Monday, December 29, 2014

Best Bets for Winter 2015: Kids Strike it Rich on Sanibel

Sanibel Island is a tropical retreat that both adults and kids love.

You never have to plan a moment of your time on Island.

Discovery awaits in every corner.  Nature abounds.  And your curiosity only need to take you as far as the beach or into Ding Darling to satisfy your family's needs for bird watching and exploring.  Certainly the water activities in our beautiful sparkling Gulf will also entertain and thrill every member of the family.

But if your children need something a bit extra or you hit a rainy day, rest assured that the Island will not disappoint.

There are the ongoing activities and exhibits  in places like C.R.O.W., the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, the Bailey Museum and the Sanibel Sea School.  Classes, instruction, and educational exhibits are a daily menu at these wonderful venues.  They have become famous for all that they offer.

But there are also hidden treasures on the Island that are well worth the exploration.

The award winning Sanibel Island Library has a full roster of mind stimulants for kids from infancy to grammar school.  There are a lap sit program for babies every Wednesday, book exploration days every Thursday at 10 and craft days every Thursday at 11.  Monday host the Terrific Two's program and , of course, there is a full range of books and other special reading materials available for kids of all ages.

The atmosphere of the library's youth area is happy and relaxed with appropriately-sized furniture and book shelves, a special storybook doll house and even a row boat, the S.L.Readmore, to further stimulate a child's imagination. The youth collection includes preschool board books, picture books, beginning readers, and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. Reference materials, including children's encyclopedias and dictionaries, are also available. You will also find a unique parenting collection for adults with information on growth, development, and children's literature.

And, you do not even have to go to the library to find enchantment.  A Phone Line Story Time is part of the Just Read, Florida! initiative. Each month a toll-free number is available for children to call to hear favorite stories read to them.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sanibel Noted Again: Best Beach to escape Winter!

With all the accolades and acclaims that our tiny island receives, it is difficult to keep track of the many causes for applauses.

But just in time for high season, Sanibel has once again been noted for its unique character, charm and appeal.

The online travel guide,, just  named 10 beaches through out the country , including the U.S. Virgin Islands, as the best beaches to escape the winter blues.

And Sanibel Island is the first up of the ten named.

Of course the Island is a bit warmer than most of those on the list, and no doubt that gives it even more desirability.

But equally compelling is the description of the Island and its charms. 

Noting that "This roughly 12-mile-long, hammock-shaped island off of Florida's southwest coast is one of the best places in the country for collecting shells. It's east-west orientation acts like a huge shelf on which shells from the Gulf accumulate—especially on the beach on the south side of the island. "  The article also comments on the views and other niceties to be found.

But even a glowing testimony to Sanibel can not in one brief article mention all the very special options available.

The miles of biking trails, the number of birds to be sighted, the multiple dining experiences to be had and the cultural activities that abound in winter set us apart from the rest.

For an Island devoted to the preservation and adoration of nature, Sanibel has been able to blend every comfort and convenience into a stay.

Jerry's market will do your shopping for you and deliver it to your door, as will Bailey's market.  You can find a pet sitter for your pooch on the Island and a baby sitter for your kid as well.  There are activities for children and adults at the Sanibel Island Sea School, and possibly the best shell museum in the world for every one.

We would need a few pages to detail the extraordinary number of things you can see and do on Sanibel Island.  Shelling is certainly one of the most popular, but only one of many delightful activities.

Escape the winter blues with a stay on Sanibel!

Friday, December 12, 2014

There is Music in the Air on Sanibel

There are so many beautiful sounds on Sanibel Island.

Whip-poor-wills sing you to sleep.

Osprey and raptors fill the skies with their hunting and warning screeches.

The Gulf rolls into shore with a constant slap of gentle wave.

And then there are the sounds made by humans.

Children shrieking with joy, adults laughing, oboes playing.  Oboes?

Well, not just oboes, but a wide variety of instruments fill our halls , particularly during high season, and most brilliantly at Big Arts.  Sometimes the musical instruments are joined by the voice organ , too.

For example, on January 14, The brilliant pianist Andrew Armstrong will scale the heights and plum the depths of Wolfgang Mozart's Piano Concerto in A major, a rich and emotionally complex work at the Schein Performance Hall

Then on January 18,  The Merling Trio performs at the Phillips Gallery.  The Merling Trio  has been hailed as a brilliantly distinguished group endowed with remarkable gifts of communication, magnificent precision, and an impeccable blend of sound.       

 The Amphion String Quartet will fill the Schein Hall on January 22.  Hailed for its “precision, assertiveness, and vigor” (The New York Times) and its “gripping intensity” and “suspenseful and virtuoso playing” (San Francisco Classical Voice), the Amphion String Quartet is a winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition..

Hailed as “a fresh young voice of great promise” by Musical America and praised for the “gleaming richness” of her voice by The New York Times, rising American soprano Emalie Savoy is becoming widely recognized for both the lyrical beauty of her instrument and the unique interpretive depth she brings to her performances.  She will perform at the Schien Hall on January 25.

Hailed by The New Yorker as “vibrant” and “superb,” Third Coast Percussion, playing at Schein on February 5,  explores and expands the extraordinary sonic possibilities of the percussion repertoire, delivering exciting performances for audiences of all kinds. Since its formation in 2005, Third Coast Percussion has gained national attention with concerts and recordings that meld the energy of rock music with the precision and nuance of classical chamber works.

Love is in the air as the Island and Big Arts  salute St. Valentine's Day and all things amorous. Mozart’s Serenade Under the Stars begins the Big Arts celebration, followed by the “heart on your sleeve” music of Giuseppei Verdi. Elgar’s wistful work for solo violin and orchestra gives the concert its name, and will feature Jillian Prescott Music Award-winner Stephanie van Duijn.  Again at the Schein Performance Hall, February 11.

And there is more in store.  If you love music, winter on Sanibel will hit high notes for you and your family.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Playing Soon at the Sanibel Herb Strauss Theater

With the passage of Thanksgiving, we realize that winter season is upon us.

Snowbirds are coming back.

Restaurants are  filling up.

Breezes are blowing in.

And rare birds can be seen again.

Culture vultures , in particular, will have a great high season on the Island.

Big Arts is in full swing, and the Herb Strauss theater has a variety of wonderful options for everyone.

Whether you like your culture sung or danced or just plain talked, there are choices galore.

Tomorrow night concludes a most lively run of DivasDivas will perform songs made famous by all the biggest and most successful female stars of yesterday and today, with a good dose of laughter, too. A show like no other, emceed by Bobby Logue, Divas feature the stunning voices of the most talented female vocalists to have ever graced the Strauss stage. The entertainment ranges from show tunes and popular songs to opera. This finale will be a night of song and laughs you will surely never forget!

From December 19 to December 31, Sanibel visitors and residents will be treated to a spectacular series of performances. And there is no better place to be this holiday than at the BIG ARTS Holiday Spectacular! It is a one-of-a-kind celebration to share with family, friends, and loved ones. The radiant Strauss Theater is decked out for the season, and the on-stage talent shine like never before in a breathtaking holiday show that transforms the stage into a glistening winter wonderland! Come on down and share in the joy with all your holiday favorites.

From January 6 to 10 and 13 to 17, a more dramatic side of Big Arts will be on display.  Freud’s Last Session,   a serious play, imagines what happens when legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud invites the rising young scholar and author C.S. Lewis to his home in London. On the day England enters World War II, Freud and Lewis clash about love, sex, the existence of God, and the meaning of life, just weeks before Freud takes his own life. Freud’s Last Session is a deeply touching play filled with humor and explores the minds, hearts, and souls of two brilliant men addressing the greatest questions of all time.

And more theater treats begin on January 23 through February 21, a lighter side of theatre can be viewed in The Fourth Wall.  
Peggy has redecorated the living room and her husband, Roger, can’t stand it. Peggy’s usually exquisite taste was overcome by a mysterious lapse that caused her to redo the room as if it were a stage set. Everything faces one wall, the “fourth wall,” which she’s left bare and which is really the audience. Everyone who enters the room begins to behave as if they were acting in a play— or even a musical when occasionally someone feels the urge to sing a Cole Porter tune! Roger calls on friends to try to end the theatrics, but Peggy sets out to break the fourth wall in order to connect with her feelings. Laughs, loves, and more tunes ensue in A.R. Gurney’s charming comedy!
Of course there is more, but we thought we would whet your appetite and follow up later with more offerings.
Plain and simple, no matter when you come over the next few months, Sanibel's Herb Strauss Theatre has a special treat in store for you!