It’s easy to take it slow in Goodland. Most of us are busy, yet relaxed because our living environment makes us happy – literally. Everyone smiles; everyone waves; and everyone takes time to take a time out when needed. This includes our local businesses. As the summer comes into full swing, it’s time for many of our local haunts to take a break for themselves; a chance to really take it slow for a couple months.
Leading the race to relaxation was The Old Marco Lodge. Known for its beautiful views, delicious salad bar, live music and dancing, the owners have already closed their doors for the summer months. Sorry to tempt you now, but there’s always next year (a.k.a. October).
Up next to take a break is The Little Bar. But not before appeasing the Hurricane Gods and Goddesses of Southwest Florida. January 29 marks its annual Spammy Jammy event where patrons make art, architecture and food out of Spam and dress in their pajamas. It’s always bizarre, it’s always packed and it’s always a lot of fun!
The Little Bar usually stays open a few days after Spammy Jammy, but not much longer. And as the answering machine states all summer long, “we will be closed until we reopen.”(Also some time in October.)
Good old Stan’s. What would we do without it? It literally took the term “Sunday Funday” and put it on the map. Where on that map, you ask? Why, the heart of Downtown Goodland, of course. Stan’s and Sons put on an impressive season, boasting new bands, new parties and new drink specials. And the crowds came en masse as always. If somehow, some way, you happened to miss a Sunday at Stan’s, your time is limited for this season. Stan’s last Sunday will be on July 7, but have no fear, the restaurant of legend will reopen on October 5.
And then there’s Marker 8.5. New owners, new renovations, new signs by local sign artist Denise Santos and new menu items have brought such excitement to Goodland that the restaurant will soon be the sole dining experience to be had for the summer – and well worth the trip.
Start out by attending the Fourth of July luau. You won’t be sorry. For starters, Marker 8.5 now has a beach! Adorned with picnic tables and signs identifying this new treasure as the “Goodland Yacht Club,” the beach will also include a chickee hut built by the Seminole Indians. They will be on hand to bless the hutas well as the property. Three bands will play throughout the day under the newly blessed chickee hut, including famed local musician J. Robert. Local art and crafters will show their wares, and a limbo contest, bobbing for apples and other carnival games will add to the excitement along with kayak rentals and free prizes and giveaways.
No luau would be complete without a roasted pig, and so there shall be one – a delicious one served with veggies, rice, coleslaw and potato salad. And did I mention it’s all you can eat?
The regular menu will also be available, as it will be every day of the week except Monday. I mean, seriously, everyone needs at least one day of rest. Tuesday through Thursday they offer lunch and dinner and Friday through Sunday you will find breakfast served as well; opening at 8 AM.
And now, for something completely new! Marker 8.5 is offering delivery to Goodland! There are only a handful of businesses that will come to our village – even pizza and chinese – the staples of the delivery service system, mostly limit their boundaries to Marco. A limited menu is offered for the delivery service which will beshuttled by large trikes. How silly and fun! Things like this are why I simply love Goodland.
Catering to the fishing community with both live bait and “Captain’s Reel Box Lunches” for sale, the avid angler can make a quick stop for bait and a packed lunch consisting of five choice sandwiches, coleslaw or potato salad, a hard boiled egg, pickle spear, an apple or orange and cookies. What?!?!? That is a crazy smart idea. I’m sending my boyfriend out on his kayak for the day with bait and a lunch from Marker 8.5 and I fully expect him to come home with a nice fish for dinner (that he’ll cook). Does life get any better?
Yes it does! And with only two words: air conditioning. The newly renovated interior, including a brand new kitchen, will be air conditioned! The soft humming of cool air is like music to one’s ears in the dead heat of the summer. Large Tommy Bahama fans have been added to the screened in dining area to capture and enhance the natural breeze Marker 8.5 receives due to its location right on the water. So, while the rest of Goodland takes a break, Marker 8.5 will be where we take it.
The time to relax is upon us and it sure feels good!