Posts Tagged ‘Tropicana Park’

Camelia River. Southwest Fla.     Click to enlarge. By Paul Goldfinger. Ft. Myers


JOHN DENVER  “Fly Away.”  Definitive All-Time Greatest Hits.


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Tropicana Co-op, Ft. Myers, Fla. Jim helps promote the event in his recliner bike. Salute when he passes by.  Feb 11, 2020. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

True conversation:

It’s Dumpster Day, and the event is nearly over.  A woman comes by carrying a paint can.

She:  Am I too late for the dumpster?

Worker:  No, lady, jump right in!


But yes, there are other activities in this Southwest Florida manufactured home community of nearly 500 units:  Hot Dog Day, bingo, shuffle board, swimming pools, karaoke, bike riding, walking, art classes, ice cream day, trash and treasure yard sale, St. Patrick’s Day dinner, Valentine’s Day dance/dinner, etc.

I have seen only one other car with Jersey plates.  Most of these fun lovers are from the mid-west.

By the end of the day, the dumpster was full.


EMMY ROSSUM.  from her album Sentimental Journey.  This song was a hit in 1927.


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Tropicana lights. A "cottage" in this 500 unit mobile home park. Ft.Myers, Florida. 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Tropicana lights. A “cottage” in this 500 unit mobile home park. Ft.Myers, Florida. ©

A yellow bird on Camelia Drive in Tropicana Park. All photos by Paul Goldfinger, New Jersey escapee. ©

A yellow bird on Camelia Drive in Tropicana Park. All photos by Paul Goldfinger, New Jersey escapee. ©  Re-post from 2015


By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor@Blogfinger.net:   Recently  (August, 2019)   we have had quite a few hits on this 2015 post; I guess it’s the time when folks think about getting away to Florida in the winter.

Where do the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker go to get a warm winter retirement?   It’s a Florida gulf coast mobile home park —in this case in the southwest part of the state.

But don’t ever refer to one of those parks as a “trailer park.” Down here, these modest dwellings, grouped together in villages of up to 500 units or more, are called “manufactured homes.” They are not RV’s and they have no wheels. They are basically metal cans, but they sit permanently on cinder block foundations with crawl spaces underneath, and many of them have survived since the 1970’s and even earlier.

There is a great deal of individuality in these “cottages,” and they are often  lovely to see and very practical. The larger ones are double-wides.  Inside, some of them look like trendy condos, but most are ordinary looking 2 bedroom, 2 bath units with dining rooms and screened in lanais. Most of the cars are Fords, Chevy’s or Toyotas, but an occasional BMW or Corvette can be seen parked in the carport.

Sweet cottage. Tropicana.

Sweet cottage. Tropicana.


Camelia Drive. Tropicana. Water is never far away.

Camelia Drive. Tropicana. Water is never far away, nor is a gin and tonic..

If you visit one of these places, like our prototype Tropicana Park in Fort Myers, you will be surprised because the park looks like a neighborhood from the ’50’s, with cute little houses on winding streets framed by flowery landscaping and palm trees.   You will not find derelict cars on blocks, junk yard dogs, or tattoos on anybody. Tropicana is neat as a pin, and you don’t see a scrap of paper on the ground.   The sign at the entrance says, “Resident Owned,” and that is a trend down here where those who invest become part of a co-op and are landowners.

Shortstop. Tropicana.

Shortstop. Tropicana.

All the roads are scenic.

All the roads are scenic.

Peeking into a backyard . Tropicana.

Peeking into a Tropicana backyard .

The people are mostly over 55 snowbirds, although about 10% live there year-round. Many of them are from the mid-west or Canada. Jersey plates are rare. They come straight down Route 75 and have no interest in the east coast where you find the Jersey and New York crowd who stay in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Boca and Miami. These Tropicana people are often retirees, farmers, policemen or government bureaucrats.

Hot Dog Day at Tropicana. Paul Goldfinger photo.

Hot Dog Day at Tropicana. Paul Goldfinger photo.


You almost never see anyone smoking.   They love socializing with like-minded folks who enjoy shuffle board, card games, exercise in the two pools. or events at the Clubhouse. They might have Hot Dog Day, a Valentine’s dance, or a spaghetti dinner—never anything fancy.

Tropicana is full for the winter season with renters and owners. The weather is usually magnificent, and the sun shines just as bright as over the areas nearby which are replete with wealthy gated communities. But, in Tropicana, modesty and low cost are the rule and are braggable findings.

The community is quiet, and in the evenings you see residents walking together, chatting softly, or casually riding two and three wheelers up and down the streets. Some are sitting by the pool as the sun goes down over the Gulf. Cars may not park on the streets, and the dogs can’t be bigger than your head.  The speed limit is 15 mph.

Tropicana sunset

Tropicana sunset

Some interiors are quite special. Tropicana.

Some interiors are quite special. Tropicana.

In 10 minutes you can be on the Causeway into Sanibel Island, a famous and expensive resort with a lush beaches, tree-lined bike paths, and a store that features Rolex watches and diamond bracelets.

Tropicana is also not far from Naples, Bonita Springs and Sarasota, places where you can hear symphonies, visit museums, eat at French restaurants, shop at Tommy Bahama and chat with some swells.

But the people of Tropicana prefer the $14.95 Tuesday night lobster special at Buster’s  Sports Bar about a  1/4 mile away. So, if you think that you can’t be a snowbird someday, take a trip south and visit one of these remarkable and affordable places. It’s amazing how inexpensive they are.

Plan to escape the Grove if you can next year.

—-Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net



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Flamingo Drive. Tropicana Park.” Ft, Myers. Paul Goldfinger ©  January 14, 2018.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger

No one calls them “trailer parks.”  Mobile/manufactured home communities can be found all over Florida,  but Tropicana, in the south west part of the state,  is a special sort.  It sits among the big boys—-fancy gated condo and private home developments with tile roofs and walls surrounding the properties. Most of these affluent “over 55” places are on waterways with boats parked in the back, and most are surrounded with walls.   In order to get in, you need to aim your clicker at  the iron gates which then slide open, and after you go through, they close rapidly behind.

But mobile home parks are not necessarily desolate places with cars up on cinder blocks. Many, such as Tropicana, are not even mobile–all units are on foundations.  I call mine an “immobile home.”

Tropicana is like a village, with nearly 500 units, winding streets and palm trees. It is actually quite attractive.   There are no garages and no parking allowed on the streets, but each unit has a carport.  Our carport was blown apart a few years ago by a “mini-tornado.”  Since we  were the only ones hit so hard, I called  the Sheriff’s Department about my theory of an act of terrorism, but they ignored me.  It was just Florida weather.

Most people who own places here are from the mid-west. Our neighbors are from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and other heartland states.  Some Canadians vacation here, and few Jersey plates are seen. Only 10% of homeowners or renters live here year round.  The parkland  is owned by resident shareholders, and the official name is Tropicana Co-op.

Culturally southwest Fla.  is quite different from what we north-easterners are used to.  At Ace Hardware, a burly guy with a crew cut didn’t know how to work the bicycle hand pump which I was considering.  He said it was a “new fangled gadget.”  I met a retired pediatric dentist who made money as a kid milking cows in Kentucky.  Next week they’re having “hot dog day” here, but you have to sign up in advance and tell them how many dogs you will eat.

So, more news from  FlaFla Land will be posted until we leave.  Meanwhile, BF is an information sharing web site, so if you have any Grovarian news, please email me at Blogfinger@verizon.net.

Here’s a link to our article from last September about Tropicana.

Retirement in southwest Florida

You can search out archives  (above right) and type in “Tropicana” to see more Fla Fotos.

THE NUTMEGS  (with the rest of the story:)


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