An Insider's Guide to Naples, FL

With our minds on winter getaways and spring break around the corner, we asked our TSG: Naples editor to plan the perfect trip to her city.

Where to stay when traveling with kids: La Playa Beach & Golf Resort. Great pool, right on the beach. Great food options too: casual poolside for the family and romantic beachside dinner for the parents.

Where to go for brunch: The Bay House. The food is innovative and incredibly delicious low-country fare. Everything is good, so let their friendly and helpful staff help guide you through the menu. The brunch is very kid-friendly too.

Where to go for lunch: Dolce & Salato. Fresh, carefully crafted salads and sandwiches. And hands-down the best coffee (get the cappuccino) and pastries in town. It’s my unofficial office!

Where to go for dinner: Bleu Provence. Sit outside on the garden patio on a gorgeous night – it’s heavenly! Also, if you are like me and don’t know wine but “like what you like,” let them pick it for you. I’m always delighted with what they pair with my dinner!

Where to go for drinks: I love Osetra for their champagne, wine, and for the best sushi I have ever had to snack on while catching up with friends. For cocktails, I love Sea Salt, Hob Nob, and Bistro 821 in Old Naples. The best part about all of these places is that you can stay for a meal or have a drink and then take a stroll and find great shops, galleries, and restaurants up and down 5th Ave. South and Third Street South.

Where to shop:
 On 5th Ave. South, Arabesque of Naples for gifts, invitations (and all things paper), and special items like super cute iPhone chargers. Port Royal Jewelers will make your dream piece of jewelry into a reality. Artisan and owner William Boyajian will work with you to design it. Around the corner from 5th on 9th Street is Shannon Green Collection, which I love for unique jewelry that I can wear for any event day or night.

On Third Street South, Tickled Pink of Naples has great essentials and designers, plus great accessories. Pierre&Harry has chic modern pearls and will redo your grandmother’s pearls into something you will wear! Marissa Collections has a gorgeous collection of women’s and men’s clothes, shoes and accessories from all of the designers that people travel to NYC to purchase. And don’t miss their jewelry gallery featuring Irene Neuwirth, Arunashi, and David Webb. They have at least one trunk show a week during season and the stylists are incredibly helpful.

For art, visit Gardner Colby Gallery on Broad Street. They will show you how eclectic art can work brilliantly together in one space, and the Ken Otsuka paintings are the perfect take-home memory of the beach. Also, check out the new Thomas Riley Studio on 10th Street and Judith Liegeois Designs & Gallery on 12th Ave. South. They all feature local Naples artists and extraordinary works with which I am obsessed. Heading north, visit Edward Gary Design on Taylor Road for fantastic and unique pieces for your home.

Ideal Saturday: Shop Third Street South Farmer’s Market for fresh produce, then head to Naples Botanical Garden and let the kids run around the children’s garden (take bathing suits if it’s hot out for the water feature!) and stroll the path around the garden’s loop to see a bit of the amazing grounds, art, and water (I love the many varieties of lily pads). Sweat it out at Matt Rowen’s 4 p.m. power yoga class at Bala Vinyasa Yoga. Matt has a gentle way and yet his is the most challenging class I go to at BV! For dinner, sit outside at The Bay House, then move inside for the live music.

{Top: TSG: Naples editor Allison Pezzuti (right) with TSG Naples photographer Heather Donlan. Bottom left: Marissa Collections; bottom right: Wine ready to be sampled by attendees at the 2013 Naples Winter Wine Festival}

Best fests and other great reasons to visit: Naples is the home of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, the nation’s #1 charity wine auction. All of the proceeds benefit local Naples children in need. Guests travel from far and wide for the three-day gala, which this year takes place January 24-26, and includes the Meet the Kids Luncheon, private Vintner Dinners with acclaimed chefs and vintners, the Celebrate the Journey Auction (The Scout Guide has a lot!), and the final Celebration Brunch. For tickets, click HERE. And whenever you visit Naples, don’t miss the Baker Museum at Artis-Naples.

Secret Gem: Dagi Place, 12th Ave. South, just off Third Street South, home to Judith Liegeois Designs & Gallery and Jett Thompson Antiques & Interiors. It’s home decor heaven. They are vastly different with their own personalities, and yet pieces from both places would work brilliantly in the same home. Also not to be missed and just one block over is Bay Design Store, where you will find things you cannot live without.

One piece of insider information: Everyone comes to Naples for the weather, but our cultural attractions, events, food, and local shops and galleries are fantastic and worth the trip alone. And as for the weather, it’s beautiful here for most of the summer until August and September when it rains every day (but don’t tell anyone, we like it quiet over the summer!). And if you are planning on staying longer, call Realtor Frank Pezzuti!

{Images via Pinterest and featured businesses}