Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ding Darling Days 2012: What a treat on Sanibel!

This much eagerly anticipated, multiple day event just gets better every year!

The October nature spectacular will take place from the 14th to the 20th, and the organizers are making sure that there truly is something for everyone.  Most activities are free, and all are paced so that a family can really make the most of their day.

Opening day will kick off with games, snake demonstrations and a live animal program.  These are repeated at intervals allowing everyone to get a chance to view and participate.  They also include a variety of delightful distractions from a puppet show to face painting and nature crafts.

But don't knock yourself out on the first day as there is much more to come.

Perhaps one of the most exciting segments begins on the 15th.  On that Monday, from 10 a.m. to noon, there will be a free celebration of Flight program in the Environmental Center auditorium.  This colorful aspect to the day will feature bird kite-making and and life sized endangered species marionettes presented by Heather Henson, the daughter of the late Jim Henson.

A little later and offered at very attractive discounts, there are going to be cruises, kayak tours and a sunset paddle as well.  These delightful offerings will all be at a special 25% off the normal prices.

On the 16th, to the delight of all the bird watchers, there will be a free presentation of the Cuckoo study done at the Refuge.  This is a one hour program, so every one needs to set their Cuckoo clock on time to arrive at the beginning,  11 a.m. (sorry could not resist the pun on this one!)  A little later on the same day, there will be a presentation on Bear Management, this begins at 1 p.m. and will be held in the auditorium.

Another interesting presentation takes place on the next day, the 17th.  At 11 a.m. there will be an Osprey symposium led by Mark Westall and Claudia Burns of the International Osprey Foundation.  And following this at 1 p.m. there will be a discussion on illegal wildlife trade.

The amount of choices and activity are just too great to enumerate in one short blog post, but for more information, those interested should go straight to the source

October is generally one of the nicest months on the island, with sunny skies, temps in the low 80's and gentle breezes.  Wouldn't it be nice to create a beach AND nature vacation like no other?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Grog Shop on Sanibel Enhances Island Vacation

Sanibel is a unique vacation destination in many ways.

One, of many advantages, to an Island holiday is that both nature and nurture live side by side on Sanibel.   With two thirds of the Island a nature preserve, there are few places in the civilized world with more bird watching, more shell collecting and more native flora.  But the Island also offers a genteel side ranging from comfortable accommodations to a wide array of dining experiences.

We also have lovely gift shops, art galleries, cafe's, spas and other niceties to nurture you on your vacation.

But one act of nurturing is not that which you would expect to find on a little, tropical barrier island.  And that is the Grog Shop.

The Grog Shop is located on Periwinkle Way in the Bailey Shopping Center.  Their courteous staff is not only friendly but very knowledgeable. They pride themselves  on helping their clients pick the perfect selections from their complete lines of wines, spirits, cold beer and specialty items!  If cigars are your preference, they will assist you in your choice from the Island's largest collection.   In fact, the Grog Shop is the only walk-in humidor on the Island.

Not that we are name droppers, but some of their fine brands of cigars include Arturo Fuente, Macanudo and Romeo and Julieta.

Looking for a way to cut costs, but still want to enjoy those memorable celebrations and special occasions? The Grog Shop appears to have your solution. They offer fantastic deals to help you create an unforgettable experience! They also  have a 10% discount on case purchases, and mixing and matching is OK.  Check out their weekly specials as well.  This week they are running some terrific discounts on Smirnoff Vodka, Gordon's Gin and Captain Morgan's rum!

So with thoughts of martinis and other before dinner cocktails floating in your head, just think of how pleasant a stop the Grog Shop might be on your next Island stay.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

All that Sparkles on Sanibel Island: Jewels within the Jewel

Many people, foremost we ourselves, consider Sanibel Island the jewel within the crown of Florida.

Like the rest of the state, it is ringed with great beaches, has a tropical terrain and offers warm weather year round.

But, in addition to the nature and shelling that is unique to Sanibel, the nice shopping on the Island distinguishes it from many other areas of the Sunshine State.

If you come to Sanibel with a yen to buy something pretty and sparkly to take home, either as a gift for some one or a reward for yourself, you will not be disappointed in the choices you are offered.

For starters, there is the delicate and lovely work done by the Sanibel Goldsmith Gallery. Capturing the essence of the Island in their work, the artists of the Gallery offer very Island-centric pieces. There are pendant earrings with beautiful etched sea shells entwined in the design, there are dolphin charms for your own bracelet or dolphin earrings. Other sea creatures include sea turtles, a variety of fish and sea urchins. And the beach is nicely reflected in the choice of subjects as well with some lovely renditions of the sun, flip flops and sand dollars. If you love the nature of the Island, you will love the nature of this jewelry. But keep in mind these are truly works of art and done in mediums such as gold and silver, so these are not mere knick knacks. That said, the Gallery does not maintain a physical space and spares itself the rental of such, so the savings may be passed on to consumers for certain items as it appears for the quality the prices are very competitive.

And then there is the Lily & Co., dubbed (we do not know by whom) "the coolest jewelry store in America. The merchandise is beautiful and diversified, but we love the whole concept of Lily.

Along with an expansive selection of couture jewelry that also includes silver, platinum and gems, Lily Co. also provides professional watch and jewelry repair. And with the Lily & Co. Positively Precious Program they can purchase previously worn jewelry and precious metals from customers for liquidation purposes. We also love the fabulous selection of distinctive artwork created by Sanibel artists – perfect for gift-giving or to spice up any room in your home or office. Located on Tarpon Bay Road, Lily & Co. was the first Island jewelry store and features exquisite collections from world-class designers including
  • Charles Garnier
  • Charles Krypell
  • Denny Wong
  • Gurhan
  • Kabana

But we have to be totally honest here. Our biggest attraction to Lily & Co. is the gorgeous brown poodle that is used in many of their ads to show off the jewelry. And, yes, the striking 4 legger is the "Lily" in Lily & Co.

But moving along and focusing on other most affordable works of jewelry that will help you bring home a real piece of Sanibel, there is Congress Jewelry on Periwinkle Way. The delightful diminutive charms that can be purchased for necklaces or bracelets are a collection of all the aspects of Island living that are so appealing. There is a pelican for only $30, a manatee for $40 and a heron for $55. These prices certainly will not break the bank, but for those who are not happy unless they spend a good deal more, you will have your pick. There are some beautiful works of art that range from $1,000 to $5,000. Literally something for everyone.

But this list is not claiming to be extensive. If you google Sanibel jewelry or just drive around, we are sure you will find many lovely places to shop til you drop!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Is that bird sun burnt on Sanibel? No, it's a Scarlet Ibis

While most of our residents and guests on Sanibel know the pink colored bird with the scooped bill is a roseate spoonbill, there is another brightly colored bird rarely seen.

The Scarlet Ibis, another wading bird, makes a visit to Sanibel infrequently.
But when it does, its presence is indeed noted. The brilliant red of so long legged and curved bill a bird is easy to spot, and the Scarlet Ibis will "hang out" with our native glossy or white Ibis making its appearance even more remarkable in the contrast.

But while the glossy variety is native to this area, the most important message about the scarlet ibis is that is an exotic, a special species of Central America and northern South America. It's like looking out the window and seeing a macaw or a monkey or any of the other notable escapees we tend to find here in Florida.

Since there has been no record of South American birds migrating to North America, the fact that the exotic bird has been seen in the Florida wilderness is a very uncommon sight.

Sources say the scarlet ibis has a body length of roughly 22 to 24 inches and has a long neck, long curved probing bill, black tipped feathers, and perching feet that are only slightly webbed. It is known to feed on insects, fish, meat, seeds, and fruits. Most of the wading birds are fairly long-lived birds.

Experts are confident that there is more than one scarlet ibis out there, especially since it's most likely from a released flock whether from a Hurricane or someone's personal collection.