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At the north end of Marco Island, a small bit of land in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s southwest coast, is a restaurant called Snook Inn. If you’ve got a boat, you can park it at the dock and step ashore for a table. But we always drove or walked there when we went. And there’s indoor seating, but why would you use that when you can enjoy outdoor dining right by the water?

My in-laws invited us to join them many a winter as they snowbirded in Marco. We took them up on the invitation a handful of times, and I think we made our way to Snook Inn every visit. The first couple trips, there was an overturned boat that seemed to just exist in the middle of the channel nearby, a discovery (or rediscovery) that always led to conversaton. About the food: It didn’t take long until I found it almost impossible to not order the grouper sandwich. And the chowder is pretty incredible, too.