Earlier this year friends of ours had stopped by our place while they were in Florida for the month of January and couldn’t say enough good things about a quirky place they had found where they liked to enjoy a cold drink and take in the lively atmosphere. So when I chose our route today I had that in mind and made sure to incorporate it as a feature stop on our ride.
In the town of Immokalee we headed down 1st Street/Immokalee Rd.  which took us past the Casino and through mostly orange groves until we got closer to Collier Blvd where the housing developments sprouted up from the landscape and we become entangled in a mass of traffic.
After turning onto Collier Boulevard we encountered quite a bit of construction for a good portion of that road. After awhile we decided it was time for a moto-break and pulled down a “no outlet” side street to cut down on having a steady stream of traffic whizzing by - which usually happens around here. I guessed we were probably in or near Naples at this point.
We then continued along until we made our turn onto Tamiani Trail  and made our way down until we got to San Marco Road.
It was at the corner of San Marco Road and 41 where we stopped at the ‘Gator’s Crossroads Restaurant & Bar’.
A quintessential ‘biker bar’ which is one of many that I have come across in these out of the way places. They just seem to be scattered randomly in the hidden nooks and crannies throughout Florida.
Out front there was a wood carver who had set up shop and was selling his sculptures. We took a moment and meandered over to browse through.
|is this a hint?|
After our short moto-break we continued on down San Marco towards our feature destination that was in a small fishing village named Goodland. The town is nearly surrounded by water and is tucked away on an outlying portion of Marco Island. This is where we found Stan’s Idle hour.
Apparently Stan’s place has earned itself a reputation of being an iconic restaurant/bar in the area. Even after Stan’s passing in 2012 his family continues on with the tradition and eccentric ambiance that was Stan. Stan’s Idle Hour features a couple of annual festivals and boasts live music throughout the week during the busy tourist season.
The Mullet Festival and Buzzard Lope Queen Contest is a three-day event that attracts nearly 5,000 people at the end of January. This has been an annual event since 1985 when Stan came up with the idea to incorporate one of his wacky songs into a contest. And what is a festival without the food, which of course is the fried and smoked mullet.
[FYI: The Buzzard Lope is a dance based on "The Buzzard Lope Song" composed and sung by Stan.]
Then there is the 2nd Annual Florida Lobsterfest & Stan Look-A-Like Contest in the spring.
[FYI: If interested this one happens to be coming up soon on March 13th 2016]
To be honest, it didn’t look like much at first glance, with the weathered old buildings looking to have seen better days and sun baked picnic tables that surrounded a eclectic looking stage.
But then after all this is truly the kind of place where flip flops and Tee’s are the required dress code and where the emphasis is on its laid back atmosphere along with having a good time. When we pulled in a band was jamming out country tunes and quite a few old timers were twisting it out on the make-shift dance floor. Even though the place looked like a retirees Disneyland on a Saturday afternoon, it is the kind of place where you felt right at home no matter what your age.
|I liked the staff's shirts 'Buzzard Crew'|
|My non-alcoholic beverage... even kept the cup :)|
We took a slightly different way home, just for a change of scenery. However it was probably a mistake as it took us through Naples along 41 at a time when the traffic was bumper to bumper. (Come to think of it, when isn’t there traffic at this time of year) We were also unlucky enough to hit every red light - and believe me, there are a lot. At least when we turned off of Bontia Beach Road and onto Imperial Parkway the traffic had thinned out considerably and it was easy cruising all the way home.
Our tour took us on a round trip 153.6 miles (247.19 km) not bad for an afternoon cruise...
Stan’s Idle Hour - Goodland Route