Best Weekend Getaway

If you're like us, you're repelled by the very idea of a bed-and-breakfast. Who in his right mind can relax in somebody else's house while surrounded at the breakfast table by a bunch of overfriendly yahoo tourists? Ugh. A friggin' Motel 6 sounds better than that. But the Banks of the Everglades is a different kind of bed-and-breakfast. You get to choose privacy by staying on the second floor, which has rooms that are fully furnished and have a private bath and kitchen. While the rooms are as fresh and clean as any Holiday Inn, the place is not a cookie-cutter corporate box; rather, it's wholly unique. With the look of an old-time courthouse, the building was constructed in 1923 by the late Barron Collier and served as the first bank in Everglades City. You can eat their delicious breakfast in the old bank vault or, if you find that a bit claustrophobic, outside on the porch facing a royal palm-lined street that is just a short walk from the Gulf. It's not too cheap and not too expensive -- we paid about $100 for our night in an efficiency that was cutesily dubbed "The Foreclosure Department." To get there, simply take the scenic drive through the Everglades on the old Tamiami Trail to Everglades City, which offers great fishing, a nice tour of the naturally gorgeous Ten Thousand Islands, good eats, and the kind of rich, quiet peacefulness you rarely get in Broward and Palm Beach.

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