SOAK IT UP

In south­west Florida, Fort My­ers is a hub for the arts, mod­ern com­forts and ex­otic en­coun­ters. Fol­low the crowd or ex­plore be­yond the tourist grid.

Midwest Living - - Southward Bound -

PLAY MU­SIC WALK

Time a trip for the third Fri­day of the month to wit­ness a mu­sic takeover in the his­toric River District down­town. Streets close for more than a dozen acts, in­clud­ing jazz en­sem­bles, is­land bands and buskers.

REPER­TORY THEATRE

In this same build­ing, Ford and Edi­son once watched some of the ear­li­est films, thanks to Edi­son’s kine­to­graph. To­day, ac­tors from New York and other cities set up res­i­dence in Fort My­ers to per­form in­ti­mate plays on two stages.

MLB SPRING TRAIN­ING

Get tick­ets well in ad­vance for the Red Sox at Jetblue Park at Fen­way South, fea­tur­ing a replica of the team’s Bos­ton ball­field. Ten miles away, Cen­tu­rylink Sports Com­plex is the late-win­ter home for the Min­nesota Twins.

MAN­A­TEE PARK

Lee County’s Man­a­tee Park in Fort My­ers draws a spe­cial win­ter crowd. Wild man­a­tees (of­ten more than 100) fill a warm canal be­side a power plant. Stick to the board­walk, or rent a kayak to join the once-en­dan­gered crea­tures in the wa­ter.

EDI­SON AND FORD WIN­TER ES­TATES

Open daily for self­guided and his­to­ri­an­led tours, the 21-acre his­tor­i­cal site fea­tures the win­ter homes of Thomas Edi­son and Henry Ford, Edi­son’s lab, a mu­seum, and many col­or­ful acres of botan­i­cal gar­dens.

Joe Mauer signs au­to­graphs at Cen­tu­rylink Sports Com­plex.

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