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Sanibel Island Trip Report

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Mar 25th, 2012, 05:33 PM
  #1
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Sanibel Island Trip Report

Thanks to all who helped me pick Sanibel Island, helped me stick to it when finding the right lodging was proving difficult, and helped with the last minute q's. This includes folks from past threads, since I searched those as well as read answers to mine.

We LOVED Sanibel Island. We wanted peaceful, beautiful, and not too long travel time from Phila., and we certainly got all of those. Of course, the amazing weather all week long, was a big help!

Since most of the time was spent on the beach or on our balcony overlooking the water while reading, eating, drinking tea or wine, this will probably be a shorter trip report than most of mine are!

We stayed at Sanibel Arms in one of their one bedroom, gulf front units, and it was so worth it to me to have paid extra for the view. Instead of ever feeling like I was wasting time not getting to the beach, I felt completely relaxed while I lingered on the balcony. You do share a balcony with your neighboring units at this complex, so I guess you could conceivably have a problem with someone too noisy or whatever, but we lucked out in this regard. Definitely I'd always want a second or third floor unit rather than first, for the view.

On our first full day there, we went to the Farmer's Market, thanks to a Fodorite's suggestion, and I loved it there! It was much bigger than I'd expected. We bought fresh produce, bread, and cheese for the week, as well as some delicious baked goods, and enjoyed talking with several vendors and shoppers.

One day we went to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, where I discovered that I'm much more interested in birds than I was when younger (this is also true of the violin part of any type of music, it's fun to see how some tastes change!). I really enjoyed seeing many different varieties, and tho' being a city gal I don't know my birds much beyond pigeons, we had the good fortune to be near someone who really did know his birds and took great joy in them, and was generous enough to let us look thru his much-superior binoculars. I would definitely recommend, and go back to, this place.

On another day we went to spring training at Hammond Stadium, and since it was HOT that day, we didn't end up spending extra time in Fort Myers. We'd wanted to get to spring training early, which we did, so there wasn't time ahead of the game (btw we were lucky and didn't hit any major traffic at all). Afterward, we just wanted to get back.

But since it was already a "travel" day, we decided rather than just going back to "our" beach, we'd drive up to Captiva and hang out on a beach there, so we could take in a sunset. I had some concern from others about how hard it would be to find public parking, but we didn't have a problem, and parked at Turner Beach. That morning, I'd seen a beautiful sunrise over the water from our balcony, so got to see both sunrise and sunset over the water in one day - I don't think I'd ever done that before!

Other than those two outings, we really did just hang out at our place and on the beach. I'd been a little concerned from a couple people's posts in old threads, that either the beach would be just TOO full of shells to enjoy, or since we were in high season, would be overly crowded despite it not being a built up area. Neither of those things were true for us. Even at its most crowded, the beach was wonderfully quiet and there was plenty of room to put down our chairs and blankets with no-one right next to us, or on some days, even close. And there's plenty of sand without shells, behind the shell-y area (and even tho' I'm not a sheller, per-say, I couldn't resist the temptation and did bring back some lovely ones). A huge added plus, was since it was unseasonably warm, we got to spend time in the Gulf water a couple of days, too! Being used to the Atlantic and always needing to stay alert for huge waves that can leave you a bit bruised if you're not careful, it was such a treat to just relax and float the very gentle rolling waves. And yet, there was enough sound with the ones breaking on to the shore, to enjoy that meditative sound.

We mostly ate breakfasts and lunches in, and dinners out. We did have two late breakfasts out. One was at the Over-Easy Cafe, which was the one disappointment of the week, both in terms of food and service. The other was at the Lighthouse Cafe, which we enjoyed very much, especially the whole wheat blueberry hotcakes. Mmm.

For dinners, we went to: Grannma Dot's, The Stone Crab, Timbers, George and Wendy's (something else in that name, am blanking), Island Cow, and Lighthouse Cafe. Yes, we spent a minor fortune on dinners I kept having leftovers to take back, tho', so that was nice. We both pick Grannma Dot's as a favorite. We enjoyed all our meals, tho' can't say anything merited over the top raves. I had lots of grouper cooked several different ways, and did have delicious key lime pie at Timbers. Oh, and we did hit Pinnochio's twice for ice cream, yum.

I hated to leave. I don't know when we'll be back, since as much as dh also enjoyed, he'd like us to try somewhere closer to Clearwater next time we do this type of vacation (we are Phillies fans after all). But even he said he'd rather go back to Sanibel than spend time on one of the more built up beaches, so we'll explore, but we'll see (I'm thinking we'll probably try Anna Maria).

Thanks again to all for helping us have a much-needed week of r and r!
go_laura is offline  
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Mar 25th, 2012, 08:05 PM
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Sounds like a relaxing trip, glad you found what you wanted. I love Ding Darling, went many times when my mom lived in Ft Myers.

Thanks for the report
emalloy is offline  
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Mar 25th, 2012, 09:00 PM
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Ding Darling is indeed a treasure. On another trip, take the sunset cruise to see hundreds of birds returning to the rookery islands.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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Sounds really nice and very relaxing.
Will you be sharing any photos?
lantana is offline  
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Mar 26th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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Hadn't planned to, but certainly willing to try...only just learned how to transfer photos from my new phone, to my computer, so will see if I can now figure out how to get some of them on here. Any advice welcome!
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Mar 26th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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I use photobucket. You upload the pics from your computer (or even from your phone if you have their free app!) and then use a link to share in your post here.
You can share individual photos - or a whole album - by copying and pasting the direct link they provide.

Good luck and thanks!
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Mar 26th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Glad to hear you had such a great time, I am counting down to my week in July.
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Apr 19th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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Want to make sure I am looking at right place. They don't offer 1 bedroom condo's. Is it Sanibel Arms West?
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Apr 23rd, 2012, 07:10 PM
  #9
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Sorry, mulberry, I hadn't been on Fodor's since you posted. No, it's not Sanibel Arms West, it's just Sanibel Arms. They're different, although right next to each other, I think.

I know I still have to get back to doing the pics thing. Believe it or not, I have to get the cable or whatever it's called, to plug in from my phone to my computer!
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Apr 24th, 2012, 11:33 AM
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Looking forward to the pics, whenever you have the chance to post them
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Apr 24th, 2012, 04:12 PM
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Glad you enjoyed Sanibel. We love it there too. We just got back from Anna Maria Island and loved the beach there too---and it has less expensive lodging options.

We did luck out with the weather---what a beautiful week.
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