Old fishermen's dives are thriving -- and delicious
In some ways, popular tourist destinations and general media coverage of the state have had a similarly blinding effect on the ways we think of Florida -- and why we choose to visit it, or not to. If there is no anthropomorphized, creepy-as-hell mouse skipping around a castle, no sprawling beachside resort that seems to know and love every color except the sensible kind, no gated golf community whose residents sip on sweet wine and bemoan the threat of "the illegals" as they wait for their bell to toll, it's not Florida. It's not worth the trip.
Which at least in part explains why a place like Fort Myers can go relatively unnoticed. Of course the town -- which, perhaps appealing to a tourist demographic blind to what Florida actually is and could be, has requested I call it the "Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel" when writing about it -- dabbles in the superlative. But unlike Miami, which peddles Caligulan fantasy alongside a dash of Fidel Castro, and Orlando, which caters to an America willing to shell out $100 for their kid to snuggle Cinderella's petticoats, Fort Myers offers Florida at its oldest, rawest, and, in my opinion, best.