense breast tissue, this was the recommended test for me and what signaled something was wrong to the radiologist.” Nearly 90 percent of the mammograms performed at Millennium’s Women’s Centers across Southwest Florida are what’s known as breast tomosynthesis, sometimes called digital breast tomosynthesis or (DBT). This advanced screening tool blends low-dose x-ray with digital computer reconstructions to produce 3-D images of the breasts. The sensitivity of this test can detect breast cancer in the earliest of forms and provides the best outcome for patients, as it did for Dr. Planer. “The whole process from mammogram to biopsy to final diagnosis took about a week for me in 2015, and it was absolutely brutal waiting for the biopsy results to come back. After my

diagnosis I began to plan my treatment with my cancer care team.” “I’m so thankful for the care team that was there for me during my treatment. The same doctors that I recommend to my patients are the same ones that cared for me. It’s so important for patients to know we have amazing cancer resources right in our community. You don’t need to travel elsewhere for your cancer treatment.” With treatment behind her, Dr. Planer has made an effort to care more for herself. “Before my diagnosis, I was a workaholic. I’ve made the point to take time for myself, which in the end, means I can take better care of my patients. Proper nutrition and exercise after treatment is also essential to help prevent reoccurrence. Studies show lower reoccurrence rates in patients who exercise, eat well, and have normal BMIs.” Research also shows 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. And Millennium Physician Group knows how scary a possible breast cancer diagnosis can be. That’s why Millennium’s Women’s Centers are dedicated sites, with highly skilled radiologists and staff whose only focus is on women who need their yearly mammograms. The team is always ready to serve and strives to create the most comfortable environment possible for patients. From diagnosis to cure, Dr. Planer’s cancer journey lasted about 18 months. But she says the journey is not over. “I don’t like to call myself a cancer survivor. I’m still very much a breast cancer patient. I still require yearly mammograms and daily medication to ensure the cancer does not come back. No one can truly understand what it’s like to have cancer until it happens to you, and it really can happen to anyone.”


Millennium

R

“Goes Pink”

Prevention. Detection. Cure. Millennium Physician Group is proud to “go pink” this October for all the moms, sisters, daughters, aunts, and grandmothers battling breast cancer. Don’t wait another day.

A mammogram can...

For Breast Cancer Awareness

This October, Millennium will once again “go pink” across Southwest Florida to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer. Early detection is key in fighting cancer! If you haven’t already, please talk with your physician about your cancer risks and schedule your mammogram today. And, this isn’t just for women. Men also need to consult with their doctor and share any family history of breast cancer. Mammograms save lives! Make sure you schedule one today. Millennium is proud to support all of our team members and patients who are breast cancer survivors or currently fighting this battle. We also remember and honor those who we have lost to this disease. This month we “go pink” across our company for you -- our courageous fighters. Sincerely, Dana Planer, D.O. Preventive Medicine & Women’s Health Advocate

Mammograms offered in Charlotte, Lee, & Collier Counties

Women’s Center Port Charlotte 19621 Cochran Blvd., Ste. 1 Port Charlotte, FL 33948

Women’s Center Naples 4330 Tamiami Trail E. Naples, FL 34112

Imaging Center Cape Coral 1528 Del Prado Blvd S.Cape Coral, FL 33990

Imaging Center Fort Myers 13813 Metro Pkwy. Fort Myers, FL 33912

Call: (855) 674-4624 To Book Your Mammogram Today!

www.MillenniumPhysician.com


A free Tinnitus assesment can help you understand newest treatment and options Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Common Tinnitus sounds reported are: ringing, humming, buzzing, and cricket-like. It can also be a combination of sounds, and for many, the sound of their tinnitus actually changes. Tinnitus is almost always accompanied by hearing loss. If you have tinnitus, you should have your hearing tested by a hearing health professional! Since tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious disorder, it is important to have an appropriate health evaluation, and Hoglund Family Hearing and Audiology Center offers these consultations completely FREE OF CHARGE and will send a copy of their report to your Primary Care Physician. Tinnitus can have a direct influence on: Thoughts and emotions, hearing, sleep and concentration. There is help available! Some people with tinnitus say that the sound of the tinnitus competes with or masks things they are trying to hear. Most people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, and it is not always easy to tell whether hearing difficulties are due to the hearing loss or to the tinnitus. It is clear that despite many advertising claims, no medication or herbal supplement has been shown in well-designed studies to cure tinnitus. Although there are no medications to treat the tinnitus, sometimes a medication can cause tinnitus, and stopping or changing that medication can eliminate the tinnitus. It can even be the interactions of taking two or more medications that

can be causing the tinnitus. Of course, you should check with whomever prescribed the medication(s) before stopping them. Many tinnitus sufferers report that when they are in their quiet bedroom, their tinnitus interferes with them getting to sleep. Sleep deprivation can dramatically increase stress… and stress can increase tinnitus, creating a nasty circle that negatively impacts the tinnitus sufferers’ quality of life! You can do something about it. Finding a good tinnitus care provider can greatly improve your quality of sleep! Counseling and sound therapy, including the use of hearing aids, can be very helpful to getting your Tinnitus under control! Please call (239)494-8651 to schedule a FREE Hearing Test and Complimentary Tinnitus consultation! Please bring a familiar voice for Speech Testing. A quieter world may be just a phone call away!

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LUNCH AND LEARN SEMINAR

ABOUT HEARING LOSS, TINNITUS AND HEARING AID TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENTS Tinnitus Expert Dr. Susan DeBondt, Au.D. will be showcasing the works of famed Tinnitus researcher Dr. Robert Sweetow, Clinical Research Professor in the Dept. of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (OHNS) at University of California San Francisco. Dr. Sweetow’s pioneering work in music therapy led to the creation of the Widex ZEN Tinnitus Treatment protocol that has helped tens of thousands of people suffering with Tinnitus. Dr. DeBondt has over 30 years of experience working with Tinnitus Patients in Ear, Nose and Throat clinics, Private Practice Audiology clinics and VA medical centers.

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Sarah Eccles-Brown, M.D. the associated costs and side effects of glaucoma drops.” As the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, the risk of glaucoma should be taken seriously. A regular comprehensive eye exam with dilation is the best way for a medical professional to detect signs of glaucoma and other slight changes in your vision. With more than 25 years in Southwest Florida, Elmquist Eye Group offers experienced doctors who are dedicated to patient care. Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist, Dr. Kate Wagner, Dr. Sarah Eccles-Brown and Dr. Nina Burt of Elmquist Eye Group are available to answer your questions. For more information, visit www.Elmquist. com, call 239-936-2020 or stop by an Optical Boutique location in Fort Myers or Cape Coral.

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A comprehensive eye exam can help detect early signs of glaucoma. GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 55


| GETAWAY |

STORY BY JENNIFER THOMAS

TRAVEL TO

THE LESSER KNOWN

PORTUGAL Portugal offers unmatched

scenery, coastal experiences and culture that make this European country a dream destination.

56 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| GETAWAY |

isitors to the European country of Portugal surround themselves with modernity coupled with contrasts of history. Its diversity in landscapes, attractions and culture offer travelers the “road less traveled” compared to other countries. From its port wine to regional handpainted pottery, to Fado music and the nata custard pastry, Portugal is known for many things — especially its dramatic scenery and water views. For water enthusiasts in Florida, Portugal is a dream destination. “The Vicentine Coast located in the southwestern part of the Alentejo region is Portugal’s most beautiful coastline, with over 50 miles of beaches under the cliffs,” says Visit Portugal spokesperson Gareth EdmondsonJones. “Here visitors can experience surfing and windsurfing. However, for freshwater activities, I recommend visiting the Great Lake in Alqueva, Europe’s biggest man-made lake. Kayaking, boating, standup paddle surf, wakeboard — all are popular.” The extensive Portuguese Atlantic coast is perfect for boating. “With calm waters for sailing, some areas are considered among the best regatta locations in the world, so they often host international events and races,” Gareth says. “In the depths of the sea, divers can discover a world of biodiversity, with fish of every color and even ancient treasures.” Portugal is an undiscovered country to most Americans. “They know the basics about most other major European nations,” Gareth says. “But a trip to Portugal is a journey to an

ancient and proud nation with a culture, language, past, style and arts all its own.” About the size of the state of Maine, Portugal is bordered by Spain and the Atlantic. “It has seven distinct regions, with diverse landscapes that range from high mountains to rolling plains,” Gareth says. “But the infrastructure is very good, with new highways, excellent rail network and urban public transportation. Getting around is easy, and you can choose the classic old roads or fat new highways.” Portugal is Europe’s oldest nation state in terms of its modern borders, Gareth says. Celts, Phoenicians, Romans and Moors all controlled parts of what is today Portugal. By the 1980s Portugal entered the European Union realizing a wave of economic growth. “In the 2000s Portugal became an emerging tourism destination, and in 2016 became the Travel + Leisure Destination of the Year,” he adds. Tanya Sheffield, a Fort Myers resident and independent travel consultant with Cruise Everything, ventured to Portugal with her family last year over the Thanksgiving holiday. She says they selected this destination because Miami offered a nonstop flight and her family was excited to experience the area’s culture and the food and wine. “We were most surprised by the wonderful diversity from Lisbon to coastal towns,” Tanya recalls. “Portugal offered a great variety of architecture, both new and old, throughout Lisbon and, of course, into the countryside where castles and palaces reflect the time period of construction and their owners’ tastes.”

“With calm waters for sailing, some areas are considered among the best regatta locations in the world, so they often host international events and races. In the depths of the sea, divers can discover a world of biodiversity, with fish of every color and even ancient treasures.” — GARETH EDMONDSON-JONES

Lisbon, Portugal skyline over the Alfama district.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 57


| GETAWAY |

During Tanya’s travels to a few areas in Portugal, including Lisbon, Cascais, Sintra and Sesimbra, she says the landscape varied from mountains, hills and more rugged regions in the north to plains and valleys in the south. Lisbon, an ancient city abundant with history, is a popular spot for tourists, including the Sheffield family. “The historic neighborhood hugs the hills along the river, with the ancient castle and cathedral rising above the Tejo. It is small for a European capital — but warm, well-lit and safe,” Gareth describes. “But you need to expect a few things: People are welcoming — and glad to have you there. The city is very hilly, and good shoes are a must. Public transportation is very good — with light rail, ferries, metro, trollies and buses. The riverfront is mostly 18th century — and has the feel of an imperial capital. The city has lots of great green spaces. The riverfront is very pedestrian friendly — and a great way to explore the city.” Tanya describes Lisbon as a very vibrant and hilly city. “Reminds me of an Old-World European San Francisco. It has beautiful, colored tiles on buildings and on the ground,” she says. “The streets can be difficult to traverse because of the tiles and stone. Especially slippery when wet, I recommend good rubber-soled sandals or tennis shoes for walking and exploring on foot.” During their stay in Lisbon, Tanya and her family stayed in a city center Airbnb that was within walking distance to many shops and restaurants in the Baixo and Chiado neighborhoods. “Public transportation is available on cable cars that go up and down the inclined streets. There are also scooter rentals everywhere [which she did not try] and Uber/taxis are easily accessed,” she says. “We chose to do a tuk-tuk tour with a local guide named Nuno and his driver, Diego. The tuk-tuk is an open air, motorized ‘golf cart’ so to speak and is a fun way to get around the city. I liked that we could go into small bairros [neighborhoods or districts] easily and felt more a part of what we were seeing and visiting.” Nuno was born and raised in Oeiras, just outside the western part of the Lisbon metro area. “He was the perfect guide taking us to not only the tourist highlights of Lisbon, but also to the local ‘mom and pop’ stops for tasting of local ‘bean cake’ and traditional Moscatel sweet wine in Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon.” a Augusta below was in here as Run de Augusta.] For travelers visiting Lisbon, Tanya has several recommendations. “Among the numerous cathedrals, churches and museums of Lisbon, there are a couple must-dos. Visit the Praca do Comerico square near the Tagus River and start walking up the Rua Augusta that is lined with stores. Stop at the Elevator de Santa Justa and ride up in this beautiful 19th century, wrought iron 58 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

elevator from one street level to another,” she advises. “Visit the Castle de Sao Jorge for incredible views of the city. Cross the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge (looks like the Golden Gate bridge) over the Tagus to see the Cristo Rei statue. You can walk the park area or pay to go up in the statue, either way incredible, expansive views of Lisbon.” There are so many must-see attractions — the top two in terms of visitors are the Castle de Sao Jorge and the Jeronimos Monastery, Gareth says. “But we would add taking a yellow trolley ride to see the city, taking a river ferry to see Lisbon from the water, and having a glass of ginja in the Rossio — a very Lisbon thing to do.” With so much to see in Portugal, rail transportation allows for travelers to experience day trips and even to reach other geographic areas. “Portuguese joke that Lisbon is a big head for a small body. Rich in sites, museums and culture, you could spend a month exploring Lisbon and the surrounding area. Yet many seek to see the whole of Portugal and get an idea of the lifestyle and culture of this complex place,” Gareth states. “If you choose Lisbon as a base, you can explore by rail. Sintra and Cascais are short rides on commuter rail from Lisbon, and both well worth exploring. High speed trains get you to Porto in just 2.5 hours.” Tanya went to both Sintra and Cascais. “Cascais is a beautiful, coastal resort town said to be the St. Tropez of Portugal, whereas Sintra is known as the ‘storybook’ city. The town is near Sintra Mountains and is also a good, quick day trip from Lisbon. It has beautiful royal palaces and castles and stunning scenery.” In Cascais, she recommends going here for the beaches and experiencing some of the best surfing in Portugal. “The town itself has quaint shops and cafes and beautiful tiled walkways throughout the village,” she adds. “A must-see is the Boca do Inferno — Hell’s Mouth — rock formations/cliffs and a collapsed cave formed by the pounding Atlantic Ocean. Also visit Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Here you can visit a lighthouse or just walk the paths of the coast for incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and coastal Portugal.” During her visit to Sintra, Tanya and her family went on a tour of the iconic sites, including the Moorish Castle, a medieval ruinous castle with amazing views of Sintra and the Atlantic. “The kids would love climbing the rocks and walls of the castle and steps up to many towers. The Pena

Palace is a romanticist castle and can be seen on a clear day from Lisbon,” she describes. “The highlight, however, was our visit to the Quinta da Regaleira. This UNESCO World Heritage site consists of a romantic palace, chapel and incredible fairytale-like park and grounds. Make plenty of time to explore the gardens. Tunnels, grottoes, labyrinths, caves, an 88-foot well you can take spiral steps down into and hidden passages are all throughout the park. My kids absolutely loved this site and wished we’d had more time to get lost here.” One of the most striking visual areas in Portugal are the Azores, a two-hour flight from mainland Portugal, which comprise of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic with dramatic landscapes, including home to Portugal’s highest mountain, Mount Pico, over 7,700 feet tall. “The Azores are nine natural wonders in the middle of the Atlantic. They have a mild climate and beautiful volcanic landscapes. So, hiking is diverse, with well-marked and maintained trails that lead to crater lake, lava tubes, sea cliffs, and vistas,” Gareth says. “The Atlantic between mainland Portugal, the Azores and Madeira is a whale and dolphin sanctuary — and there is no better place to see whales than the Azores. Zodiac boats take you into the Atlantic, and spotters guide the boats to pods of dolphins and right, humpback, sperm and even rare blue whales. Diving and fishing expeditions are offered on the

GETTY IMAGES

Traditional fishing boats, called aiolas, at the fishing harbour of Sesimbra, Setubal, Portugal


| GETAWAY |

main islands, with cool underwater trails, wrecks and sea life. Huge game fish are to add to by experienced fishermen.” The Azores are known for their mild Atlantic climate, volcanism, biodiversity with unique plants and flowers, and geothermal hot springs. “These natural hot springs are where the most popular local dish is cooked, a stew called Cozido das Furnas. There are also green pastures and cows, making the island known for cheeses,” Gareth says. The Azores nine islands also all have their own unique architectural style. “The overall look and feel is Portuguese — but with strong influence from local building materials. Basalt stone, white washing and a simple rugged Atlantic style,” he says. “Santa Maria was settled by people from the Algarve and Alentejo, so its towns and houses are similar to Alentejo farmhouses with Algarve chimneys. Terceira was the administrative center for centuries, so Angra is the grandest city in the Azores with the most elaborate public buildings. So, look for gothic in the oldest churches (15th-16th century), Mannerist in many convents, and many baroque village churches. Some islands, Pico and Flores, have exposed stone facing on houses, while others, Sao Miguel, Faial, are faced with mortar.” In addition to the historical and architectural impact for tourists, Portugal has made its mark as a health

and wellness destination, along with a top nature bucket list spot. “Portugal has a mild climate — and more hours of sunlight than other European nations. The Portuguese diet is very healthy — lots of grains, fresh fish and meats, and veggies and fruit. With great wine and olive oil, exploring the cuisine of Portugal is healthy,” Gareth says. “And the nation has tons of walking and hiking — from Lisbon’s riverfront, to the coastal trails of the Alentejo, to the levada (irrigation channel) hikes of Madeira. Great new spas with lots of local sourced treatments are offered across the nation.” With just 10 million people — and a vast network of conservation land — Portugal has astonishing landscapes. “The Alentejo’s Montados shape the region’s landscape with cork oak and olive tree forests and endless rolling plains. There are many protected natural areas housing thousands of species of animals and plants,” Gareth explains. “The Madeira Island is also a great nature and hiking destination, with several trails that cut through the mountains and end at cliffs with spectacular views or hidden waterfalls. The Laurissilva Forest is unique to Madeira and a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site.” Tanya and her family fully embraced Portugal’s nature and wellness attributes and opportunities. Their guide, Nuno, who was with them for most of

their week, took the family to Sesimbra, a charming coastal fishing town surrounded by mountains and cliffs about an hour south of Lisbon. “In Sesimbra we went coasteering, an extreme physical activity that requires climbing and scrambling over rocks in the impact zone where water, waves and rocks come together. We were led by expert guides that took us on this awesome adrenaline tour. We had full wet suits on to brave the cold November Atlantic Ocean water temperatures. We climbed up and around rocks and cliff faces, jumped from seven different points up on the cliffs from 20 to 40 feet down into the ocean, swam back to the intertidal zone where waves are crashing into the rock and repeated,” Tanya recalls. “We even zip lined from one rock face to another over a high current area. It was fantastic and pushed all of our limits.” For those planning a trip to Portugal, Tanya recommends staying in two or three different areas depending on length of trip. “We loved experiencing and staying in both the city and the coastal areas,” she says. “Of course, we didn’t even get north, and if time allows, I would send clients to Porto, visit the Douro Valley for wines and cruise on the Douro River, too. We loved our time in Portugal — it’s a beautiful country — and hope to go back and explore the northern part of the country, too.”

GETTY IMAGES

The Pena National Palace, a Romanticist palace in Sintra, Portugal.

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 59


| OPEN DOOR |

FUN & STORY BY ANDREA STETSON PHOTOS BY RICARDO ROLON

FUNKY Valerie and Bill Sowles open the door to their Funky Fish House in Cape Harbour, Cape Coral.

FROM LEFT: This Funky Fish House has a seahorse theme. The developer and the owner ran with that theme keeping the motif throughout the home. This door with a seahorse carved out of the wood leads to the guest apartment. • There will be 18 Funky Fish Houses when complete. Right now there are six built, one under construction and two in permitting. • One of the most unique things about this house is the guest home that has a separate entrance, and sliding glass doors that open up to water views. 60 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| OPEN DOOR |

alerie and Bill Sowles love unique houses. They have an unusual home in Maine, and this summer their special home in Cape Coral finally became ready for move in. Their Funky Fish House in Cape Harbour towers three stories high and boasts decks that stick out way over the canal. Its unique features begin before even entering the home. Various shades of blue surround a large square of melon and a stripe of pale yellow to give the exterior a Key West feel. Scalloped-pattern siding and vertical and horizontal lines add texture. While all the Funky Fish Houses have colorful outsides, each owner chooses their colors and selects a name. Bill and Valerie chose the Seahorse. “I think it is really cool that the house will have its own theme,” Bill says. “My wife and I have a very strong marriage, and seahorses mate for life.” “I love seahorses,” Valerie adds. “They mate for life. Bill and I are kind of soulmates. We kind of relate to the seahorse.”

The builder included a seahorse stamp on the home with a seahorse carving below a top story window, a seahorse cutout in a door on the lower level and seahorse imprints in the cement along the canal side of the home. The Sowles family then added to that. “I think I probably went a little overboard with the seahorse theme,” Valerie admits. There’s a seahorse pillow on the couch in the family room, a seahorse doorstop in a guest room. A seahorse sculpture hangs on the hall wall. A guest suite keeps the seahorse motif going with a clock that reads “Seahorse House est. 2019.” There are seahorses on the bases of two nightstand lamps. A seahorse mat rests by the guest room mini kitchen, and seahorse pillows decorate the chairs. “I went one step further and bought a seahorse key chain,” Valerie says. “We have to still get the seahorse shower drain. That will finish it off.”

GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 61


| OPEN DINING DOOR | |

“They went full blast with their theme,” says Richard Durling, president of Marvin Homes, which is building the Funky Fish Houses. “All are custom designed. Each is for the particular taste and use of the client.” There will be 18 Funky Fish Houses when complete. Right now there are six built, one under construction and two in permitting. While every house has a funky palate of exterior color, each home is designed to be unique. The Sowles home has three levels. The ground floor is the garage. One level up is the family room, kitchen and dining area along with one guest suite. The open floor plan showcases canal views from sliding glass doors in the family room that lead to a wide terrace that hangs over the canal. Since the homeowners own 25 feet into the water, the builder can create this rare deck. “That was one of the features that we really liked that we were over the water like that,” Valerie says. “That was pretty sweet.” “The fact that they own the water bottom; that is a unique feature,” Richard adds. Water views can also be seen from the kitchen and a nearby dining table that seats six. Floors in the Sowles home look like gray-washed wood but are actually Coretec, which is a man-made material designed to be easy to maintain and waterproof. “It’s a great product for in here,” Richard says. The third floor has a guest bedroom in the front of the house and the master bedroom with sliding glass doors that lead to a terrace on the canal side of the home. “I lay awake in the morning and see the clouds and the water, and it is just beautiful,” Valerie says.

62 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| OPEN DOOR |

The queen-size bed is decorated in navy and white. A salmon-colored pillow with a beaded embroidered seahorse adds a pop of color to a blue chair. The master bathroom is big enough for a large shower, a stand-alone tub, two sinks and a toilet. The fourth bedroom suite is a surprise in this unique home. By the dock, one sees a little door with a seahorse carved into it. Beyond that door, eight steps lead to a private suite, giving the suite its own entrance. It also has a mini kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave and sink, bathroom and a bedroom with a porthole window and a wide sliding glass door that overlooks the water. “We thought that is going to be a rental unit,” Bill says. “If you put it at the same level as the dock you can’t have plumbing or electric. So it is built up. It is neat that you can open up the sliding door, and you can talk to people as they walk by on the dock. I love that home because it has that little private suite down below with its own entrance, and it looks right out on the water. I think that is a sweet little suite.” “We hoped to defray the cost of the house,” Valerie says about the apartment suite. “There is nothing else like it, so we are hoping it will attract people.” The home has a dock with boat lift that sits in the shade under the upper deck. Storage space under the house is big enough to slide in some kayaks or other boating apparatuses. The 2,156-square-foot-under-air home feels spacious inside. It is 3,445 total square feet when including decks, garage and storage areas. Yet the home is on a very tiny lot. The land area is 1,276 square feet, and the water area is 952 square feet. “The buildable area of the lot is 1,034 square feet,” Richard says. “It is amazing how we get so much into these little spaces. When it comes to these, we don’t look at every square foot; we look at every square inch. We squeeze every inch out of that little footprint. People really love this concept.” Valerie and Bill really love the concept. The Sowles had purchased a condo in Cape Harbour in 2010 when there was only one Funky Fish House. “Then we watched the other two being built,” Bill says. “We were just always intrigued by them.” As soon as they heard more would be built, they bought one.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The master suite has sliding glass doors leading to a terrace. A window was added above the bed for additional light. • While this is considered a galley kitchen it is spacious and opens up to the family room. • The Funky Fish Houses are located in Cape Harbour. • The family room has sliding glass doors that lead to the wide terrace. It also has windows that let in light while blocking the view of future neighboring homes. • Valerie and Bill Sowles love their unique house in Cape Coral and the one they have in Maine. The couple moved to a condo in Cape Harbour in 2010 when there was only one Funky Fish House. They were intrigued by watching the colorful homes being built and decided they wanted one of their own.

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| OPEN DOOR |

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Since the homeowners actually own 25 feet of the canal by their house, they are allowed to have decks that extend over the water. • The master bathroom, like the rest of the home has floors that look like gray washed wood but are actually Coretec, a man-made material that is waterproof and easy to clean.• This is one of three guest bedrooms. While the home is only 2, 156 square feet under air, it is designed to feel spacious and fit four bedrooms. • Homeowner Valerie Sowles said she dove right in to find lots of things with the seahorse motif. Each of the Funky Fish Houses has a theme and the Sowles home’s theme is seahorses. 64 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| OPEN DOOR |

Valerie and Bill plan to use their new home for two weeks every month from October through April and then on the occasional weekend in the summer. Since their home was just completed this summer, they have not had much time there, but have loved it when they are there. “Sitting out there on the deck is just wonderful,” Valerie says. “I am looking forward to sitting on deck of the master. My goal now is to find furniture for the master deck.” For now they are enjoying the larger terrace off the family room. “We sit out there in the morning and have our tea and read our newspaper from Maine, which we get on the iPad,” Bill says. “Then we go for a walk and on a typical day we go out on the boat.” The couple says they are excited to have a boat lift and dock in front of their home, so they don’t have to get their boat from storage. With the big cubbies under their home by the dock, they also plan to add to their fleet. “We will probably get kayaks, because then the people renting the downstairs apartment can also use it and it can be part of the sell.”

The Sowles are also looking forward to entertaining their children and grandchildren in their new Funky Fish House. “We have a blended family of five,” Valerie says. “We are about to have our ninth grandchild. My daughter is coming down with her four children in February. The kids have not come to this house yet. This will be kind of interesting with kids.” Valerie and Bill gravitate toward interesting homes. In Maine they live on an island accessible only by boat. “We are off the grid,” Valerie says. “We collect water off the roof.” They use solar power and propane. There are 45 steps leading up from the rocky beach to the house, so they built a funicular. “We use the stairs, but we use the funicular to send up the groceries,” Valerie says. That’s why the couple is not intimidated by climbing stairs in their three-story Cape Coral home. “We are native New Englanders, so we are used to stairs,” Bill says. Yet the Sowles also want to be prepared. “We made the decision to have the elevator right at the last moment,” Bill adds. “It is better to do it when it is being built than when we need it,” Valerie concludes.

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GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 65


| MAKE IT A DOUBLE |

Aromatic and herbaceous, the tequila-based La Flama Blanca also has a great balance of sweet and heat.

66 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| MAKE IT A DOUBLE |

FALL-ing for EMBER STORY BY GINA BIRCH | PHOTOS BY CHRIS TILLEY

FROM LEFT: Rum is featured in this new seasonal cocktail at Ember that also sees Herbstura Bitters and house-made hibiscus liquor. • Warm and comforting, the Chic Magnet is made with hickory root liquor, bourbon and Tattersail Bitter Orange among other things. • The Aperol Crush is a unique mix of aged Diplomatico dark and white rum, allspice, citrus, syrups and of course, Aperol.

t’s not a typical Southwest Florida bar and restaurant — and it’s a cool find for fall. Ember Korean Steakhouse in south Fort Myers is modern, offering a big-city feel that you might not expect from its strip mall location. The seats at the large U-shaped bar are filled with those in the know as well as those in the hospitality industry — a good endorsement. Travel fuels Ember general manager and operational director Chris Shin’s inspiration, and it shows from the décor to the design and creativity of the cocktails and food. The bar program starts with the basics: proper glassware and ice.

“Ice is the most important part of a cocktail for proper dilution, so it’s a big focus,” Chris says. Bartenders’ hand carve pure, clear ice into small blocks for cocktails. It’s a labor of love. So are the syrups and tinctures, all made in house. Ember’s well liquors are top shelf — think Four Roses Bourbon, Bacardi rum, Beefeater Gin — and the standard pour is a generous 2 ounces. The bar staff is talented and adept at creating drinks on the fly, however, the craft cocktails are delightful. GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 67


| MAKE IT A DOUBLE |

68 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com


| MAKE IT A DOUBLE |

One of Shin’s favorites is the Turf Club, made with gin, dry vermouth, maraschino cherry liqueur, absinth and orange bitters. This riff on a gin martini is warm and comforting, a cocktail you could sip all night and not get tired of it. You can smell La Flama Blanca before it’s even put in front of you, tropical and herbal. The base is tequila, and a spicy tincture gives it a kick. Chareau (mint and aloe liqueur), lime and pineapple gomme syrup add the tropical flair, while the herbal twist comes from Thai basil. Pretty in Pink is new to the cocktail list. A floral mix of gin, Pamplemousse grapefruit liqueur, lemon and elderflower, the finishing touch is soft, vanilla foam. Topped with a red rose petal, it looks delicate and tastes refreshing. Wine geeks are giddy over the dozens of selections by the glass, and they’re not your average, everyday varietals. You’ll find selections such as grüner veltliner from Austria or torrontes from Argentina. Edo-style sushi pairs perfectly with wine and cocktails at the bar. The King of the Sea roll features line-caught blue fin tuna, avocado and cucumber, topped with coveted blue fin toro (tuna belly). Drizzled with white truffle oil and sturgeon caviar, it melts in your mouth. Ember’s Kimchi Pancake looks like a pizza and goes down just as quickly. Shin’s mother makes the kimchi, a family recipe, handed down for generations. He calls it “the heart and soul of the restaurant,” and it’s a must. Other appetizers include beef tartar that has a touch of sweetness, topped with a bright yellow egg yolk. And the cauliflower is almost too pretty to eat. The vegetable is panroasted in a fermented chili base and topped with ornate Grana Padano twill. With its creative cuisine and craft cocktails, Ember aims to add a new level to Asian dining in Southwest Florida, and by most all accounts, it has. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Filet mignon is used for the Korean beef tartar, and it’s set off by a flavorful seasoning mix that is slightly sweet. • Ember puts a Korean spin on poutine with brisket that is braised for 24 hours in a flavorful marinade that’s also used for the gravy — succulent. • The bar staff at Ember is encouraged to be creative with flavors and ingredients when crafting cocktails. • King of the Sea is a signature sushi roll featuring rich, line-caught blue fin tuna. • Soft, delicate and oh so delicious is the new Pretty in Pink cocktail: gin, grapefruit liqueur, topped with elderflower vanilla foam. GRANDEUR | OCTOBER 2019 | 69


| GRAND TIMES |

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PHOTOS SPECIAL TO GRANDEUR

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LOVE THAT DRESS!

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Pace Center for Girls, Lee County raised more than $150,000 during its 11th annual Love That Dress! event on August 21. Hosted at the Embassy Suites in Estero, the evening featured shopping, music, silent auctions and cocktails, with more than 3,000 dresses available for purchase. All proceeds benefit Pace Center for Girls, Lee County. 1. Jen Pfenninger and Shelley Starner 2. Barbara Sullivan and Betsy Pearce 3. Natalya Law and Cara Hallett 4. Julie Weitmin and Julie Hill 5. Elizabeth Vandemerwe and Judy Williams 6. Nicole Nunez, Diana Willis and Rebecca Thompson 7. Tracy Siekmann, Darlene Grossman, Susan Blust, Christin Collins, Maria Wiles, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Melissa Cofta, Nancy Finch and Sandy StilwellYoungquist 8. Michelle Myers and Christa Henry 9. Mary Fischer, Mark Blust and Anne Wittenborn 10. Alison Hussey and Sandra Pavelka 11. Katie Armes, Teri Hansen and Katie Damminger 12. Stephanie Ink-Edwards, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Christin Collins, Tracy Siekmann, Jenna Persons and Michelle Graham


| GRAND TIMES |

LARC’S EXCEPTIONAL EMPLOYERS

PHOTOS BY VANDY MAJOR | SPECIAL TO GRANDEUR

Lee Association of Remarkable Citizen’s Exceptional Employers event was held September 12 at the Collaboratory. The inaugural event drew more than 80 attendees and recognized employers that hire individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) as well as exceptional employees with long tenure in their jobs.

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1. Danielle Kruse, Julian Agollair, Patricia Nieliwocki and Scott Brown 2. Lenny and Angela Katz 3. Peter Busch and Kevin Lewis 4. Linda Haas and Jeanne Beaulieu 5. Valerie Clark, Jenn Robinson, Yohana Rothenberg, Debbie Smith and Barb Williams 6. Pat Carroll, Marc Collins and Ashley Davis

ALLIANCE FOR THE ARTS SEASON KICK-OFF PARTY

PHOTOS SPECIAL TO GRANDEUR

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On Friday, Setptember 6, the Alliance for the Arts welcomed more than 150 artists, art supporters, neighbors and members to its exhibit opening reception for The Shape of Things.” The evening also celebrated the kickoff of the Alliance’s 2019-20 season and featured craft beer tastings from Eight Foot Brewing, catering by Jayne Baker and the culmination of the Alliance $10,000 match challenge by Mike Fink Law Firm. 1. Artists Pat Zalisko and Carve Stone 2. Rick Plummer and Cole Peacock 3. Lynne Pritchette and Ricky Pritchette 4. Jeff Mudgett, Rachel Peacock, Shelby Baucom, Warren Baucom, Janet Mutzabaugh and Amy McQuagge 5. Sonya McCarter, Brandi Couse, Lydia Black and Ehren Gerhard

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| GRAND TIMES |

Kelly L. Fayer was named the 2019 APEX Awards recipient at the 14th annual event on August 16. The APEX Awards recognize local women with outstanding reputations for professionalism, philanthropy and leadership. Presented by Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, the evening gala honored five finalists and recognized all nominees before naming Fayer the APEX Awards recipient.

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1. Patrick Black Renda and Julie Koester 2. Teri Hansen, Gail Markham, Kelly Fayer and Connie Ramos-Williams 3. Leon Goldsmith and Kerri Goldsmith 4. Karen Mosteller, Samira Beckwith and Gail Markham 5. Kelly Fayer 6. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Committee 7. Bob Berkey, Kathleen Berkey and Beth Oppenheimer Vavrica

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72 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com

PHOTOS SPECIAL TO GRANDEUR

2019 APEX AWARDS


| GRAND TIMES |

ARTS FOR ACT PREVIEW PARTY

PHOTOS SPECIAL TO GRANDEUR

Jennifer’s Boutique hosted a preview party for Arts for ACT on September 12. The event included art from featured artists of Arts for ACT. The 31st annual Arts for ACT Gala and Fine Art Auction benefiting Abuse Counseling and Treatment will be held Saturday, November 16 at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point. For more information visitartsforactfineartauction.com.

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1. Jennifer Benton and Mollie Turner 2. Marc Collins and Maureen Green 3. Doug and Peggy Heffner 4. Lisa Freidus and Andy Tu 5. Heather Langdale and Kathleen Johnson 6. Diane Meyers, Donna Damiano and Jennifer Williams

STETSON & STILETTOS RIVER DISTRICT

1. Donna Bianco and Vincenza Liptak 2. Pattee Folkman, Stacie Thompson and Beth Garrison 3. Diane Clark and Betty Jo Ferguson 4. Anne Wittenborn, Diana Willis and Mary Fischer 5. Walter and Crhistie Braczynski 6. Samantha Sanders, Kyia Madmoni and Kyla Bennett

PHOTOS SPECIAL TO GRANDEUR

Pace Center for Girls, Lee County raised more than $10,000 during its “Stetsons & Stilettos River District” Love That Dress! collection event on July 17, hosted at the Burroughs Home & Gardens in Fort Myers. Co-chaired by Pace board members Brandie Fennell Duncan and Jennifer Nelson, the western-chic soirée featured rockin’ country tunes with live music by Whiskey Bent, line dancing, food trucks, a mechanical bull and raffle prize drawings.

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| NEXT MONTH |

THE FOOD ISSUE

Whether you are a serious foodie or just an occasional diner, who doesn’t want to experience fine dining from our area’s master chefs?

Coming in November, Grandeur shares a handful of the best culinary artists in town.

74 | OCTOBER 2019 | grandeurmagazine.com




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