Cel­e­brat­ing South­west Florid­i­ans

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY BETH LU­BERECKI

MAN WITH A PLAN Rob DeGen­naro’s pop­u­lar Fort My­ers Beach restau­rant might be called Ner­vous Nel­lie’s. But when it comes to his plans for the area sur­round­ing the busi­ness, there’s noth­ing hes­i­tant about them.

DeGen­naro pur­chased the Snug Har­bor Ma­rina, and other nearby property, in or­der to trans­form it into a lively wa­ter­front zone called the Old Sea­port at Fort My­ers Beach. In ad­di­tion to ex­pand­ing the ma­rina, he plans to con­tinue bring­ing in ves­sels like the Nao Vic­to­ria, a replica of the first ship to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the globe, which will be at the ma­rina through March 17, and the Lynx, a replica of a War of 1812– era tall ship, which will be docked from March 16 through May 30. Both will be open for tours and other events.

“That’s the thrust of the Old Sea­port at Fort My­ers Beach— to be tech­ni­cally pleas­ing, ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural,” he says. “And we re­ally would like to make it a tourist des­ti­na­tion.”

The site’s grand open­ing in Oc­to­ber will be marked with a visit from the replica Span­ish bat­tle­ship True Galleon, which ap­pears in the new pirate se­ries Cross­bones on NBC this fall. “She’ll be on our docks when the first episode hits TV,” says DeGen­naro.

Ner­vous Nel­lie’s, 239- 463- 8077, ner­vous­nel­lies.net

LEADING THE FIELD Last year may have been Doug Mien­tkiewicz’s first year as man­ager for the Fort My­ers Mir­a­cle. But he’s no stranger to the mi­nor- league base­ball team af­fil­i­ated with the Min­nesota Twins. He played for the Mir­a­cle him­self years ago and spent nearly a decade as a first base­man for ma­jor- league teams like the Twins and Bos­ton Red Sox.

Af­ter leading the Mir­a­cle to a win­ning sea­son, Mien­tkiewicz was named Man­ager of the Year by the Florida State League, and sev­eral Mir­a­cle play­ers made the league’s All- Star Team. “You try to get the best out of each guy,” he says. “Our job is to help them get bet­ter and ful­fill their dreams.”

His own mi­nor- league ex­pe­ri­ences aren’t that far in the past for the 39- year- old man­ager. “I re­mem­ber the strug­gles I had,” says Mien­tkiewicz. “As a player, I was ev­ery­thing from the top prospect in an or­ga­ni­za­tion to the 25th man on the ros­ter.”

Though the makeup of mi­nor- league teams changes from year to year, Mien­tkiewicz has high hopes for the up­com­ing sea­son, which be­gins in April. “There’s no rea­son why we shouldn’t be able to do what we did last year,” he says.

Fort My­ers Mir­a­cle, 239- 768- 4210, mir­a­cle­base­ball.com

ROB DEGEN­NARO

DOUG MIEN­TKIEWICZ

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