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I am off to Sanibel Island for the Christmas holiday. Having never been there before, I wonder if any MV members can give me a heads up on special sites to see or places to go. Unfortunately, I won't have a scooter, so will either be walking or driving.

Since I will be sharing accomodation with my brother-in-law's family, a decent coffee shop (where I can get away) would be particularly appreciated!
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I know nothing!

However, there's an author who writes serial fiction with a character that lives on the island. Might be just the right thing to get you in the mood/character of the trip. The character is the usual marine biologist turned military special ops, turned marine biologist who gets in and out of trouble and saves the babe kind of thing.

It's not Nobel or Pulitzer quality stuff, but for flights, or vacations it is what I've taken along. The author is Randy Wayne White.

It is also my opinion that no trip to Florida would be complete without reading something by Carl Hiaasan - Lucky You had me rolling on the floor laughing.
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My parents lived on Sanibel Island for almost 20 years. It has become very touristy and expensive to live there. There is a Visitors Center by the Light House and they have all sorts of information about the things to do on the Island.
If you like nature, visit the "Ding Darling" State Park, you can rent a canoe and see the alligators up close. The beaches will be nice, but water temps may be a bit chilly. You can windsurf, fish and rent jet skies too. Looking for shells is allways fun, although the best time is right after a big storm. If you can, take the water taxi to Cabbage Key for a fun dinning experiance and to see the Indian Burial mounds.
Captiva Island is a little more relaxed. The Bubble Room restaraunt is allways a local favorite. The southern end of Captiva is where all the action is. Sailboat rentals, Jet skies and Para gliding too.
Since you will be there in the cold season, you may see alligators sunning themselves on the roads, just drive around them, but not over them as they have been known to overturn a car. hehehe
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If it still exists, Shirley's Spirits of Foolishness, a great bar decorated with the trimmings of every holiday I can think of, permanently! (last time I was there we were crabbing with chicken bones and got a crabby alligator....YIKES!!! (probably an illegal activity now days!)

I may have totally mucked up the name....after thinking about it it was 20 or more years ago....where did it go.....
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ritchj wrote:
I know nothing!

However, there's an author who writes serial fiction with a character that lives on the island. Might be just the right thing to get you in the mood/character of the trip. The character is the usual marine biologist turned military special ops, turned marine biologist who gets in and out of trouble and saves the babe kind of thing.

It's not Nobel or Pulitzer quality stuff, but for flights, or vacations it is what I've taken along. The author is Randy Wayne White.

It is also my opinion that no trip to Florida would be complete without reading something by Carl Hiaasan - Lucky You had me rolling on the floor laughing.
Don't all marine biologists turn military special ops? I always thought that was a lateral transfer

Thanks for the heads up on Carl Hiaasan - I'm going to the book store today and will check it out.
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Ifixjets wrote:
My parents lived on Sanibel Island for almost 20 years. It has become very touristy and expensive to live there. There is a Visitors Center by the Light House and they have all sorts of information about the things to do on the Island.
If you like nature, visit the "Ding Darling" State Park, you can rent a canoe and see the alligators up close. The beaches will be nice, but water temps may be a bit chilly. You can windsurf, fish and rent jet skies too. Looking for shells is allways fun, although the best time is right after a big storm. If you can, take the water taxi to Cabbage Key for a fun dinning experiance and to see the Indian Burial mounds.
Captiva Island is a little more relaxed. The Bubble Room restaraunt is allways a local favorite. The southern end of Captiva is where all the action is. Sailboat rentals, Jet skies and Para gliding too.
Since you will be there in the cold season, you may see alligators sunning themselves on the roads, just drive around them, but not over them as they have been known to overturn a car. hehehe
This is all good! The State Park was definitely on the check list. I'm comfortable with seeing alligators from a distance. I wonder if the same safety rule applies with alligators as it does with bears ... you're safe as long as you aren't the slowest runner in the group! Cabbage Key sounds like a place to see. Thanks for the help!

Note to self - don't drive over the alligators!
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On the mainland, back over the bridge in Ft. Myers, you can find the winter estates of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison
http://www.efwefla.org/
In case you wanted to get away from the beach for an afternoon....
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I LOVE Sanibel!!! I can't wait to get a trailer or carrier to take my scooter there!
Someone posted earlier about the "Bubble Room". I don't believe they're there anymore. However, from what I understand, the lady that owned it opened up another restaurant which I think is called the Mermaid Room - so the quality should be great.
The island isn't that big so you can rent a bike to get around - they have tandem ones as well. The nature park (preserve) is great. They have guided walking tours or you can drive as well. I really enjoyed this. We've rented kayaks before and have also done a guided kayak tour - we saw mantee with their little babies right next to us! If you're on the ocean, there's a good chance to see dolphins. Try not to miss sun set at the "Mucky Duck". The sunsets on Sanibel are famous. Very beautiful and so relaxing to just sit on the beach and watch.
They also have a "Shell Museum" - which was pretty interesting.
After the hurricane they had suffered a lot of damage and I noticed a lot of the shops we used to go to were gone but I hope by now others have come in. That's another great passtime since they have great little shops that carry very unique items.
If you want to "get away" for a bit, head towards the light house. There is a little ice cream shop (can't remember the name) but it's just past the Parrot's Nest (an efficiency rental). Right next door to them there is a diner that is pretty good. That area (by the light house) seems to have less traffic (which there's not a lot of anyway). I hope it's still there: there is a micro-brewery which had pretty decent beers Of course: shelling, which has already been brought up...
If I think of anything else, I'll add it.
HAVE FUN and post what you thought of it.
I'm so jealous!...
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ritchj wrote:
I know nothing!

However, there's an author who writes serial fiction with a character that lives on the island. Might be just the right thing to get you in the mood/character of the trip. The character is the usual marine biologist turned military special ops, turned marine biologist who gets in and out of trouble and saves the babe kind of thing.

It's not Nobel or Pulitzer quality stuff, but for flights, or vacations it is what I've taken along. The author is Randy Wayne White.

It is also my opinion that no trip to Florida would be complete without reading something by Carl Hiaasan - Lucky You had me rolling on the floor laughing.
Randy is an old windsurfing acquaintance of mine. He actually lives on Pine Island but you can visit Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar and Grille over on Rabbit Road. http://www.docfordssanibel.com/ Check out Randy's website as well: http://www.docford.com/

I was home back in September and I could have sworn that the Bubble Room is still there although I can confirm that the Sanibel Brew Pub is long gone. But if for some reason the Bubble Room is closed then just walk down Andy Rosse Lane to the Mucky Duck. The Green Flash is good too. My favorite place for a grouper sandwich is The Lazy Flamingo but RC Otter's on Andy Rosse Lane is a good choice as well. If you know someone with a boat then definitely make your way to Cabbage Key. Supposedly Buffet was inspired to write "Cheeseburger In Paradice" after eating there.

Lawrence Shames, Randy Wayne White, Carl Hiaasen, John D. MacDonald and Dave Barry are all good but nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to Tim Dorsey's books chronicalling the adventures of antihero Serge A. Storms and sidekick Coleman. Check out his website: http://www.timdorsey.com/
Start with Florida Roadkill
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You can thank me when you're finished.
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I forgot all about Serge and Coleman.....

Serge has a blog BTW:
http://www.sergestorms.com/


Meat jerkey and MRI machines have a whole new meaning, as does Flagler....
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Re: [NSR] - Florida members - scoop on Sanibel Island?
harnadem wrote:
Since I will be sharing accomodation with my brother-in-law's family, a decent coffee shop (where I can get away) would be particularly appreciated!
Just take a hike on the beach (opposite direction from bro-in-law fambly) and look for shells. Unless the shelling there has gone to heck since the hurricane, Sanibel is shelling heaven.
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Re: [NSR] - Florida members - scoop on Sanibel Island?
harnadem wrote:
Since I will be sharing accomodation with my brother-in-law's family, a decent coffee shop (where I can get away) would be particularly appreciated!
I'm not sure where you'll be staying but if you can't "get away" on Sanibel Island then you should just stay home. As mentioned previously there's a lot going on at the southern end of Captiva Island which is North of where you'll be staying. But if its coffee that you want then check out Cafe Latte Da on Andy Rosse Lane. So much has changed since Hurricane Charlie but the Shelling is still pretty amazing.

The new recently completed causeway no longer has a drawbridge so trips on and off the Island go a lot faster than they used to but its now $6.00 everytime you drive onto the Island. And traffic on the Island is pretty slow during the Holidays. There's lots of places to shop but if you need some last minute gifts then check out the Islander Trading Post.
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http://www.islandertradingpost.biz/

Even if you're not into antiques your bound to find something cool there.

And if you see a 1931 Ford with these folks then stop and say "Howdy" to my parents.
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Re: [NSR] - Florida members - scoop on Sanibel Island?
jrsjr wrote:
harnadem wrote:
Since I will be sharing accomodation with my brother-in-law's family, a decent coffee shop (where I can get away) would be particularly appreciated!
Just take a hike on the beach (opposite direction from bro-in-law fambly) and look for shells. Unless the shelling there has gone to heck since the hurricane, Sanibel is shelling heaven.
I had heard that! Sounds like a great place to visit.
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Re: [NSR] - Florida members - scoop on Sanibel Island?
Scotter wrote:
And if you see a 1931 Ford with these folks then stop and say "Howdy" to my parents.
I'll keep my eyes open for it!

I want to thank everyone for all of the helpful advice on places to see!
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