Saturday, Dec. 20th
I was up at sunrise still in the pursuit of finding shells and enjoying the sunrise and the birds. The beach was nearly deserted and remained that way throughout the day. Charlie and I concluded it was a weird feeling to be in this beautiful spot and have it almost all to ourselves! The waitresses at breakfast shared that the resort was very slow but would be nearly full by Christmas.
We decided to take a drive around the island and check out Bowman Beach just down the road 3 miles which was suppose to be “THE” beach for shelling. However, it seemed like there wasn’t the variety of shells that we had right outside the door of our resort. But it’s always good to explore all the beaches!
We were walking barefoot along the beach in the soft white sand thinking about everyone back home waiting out the blizzard. Glad we missed at least one snow storm this winter!
We then drove on to Captiva Island, this is where we had stayed in 1991 and so we saw some of the familiar restaurants; the Mucky Duck, the Bubble Room, etc. We visited the Chapel by the Sea and its little cemetery which was quite different with the graves decorated with shells, flip flops, etc.
Then it was back to our resort and out to the beach to find what sea shell treasures I might find with the low tide. I LOVE SEA SHELLS, if you haven’t figured that out by now.
We made a quick trip to the historical village of Sanibel and visited the museum there and got a bit of history of the island.
It was a lazy day of relaxing and having some wine while watching the sunset on the beach. Then off to dinner at the restaurant at the resort again.
Sunday, Dec. 21st
Again, I was up at sunrise. I’m definitely enjoy the morning time and walking the beach, watching the sunrise and the antics of the birds as they were chased by the waves breaking on the beach.
After some shelling and a leisurely breakfast (at our resort – the food was awesome and the coffee ever flowing!), we were off to 11:00am church service for the interdenominational service at the quaint little Chapel by the Sea on Captiva. The church is maintained by a regular congregation but obviously they have many visitors each week. They ask everyone to wear a name tag with your name and where you are from. Most were Midwesterners like us escaping the snow and cold. Since the church is small, they also offer seating outside on colorful fold up chairs. The minister does the greeting outside – and the rest of the service she performed from inside but the pulpit has a window right to the side so she can turn and speak to the people seated outside through the open window – it was very unique!
We ate lunch at a nearby bistro where we had grouper and mai-mai. We sat outside enjoying lunch under the palms on the first day of winter.
Next we were off to check out the beach on the far end of Captiva. This beach was busy and not many shells but the water was more a clear Caribbean blue color.
Back to our resort for a little more beach time (can’t miss low tide and the shells the tide brings in!) and then we were off across the causeway to Fort Myers on the mainland. There was only one thing that Charlie wanted to see and that was to visit the winter homes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison in Fort Myers. The two men were friends and neighbors with estates right next to each other. We toured the property and museum, sat by the dock and watched another glorious sunset, and then toured the property a second time as the Christmas lights came one, illuminating the houses, gardens, palm trees, dock, etc.
Arriving back on Sanibel we ate at a shrimp house but it was loud and noisy, and we found we really liked the restaurant back at our little resort better! Afterwards we drove through the live nativity at a local church on Sanibel. Christmas is so different on Sanibel with the decorated palm trees and pink flamingo but the reason for the season remains the same.
Monday, Dec. 22nd
One last morning to enjoy the island and the routine was the same; walk the beach, drink coffee, and relax! With one slight variation, we finally got out on the bikes and rode some of the 25 miles of asphalt bike path. Charlie wasn’t sure how the shoulder would take the bike ride (darn town rotator cuff) but it actually went very well and we enjoyed a leisurely ride a very flat ride at 24 feet above sea level!
We had a late big breakfast at our resort, packed up, and headed to the airport early around 1:30pm, even though our flight didn’t leave until 5:30pm. We took our time, checked the rental car back in, and checked on any earlier flights out but as expected everything was full. We ate at Chili’s and hung out and read until our flight left. A smooth flight into Minneapolis and then we had almost a 3 hour layover which turned into a 5 hour layover due to crew issues, de-icing, etc. Finally, we arrived in Sioux Falls a little before 2:00am. Burr, it was a shock to come back to the cold, even though it was a heat wave compared to the previous week with a temp of 17 degrees! Arrived home at 3:00am and had a few hours sleep before both of us went to work the next day……a little sleepy, but the trip was so worth it!