6TH ANNUAL WEEKEND OF THE YEAR – A SOJOURN TO SEBRING
For the sixth time, EGRPCA members packed their bags, polished their Porsches, and set off for a weekend of unique adventures. This year, Chris and Jenny Branston arranged a trip to Sebring with an eco-tour along the way. Starting on Friday, April 28th, at the rest stop along US 75 at Daniels Parkway, the participants first caravanned to Babcock Ranch for a tour of the exceptional ecological area located north of the Caloosahatchee River and west of Lake Okeechobee. An interesting ride through part of the more than 90,000 acres which comprise Babcock Ranch to view indigenous flora and fauna was followed by a delicious lunch at the ranch’s Gator Shack Restaurant. Participants then made their own way to Sebring’s beautiful Inn on the Lakes for a two-night stay. Friday was capped off by dinner at the Inn, which included the always exciting crab-racing. The winners of 14 heats all participated in the Grand Final, the winner of which was Tom Sands.
One of the delights of the Weekend of the Year is the opportunity to experience parts of Florida which are well off the beaten track. This year was no exception as Saturday’s activities started with a cryptic clue and photo rally. Chris and Jenny put together an enjoyable route through Highlands County which, in addition to historic Sebring, took participants through interesting locations such as Avon Park and Frostproof, included a stop at a local winery, and ended in Lake Placid for lunch. After lunch, participants had the option to stay and view the outdoor gallery of murals for which Lake Placid is known. Saturday evening, the participants convened for cocktails poolside followed by dinner at the Inn, with dancing to music provided by the Good Bad Kids band.
On Sunday, some participants traveled to Lake Wales to visit the delightful Bok Tower Gardens, while others headed directly home from Sebring. Either way, the enjoyable ride back to Collier and Lee Counties was the perfect ending to another fun-filled Weekend of The Year!
Plan now on joining your fellow EGRPCA members for the 2018 WOTY.
BACK ROADS RALLY
Sunday, February 26th, was a beautiful day for a drive in the country!
Sixty-two members of Everglades Region of the Porsche Club America gathered near the Miramar Outlets in the early morning sun and, after coffee and mutual admiration of their fine cars, set off across the back roads of South West Florida.
The route quickly left the urban area behind and wound its way along Corkscrew Road to Crew Marsh, Felda, and Keri. It then passed through Devil’s Garden with a brief visit to the first Florida oil well. There were lots of birds to spot if the cars went slowly enough! A couple of drivers got so carried away with the peaceful roads they did some extra miles (!)
The 120 mile route ended at the historic Port of the Islands resort on US-41 north of Everglades City. The hotel put on a fine buffet. During lunch the rally cryptic clues and photo clues were marked and prizes were awarded.
Here are some of the winners:
1st prize Gary and Anne Vanic ( they are the first in 10 years to get all the cryptic clues correct!)
2nd prize The Scarafile family
3rd prize Joe and Donna Giasi
4th prize Tom and Linda Sands
5th Prize Trendov and Goby team
And many more! Well done!
Everyone joined in with a fun card spotting game and many stories were exchanged. A great day and lots of fun.
JANUARY POTLUCK DINNER
To top their successful 2016 potluck dinner, Tim and Linda Wallen had to go “whole hog”. And, that’s exactly what they and their daughter did; they roasted a hog and provided a pulled pork feast for the delightment of over 60 EGRPCA members and guests. In addition, Tim and Linda treated the attendees, who braved gusty conditions earlier in the day, to water, soda and beer. With all of the additional main dishes, sides, salads and desserts provided by the other participants, it was a fabulous spread and a great way to start the 2017 EGRPCA social calendar.
On Saturday, December 5th, more than 100 EGRPCA members met at The Club at Longshore Lake to share and spread some holiday cheer at the annual holiday party. After welcoming words from President Chris Branston, who introduced the 2017 regional officers, attendees enjoyed a wonderful dinner and then danced the night away to the oldies presented by the very talented and ever-engaging musician and singer Joe Marino, backed by his “All The King’s Men” band. Be sure to mark your calendars now for the 2017 Holiday Party which will take place on Saturday, December 9th, again at The Club at Longshore Lake.
A spectacular opportunity presented itself to Porsche watchers on Thursday, October 27th, when more than 40 EGRPCA member-owned Porsches turned out for the final Drive and Dine event of 2016. The caravan from the Porsche dealership on Daniels Parkway to Woody’s Waterside Island Bar and Grill in Saint James City on Pine Island was an impressive sight. With a turnout of over 90 members and guests, this was the largest luncheon event of the year. Attendees enjoyed the waterside setting, the good food, and the friendly conversation. Don’t miss the Drive and Dine and other social events which will be available to EGRPCA members during 2017. Check the calendar on the website for dates and be on the lookout for email announcements.
Oktoberfest is an annual Bavarian festival first held in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. On October 12th, forty Everglades Region members and guests got together for our own Oktoberfest dinner at Old Europe Bistro in Naples. We enjoyed such Bavarian specialties as pfannkuchensuppe, sauerbraten with red cabbage and spaetzle, schweinehaxe with creamy sauerkraut (be sure to check out the photo of Gordon Browne with his plate of this specialty), and some warm apple strudel for dessert. Of course, there was plenty of Oktoberfest beer available to accompany our choices of appetizer and entrée. The combination of delicious food and drink with great conversation and camaraderie may explain why Oktoberfest has been an annual event for 106 years. We’ll be celebrating again next year, so whether you came this year or not, plan on joining your fellow Everglades Region PCA members in October 2017.
FT MYERS MIRACLE BASEBALL GAME
Tropical Storm Hermine threatened Ft Myers for several days, but stayed off to the west over the Gulf, eventually coming to shore well north near Tampa. The daily evening thunderstorms which forced cancellation of the previous day’s game and turned ours into a doubleheader, never arrived. It was warm and humid, but the rains never came. Was it a “miracle”? Well, in a way – it was the September 3rd Ft Myers Miracle baseball game attended by thirty-one EGRPCA members and their guests. Watching the game from our air-conditioned suite behind home plate and enjoying the food and drinks made for a fun-filled evening. However, for Porsche enthusiasts, the best part of the event was the opportunity to show off our cars to the appreciative fans. Headed by Chris and Jenny Branston, we set off in single file onto the field’s warning track and paraded around the entirety of the stadium, while the announcer described our cars and also provided a brief history of the Porsche Club of America and the Everglades Region. (Check out the accompanying photos to see the fun that we had.) Thanks to our efforts, we’re hoping that some of the kids in the stadium were dreaming not just about someday playing professional baseball, but perhaps, of driving their own Porsches in the future.
SUNSET CRUISE AND DINNER
On August 18th, twenty EGRPCA members and their guests enjoyed a two-hour cruise on the 53’ catamaran “Sweet Liberty” followed by a scrumptious dinner at Chez Boet, a French bistro near the Naples City Dock.
The participants boarded the boat under threatening skies, typical of a late summer evening in SW Florida, but just as the catamaran pulled away from the dock, the rain stopped and the clouds lifted. What had been a rain-soaked afternoon, turned into a beautifully calm evening and the cruise was topped off by an absolutely beautiful sunset. We were also treated to a lovely rainbow.
After the return to the dock, we walked the short distance to Chez Boet, where we enjoyed a special menu, great conversation with our fellow Porsche enthusiasts.
Take a look at the accompanying photos to appreciate the fun everyone had and plan to participate in an upcoming event.
INAUGURAL SUMMER PARTY
More than 60 Everglades Region members and guests attended the Inaugural Summer Party in Goodland, Florida on July 24th.
Entertained by The Good Bad Kids band and well-fed by Little Pete’s “A Little Bite of Brooklyn” food truck, the attendees enjoyed the hospitality of hosts Jenny and Chris Branston at their “summer retreat” south of Naples. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the summer than taking one’s Porsche out for a spin, listening to great music, enjoying a good meal, and sharing stories with other Porsche enthusiasts?
Check out the photos above to see the fun everyone had and check out the article about the party published in Coastal Breeze News, which you can access from this link (article). If you’re in the area next summer, be sure to make time to be part of the 2nd Annual Summer Party (date to be determined).
DRIVING AND DINING: FORREY GRILL IN LABELLE
On Wednesday, June 29th, twelve EGRPCA members participated in the first Driving and Dining event of the Summer. Four couples met at the Café Alfredo parking lot and, expertly led by Jenny and Chris Branston, embarked on a scenic drive to LaBelle. Along the way, two additional couples, who were coming from the Ft Myers area, joined the caravan just north of Daniels Parkway. From there, the now six-car caravan took a beautiful and circuitous route to the Forrey Grill, passing through Buckingham, Alva and Ft Denaud and twice crossing the Caloosahatchee River before arriving in LaBelle. At the restaurant, located in an historic building, all enjoyed the wide range of libations, which included an interesting selection of craft beers, and delicious food. A scenic drive on a beautiful afternoon, good drink, great food, and the camaraderie of fellow Porsche enthusiasts: What more could one want? Please be sure to join us on our next Driving and Dining adventure, if you are able.
Fifty-four EGRPCA members visited the O’Grady’s home at Palmira Country Club for the final potluck dinner of the season. Great food, great company, and great cars (Porsches, of course!) made it a perfect way to end the season’s social calendar.
For those of you who are year-rounders, please keep in mind that we are planning many fun events during the summer months (e.g., the Inaugural Summer Party will be hosted by Jenny and Chris Branston on Sunday, July 24th, as those on the year-rounders’ list have already been notified). If you haven’t already gotten yourselves on the year-rounders’ list, send an email to Donna Giasi (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let her know of your interest.
The 5th annual Weekend of the Year (WOTY) took place on April 15th -17th and attracted a full house of 25 cars.
We met at the I-75 Exit 131 rest stop and caravanned up to the Orlando area expertly organized by JP Petracco. At a rest stop above Sebring, we were proud to see the gas station patrons admire and photograph our impressive lineup.
Lunch was at Lakeridge Winery in Clermont. The cars lined up under the shady trees with a great view of the vineyard. We all enjoyed a delicious lunch, wine tasting, and a tour of the winery. Each person collected a “goody bag”, too. From the winery, it was a short 10 mile trip to our hotel for the weekend, The Mission Inn at Howey-in-the-Hills.
Friday evening was devoted to cocktails, dinner and “crab racing”. This turned out to be a fun evening, where many members wore costumes to match the gambling theme! Who would have guessed that crab racing could be so much fun? The crabs selected by Tom O’Grady and Randy Keys were the overall winners, so Tom and Randy collected the bucks and got to wear the crab hats!
On Saturday, most people set off on the cryptic and random photo clue rally, which took them past scenic lakes (not all 1,400 of them!) and twisty back roads. They worked hard to solve the clues. After a delicious lunch at Pisces Rising in Mount Dora, we dispersed to explore the town. We reconvened for cocktails that evening outdoors on the upper terrace with beautiful views of the Inn’s grounds, followed by dinner and dancing to a great band “Good Bad Kids”. Mark and Susan Lowers won the rally with an impressive 27 out of 32 correct answers closely followed by Tom and Linda Sands, Ralph and Liberty Gregory, Jeff and Shari Rodgers, Jack Bottoms and Judi Lanza. The rest of the entrants made a good try, too!
On Sunday, the activities continued with an interesting Eco boat tour of Dora Lake, river and canal. We returned to Pisces Rising for lunch and fond farewells. Three couples continued the event by going on to St Augustine.
A fun time was had by all. Thank you for all the compliments about the weekend. We enjoyed arranging it.
Many people expressed the hope we would do a WOTY next year. We are pleased to announce that we’ve have found another lovely hotel to visit. Please save the dates of Friday April 28th – Sunday April 30th 2017 (later than usual because of Easter). More news to follow when we have it nailed down!!
Jenny and Chris Branston
EXCITEMENT IN THE EVERGLADES
Twenty-four members and guests drove to Everglades City on March 20th to participate in the airboat tour at Wooten’s. After boarding the prop-driven, shallow-draft boats (essentially, air-powered water sleds), we were whisked at high speed through the mangroves and large patches of sawgrass, stopping occasionally to learn about the animals and plants of the region. There were alligators, of course, as well as egrets, herons, hawks, and vultures to observe. The captains were also adept at carving tight turns at high speed and making 180 degree turns to stop almost on a dime. Upon returning to the dock, we treated to an alligator show and a visit to the animal sanctuary, followed by a short drive to “downtown” Everglades City. The tasty lunch at Triad Seafood Market and Café, on a covered porch over the peaceful and picturesque Barron River, was a fitting contrast to the high speed fun of the morning before everyone started on their drives back home
More than thirty-five members made the first Potluck Dinner of 2016 a resounding success. Hosts Linda and Tim Wallen graciously provided soda, water and beer, as well as BBQ chicken, pulled pork and spicy meatballs. With the variety of main courses, side dishes and desserts brought by others, the attendees enjoyed a sumptuous spread and the opportunity to check out Tim’s project cars and giant cooler in his backyard garage and to mix, mingle and share stories (some taller than others) well into the evening. Linda and Tim are also members of the West Coast Muscle Car Club and our members had the opportunity to meet some of the WCMCC members. After all, we all love our cars, whether it’s a 2016 911 GT3 or a 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda.
DRIVE TO THE LARRY WILSON COLLECTION
Report by Chris Branston
Sunday, January 17th, dawned stormy – but only a couple of our members sustained damage from the tornado which tore through the Naples area at about 5:15 am.
After we assembled at Porsche of Ft. Myers (many thanks for the coffee and doughnuts) we caravaned along the back roads of central Florida – past the cane fields and Lake Okeechobee to Palm Beach Gardens and the Larry Wilson Collection. The sun shone on us for most of the drive!
Housed in two large industrial warehouses, the Collection has been amassed by one car enthusiast and racer, Larry Wilson, a venture capitalist in his business life who retired to enjoy acquiring and racing interesting cars from all countries. As well as some 45 Porsches, he has a number of 50’s British sports and racing cars – Jaguars, Austin Healeys, TVRs, Brabhams and a pristine Aston Martin DB9. There is a significant number of Ferraris and Maseratis (both sports and racing cars). All of the cars have been restored to original specification and are used on a regular basis. Larry selects a different one each day for his drive home! There are about 200 cars in the Collection including some 35 or so restorations in progress.
We were treated to a personal tour of the exhibits – Larry knows the provenance of all the cars in his collection and he gave some very interesting and personal insights into each car. Naturally, as Porsche enthusiasts everyone was interested in the 45 or so Porsches in the Collection. Some are very original – others could be described as “outlaw” cars – but all are treated as icons of a very special marque. Particularly interesting is a 550 Spyder (Serial number 550-075) which has undergone a full restoration from a “barn find”. A previous owner in California had just completed a restoration when the car burst into flames as a result of not replacing a piece of wood between the battery and the fuel tank! All the numbers match and the car spent many years secreted in South America before Larry bought it and decided to restore it to its original 1955 glory. It should be completed later in 2016.
A catered pizza lunch was arranged by the Club – wine and soft drinks were graciously provided by Larry – enjoyed by all as a fitting finale to a great drive and day out! Everyone had a chance to wander around the Collection and take photographs for as long as they wished before the drive back to the West Coast – although a good number stayed overnight in Palm Beach Gardens and enjoyed an excellent evening meal by the Intracoastal Waterway.
A good day! For those who missed it – check out the attraction by clicking on
www.wilson-collection.com (when asked for username and password use “car” and “collection”).