Sand & sun, Part 2: Celebrating Christmas in Florida

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Exploring J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge near my parents' home in Fort Myers, Fla.
Exploring the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge near my parents’ home in Fort Myers, Fla.

In the midst of planning ahead for 2016 on both the work and blogging fronts, I was really grateful and glad to be able to get to Florida for a bright and sunny Christmas. It was a rather hectic travel day on Wednesday between wrapping up some work for my day job representing Timberland, and travel delays out of New York City didn’t help the situation  — the chaos at the airport was pretty unimaginable! But that gave way to warm evenings and long, sunny  (but all-too-brief!) days in Fort Myers with great family and friends — for that, I’m definitely thankful. And making the style transition from the in-between weather in NYC to the record-high temperatures in Florida proved more than doable with the gear I brought along for the trip.

Sturdy waxed canvas made this bag a great travel companion. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred
Sturdy waxed canvas made this bag a great travel companion. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred

To get from Point A to Point B, I brought along my trusty Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag and my new but still-reliable United By Blue Mt. Drew Duffle — I would definitely recommend picking up a trusty weekender bag crafted from a durable waxed canvas, particularly if you only find yourself on the road for a weekend or a few days at a time. It proved more than accommodating for the gear I brought with me, and the extra gifts I brought back! And it’s a good thing I packed relatively light, as temperatures throughout the Fort Myers area were in the 80s throughout the duration of the trip! That made it extra-refreshing to check out a sure-to-be-favorite spot — the nearby Point Ybel Brewing, a relatively recent addition to the burgeoning craft beer scene in southwest Florida. Myself and my family sampled some great brews, including the delicious Captiva Cream Ale seen below — if you can get your hands on it, I’d recommend you bring home some fresh-canned beer from the brewery itself. For that excursion and much of the rest of the trip, I found a comfortable tee (in this case, a rugged-yet-stylish Pistol Lake short-sleeve henley) and some tailored shorts worked just fine.

Sipping on a great brew at the nice Point Ybel Brewing Company in Fort Myers. Olive short-sleeve henley by Pistol Lake. Classic Bristol leather watch by Daniel Wellington. Glasses by Warby Parker.
Sipping on a great brew at Point Ybel Brewing Company in Fort Myers. Olive short-sleeve henley by Pistol Lake. Classic Bristol leather watch by Daniel Wellington. Glasses by Warby Parker.

The laidback outfit also worked well to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens — and MAN, what a movie. We capped off Christmas Eve with some more family traditions, including watching “Love Actually“, playing a few games and enjoying a delicious meal before awaiting Santa… And my sister and I were certainly very lucky and blessed this year — Santa definitely fulfilled some of my #menswear wish list! I’m extremely excited and grateful for the incredible gifts I received, including the stellar Hemingway Elbow Patch Shirt from Todd Snyder and an amazing pair of Tom Ford Snowdon sunglasses (as worn by James Bond — WOW.). Those will definitely be accompanying me on future trips!

A look at some of the gifts Santa left for me. Brooklyn Field Guide by Wildsam. Beard Balm by Brooklyn Grooming. Beard & Face Brick by Clifford Originals. Notebook by Public Supply. Beer tasting book by 33 Books Co. Chocolate by (who else?) Toblerone.
A look at some of the gifts Santa left for me. Brooklyn Field Guide by Wildsam. Beard Balm by Brooklyn Grooming. Beard & Face Brick by Cliff Original. Notebook by Public Supply. Beer tasting book by 33 Books Co. Chocolate by (who else?) Toblerone.

It was an amazing Christmas Day, and I’ll now have even more new style gear to add to my wardrobe, including an eco-friendly watch from Sprout and a pair of lovely Americano Dress Cords from Bonobos. But perhaps the best part of the day was relaxing with my family and enjoying a traditional turkey dinner – it’s a good thing I went with casual style, as I was plenty stuffed with Christmas cookies. There’s perhaps no better way in my mind to cap off a great holiday than by spending it with the ones you love, so that made things even better.

Dressed casually for a hot Florida day. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Olive sweatshorts by Pistol Lake. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Glasses by Warby Parker.
Dressed casually for a hot Florida day. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Olive sweatshorts by Pistol Lake. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Glasses by Warby Parker.

But there was no time to rest with a shortened visit – and we had to work off all that food! We made the most of the day after Christmas by heading to the famous J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge for a bit of exploring – – I tackled that part of the trip with a pair of comfortable (but not sloppy) Pistol Lake sweatshorts and my reliable GREATS Brand Rosen Runners. Both picks proved more than adequate for lots of walking – as you may know, I’m a huge fan of GREATS, so I’d recommend you toss a pair in your bag on your next excursion.

Exploring the beaches near Fort Myers. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford (thanks Santa!).
Exploring the beaches near Fort Myers. Setter Swim Trunks by Orlebar Brown. Organic cotton pocket tee by United By Blue. Eco-friendly watch by Sprout. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford (thanks Santa!).

As to the refuge itself — it’s an incredibly tranquil setting that’s really second-to-none in terms of natural beauty in southwest Florida – if you’re a fan of bird-viewing or fishing, definitely consider exploring the refuge. We also stopped by a local beach for a bit of exploration, which I was more than able to tackle in my Orlebar Brown Setter Swim Trunks and an organic cotton United By Blue pocket tee (similar style here), plus the aforementioned Tom Ford sunglasses. When you hit the road yourself, consider picking up a pair of sunglasses that’ll look sharp with outfits both dressy and casual – some slim Randolph Engineering aviators would be a great start.

Before enjoying some brews at The Lodge, we saw some of the sights around Fort Myers. Vintage 'drinks' shirt. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.
Before enjoying some brews at The Lodge, we saw some of the sights around Fort Myers. Vintage ‘drinks’ shirt. Dark denim by Mott & Bow. Navy Rosen Runners by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

We finished up our day in Fort Myers by heading to The Lodge, a cavernous downtown bar replete with rustic wood furnishing, delicious barbeque and (my personal favorite), the ability to pour your own beers from their long list of taps (the Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter from Fort Myers Brewing is worth a few sips!). We were joined by some old family friends in town for a visit (Hi, O’Brien family!)  — it was a wonderful evening filled with lots of laughter and reminiscing, plus new memories made.

Catching the last of the Florida rays. Ringer Pocket Tee by Tommy John. Khaki shorts by Banana Republic. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. White Wilson sneakers by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.
Catching the last of the Florida rays. Ringer Pocket Tee by Tommy John. Khaki shorts by Banana Republic. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. White Wilson sneakers by GREATS Brand. Snowdon Sunglasses by Tom Ford.

But as with all great trips, the journey home has to start sometime. We had the chance to pick up some locally-famous donuts from Bennett’s Fresh Roast on Sunday morning– once again, this place is a must-visit if ever you find yourself in the Fort Myers area. We finished off that leg of the trip by taking in the last of the nearby ocean views. With walking in the itinerary, I grabbed a comfortable Tommy John Ringer Pocket Tee in Heather Grey, which fits slim and is crafted from remarkably soft fabric. I topped off the look with a vintage ballcap from Goorin Brothers – although the option you see here is sold-out, a stylish, minimal cap never goes wrong when traveling, nor do versatile captoe sneakers.

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With all that activity (and new #menswear gear) in the bag, it was time to hit the road – for travel, I threw on my trusty Mott & Bow denim and some sturdy Thursday Boots suede chukkas. I’d certainly recommend you reach for comfortable, stylish pieces the next time you hop on a flight. Aside from some travel delays on the way down, the trip was about as amazing of a holiday as I could have hoped for, and I can’t wait to visit southwest Florida again. The natural beauty is second-to-none, the local attractions are unique, and the sunshine isn’t a bad way to spend Christmas – or any other time of year! I’ll be looking forward to my next trip, and I hope you’re able to travel & see loved ones as we head into 2016. For now, look for a New Year’s Eve Style Suggestion hitting right here tomorrow.

Until then – stay stylish!

-Beau

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7 thoughts on “Sand & sun, Part 2: Celebrating Christmas in Florida

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