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Marco Tourist Center Blog

Fun in Marco Island!

August 4th, 2009

The other day my boyfriend and I went to the Marco Movies at Marco Walk Plaza, and though we swore we weren’t going to spend money on the food and drink, we wound up succumbing to a half liter of wine to go with our popcorn.

Wine with popcorn. Of course. We are after all talking about the Marco Movies.  www.marcomovies.com

The Marco Movies and its sister location, the Ft. Myers Beach Theater located across from the Gulf of Mexico on Ft. Myers Beach,  are unique venues because in addition to providing first run movies and the traditional fare of popcorn and candy, you can order such foods as wraps, salads, sandwiches and more. A waitress takes your order from your theater seat prior to the movie, and for latecomers as the movie begins, and later collects the money before the movie ends using a little flashlight to put some light on the subject.

Marco Movies is located in a strip center plaza (599 S. Collier Boulevard, Suite 103) and so you need to get there early if you want to eat and watch the movie from their limited number of tables. Otherwise your other option is a more traditional theater seat where you set up your food and drink on a flip up tray.

We went to see My Sisters Keeper which was really an interesting movie – and yes a tearjerker. I won’t tell you much about it though in case you want to rent it at some point, but it does have some interesting twists and turns. And it does bring out the emotions. I know my boyfriend Don said he was having issues with his allergies.

Yeah right.

By the way, if you go to the Marco Movies, make sure to bring cash. That is the tough part about this place. It does not take credit cards and on this occasion I saw a couple walk away in frustration mumbling something about this being the only place in America that doesn’t take cards.

From personal experience, I know once we went to the show, paid for our ticket, then discovered we didn’t have enough to pay for all the food. We wound up giving the waitress the cash that we had, promising to send the remainder of the money and the tip in the mail the next week — which we did. Though I always wonder if the waitress we worked with ever knew that we did that. Hopefully so. Wouldn’t want her to think we had stiffed her.


Goodland is a small town on Marco Island which is many miles away mentally from the more touristy hustle bustle of the city of Marco Island. It is best known for Stan’s Idle Hour, a well-known Key West Style venue where people especially gather on Sunday afternoons to hear Stan (now in his 80s), sing the funny, sometimes crazy songs he has written and to hear his often politically incorrect jokes. But he is a lovable character and when he is gone (sorry Stan don’t read this part, but we will all be gone someday), this place will not be the same.

In the summer he closes his place down certain months and on the day we were in the neighborhood, the only place open was The Little Bar which is a place next door to Stan’s. We had been there before, but only for a quick drink. This time we decided to eat a dinner of appetizers. It is interesting the way they place a tall stand on the floor in front of each table and hang the poster-like menu of handwritten items from it. Great for those of us who have to use reading glasses. The writing is so large they aren’t required.

We had grouper balls which were kind of like crab balls or conch balls. Kind of bready tasting with grouper bits. And I think we also had fish chowder though now that I am writing I can’t swear to what else we had there. Apparently not so incredibly memorable,Though in fairness, we should have probably chosen “actual dinners” rather than appetizers since the place was quite busy despite this being what you would expect to be a slow summer day), but the atmosphere was unique enough to make the visit more than worthwhile. You see, the various rooms of the restaurant are outfitted with windows and doors and bars, etc, that were bits and pieces from other places. On the menu it tells where all these items originated. Interesting reading.  From childhood residences, other bars, etc, reaching all around the United States

Afterward finishing our “appetizer meal” we went into the bar for a bit to watch a woman singer and her male and female bandmates sing songs that she mostly wrote. I could definitely see her being a Joan Baez type; and the male guitar player apparently at one time played with Bob Dylan.

I also learned that they have an event once a year called Spammy Jammy where Spam is honored  (you know that meat product),  complete with Spam sculptures, etc. And people who attend are apparently encouraged to wear their pajamas which is the Jammy part. I wasn’t able to get back to that event this year, but I will try to put it on my list for the next go-round. Hopefully they will continue on.


Oh, I want to tell you about another really cool place in Marco and I hope that they get enough support to keep their whole act going! And when I say “ACT” I mean it.

Capt. Brien’s in Marco Island — same plaza as the Marco Movies – is a really fun place to go to do something different. These days comedy clubs are a tough row to hoe, but when Don and I want to do something different, we go to Capt. Brien’s. This happens to be a seafood based restaurant on Marco, but having the comedy club is a real plus.

I’ve been to the Off The Hook Show twice thus far and enjoyed myself hugely each time. The first time I saw a comedian by the name of Tim Wilson who I think did some appearances on the Redneck Comedy Tour with Jeff Foxworthy.

This last time we saw LaVell Crawford who has appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and was a finalist in the Comedy Central Laugh Riots. By the time we arrived, there was a good crowd on hand considering we are well into summer (which is supposed to be a slow time for us) and so we were at a high top along the perimeter which made it a bit difficult for me to hear, but I have to say the two guys I was with (one by the name of Tim Wilson, but not the previously mentioned Tim Wilson) were laughing their heads off. Of course the humor that Lavell, a St. Louis native I believe, was imparting is what I would term “guy humor.” I mean it is funny, but as a woman I sometimes found myself a bit hesitant to laugh. Yes there was sexual innuendo and some making fun of people — the comedian included — and yes it was funny — and so yes, I did laugh despite my upbringing.  :  ) It was that good. Interestingly the warm up act was a fellow who looked somewhat like Lavell and he was funny and so we thought he WAS the act! Apparently we and the rest of the crowd got two fun comedians for the price of one.

To see upcoming acts for the remainder of the year please check out the site www.OffTheHookComedy.com

You’ll also want to check out their menu at www.captbriens.com. By the way, there is a real live Capt. Brien at the restaurant. He actually works there and so that is the kind of place you really want to support; a place with great atmosphere, fun entertainment, and a working owner! Friendly guy too. I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly on this sojourn, though he didn’t have much time for chatter because one show out — and another show in.

By the way all shows are 18+ for entry with a full bar and smoke-free.

Well that’s all on my Marco adventures for now. Make sure you check out our site to learn about more things to do on this great island.


December 25th, 2008

Hello everyone

Today we are officially launching our site NaplesTouristCenter.com. We still have some tweaking to do, but hopefully you and I and all of the rest of us who love this community will see this site as an information source to which we can continually turn to promote the good things about Naples.

I had a conversation with a couple at Campiello’s restaurant on Christmas Eve. They were taking a break from the relatives in for the season and talking about their lives. The wife was from Buffalo, New York orginally and the husband from Boston. They actually met in Naples several years back though mutual friends and now have a young child that they are going to be putting into the school system this next year. Probably at St. Ann’s. The mother was lamenting the fact that it wasn’t cold enough to be Christmas and even though I told her it snows on Thursdays during the season on 3rd Street South, she said that just wasn’t enough. (For the unitiated, our snow is courtesy of snow machines located under the street lights.) But she didn’t want me to get her comments wrong. She wasn’t complaining about the winter season here. She just wanted to be teleported for ONE day to a cold spot just for Christmas festivities and teleported back.

Okay, seems like a reasonable request if for no other reason than to return with an appreciation for the “coolness” of our warm town.

My daughter Courtney and her husband David Sharifie have just moved back to Naples from California. They both grew up here and could not wait to leave because Naples in their words back then was soooo boring. Two years later, they are back by choice and lo and behold, hmmmm, Naples wasn’t so bad after all. No doubt distance makes the heart grow fonder.

So enough of all this community adulation, though I would like to end this short initial post by saying that I’ve traveled all 50 states of America. I’ve been on Oprah, the Today show, Donny and Marie, CNN, The View, etc. etc about my travels through all 50 states (three times in my life, yikes!), and at the end of it all — at the end of meeting some of the very greatest, very coolest people in America (and by the way, I should point out that the couple I met at Campiello’s emphasized THEIR coolness and I could certainly see that) — Naples is where I chose to move and rear my family and relaunch my careers of travel writing and real estate. And so there you have it.

If you have some great pictures of Naples, we’d be glad to post them. If you want to tell me some cool stories of Naples, bring ‘em on. If you want us to add some categories, let us know. Hey let’s make this site a celebration of our town (You qualify in calling Naples your town, even if you are just a visitor because you most likely carry our town in your heart) — and let’s make the lives we lead here the envy of the world!

Yours in the holiday season

Marlene Graham  (marlenegraham@earthlink.net)