Sanibel Island Trip Report, Friday November 27, Day 1

Posting this from the beach, this hotel really has pretty decent wi-fi, I am impressed!

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Our hotel room is the 2nd from the left. I keep trying to go in the first one, pictured here (you can’t see our room off to the right in this shot.) Good thing Ken is along to keep me from doing that.

The first night in a strange hotel is always rough. The bed is far softer than we are used to and a bit smaller. And we were sleeping with the screen door open to hear the ocean and so we also consequently had the crap startled out of us when the sprinklers went off. We didn’t get to sleep until after midnight because of the time change, but because of the late football game, the local news was on that late, so we watched a little bit of that. Ken was hot and I was perfectly comfortable but we were both restless.

I got up relatively early (6:45) to get down to the beach for sunrise. Of course, I was distracted by the shells and didn’t get many pictures. Sunrise was also pretty close to low tide. Saw lots and lots of sand dollars (all still alive so I didn’t collect any) and lots of fighting conchs, also still alive. And assorted other shells occupied by little tiny crabs who did not appreciate being picked up and scrutinized and put back.

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Ken had golf booked at Sanibel Island Golf Club, so I was able to get him awake with minimal complaining. We want for breakfast at Bennett’s Fresh Roast, known for their coffee and donuts. Well, we didn’t indulge in any coffee but Ken had the donuts covered, of course he isn’t interested in trying any of the crazy flavors like maple bacon. I had researched in advance and knew they had breakfast strata, which is kind of an unusual dish for restaurants, but a good way to have an egg dish without having a short order cook in the back. I had the strata and breakfast potatoes and Ken had two donuts and a side of bacon. Thumbs up on the strata and breakfast potatoes.

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Then I dropped him off at the golf course, early, so he could hit range balls, which he later learned was a lost cause because they didn’t have a range. I went to Jerry’s, the island grocery store, to check things out and buy sunscreen, a shelling bag, and tea bags. We get a continental breakfast basket delivered to the room but it doesn’t include tea bags. Fun little boutique grocery store. Since my job is food/agriculture, I enjoy checking out the different variety of foods available in grocery stores around the country.  Got my shell bag – the appropriate kind of bag to tote your shells in them while you are collecting them is a fabric mesh bag, so the water and sand can drain/sift out while you are toting them around.

I went back to the hotel, put on my swim suit, slathered on the 50 spf sunscreen, and headed out. I walked about ½ mile west from our hotel, looking at shells and people watching. My secret to shelling is channel your inner 5-year old. Stop and look at the dead crab. Kneel down and examine him closely. Because no one else has been looking at the dead crab and there are several good shells right around him.  But then I also discovered that all the hotels/condos look the same from the beach, and since I am really good at getting disoriented anyway….it was interesting finding my way back. But our hotel has beach chairs with umbrellas, and nice palm trees in the pool area, so that helped. And I made my way back and laid out my shells to dry and decided to go get lunch.

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While making plans for this trip there were several places I was interested in eating, but I had my doubts about whether Ken would find much on the menu, so I went one of those places for lunch. At Traders, I had white gazpacho – the white was obviously cream with maybe a touch of sour cream, there were cucumbers, tomatoes, and flakes almonds on top – amazing, quite unlike anything I had ever tried before. (I will always go for the item on the menu that I have never tried.) And the roasted oysters Florentine, which were also fabulous, spinach and butter and maybe a little parmesan – just perfect. The complimentary bread was multi-grain and full of interesting seeds, and the dipping oil with herbs was more interesting than the usual. Not sure what was in there but it was tasty, maybe the herbs were fresh. I didn’t pay attention at the time, but that seems to be a big thing at restaurants down here, and so now I am going to have to compare different versions…..And an excellent beer – Lazy Magnolia Pecan. The bartender offered me a second beer that had been poured by accident. Not being used to drinking beer at lunch and being responsible for driving our ultra-fancy rental Kia Soul, I had to say no. All in all, one of the best meals of the year.

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Then I decided to just drive around a bit, but before I got too far, Ken called from the golf course, so I picked him up. His assessment of golfing: he is out of practice from not playing for over a month, so it took a while to get warmed up, and they didn’t have a range to warm up on. Their grass here is different, way different to hit balls out of. While we were at the arts festival later he was pointing out to me the different kinds. He also said it was at least a club different from playing at 5280 feet like we are used to at home. He played with a nice couple from Cincinnati, the wife said Ken reminded her of his son.

After I picked him up we came back to the hotel briefly and put our feet up before deciding to go to an art festival that was in town for the weekend. We didn’t find anything we needed there but had fun looking. It was starting to wrap up, close to 4 p.m., so we headed back to the hotel to hang out and wait for sunset. Because of the way the island is situated, we weren’t going to get a perfect beach sunset, on Saturday we will try finding a beach that faces more west.  It was fun though watching the sunset and the pelicans hunting, then pretty much slam themselves beak first into the water in search of fish, and Ken got some decent pictures.

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Above pictures are mine, Ken’s at the end of the post.

After showers we went to dinner at Rosie’s – a place I had picked out after research on the internet. Ken had grilled grouper and I had tropical bouilliabaise and Truffled Clams Casino. The bouillabaisse was good, the clams would have benefited from more less red onion, it was rather overpowering. They have an ice cream shop as well, and Ken got ice cream with his meal, they had chocolate chip so all was right in his world.

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After getting back to the hotel we headed out to get some night shots on the beach before the moon came up, and then some shots with the moon. The tripod immediately broke, so that didn’t really help things but Ken still got some good shots. Then he tried to crash my computer editing them (the little acer laptop can’t handle to many 300 mg files) so that was entertaining for a while. And this is the east coast so their EARLY news is 10:00 p.m., not 9 p.m. like we are used to – we are old, we need to go to bed!

Ken’s photos:

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Moonrise over Fort Myers.

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Stars over Sanibel.

11_27 waves

Sunset waves.

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