Crayton Cove is home to Naples City Docks with a delightful array of boating excursions, the good ole’ Dock restaurant (1976), and a sweet splash of marine, galleries, shops and the award winning French restaurant, Bleu Provence. Need a break from the bustle of downtown? Crayton Cove will surely delight. May I suggest a sunset cruise on the catamaran Sweet Liberty? Bring your own drinks, treats, and enjoy the vistas of some of Naples most astonishing waterfront estates as Sweet Liberty steers straight into the Gulfs sunset sky. Easy to reach…a straight shot east on 12th Avenue S.
Crayton Cove was established in 1915 as Naples first sheltered moorage on the beautiful back bay waters and Naples original town center when barely 100 people lived here.
Named after a wealthy Ohioan developer, Ed Crayton, who arrived in 1913 and formed the Naples Development Company to purchase much of the Olde Naples downtown area.
By 1927 life was cookin’ in Crayton Cove. Here Naples first newspaper and pharmacy was established. An inn and hotel provided the communities pool hall, dance floor, and large dining room where important events took place. The annual Swamp Buggy Ball* was a favorite. The tireless laborers working on the Tamiami Trail* came to play, fishermen prospered from the profusion of catch, and a cast of bootleggers made dependable profits.
*Local historians credit Ed Frank for the invention of Naples first swamp buggy sometime around 1918- tooled together from a junked Ford Model T to provide a very cool way to go hunting through the boggy landscape. One improvement after another has morphed, today, into Naples Swamp Buggy Races where a prize turkey and a shotgun has been replaced with a point system and prestige, the car engines of yesteryear replaced with ones built with race car ingenuity. No longer the preferred hunting vehicle, now provided a good 18″ inches of muddy water and the dreaded 3′ foot “sippi” holes to mimic the lands of yesteryear….vroom, mud splash, vroom.
* The Tamiami Trail was a formidable undertaking. It’s mission to connect Tampa to Miami. Until completed in 1928, Naples remained a secret paradise accessible to the wealthy few who could afford the journey by land and sea. Workers toiled under unimaginable conditions through alligator invested swamp with primitive machines and tons of dynamite to create this road.