Those who follow us know we like to explore the Sunshine State for the fun and funky. However, sometimes we just want to take a safe Florida vacation where we have some old favorites and don’t have to worry. Such was our last foray over to the Gulf.

We booked a couple of nights at the Bentley Boutique Hotel. Yes, we know it is not on the beach, in fact, it’s a fair drive to the beach. But it has wonderful accommodations at a great pricepoint. We were once again delighted at the quality of the bed, the view from our balcony and the quietness of our stay.

Moreover, they have added back their breakfast service and have re-opened their tiki bar area. The nights we were there they had a wonderful troubadour playing guitar and singing. We were able to sit out on our private deck and listen during the evening and have our own private concert.

The Bentley’s Tiki Bar was well populated both evenings we were there. However, we enjoyed the music from the privacy of our second floor balcony.

Dining Out

As we said, we stuck with the tried and true. For our dinner we went to Nokomo’s Sunset Hut. Who was playing there but Jimmy Bones himself. We arrived just in time for his “Music by Dead People” set. We also were delighted once again to have Jo-Jo as our waitress. She, in fact, might well be one of the best servers on the planet. It is hard to find somebody who can be uber attentive without being annoying.

As always, the food was amazing. I had the Bacon & Bleu Burger, while my wife defaulted to chips and salsa. I did experiment with the bean salad – which was a great choice. We ended up again sharing the Pineapple Yum Cake dessert which soon may be regulated as an addictive substance.

The great food is augmented by the service, the music and the wonderful sunset view, They don’t call it Nokomo’s Sunset Hut for nothing.

The Breakfast Cottage

We said we didn’t experiment – and that’s not entirely true. We went to The Breakfast Cottage – but we went for lunch. We’ve had delightful breakfasts there before. However, we’d never tried the midday menu. To absolutely nobody’s surprise, it was great.

I went with a traditional Reuben on marbled rye while my wife opted for their veggie sandwich on sourdough. Both were stuffed and delicious. Our sides – my island slaw and her potato salad were similarly tasty.

Our lunch at the Breakfast Cottage

Cafe Evergreen

And no visit to the Venice/Nokomis area would be complete without a stop at Cafe Evergreen where we had a quiet dinner. For me, it was a no-brainer as I had the Evergreen Club. It was voted the Best Vegetarian Sandwich in the USA by Restaurant Hospitality – one bite tells you why.

My wife had the Turkey melt which was equally delicious. We were very impressed by their tea selection. I had the Organic Matcha Green Tea while my wife had the Redberry. We were highly impressed by both of these beverages.

The Evergreen Redberry Tea came loose leaf with its own strainer. There was plenty for several cups.

The Bentley and all three of these restaurants are must stops and come with our highest recommendations.

The Attractions

We have been to the area several times, but had not stopped by Ideal Classic Cars since our first visit. I had been wanting to revist there and this time we had the opportunity. It was worth every second. Other than the Toy Story themed golf cars out front – all the vehicles were different from our last visit.

Here’s a snippet of what we saw.

And of course we had to visit the Gulf. We went down to Nokomis beach and walked the shore. It’s always so relaxing for us to watch the kids at play, see the birds and look for shells. This time, a couple had planned a seaside wedding, and had made a beautiful setup to exchange their vows.

A couple was getting ready to tie the knot in the ultimate romantic setting.

We stopped and shopped in as much of Historic Venice as we could, and hit a few of our favorite places as well. In the end, it was a great, quiet and safe Florida vacation in one of our favorite spots.