Friday, October 30, 2009

Great places for a Great work out on Sanibel Island

The majority of visitors to Sanibel find sufficient challenge in the daily activities of swimming in the Gulf or their rental pool. And perhaps they vary their routines to include biking around the Island or swinging a golf club at the public courses. Some longer term guests may even find time to canoe or kayak or walk/run the 12 miles of pathway that winds around the island. But some visitors want to continue a routine that they have at home, may be concerned about injuries in less structured activities or want to explore what they can do on the Island that might be new to their regimen.

Generally, when asked about where to work out, we need not go further than recommending the newly renovated and expanded Sanibel Recreation Center. This is a superb facility with an enormous variety of activities. It houses a lap pool, a kiddie pool, a gym, weight room, tennis courts, as well as a game and teen room. Several types of yoga are offered in addition to aerobic classes, cardio boxing, strength training...well, you get the picture. Pretty much anything you or any member of your family can think of is available.

Certain visitors, however, prefer a more intimate environment, and may feel more comfortable in a club such as Sanibel Health Club. There, owner and certified personal trainer, Tim Shevlin, as well as his certified staff will work with you one on one in giving you the routine you desire....or carry forward for you the routine you have been using at home. And, in addition to the individualized personal attention, there is another reason for using this club. They offer a juice bar and delicious health smoothies. Now that would be enough incentive to get me to a health club!

Whatever your choice, free lance, rec center or more personalized club, Sanibel has the solution.

But if you opt to lay on the beach or nap by the pool, who's to blame you?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Turnkey Accommodations, Turkey Dinner and More Good Reasons to Visit Sanibel in November

November is a great month to visit the Island of Sanibel. The weather is great, there are lots of nice places with availability. There are lots of fun things to do.

Although Thanksgiving week special rates are not yet available (and that week is a popular one so there may not be specials) there are some very nice condo units still open for the weeks preceding the holiday week that are now offering discounted rates. Take a look by clicking here:

Equally enticing, those seeking a beach holiday with something a little different in the way of "entertainment" have a few nice choices.

The 16th Annual Esperanza Woodring Castnet Rodeo takes place on November 7. A family event where children and adults throw castnets at moving and stationary targets, prizes are given to all children entrants. The first place winner in the adult category will receive a $500 prize. Refreshments will be available. Free Lessons & Demonstrations: 8:00am to 9:00am. Children's Competition Begins: 9:30am. Adult Competition Begins: 1:00pm. The fun takes place at The Bait Box, 1041 Periwinkle Way. Call 239.472.1618 or go to for more information and a registration form.

And, there is not just one, but two great night out events at the School House Theater on the Island.

Lovely Night: The Music of Oscar Hammerstein

Oct 15 - Nov 7
Performance Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Show Times: 8pm

A rousing tribute to the music of Oscar Hammerstein II, a composer of some 850 songs including "Getting To Know You," "The Sound of Music," "Old Man River" and "Oklahoma!"

"Plaza Suite" by Neil Simon

Nov 12 - Dec 5
Performance Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Show Times: 8pm

More cinema fan than live theater devotee? You might want to explore the film series at Big Arts.

The November “Hollywood Speaks Out” series will explore the impact of feature entertainment films that dared to deal with contemporary social concerns in American society. Introduction and discussion of each film will be led by Dr. Robert Hilliard. Autographed copies of his latest book, Hollywood Speaks Out: Pictures That Dared to Protest Real World Issues will be available for purchase

If you are lucky enough to have your plans to visit the Island for the Thanksgiving week, you can enjoy a scrumptious Thanksgiving buffet at Tween Waters or have the whole meal brought to your holiday accommodation by either of the two major grocery stores on Island, Bailey's or Jerry's.

So, sun, fun and food are just here waiting for your arrival in November. Can you think of a nicer place to be?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sanibel LIghthouse Shines Light on Island History

Despite the hot and sunny days, it gets dark early on the Island these days. And when it is dark on Sanibel, it is pitch dark. No movie marquees with neon lights, no street lights, not even a traffic light permeates the black spaces. Were it not for the moon and the stars, the Island after sun set would be unnavigable.

Thinking of this juxtaposition, I marveled at how incredible those sea journeys years ago must have been with the moon and the stars guiding the way across the beautiful but often dangerous seas.

No doubt the sight of lights and land must have been a welcome vision for the sailors who took those risks.

I can imagine the sea navigators who arrived at Sanibel joyfully sighting the Island lighthouse and their relief to be near land.

Though there is discussion currently on-going as to how the lighthouse should be maintained, I am hopeful that this guiding light will stay bright and continue to be an important element in the history of the Island.

Built to withstand the strongest of hurricanes, this navigational lighthouse has stood on the island for well over a century.

The story of how there came to be a lighthouse on Sanibel Island begins, as is often the case, with a shipwreck. In this case the very ship carrying the raw iron to build the lighthouse sank a few miles offshore after becoming grounded on a shallow-water sandbar.

Vessels from Key West steamed up the coast and were able to salvage some of the cargo. The lighthouse was completed during the summer of 1884.

The tower is unusual in construction. It rests, windmill fashion, within an interlocking iron framework that, in turn, is attached to concrete supports seated deep in the ground. A winding staircase leads over 120 steps to the lantern house, where a modern flashing light alerts passing ships.

Seen from a distance across the lush Sanibel landscape, it appears out of place. Its rigid structure seemingly at odds with the softness of the land on which it sits.

But for those sailors seeking a port in a storm, no doubt the enchanting blinking of the lighthouse eye was as welcomed and welcoming as any fair lady who may have been waiting for a lonely sailor.

Today, there are probably few coastlines as unilluminated as Sanibel and the moon and stars still serve a noble purpose in guiding a sea journey to safety.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Votes for Best Web Sites on Sanibel

The web is a wonderful place.

It has so dramatically changed the way we find and share information, that in the realm of vacationing, it has become the research of first resort.

Not only does it provide an incredibly effective way to find vacation accommodations, it offers the internet user an amazing array of portals to get insider's view points and details about destinations.

There are several informational websites on Sanibel Island that are must visits for any one who is planning a trip to Sanibel.

The following are our favorite sites for the reasons given here.

If you have a site that is not purely promotional, but strives to provide some insight into the island, we'd love to hear from you, too.

So here goes:

The City of Sanibel provides up to date news on Sanibel Island. This is particularly important if there is bad weather heading into the island or there is some festival taking place where you might hit traffic. Folks who live on the Island are aware of the site and subscribe to alerts, but even for a casual visitor, the site is information rich in the practical matters:

The Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce site provides a great deal of information on the Island, things to do, where to eat, where to shop. As one might expect, the site caters to their members so one can't expect it to be all inclusive, but it's certainly worth a visit if you are looking for some suggestions for a Sanibel holiday:

The "darling" of Sanibel is, of course, the Ding Darling Nature Preserve. The site for Ding Darling is a government site and covers other wild life refuges as well. But there is a news release section where you can find out what is happening currently as well as other pages that explain the park and its operation:

No doubt one of the major draws for Sanibel Island is the fabulous shelling that you can do on the beaches. But it's so much more interesting to shell when you know what you are looking at or for. The Bailey-Matthews shell museum can provide a quick and highly informational tour of the shelling experience and their website offers a glimpse of what's in store at the Museum:

We know we mention them a lot on this blog, but the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation does do an outstanding job of educating visitors about the beauties of the Islands. Their website deserves not only a hand clap, but a nice stop to see what the Islands are all about:

The site that tugs most at our hearts is the one for the Center for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (C.R.O.W.) The Center takes in injured or ill wild life from the Islands and surrounding areas and does a fabulous job of blending the rehabilitation process with the educational process. Their site tells various stories of animals and birds that were rehabilitated at the Center. Definitely worth a read:

There are dozens more websites out there specific to boating, golfing, and other activities, but we'll let you find those on your own. Happy trails and happy browsing to all!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Want to bring a gift to the grandkids from Sanibel? You'll have many to choose from!

If you are coming to Sanibel and wondering what in the world you can easily take home for the grandchildren (you can substitute nieces, nephews or just little loved one for that one word), you will have loads of choices.

First of all, there are two stores that specialize in apparel and other "bring homes" for children. Giggles located on Periwinkle bills itself as a Unique Kidz Boutique and carries everything from shoes to play toys for the infant or child. According to the store's website, "Leoma Lovegrove's paintings featured on the floors and walls, makes Giggles a memorable Sanibel shopping adventure you don't want to miss!"

Alternately, Friday's Child, also on Periwinkle, provides lots of cool options including cool stuff for "dudes" and "dudettes" (the latter being a new term to me!).

But if you are feeling that your little dude or dudette has more than enough clothes, games or toys, then consider these options:

* A colorful jigsaw puzzle of Sanibel which you can purchase at most gift shops on the Island as well as Bailey's
* A book about Sanibel's critters. Our favorites are Amazing Stories From the Center for the Rehabilitation of Wild Life (C.R.O.W.), a lovely description (with photos) about the animals saved and rehabilitated by the center. Another adorable read is Dillo, a delightful fantasy of a baby armadillo on the Island.
* A Sanibel calendar which will delight the young and young at heart in your family
* A seashell lamp created from a shell or collection of shells from Sanibel
* There's a great selection of books on nature for children at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) as well as functional items such as glasses etched with dolphins and other critters from the sea and land

Look around and you will see plentiful motivation to take a piece of Sanibel home with you and to share it with the young loved ones in your life!