As you read this, our family is off celebrating our anniversary! If you are reading it on Wednesday, the 19th, then we’ll be trying to squeeze in all the last minute things, as this is our next to last day being together in this special place.
It’s in the plans to be out on a 24′ pontoon boat with 5 children and 6 adults on Monday, the 17th. I’m hoping that we’ll be seeing some dolphins, snorkeling over the long grasses, waving at other vacationers who are venturing out on the water, and maybe even finding a few special shells.
Years ago, for my 50th birthday, my husband and I drove down to Sanibel Island which is just off the coast of Ft. Myers in Florida. We stayed at an old place named “Tween Waters.” It’s been around since 1931 and is now designated as a National Historic District. It stretches across the island so you can choose a room with a view of the Gulf of Mexico or the Pine Island Sound. Both times I’ve stayed there, it’s been on the gulf side but also both times, I wandered over to the sound side to take photos of the boats at the marina and the wildlife that congregates there too.
This time, because there are 11 of us making the trip, we are staying in a house. It’s within walking distance of the gulf, and also just a block or two from lots of fun places. There’s that funny old restaurant, The Bubble Room, for one. I first went to this place about 18 years ago. There were a dozen women, and one token male, as we affectionately called him. We had such a great time that I knew that someday I wanted to share it with my grandchildren. It’s been around since 1979 and although it started with just one room, it has now spread to quite a large restaurant. It’s unique not just because of it’s food, which is delicious, but because of the way it’s decorated. They started with antique toys from the 1930s and 1940s, and then, many collections later, there are now trains that race around through the rooms, a photo op with a seat from a love tunnel ride, and lots of Christmas spirit to boot! I can’t wait to see what’s been added!
Something else I can’t wait to share with our kids is the “Sanibel stoop!” That’s the position that you see most people using when walking along the beaches of both Sanibel and Captiva. It’s because of the abundance of shells that wash up along the beaches. Industrious folks don’t wait for the shells to float up to shore, but grab a mask and snorkel, swim out past the breakers and scoop them up. There is an absolute law that you can not take a live shell but it will be fun to at least show the children the creatures that inhabit these beautiful shells. And keeping fingers crossed that this trip, at least one of us, will find a junonia! They used to put your photo in the paper if you found one because they are very rare. We’ll see!
Back on the boat, we’ll be heading north up to Cayo Costa State Park. You can only reach this island by boat and so there usually aren’t many people swimming or shelling – especially in the summer. We’ll be taking a lunch of ham sandwiches, carrots and celery sticks, chips, deviled eggs and chocolate cake. That’s the same lunch that my Mother used to fix each 4th of July in Avon Park. We’ll also make a stop off at Cabbage Key to stick our dollar bill up with the hundreds of others, signifying that we hope to return. Oh, and add in some key lime pie for good measure! We’ll then be heading home in the late afternoon in time to catch a quick supper and then watch the sun setting across the gulf. Maybe we’ll walk down to the Mucky Duck. It’s famous for folks sitting out on the wall, a “salty dog” or a “mojito” in hand, waiting for a chance to see the green flash at the time the sun sinks into the water. But it might just depend on how many cocktails a person has had – just saying!
I’ve got a new book from one of my favorite authors, Randy Wayne White. It came out in March, but I’ve been saving it, (hidden away so I wouldn’t be tempted), because the author has opened a new restaurant – Doc Fords – named after his hero who lives on Sanibel. Hoping to snag an autograph during lunch one day. Guessing he gets asked by lots of older groupies! If you want a great mystery writer who writes about Florida, then Randy is your man!
Here is a page that I created a couple of years ago about my last visit to these wonderful islands. But as soon as I get back, I’ll be posting a slew of pages featuring children, grandchildren, the waves, the food, the palm trees, the flowers, the beach, the sky, and the shells! But most of all – I’ll be sharing the joy of being back at one of my very favorite places ever. A big hug to all of our children for making this dream of a vacation come true!
Happy memory making everyone,
Content used: #p2PBeachtimeBP; Storybook Legacy Collection: Explore Canada; Cottage Arts: Painted Sea Pak, By the Sea; DesignerDigitals: Coastal Kit; Designs by Laura Burger: At the Shore; Font: KG Begin Again