The 18-hole course at King's Gate Golf Club encompasses 3,176 yards of meticulously landscaped Florida terrain. A round on the par 60 course challenges irons with 12 par 3 holes ranging from 105 to 175 yards, interspersed with scenic par 4 holes that dip and careen through the serene surroundings of nearby nature reserves, navigable by the included cart rental, by foot, or by GPS-enabled centaur. Monday through Saturday, golfers fuel up with hot dogs and beer for two, and on Sunday, links lovers feast on a breakfast of two eggs, bacon strips, toast, and hash browns before chipping their way to victory or swatting their way to exhaustion.
During guided tours, captains transport passengers between the coasts and along waterways of the barrier islands. They may embark on explorations of Cayo Costa State Park, a natural wildlife preserve, or take guests shelling and swimming off Sanibel Island beaches. Powerboats, jet skis, and sea kayaks are also available for rent, allowing customers to explore the bay and islands on their own. Many perfectly seaworthy crafts begin their departure from the company's hexagonal wooden pagoda, which huddles on a sandy shore separated from the surrounding hotels by gently waving palm trees.
Engines start to roar, propellers spin, and a large parachute expands into the sky, carrying a light aircraft and its passengers toward the clouds. Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as powered parachutes, weight-shift trikes, and gyroplanes. Led by licensed FAA flight instructor Craig Ewing, Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Airwolf 912 and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also assist new pilots with replacement parts, provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.
Closer to the Vine's menu of café fare collects an assortment of light bites, sandwiches, coffee, and microbrews. Customers can scarf down a vegan panini filled with hummus and marinated portobello mushrooms ($7.95) or savor a smoked-salmon plate accompanied by cream cheese, cucumbers, and capers ($9.95). For patrons with reservations on Friday and Saturday evenings, beer-based cheddar fondue ($10) awaits dips from fresh vegetables, and semi-sweet chocolate fondue ($15) coats the bittersweet reminiscences of granny smith apples. As they sink into sofas or admire Floridian sunsets from an outdoor perch, diners can wash down solid grub with pours of wine from the diverse menu including selections from New Zealand, Chile, and Napa Valley, or opt for a microbrew, cup of coffee, or tea. In addition to offering complimentary WiFi, Closer to the Vine hosts local musicians every Friday and Saturday night and always welcomes visits from canine companions with water bowls, treats, and scratch 'n' sniff translations of the Wall Street Journal.
The Punta Gorda Club unleashes muscular potential with an on-site nutritionist, a well-equipped gym, six clay tennis courts, and more than 80 group fitness classes each week. During a one-on-one nutrition consultation and dietary analysis (a $99 value), the club's food guru will discuss each client's eating habits, then draft a written meal plan that outlines what flavors of Twinkies they're allowed to eat. Additionally, an unlimited one-month membership (a $90 value, including enrollment fee) lets patrons loose to toughen tendons on the gym's playground of cardio machines, free weights, and step-aerobics teeter-totters. Members can also choose from more than 11 types of group fitness classes such as yoga, spinning, and Pilates, to tone their tummies in tandem or swat serves on six clay tennis courts.
In the 1890's, the only liquids being served at The Ice House Pub were not actually in liquid form. They were ice. And that's because the historic building was originally built as an ice plant for the fishing industry. Now, more than a century later, the landmark building spends its days and nights as a local, English-style pub that boasts an authentic menu of English eats and more than 150 different types of international draft and bottled brews, from Guinness to American favorites like Stone Brewery and Yuengling.
A wooden, high-vaulted ceiling looks down on the pub's tall, brick walls - one of which holds a 10 foot HD television - as diners rest at wooden tables, plunging forks into steaming plates of cottage pie and fish and chips, as well as American bar favorites such as beer battered onion rings and Angus beef burgers. In between bites, guests can take turns pummeling steel-tipped darts into ten regulation-sized boards or take advantage of the pub's other games, such as hot gluing dominoes pieces to snooker balls. The Ice House also regularly hosts dart leagues for men, women, and co-ed teams, and live entertainment in the evenings.