Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rocking to the Island beat: Music on Sanibel

Ahh , the tranquility of tropical barrier islands.

The waves.

The shells.

The birds.

The star filled skies.

Everything in our natural world here puts you at ease, makes you feel calm, enhances your inner peace.

One can be quite content just sitting on the lanai at night listening to the breezes blow through  the palms,  or perhaps you prefer bringing out some music of your own..... and listening to your favorite  songs as you enjoy the meal you have prepared yourself.

But sometimes all that bliss needs a bit of a change.  You know the old saying about too much of a good thing.

So where do you go to put some bubbles into your champagne and change your place and pace?

There are a few good options.

One of the prettiest venues on the Island, Traditions offers not only a Gulf view, good food and great service, it also has some terrific entertainment as well. You would need to check ahead of time for other dates and performances, but an upcoming event might bring you there soon.  One of Southwest Florida’s favorite Duo’s, DUSK will be at Traditions On The Beach on December 30.   Seen all over local venues, Kathy & Dean Winkelmann will be performing the best variety of classic jazz, modern pop & rock music that has you moving to the music.

If you are looking for something a little more casual, you could consider Doc Ford's Sanibel where live music can be heard just about every night.  Just off Island Inn Road across from Bailey's Shopping Center,  aside from delicious Caribbean style food, Doc Ford's has a literary history as the Doc Ford namesake is THE Doc Ford.  If you’re hoping to run into Randy Wayne White, the author of the Doc Ford series of novels,  then this is the place to do it as he can be found writing here on many nights. With 2 dining rooms and an outdoor patio, where you decide to enjoy the ambiance is up to you!

Want something more beachy?  Discover the award-winning Keylime Bistro situated in the middle of the Historic Captiva Island Inn Village. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; they have a wide array of dishes sure to please the most discerning palates.

Stop by for breakfast and try their Bistro Style Corned Beef Hash and Eggs or Crab Cake Benedict. Prefer to sleep-in and join us for lunch? Enjoy their superb seafood antipasto appetizer or delicious grouper sandwich. Late afternoon or dinner fit your needs better? Check out the shrimp scampi, key lime pasta or tender steak filets. And don't forget an award-winning key lime pie for dessert.

Relax inside or dine outside and enjoy the fresh air and Florida sunshine. Key Lime Bistro has  live music daily and a full-service bar. And when you are finished; feel free to stroll the quaint shops and check out the local general store and the historic Captiva Island Inn.

But we don't want to reveal all our "special treasures" now and hope you will let us know if you find any great places you would like to share.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Spotlight on SCCF

Among the jewels in Sanibel's crown is the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Known and loved as SCCF, this organization was founded in 1967 and is the largest private landowner on Sanibel Island.  SCCF manages 1200 acres on tiny Sanibel with an additional 600 acres on even smaller Captiva.

We just recently discovered a tract of land that the Foundation owns adjacent to the Bailey Tract.  The area is aptly titled Sanibel Gardens Trail, and it is a delightful short walk with many bird watching opportunities.  The several ponds and lagoons are filled with wading birds and the trees are abundant with woodland and song birds.  So many sights and songs~

But if birding is not your thing, you can pick up island history, geography and biology right on the land owned and managed by SCCF.  In an effort to educate the public on their newest preserve, SCCF offers a one hour walking tour of their 28-acre property along Periwinkle Way.

Nine acres of the beautiful land served as the Bailey family's farm for many years; three generations of the Bailey family lived in the historic house that sits on the property today.

Landscaping for Wildlife Educator at SCCF, Dee Serage-Century heads the tour which begins at 8:30 a.m. at the west end of Shipley Trail. Serage-Century, who has lived on Sanibel for the past 35 years, tells the guests SCCF's history shortly after they arrive and about invasive plant species on the island. She said some of the worst have been the Brazilian pepper, air potatoes and the java plum.

"We release beetles to help with invasive species," Serage-Century said.

Along the trail, she points out a lone papaya tree which originally originated in South America and Mexico. Serage-Century said that papaya trees were around when the Calusa Indians lived on the island.

During the special tour, she briefly talked about the old windmill that was a part of the Bailey's farm. She said that SCCF volunteers uncovered it after they purchased the property in 2011. She also talks about the pavilion that was recently built for special events and the Devitt Pond Overlook.

Near the end of tour, she led guests to the newly planted demonstration gardens which seemed to be everyone's favorite of the tour. Their nursery is one of the first native plant nurseries in the state of Florida. Their native flower garden has taken off since it was planted last year.

"The flowers were planted as seedlings last summer. It was an experiment to see if we could keep doing it," she said.

One of the main reasons SCCF does the tour is so they can demonstrate to the public what they do as an organization.

"We do it so people understand what we do for a living which is habitat management and restoration, Serage-Century said. At the end of the tour, I hope they end up with a passion for protecting land for wildlife as well as themselves because it works both ways. I hope I spark an interest in native plants that are built for wildlife and pollinators, not just visually for us."