Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Sanibel, Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining: Update on Isaac

Well, despite the clamor and sense of fear, Tropical Storm Isaac has come and gone.

The Island was in high state of alert, and well prepared.

But the organized plans were fortunately unnecessary. The storm only amounted to a little wind and rain, some high waves over the causeway and a few branches down here and there.

There are several benefits to be derived through a missed hurricane.

It tests the existing lines of communication and by so doing, it strengthens them. It creates a need and opportunity for neighbors to talk to neighbors, empowering community bonding. It helps boost sales on the Island as both residents and visitors stock up on food and emergency items. It makes one very appreciative of the beautiful, non threatening weather Sanibel Island has for most of the year.

But in this particular instance, there is one more advantage and one Island visitors and residents are delighted to see. While the Gulf waters were not overly aggressive before, during and after Isaac, they were stirred up a bit. And the off spring of the stirring is a shell-rich shore, which for the past two days, has been a haven for those beach goers armed with baskets and bags.

We are watching them march off the beach, smiles broad on their faces, clutching their treasures with the greatest of glee.

Yes, there's a little more wind out there, but swimmers are jumping in glad for the slightly more "wavy" Gulf.

And mom and kids are saying that they never had a better time or collected more shells.

Once again, we are convinced that every cloud has a silver lining. And Isaac can be credited with bringing some clouds and some magnificent silver linings!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sanibel Fish House Provides New Venue and Menu for Hungry Visitors

As our guests know, Sanibel Island, for its size has an amazing variety of places to dine. While the closest thing to fast food we have is the Dairy Queen, (with great burgers by the way); we have so many choices on Island from pizzerias to fine dining.

Yet, we are always happy to find a newbie to the Island, and want to spread the word and the joy around on our discoveries.

The Sanibel Fish House on Periwinkle is the newest of the various Fish House options in SW Florida. There is also a Fish House in Bonita Beach and one in Fort Myers Beach. The menus are essentially the same, and those who have grown accustomed to finding a nice variety of options will not be disappointed in the Sanibel eatery.

With a bright, fresh decor, one is off to a good beginning.

But starters are not just visual, they are edible as well.

Take the blackened tuna bites for example. They will certainly put a zing in your mouth and in your meal, but if that sounds like a little too much pepper for you, then you might want to try the crab and shrimp dip. Minced crab meat and shrimp mixed into a bread crumb and Parmesan dip serviced with Tortilla Chips makes their Blue Crab & Shrimp Dip outstanding!

And their entrees are just as mouth watering. The Sea food pasta, is worth the trip. Shrimp and scallops served over fettuccine alfredo! All their specialties (unless otherwise noted) come with your choice of two sides:
•Parsley Potatoes
•Steamed Veggies
•French Fries
•Hush Puppies

And one of the things that most appeals to us is this is not just an eat out option for those staying at a vacation rental property, it is an eat "your own" catch for everyone on Island. If you are just off a charter boat and looking for a place to cook up your catch, do what the local charter captains do -- bring a fresh catch and the Fish House chef will prepare it for you!

Still hungry? Looking for a sweet treat to complete your night? The Key Lime Pie. Should do it for you! Every restaurant in Florida has bragging rights to serving the best Key Lime Pie, but we like to do comparisons. This home made Key Lime Pie is definitely among the freshest and most original we have ever tried.

It's always difficult to choose just where to eat on Sanibel, and while we play no favorites, The Fish House is special and well worth a try!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Best YouTube videos on Sanibel Island

We love looking at still photographs of Sanibel Island, it's a really nice way to feel that you are right there, on that beach, on that bike, on that boat.

But nothing quite captures the feel of the moment like a video.

Even a video totally home made with no enhancements can do the trick.

Capture that dog running along the Gulf's shore, the flock of egrets pruning and preening up in the tree, or the kids gathering sea shells in the golden light of dawn, and you can have a great video.

Especially now that most still cameras have video capability, almost any moment in any beautiful location, there is a video calling to be made.

But we do admit that like, in most comparisons, there are some videos much more appealing than others. The smoothness of the camera movement, the crispness of the image and the subject captured can take an ordinary point in time and make it something really special.

In viewing the videos made about Sanibel Island on YouTube, we came up with a few that we thought were particularly nice, and we will now link you to them with the subject and the reason for their inclusion on our "best" list:


This video , though done to promote a condo rental (not one of ours), leaves the commercial message for the last minute or two. Prior, it has some lovely scenes, both still shots and moving images, that give a great over view of the Island. Looking at this video would give any one a pretty good idea of what Sanibel is about.


This video is professionally done and narrated by an "expert". It does not just talk about shelling and what one might expect to find, it gives good, sound advice on how to shell, when to shell and how best to shell. It's very informative for a newbie sheller or one who has been to Sanibel many times.


This is one of our all time favorite videos. The dolphin dance is so nicely followed by the camera and the lovely and peaceful music greatly enhances the images. Any one who has ever been in a boat and had the extreme pleasure of being accompanied by a group of dolphins will love this one!


Again professionally created and expertly narrated, this six minute video about fishing on Sanibel offers great advice on how, when, where to fish. What to do and what to avoid. It gets right down to the basics and even lets you know how to hold your fishing pole!


We've included this one just cause it is so much fun.

Entitled "Sanibel Summer Drink Recipes presented by The Grog Shop Liquor Store Sanibel Island Florida", this is truly a splash of color with photos and recipes for some great tropical drinks. Yes, it's a video commercial, but we give a lot of credit to the creators for adding the music and the visuals and making a great, little promotion.

We are always open to suggestions about great videos that help guests get a good idea of what makes Sanibel so unique and so desirable. If you have any recommendations, we would love to hear of them.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Super Grouper Tournament A Benefit to All: Sanibel Doings

Every so often we like to highlight a good deed and this time it is the Annual Grouper Grab.

While we acknowledge that the Grouper is the loser in the tournament, we must also concede that the Grouper are going to be caught, cooked and consumed whether this event happens or not. A well managed event seems preferable in comparison.

So let's concentrate on the positives.

The Grouper is found in abundance in the waters surrounding Sanibel and all over the state. In fact, Florida is responsible for over 85% of all the grouper landed in the United States. Although there are many on-going studies and observations to make sure the Grouper are not over-fished, the populations of some Grouper species has actually increased in the last year.

Grouper is a popular dish in local restaurants; it has a nice mild flavor that many enjoy. If you’d like to catch your own, plan to attend the annual Grouper Grab Tournament on August 17 and 18, 2012! The Grouper Grab kicks off at the lovely Lighthouse Waterfront Restaurant with a mandatory captain’s meeting at 6 PM on Friday, August 17th, 2012. The tournament includes two divisions: the Big Boat Division for boats that are 30’ or longer, and the Small Boat Division for boats under 30’.

Providing fishing gear to the anglers this year is Tunaskin, makers of high performance aquatic apparel. Tunaskin is a new sponsor in this year’s Grouper Grab Tournament. In addition, Bahama Breeze Island Grille invites you to celebrate with them as part of your adventurous weekend.

The fishing will go all day Saturday, August 18th from 6 AM to 6 PM. Boats must return to the marina by 6 p.m. According to the tournament rules, each boat may offer three grouper and two snapper for the weigh in, but additional fish can be donated to the Awards dinner. After a full day of fishing, the catch will be weighed, filleted, and grilled for the big Awards Dinner, while the judges tally the scores. The public is welcome to attend the Awards Dinner and celebrate the efforts of the day!

This year, the Grouper Grab will donate proceeds from the auction and raffle to a local charity, choosing Blessings in a Backpack for this year’s recipient. Blessings in a Backpack provides local children with a backpack full of nutritious food each Friday. Test scores among these children have improved thanks to the help from Blessings. The funds collected in the event will be used locally for Lee County. It does not take much to feed a child for a year, and all support is appreciated.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why was Sanibel so busy in July?: Some good guesses on Island popularity

While we do not have the statistics on the number of visitors to Sanibel in July of 2012, we are certain the number was up from past Julys.

A day at the beach, still not what you would call crowded, definitely revealed that there were more people on the sand and in the water. And the people on the beach were not just sitting in chairs and under umbrellas, many had their own little tents, creating "beach living rooms" for themselves.

The water activity was also a departure from the norm. Of course there were the usual swimmers, but there were also a lot of kayakers and people floating around for hours in tubes and on rafts.

July, was, a mild month. No big storms and the rains that passed through, did so with gusto but in the blink of an eye. That left the Gulf calm, very waves and accompanied by low tides on most days. Even little children could walk out a long way before getting into deep water. And the mirror like surface of the Gulf was ideal for the kayakers and tubers.

We are certain the word got around that the Gulf this July was particularly warm and welcoming and many families traveled down in their own cars from places such as Georgia, South and North Carolina and even from other parts of Florida.

And, air fares were also very affordable in July, making it easier for those from further locales to grab a plane. In fact, looking at our registers, we had a record number of guests who traveled from the west coast, particularly California, as well as the interior western states such as Colorado.

In addition, while foreign visitors were not in abundance last summer, they certainly were in July. Rental guests from Germany, the UK and the Scandinavian countries rounded out the roster. Listening to the beach chatter, it appeared that many were commenting how good the value is on Sanibel for European travelers. And that would appear to be true if guests were able to find competitively priced air tickets. Remember, summer is our low season and for far less than $1,000 a week, a family can have a spacious, well appointed and well supplied apartment, some times right on the beach and certainly a close walk to the beach.

So the calm climate, the tranquil sea, the lower air fares and the intrinsic value of an accommodation on Sanibel Island all helped to drawer travelers to the Island in July.

We can only hope that August proves to be as good a month!