Fort Myers Discovery Challenge is a Passport to Fun in 2022

"Caloosahatchee Manuscripts" at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in Fort Myers, Fla., June 2022.

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Musicians performed on the streets. Pop up bars serving cool beverages were everywhere. Artists displayed their creative pieces. And there were lots of energized people and cute dogs walking the streets of downtown Fort Myers, Fla. Best of all was feeling the chill, hip vibe with every footstep over the brick-paved streets. After living in Southwest Florida for almost two decades, this was the first time I’ve experienced the Fort Myers Art Walk. I’m just kicking myself for not doing it sooner!

Downtown Fort Myers Art Walk

The first Friday of the month between 6 – 10 p.m., the historical downtown Fort Myers artistically transforms for the monthly Art Walk. Some downtown streets are closed off to vehicles which allow attendees to stroll and enjoy the music, artists, and adult beverages. Some galleries open their doors and welcome visitors with artist meet-and-greets and the occasional adult beverage.

My friend Pamela Droog Jones is an acclaimed artist. Her art is on display through June 2022 at the Arts for ACT Gallery which participates in the Fort Myers Art Walk. The gallery is located in the River District in the Arcade Building. (2265 First Street, Fort Myers)

Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc., owns and operates the gallery. The non-profit serves Lee, Glades, and Hendry Counties with three safe shelters, children’s program, counseling, rape crisis center, and an economic empowerment program. They have a free, 24-hour helpline (239-939-3112), and much more to support, educate and empower those utilizing the services and the community.

Artists Doing Good Through the Arts for ACT Gallery

In the Arts for ACT Gallery, find art including upcycled creations, along with vintage and modern jewelry, books, and home goods. Pam’s art fits in perfectly. She creates beautiful, intriguing, and eclectic upcycled pieces. Every piece I’ve seen inspires conversation, isn’t that what art’s supposed to do?

On display is her Gypsy Jazz collection. These are colorful pieces with long, flowing strips of fabric sourced from worn garments. Also on display are her Chair Shrines. They feature either the Mother Mary or Buddha in various vibrant settings on a small chair. Two of my favorite pieces are “Woodlands Madonna” with small woodland animal figurines, feathers, pinecones, and other natural elements. The other is “See No Buddha” with a Buddha figuring covering his eyes with his hands with an abacus as a backdrop.

Are You Ready for Adventure? Check Out the Fort Myers Discovery Challenge

Arts for ACT Gallery is one of more than 80 attractions in the Fort Myers Discovery Challenge, a new digital passport to discover fun things to do in Fort Myers and Lee County. Thankfully, this is not another app to add to your phone (my iPhone 7 doesn’t have room for another app!) but a website link you add to your home screen after you register.

Once you’re within a quarter mile of the attraction, check-in! The more places you visit and check-in between now and Dec. 20, 2022, the more you will be rewarded!

Fifteen check-ins will earn you a Fort Myers Tervis Tumbler (if you know Tervis Tumblers, these are da bomb! And made in Florida, too!). With 30 check-ins, receive a specialty T-shirt. And with more than 50 check-ins, enter to win a stay at the Luminary Hotel & Co. in downtown Fort Myers.

Participating Fort Myers and Lee County attractions represent a variety of cultural attractions and institutions. They range from the iconic Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers to one of my favorite restaurants, Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farms and the historic Banyan Street in Boca Grande to the serene Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve (East).

You’ll need to register for the passport and upon doing so, you’ll receive a link and instructions on how to add to your smartphone’s home screen.

I’m Up for the Fort Myers Discovery Challenge!

I’m competitive and will work on checking into as many attractions as possible. This passport reminds me a bit of the Butler County, Ohio, Donut Trail!

I’ve visited many of the Fort Myers attractions in the discovery challenge, but many more are new to me, like the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, which I finally visited during the Art Walk. Seeing it at night has been on my must-visit list and I finally saw it, squee! Outside, there is a stunning sculpture called “Caloosahatchee Manuscripts” consisting of two bronze projection cylinders both with script cut into them. Light radiates from the center and projects on the sidewalk and art center. On the roof is a bar and sculpture garden with a fresh, hip vibe.

I’m looking forward to seeing where the Fort Myers Discovery Challenge will lead me and what I’ll experience. Will you be taking the challenge, too? Whether you’re visiting or a Southwest Florida resident, I’m sure you’ll discover something new. Be sure to follow my Facebook page and Instagram account for my latest adventures.

Where to Eat in Historic Downtown Fort Myers

There are sooo many yummy restaurants in downtown Fort Myers. We dined at Blu Sushi and my Summer Nights roll was delish! It consists of tempura fried shrimp, avocado and diced jalapeno topped with spicy crab salad, with sesame seeds, scallions, smelt roe and eel sauce. Their drink menu looked mighty fine, too, but I didn’t try an adult beverage. Next time! (2262 1st St, Fort Myers; Tel: (239) 362-2843)

Summer Nights roll at Blu Sushi in Fort Myers, Fla.
Summer Nights roll at Blu Sushi in Fort Myers, Fla.
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Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

Photograph by Outdoor Afro from Nature Swagger by Rue Mapp, published by Chronicle Books.
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