Sanibel Island Bathroom Crowned America’s Best

The winner of Cintas Corp.’s annual “America’s Best Restroom” contest has been announced, and the winning location is right here on Sanibel Island.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge was selected as the winner of the 2018 edition of its annual contest. The restrooms were selected from among 10 finalists that were voted on by the public starting August 6  for their sculptures of wildlife that make visitors feel like they’re under water along with messaging about the featured animals and saving the environment.

The wildlife refuge will receive $2,500 in Cintas products and services for restroom cleaning or facility management as a result of the win.

Also known as  “Learning Lavatories,” the restrooms feature sea turtles, osprey, and other sea creatures, stalls decked out with professional bird photographs, and information about wildlife and environmental conservation.

The other finalists in the 2018 America’s Best Restroom contest included:

Barrio – Chicago Bryant Park – New York City Dream Hollywood Hotel – Hollywood, CA Green Bay Botanical Garden – Green Bay, Wis. Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton – La Jolla, CA MI VIDA – Washington, D.C. Morgan Manufacturing – Chicago The Mud House – St. Louis, MO The Progress – San Francisco, CA

We encourage our guests to explore J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, home to thousands of miles of pristine landscapes teeming with wildlife including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, endangered species and more!

Stop by the Visitor & Education Center home to interactive exhibits on refuge ecosystems, the work of Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, migratory flyways, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and a hands-on area for children.

Lace up your walking shoes and experience Wildlife Drive, a 4-mile track of trails including Indigo Trail and the Wildlife Education Boardwalk (4 miles round trip), Shellmound Trail, and Wulfert Keys Trail.

Cintas Corporation is an American company with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, that provides specialized services to businesses, primarily in North America. The firm designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, and fire protection products and services.

Sanibel Island Farmers Market Reopens

We are pleased to announce that as of October 7, 2018, the Sanibel Island Farmers Market is officially open!

The market, organized by Local Roots, features an eclectic mix of vendors and products from locally owned businesses.

Food and drink vendors range from smoothies, tea and coffee, and sweets, to roasted nuts from Nuts 4 You, grass-fed beef and wild boar selections and macaroni and cheese by chef Jarred Harris, Spoondrift poke bowls, homemade granola by Laurie’s Pantry and mini-donuts from the Sanibel Deli.

Those shopping to stock up on groceries will find organic produce, exotic fruits, cheeses, breads and bagels, fresh eggs, guacamole and salsa, jams, local honey, pickles and more, along with seafood. There will be vendors for handmade soaps and essential oils, plus flowers and plants like bromeliads.

If you have visited the market in the past, please note that farmers market organizers have made a few changes for the 2018-2019 season. Craft vendors are an added element, driven in part by the number of visitors to the islands. Organizers aim to give those who cant take home

Food or plants a way to to pick up an island-y memento or keepsake to bring home from vacation

The Sanibel Farmers Market is located at  Sanibel City Hall at 800 Dunlop Road, Sanibel, Florida 33957. The market is open on on Sunday from 8 am- 1pm.

Parking is located in the lots at Sanibel City Hall, Sanibel Library, BIG Arts, Schoolhouse Theater. Bicycles can be parked at the designated area at City Hall. Handicap parking is located at City Hall. Pets are not allowed.

October Events on Sanibel

October is one our favorites months of the year. Seasonal and summer crowds are non-existent and temperatures begin to drop, meaning it is the perfect time of the year for visitors to enjoy “true Sanibel.” Locals also cherish the time where the island is peaceful and access to local restaurants and roads is a breeze.

October also brings one of the island’s best annual events, BaileyFest. Hosted by Bailey’s General Store, this once a year event celebrates the history and community of Sanibel Island.

If you didn’t know, Bailey’s, first known as the Sanibel Packing Company, was founded in 1899 by Frank P. Bailey providing groceries and general supplies to locals and visitors. Over these many years it has continuously served the needs of residents and guests on Sanibel Island and Captiva, doing business as Bailey’s General Store.

Join the Bailey family, one of the oldest on Sanibel, at 2018’s 33rd annual Baileyfest on October 21st, 2018. From noon until 4 pm, enjoy solo singers, bands and groups, dancers, a roaming magician, food and games! Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Many island’s organizations will have a table set up at the festival. Some of the organizations include CROW, Sanibel Sea School and PAWS.

Another draw of the festival is the raffles contributed by Sanibel businesses. Individuals can try their hand at winning a raffle – gift certificates – by visiting the merchant’s store before the festival

Admission is free!

BaileyFest is located at Bailey Plaza on Tarpon Bay Road.

For more information about this October event on Sanibel, please visit www. baileys-sanibel.com

Plastic Straws Banned on Sanibel

The City of Sanibel has united to protect our local environment, including our wildlife friends, by approving a plastic straw ban on Monday, September 10, 2018.

The ban means that plastic straws will no longer be sold on the island at any island establishment, including at popular grocery stores like Jerry’s or Bailey’s.

According to researchers, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year.

It’s estimated 90 percent of the waste in our waters is plastic and even little pieces of it, like straws, can be deadly to sea creatures. Our community leaders wanted to do what they could to protect our area’s most important residents.

The only exception to the ban is for those who may need a straw for medical purposes, pre-packaged beverages with straws, and straws for disabled people who rely on the use of straws.

Sanibel Island is not the first community to ban plastic straws, our neighbors in Marco island and Fort Myers Beach have also banned plastic straws.

Sanibel recommends using straws made from paper, plants, or other vegetable or natural products.

Expect that during your next visit to your favorite island restaurant or eatery, you may be presented with a silicone or paper straw.

If you would like to prepare, many online retailers offer stainless steel straws, and, word on the island is that Bailey’s is now offering silicone straws at just $1.99 a pop.

If you choose to bring your own plastic straws to the island, you will not be penalized for using them, but we encourage you to dispose of any plastic straws you may use in a responsible manner.

With straws as just the start, the city hopes to pass even more legislation with the purpose of keeping Sanibel Island and it’s native residents happy and healthy for generations to come.

Island Hopper Songwriter Festival Returns to Sanibel-Captiva

Get ready, this month, all your favorite songwriters are hitting the beach right here in Southwest Florida! The fifth annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is returning to Captiva Island on September 21- September 23. Enjoy live, free performances at your favorite beach establishments by 60 of your favorite songwriters.

Selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for 2018, the 2018 Island Hopper Songwriter Fest comes to the Fort Myers area September 21 – 30 with performances on Captiva Island, in Downtown Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach.

With performances at Cantina Captiva, Doc Ford’s, RC Otters and other beachside establishments, this one of a kind event provides attendees with world-class performances in the heart of one of Florida’s top vacation destinations..

Some of the 2018 Island Hopper singer/songwriters include Earl Bud Lee (“Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks), Dylan Altman (“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen), Lee Thomas Miller (“Whiskey and You” by Chris Stapleton), Wendell Mobley (“There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney) and many more.

This year, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel are rolling out the Island Hopper app designed to help Island Hopper fans plan their trips, find resort and hotel deals, learn about songwriters and venues, locate in-app maps, customize schedules and more. Also, iHeart Radio is launching Island Hopper Radio, a channel that includes music written by artists featured at the music festival.

At this moment, our Sanibel Island cottages are offering great rates during the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival with rates starting at just $145 per night for our efficiency units.

View all our specials and packages here.

For additional information, including scheduling and ticket sales for select concerts, visit islandhopperfest.com.

August Activities on Sanibel: Sanibel Library

Great news for August visitors on Sanibel! The Sanibel Public Library has reopened after extensive renovations and improvements.

The island hub for indoor learning and fun reopened on August 1st and is officially open to visitors and residents. The library closed temporarily to complete phase two of the “Your Library Reimagined” project. Phase one kicked off in May 2017 and was completed in January.

New to the library is the introduction of more natural lighting and updated, modern décor, an improved open concept, and shelving to improve the flow of traffic inside the library.

The kids area is tucked away in a corner and is jam packed with puzzles, games and youth storybooks for the little ones to enjoy. Adjacent to the kids area is a brand new sitting area with new furniture, reading material and computer stations.

Other improved features are not as visible and include electrical improvements to enhance online experiences and a suped-up A/C system that will keep patrons cool during the dog days of summer.

The project is not one-hundred percent complete, as the old circulation area is still under wraps. The work is expected to completely done by mid-September 2018.

Still, all of your local favorites and classics are available to read. Get lost in the Doc Ford series, based right here on Sanibel Island. Delve deep into the action-adventure series penned by local author Randy Wayne White, the author of nearly two dozen thrillers starring Doc Ford. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Doc Ford’s Restaurant located on Tarpon Bay Road to sample local favorites like Yucatan Shrimp and the delicious Doc Ford mojito!

Explore our surrounding areas in Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s classic believed to have been inspired and written directly from our sands.

For more information, call 239-472-2483 or visit www.sanlib.org.

The Sanibel Public Library is located at 770 Dunlop Road.

Live Music on Sanibel

Beat the heat this summer and kick up your feet at one of many of the island’s hotspots for live music. Experience the best local sounds from several of Sanibel Island’s most popular restaurants. From classically trained pianists to rocking acoustic guitar performances, there is always something fun to listen to on Sanibel Island.

Kick the night off with the soothing sounds of Scott McDonald every day (except Mondays) at Il Cielo. Scott is a professionally trained musician and former Keyboardist for The Andy Williams Orchestra. Additionally, the skilled pianist is also the Director of Music for St. Isabel Catholic Church on Sanibel Island and has received Open Table’s “Diner’s Choice Award” for Best Ambiance in Southwest Florida.

Next, head on over to the legendary island eatery, The Island Cow, for live entertainment by Dan Confrey on Friday and Sunday evenings Peter Redpath performs every Saturday night. Dan Confrey has toured both nationally and internationally. He is a Multi-instrumentalist playing Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Tenor Sax, and Steel Pans. Peter Redpath has been playing music since the late 1960’s, up and down the East Coast, in bands, duos and solo acts. His influences include country, folk and rock with strong focus on melody and storytelling.

The Sea Breeze Café hosts live music that changes weekly on Mondays from 5:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. Home to Margarita Mondays, enjoy the music and $5 margaritas from 4 p.m.- 10 p.m.

A local favorite, Traders Gulf Coast Grill and Gifts has live entertainment on Tuesday and Thursday with the Danny Morgan Band. Chris Workman plays on Wednesday nights. The Danny Morgan band has received the Best of Islands award for “Best Local Entertainment” over 15 years in a row. Chris Workman is a highly talented singer songwriter delivering original music with a refreshing blend of Pop/Americana with influences spanning several decades of popular music.

Last, hit the sand at Traditions on the Beach for live music and stunning ocean views! Woody Brubaker and Maravilla Marzan perform on Friday, Dean Winkelmann performs on Wednesday. Woody Brubaker has spent an astounding and productive fifty-eight years in the music business. An accomplished musician on saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano and vocals, Woody was also a composer for U.S. Air Force Bands. Maravilla Marzan is a singer songwriter and is one of the most sought out acts in Southwest Florida. Dean Winklemann performs an astounding variety of classic jazz, pop, and rock music—all in a lighthearted and fun atmosphere!

Get out there and tap your toes to the tunes of Sanibel’s most skilled artists and musicians!

Doc Ford on Sanibel Island in New Novel “Caribbean Rim”

Credit: Penguin Random House

Doc Ford, our very own fictitious local hero, is back in an all new adventure in the New York Times-bestselling series by award-winning writer, Randy Wayne White.

In Caribbean Rim, Marine biologist Doc Ford is once again on a journey help his friends out of jams, but he’s never faced a situation such as the one he encounters on this new adventure.

His old pal Carl Fitzpatrick has been chasing sunken wrecks most of his life, but now he’s run afoul of the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Its director, Leonard Nickelby, despises amateur archaeologists, which is bad enough, but now he and his young “assistant” have disappeared—along with Fitzpatrick’s impounded cache of rare Spanish coins and the list of uncharted wreck sites Fitz spent decades putting together. Some of Fitz’s own explorations have been a little…dicey, so he can’t go to the authorities. Doc is his only hope.

But greed makes people do terrible things: rob, cheat, even kill. With stakes this high, there’s no way the thieves will go quietly—and Doc’s just put himself in their crosshairs.

Randy Wayne White has written nearly two dozen thrillers starring Doc Ford, but the beloved series is showing no signs of slowing down. His 25th Doc Ford book, Caribbean Rim, is White’s and most heart racing novel yet.

White has been awarded the Conch Republic Prize for Literature, as well as the John D. Macdonald Award for Literary Excellency. He is one of only four writers named as an Editor At Large by prestigious Outside magazine (Jon Krakauer, Hampton Sides and Tim Cahill are the others). In 2011, White was named a Florida Literary Legend by the Florida Heritage Society

He lives on Sanibel Island, Florida, where he was a light-tackle fishing guide for many years, and spends much of his free time windsurfing, playing baseball, and hanging out at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille.

Delve into Doc Ford’s world at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, located a short drive from the Gulf Breeze Cottages property. Enjoy all your favorites including Yucatan Shrimp and world class mojitos. If you’re hoping to run into Randy Wayne White, then this is the place to do it as he can be found writing here on many nights. With 2 dining rooms and an outdoor patio, where you decide to enjoy the ambiance is up to you! Visit the brand new Doc Fords location at 2500 Island Inn Rd.

Sanibel Island Named as Leading Underrated U.S. Beach Town

Cheetsheet.com has named Sanibel Island as one of the most underrated beach towns in the USA. Sanibel was listed at number 17, ahead of other desirable beach destinations including Siesta Key and Tybee Island.

“The northern half of this island is almost entirely protected by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You can enjoy the beach on the southern part of the island, famous for its gorgeous seashells.”

CheatSheet.com provides audiences the information they want in an approachable, entertaining way. The website closely follows, researches, and writes about topics to bring audiences the most up-to-date guides, reviews, lists, and advice. The lifestyle and travel websites aims to save readers time with the purpose of living more.

This summer, we invite you to experience Sanibel Island at its most serene during the underrated time of year for island enjoyment. With the seasonal crowds long gone, the only others on island that might disrupt your island day are local flocks of pelicans or even a manatee lazily enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf.

Celebrate “National Lazy Day” throughout the month of August right here with us. Enjoy 10% off on all of our available units. The longest days of the year deserve some extra lazy down time, so why not spend it on our famous shelling beach?

As we ease into Fall, consider taking advantage of our special rates starting during the month of October. Call today is today for your stay dates from October 24 to November 3, 2018 and enjoy rates from only $165 per night on select units.

We would love to speak with you about your next vacation. Please give us a call at 1.800.388.2842 or  239.472.1626 to discuss your upcoming Sanibel Island Vacation.

Sanibel Restaurants with a View

Credit: Traditions on the Beach

As the slow days of summer arrive on Sanibel Island, there is no better way the spend your day than lazing away on the sands of this sanctuary island. From sun up to sun down, expect smaller crowds and less traffic—the perfect setting for the ultimate summertime beach getaway. It is during this time of year that temperatures are at their height, but that alone shouldn’t keep you away from the scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico available across the island. Why not step out of the sun during peak hours and enjoy a delicious meal along with a million dollar view.

There are plenty of Sanibel island dining options with a view. Grab a cocktail, step out of the sun, and indulge in Sanibel Island’s best waterfront dining.

Mad Hatter Restaurant
Located near the historic and beautiful Blind Pass waterway, The Mad Hatter offers new American cuisine serves with a side of stunning scenery.  Inspired and eclectic menu choices evolve depending on the season, and every meal is always fresh and prepared from scratch. Chef Kurt and Michelle Jarvis bring new life to this cozy, romantic restaurant on the beach with its well-deserved reputation and unbeatable sunsets.
6467 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
239.472.0033

Gramma Dot’s Seaside Saloon
Dine leisurely at the dockside restaurant Gramma Dot’s. Located at the Sanibel Marina, enjoy a full line of “only fresh” seafood, salads, sandwiches and more. Appropriate dress is required. Named for Dorothy Sterns, Dot loved an adventure. As a teenager, she traveled the world by ship with her family. She rode camels in Egypt, rode horses and played billiards in the Wild West. She was an avid sailor who loved the sea and logged many hours exploring Long Island’s Great South Bay. In the late 50’s, her sea explorations brought her to Sanibel. The restaurant was named after Gramma Dot by her son Myton Ireland.
634 N. Yachtsman Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957
239.472.2723

Traditions on the Beach
Located just east of your accommodations at Gulf Breeze Cottages sits Traditions on the Beach, a quaint and contemporary restaurant directly on the sand. With Live music and dancing every night plus contemporary cuisine served Sanibel style and complimentary valet parking. Using only the freshest local ingredients, Traditions, as the locals call it, offers the most delicious dishes found anywhere in Southwest Florida. Award-winning Chef Aziz uses the finest of local ingredients to create dishes with vibrant visual and taste appeal. In true Island style, the restaurant provides its warmest welcome for the many guests who return year after year for memorable cuisine served in a breathtaking surrounding. Fun fact: Traditions on the Beach is Sanibel’s first dining room and has been delighting its guests since 1895.
3111 West Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-4559