Friday, June 5, 2015

Twenty-Seventh Anniversary at Sanibel and Captiva Islands

Twenty-seven years ago, these children walked down the aisle together.  After the sweetest wedding and a lovely reception, they dodged birdseed (not rice), smiled for the camera one more time, and then they were off to the Florida Keys.

Twenty-seven years.

 This calls for a celebration, don't you think?
Oh yes, I think so!
We headed back to Florida, this time to Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.  We had a double celebration with LtDan's brother and sister-in-law, whose anniversary is a year and a week after ours.  
We remember being kids together :o)

We stayed at the Sanibel Harbor Marriott Resort.  This resort sprawls over 85 acres and the grounds are beautiful.  It's one of those places that makes it difficult to decide just where you want to sit and take it all in.  There are two huge pools, long and lovely porches, hammocks, beach chairs in the sand, and if that's not enough there's access to the water and boat docks.  Best of all, though, the property sits right on the harbor and faces west, to catch glorious sunsets over the water.

Pick a great spot ... it's all about the sunset!

After a fun evening settling in at the Marriott, we explored Sanibel and Captiva Islands.  

Beach is my love language :o)

Just a quick drive from Fort Myers across the harbor bridge, and you're on Sanibel Island and with another very quick hop across the water, you'll reach Captiva.  These two islands are 18 miles of tropical lovely tip to tip.  Periwinkle Way is a main thoroughfare, and you can rent a bike and ride the bike trail from end to end.

There are no high rise condos on Sanibel Island or Captiva Island, and although they're separated by a narrow causeway, each island has a distinct feel.  Sanibel has a small beach town vibe, and Captiva feels more laid-back tropical.  

Our concierge suggested stopping in at The Mucky Duck on Captiva, a delightful English Pub right on the beach.  The decor is eclectic with a fabulous collection of buttons and patches.  The view across the outdoor seating is right out onto the sand of Captiva Beach.  And the food is great!

Captiva Beach is as-far-as-you-can-see white sand and warm waters that will make you forget snowflakes, hot chocolate and fires in the fireplace.

We didn't stay too long on this day because we had a dinner cruise date on the Marriott's Sanibel Harbor Princess.  During our three hour harbor cruise, we enjoyed a fantastic buffet (for some reason I had low expectations - I was wrong!), we swooned over beautiful water properties, and watched a storm build in the east.  But the best thing?  The sunset.

Next it was a day on the beach at Sanibel Island.  We wanted to go back to Captiva, but parking can be a challenge there, so we opted for Bowman's Beach on Sanibel.  We're accustomed to walking out of the condo right into the sand, so this was a new way to do the beach. After parking the car in the public parking lot, we walked across a causeway bridge, down a sandy path to the beach.

In case kids get tired of the beach (!) they can play at the playground.  There are also public bathroom facilities at Bowman's Beach, which isn't the case with all Sanibel beaches.

After one final warning ... ha! ... you're at the beach!

Bowman's Beach is a family friendly beach. The water here (in late May) is the perfect temperature, and you can walk a LONG way into the gulf in water up to your shoulders.  The waves were small and easy.

As we walked in the water, way out from the shore, we could feel thin, flat things just beneath the surface of the sand - different sizes but some as large as six inches or so across.  My sister-in-law and I couldn't work up the nerve to pick them up with our hands, so we decided to drag one to shore with our feet.  Why this is not as scary as picking something up with your hands I do not know :o)  Our plan was working until a boat went by, the waves got choppy and we lost our mystery items.  But brother-in-law to the rescue, he went out and wasn't afraid to dive down to pick the things up ... they were live sand dollars!  Lots of them!  

Since we flew to Fort Morgan and rented a car, we didn't have the benefit of bringing along all our beach gear, so we bought a couple umbrellas and beach chairs at a souvenir shop.  When it was time to go, LtDan picked a group of young people who looked like they could use some beach equipment and asked if they'd like our stuff.  They said yes and were very appreciative - that was fun! 

After a wonderful day on the beach, we ate at Courtney's Continental Cuisine in Fort Myers.  This is an unassuming restaurant next to the Publix grocery store, but you'll forget that once you step into the elegant dining room.  The food is superb!

We were very happy with our accommodations at the Marriott Resort and Spa.  We booked through Priceline and we got a waterfront room with a balcony, overlooking the pool.  I didn't know to ask for a waterfront room and was so glad that's how it worked out!  We stayed at the Marriott specifically to get Marriott Points, but if we went back, we'd opt to stay on Captiva.  

If Beach is your love language and gorgeous sunsets are your thing, Sanibel/Captiva should go on your list ... 
twenty-seven years of marriage isn't required to enjoy it, but I highly recommend it.  

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

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