Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sanibel Holiday Guest Blogger Raves of First Visit

My name is Nikki and my husband, little boy and I just got home from a first trip to Sanibel Island. When Sanibel Holiday listened to how excited we were about the trip, they asked if I was willing to author a post on their blog. I am thrilled to be doing this as I would like to tell the world about this hidden gem (well, maybe not hidden, but certainly not over populated!)

I am a naturalist by profession, and the thing most endearing to me about the Island is the reverence for nature. Animals are protected and treasured on the Island. Signs in several languages tell motorists to slow down. Lights are not allowed at night to protect nesting turtles. The whole Island economy and culture revolves around its being, largely, a nature preserve. There are so many ways to be “in touch” with nature on this beautiful barrier island from gathering shells along the shore to visiting C.R.O.W. to witness the wonderful rehabilitation work going on there.

One particularly wonderful experience was with Tarpon Bay Explorers. As nature lovers, we LOVED the experience and are very interested in hands on learning. We were so curious to learn as much as we could about the fauna, ecosystems and animals. It was so refreshing to see how much respect there is for the land, sea and all its critters. Even the people were respectful and full of joy!

The 1st 1/2hr of the tour was a touch tank and introduction to sea life in the area- very informative. Then outside to the tour boat to hopefully see a manatee or dolphin or birds, etc. This was an educational and very responsible tour. They are "dolphin safe" and don't interfere with the animals like some tour boats do (scout for manatee/dolphin and then bring a boat full of people to see them). Our guide, Wendy, was incredibly knowledgeable.

Of course, aside from nature, there were several aspects to our holiday that enhanced the stay enormously. The house we stayed in through Sanibel Holiday was just perfect for our little, nature loving family. It was spacious, nicely supplied, very comfortable and, best of all, equidistant between the Gulf and the Ding Darling Nature Preserve. We also loved the places to eat, from the simple and quick to the more complex. We especially liked The Blue Giraffe where we celebrated our son’s fifth birthday. We returned there several times. And, of course, the beach was a big draw for all of us. The water was calm and reasonably warm, perfect for even a just –turned five year old.

Sanibel Island was, for all of us, life changing…or at least vacation changing. We got such pleasure and satisfaction out of this trip; I can’t imagine us going anywhere else!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sanibel School House Theatre Now Part of Big Arts

If you missed the news, the Herb Strauss School House Theater is now a member of the Big Arts family. The move which took place in late Spring provides the Theater with a management, marketing and volunteer base and provides Big Arts with a theater capacity. It's certainly a win-win for the two organizations, and the theater going public will be the biggest winner of all as this helps to assure the continuation of quality theatrical productions.

Just as exciting, a $1 million challenge grant to the BIG ARTS Endowment Fund has been pledged by island residents John and Mary Jo Boler, who are benefactors of both The Schoolhouse Theater Foundation and BIG ARTS. Steve and Debbie Klug along with the Klug Family Foundation pledged to match the first $500,000 of the Boler’s gift to secure the $1 million endowment to specifically support the theater operations in perpetuity.

The second half of the matching grant ($500,000) will be raised by BIG ARTS and used to support the full range of BIG ARTS programs. The conditions of the gifts include that the annual earnings of the $1 million endowment will support theater operations and the direction of the theater will be under volunteer Program Chair Art Cassell, former president of The Schoolhouse Theater Foundation.

And clearly demonstrating the spectacular programing the Theater has produced, the roster of entertainment for this coming season is sure to please a wide variety of guests and residents.

Playing now until November 6, Songs for a New World, is a musical that has been captivating audiences since its opening Off-Broadway in 1995. The Tony Award®-winning composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown says of his Songs for a New World, “It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice.” The show is a collection of songs connected by the theme of embracing the moment. Brown transports his audience from the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship, to 1775 colonial America with a flag maker at work, to present day in the Bronx, where a young man dreams of life as a basketball star. Soaring melodies and irresistible rhythms mark a wide range of songs influenced by jazz, pop, and gospel.

And there's much, much more to come.

Comedies and musicals, inventive and inviting, will be running all the way to the end of April.

Curious? Then click here:

The staff and management of Sanibel Holiday wishes the best to Big Arts and the Theater on their new relationship and the truly exhilarating roster they have put together.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Sanibel Holiday? What to bring (or not to bring)

As the heat and humidity of summer turns into the warm, drier air of fall, vacationers are once again turning their thoughts to Sanibel.

And we are here to tell you that this fall is nothing short of spectacular on these gorgeous barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva.

The days are sunny, breezy and bright. High temps are hitting the mid 80's with humidity in the 50's and evening temps hovering around 60. Folks, these are days and nights to dream of. Happily, the weather can (we are not saying it will or it does but it can) stay like this straight through December.

Watching some broad cast tv stations, we know in many parts of the country, that temperatures are far cooler, days less sunny and night time is coat wearing weather. So we at Sanibel Holiday are literally keeping a look out for all those New York/New Jersey, Michigan, and Ohio plates to start crossing over the causeway and arriving on our beautiful, tropical, always green and usually warm isle of Sanibel.

The question du jour is what shall we pack to take to our vacation rental?

We are happy to tell you that you don't need much.

As far as accommodations, they are so well supplied that you certainly don't need to worry about towels, sheets and anything for the kitchen other than food. We will provide each condo/house/cottage with a starter kit of laundry and dish detergent as well as some bar soaps for the bathrooms.

For personal bath items, you will probably want to bring a hair dryer and your toiletries.

For activities, if you play tennis, you may want to bring your own equipment and the same for golfing. But just about anything you can think of is available for rent on the Island...bikes, boats, fishing if it is not for a personal need to have your own "tools" , you will have the option to rent in almost all instances.

For clothing, Sanibel is a casual place so "work" clothes and shoes are most likely going to remain in your suit case or closet. Daytime wear, other than bathing suits for the beach or pool, is shorts or capris for women and shorts or long pants for men. Bring light weight jackets or cotton sweaters for evening wear as the drop from day time high to night low can be as much as 25 degrees...and you will feel the difference.

A hat for the sun is always an option to be considered, as is plenty of sun tan lotion, maybe a bit of insect repellent if you think you will be out at sunset or sun rise and probably a flashlight or two will come in handy. The island protects its nesting turtles and lighting at night is minimal.

Though there is plenty to do on Island, but if you are hoping to do more resting than recreating, bring a book.

You will have a hard time, however, reading during the day as the wonderful and natural sights and sounds will be so distracting. And at night, the blissful silence will surely lull you to sleep before you can finish a page!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ding Darling Days on Sanibel: October 17 to 23

There are plenty of reasons to come to Sanibel in October.

This past week has had nothing but spectacular weather and we can only hope it will remain this way for the rest of the month. Each day has been sunny and breezy, warm but with low humidity.

And, of course, October is a relatively
light month for tourists on the Island, so things are still very low key despite the incredible weather and a Gulf of Mexico that has been calm and green.

But the weather and calm environment are only 2 reasons to book your flight or
make your plans right now to get here by October 17. Because on October 17 one of the best Island celebrations begins...Ding Darling Days!

This is an annual event where the Ding Darling Wild Life Preserve gets to strut its stuff in the very best way by showing off its
best features...the wild life that resides there.

On opening day, there will be a reptile show, a bald eagle presentation, refuge tram tours, face painting, hot dogs and many other activities, all of them
free of charge.

On the events go on, one great activity after another.

On October 18, there will be birding caravan tours, a shell mound tour, a kayak tour, cruises, bike tours and many other
fun things to do. There will be a charge in most of these instances, but not in all and some charges will be purely nominal.

The cruises and tours continue on the 19th, just in case you missed them on the 18th, and they will continue on the 20th , 21st and 22nd. There will be additional activities such as a photography talk and other educational and interesting presentation on those days as well.

The event concludes on the 23rd with a
number of lessons and some contests.

If there were one week on Sanibel where
the whole family can enjoy the refuge and get to see and do so many interesting things, it's certainly Ding Darling Days.