Anonymous Donor Bids Big

If you missed the big Ding Darling fundraiser event last week, you may not know that an anonymous bidder paid $60,000 for a carving of a mangrove cuckoo by Sculptor Jim Sprankle.

Sculptor Jim Sprankle throws his hands up in wonderment as DDWS Executive Director Birgie Vertesch announces that an anonymous donor won the live auction for his carving with a $60,000 bid at last Friday’s inaugural Cuckoo for “Ding” Trailgate Party at the Refuge.

A sell-out crowd of more than 270 attendees was at the Cuckoo for “Ding” Trailgate Party for the live auction, live music and food at the February 15th event.

The back-story, previously posted on our blog, is that the carving was created by Sprankle to lure illusive mangrove cuckoos to the Refuge. The project was a success in the wild. Rather than just put the carving away in a box somewhere the Ding Darling Wildlife Society had Sprankle clean it up and turn it into a “work of decorative art.” It was then offered at the live auction where it generated $60,000 of the nearly $100,000 raised at the event.

And here’s the extra twist: The winning bidder asked that the mangrove cuckoo carving remain at the “Ding” Darling Education Center for public viewing. Now you can visit the Refuge yourself and see a $60,000 mangrove cuckoo in person!

On Sanibel we do love our wildlife refuge, don’t we? And we show it regularly. Why don’t you plan to visit? You can book a room for your island stay right now at Gulf Breeze Cottages.

Sanibel Island Irish Fest

What’s green, has lots of legs and goes “rat-a-tat-tat”?

It’s the Irish Fest on March 17th – aka St. Patrick’s Day – at Sanibel’s Bailey’s Center from 3 to 6pm.

Bailey Fest Celtic DancersIrish (Celtic) dancers are an eagerly anticipated tradition for this event. Young and grown, tall and short, male and female, the group members have flying feet. Arms? Not so much as their rigid frames concentrate on not kicking themselves silly. And you don’t have to be Irish to be wowed by the talent and athleticism of these dancers. Yes, there’ll be Irish music also, plus an appearance of the BIG Arts Community Chorus. (We hope they sing, “Danny Boy”) and lots of fun and food.

Bailey’s Center is at the corner of Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way. Join the greening at Irish Fest. It’s a great day to be – or pretend to be – Irish and be on Sanibel Island.

Book your reservations at Gulf Breeze Cottages now.

Sanibel Island + Spring Training = The Perfect Vacation

Most folks come to Sanibel Island, and Southwest Florida in general, for the beach and the sunshine – things greatly missed up north. But, in February and March, we also greet visitors whose idea of the perfect vacation is sitting on a hard seat in a crowded ball park. Welcome to Spring Training!

Boston Red Sox Spring TrainingMinnesota Twins Spring TrainingLee County is blessed with two major league teams who train here; The Boston Red Sox, who play at JetBlue Park and The Minnesota Twins, who play at Hammond Stadium, attract thousands of baseball fans to Southwest Florida for the action. Click the links above to check out the Spring Training schedules for both teams.

Beautiful Sanibel Island is an easy drive to both stadiums. If you count you’re a Sox or Twins fan, now is the time to book your accommodations for March. Don’t wait! This is a popular time to vacation, even without baseball. Visit us at Gulf Breeze Cottages, on the fabulous Sanibel beach. Combine a Gulf Front vacation with your favorite past-time – what could be better?

Mangrove Cuckoo – Sanibel Island

The illusive Mangrove cuckoo has been lured to Sanibel Island’s “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge by a cuckoo decoy carved by renowned Sanibel artist, Jim Sprankle. Now, you can bid on it as a work of the carver’s art.

A tent party that the Ding Darling Wildlife Society labels a Cuckoo for Ding “Trailgate” Party will include a tent party with live and silent auctions, music by Chris Coile and a “trailgate” theme. The party will raise funds to support the Mangrove Cuckoo research project, education, and other research at J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The date isFebruary 15, 2013 at the Refuge.

The main item to be offered at auction is the cuckoo decoy, which has been retired from it’s decoy assignment and is being tweaked and redecorated by Sprankle as artwork. This is a one-of-kind carving, with an interesting back-story, too. You could be the lucky bid winner of this exceptional piece.

DDWS Executive Director Birgie Vertesch advised, “Jim’s work typically fetches bids well into the four-figure range. Given its original use as research tool in a study that is tagging Mangrove Cuckoos for the first time in history, his cuckoo piece is priceless.”

Several other items will be included in the auctions, from private guided excursions with the mangrove cuckoo biologist to a wildlife-themed wood Adirondack chair painted by Randon Eddy, courtesy of Ace Hardware, and more than 20 other art and gift certificate items

Interested? Book accommodations at Gulf Breeze Cottages, spend a few days on Sanibel exploring “Ding” Darling NWR and place your bid!

Merry Christmas From Gulf Breeze Cottages, Sanibel Island

Looking for something to do this Holiday Break? The Edison-Ford Estates are aglow with thousands of Christmas lights and seasonal decor. It’s fitting that the man who brought us electric lights in the first place is responsible for illuminating the season in such festive style.

Gulf Breeze Cottages, Gulf front on near-by Sanibel Island, strongly encourages our guests to set aside a day to go over to the mainland to visit The Edison-Ford Winter Estates. The Estates boast 20+ acres of botanical gardens, nine historic buildings including Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory and the Estates Museum which contain an impressive collection of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits. Mrs. Edison’s vast gardens and vegetation collected from around the world, that was part of Edison’s experiments, is in abundant display and was planned so that there is always something blooming, no matter what time of year you visit.

The Christmas holiday is just one more reason to witness this world-class attraction. Shine on!

Sanibel Island Awards

Lots of recognition lately!

– Sanibel Island is the number one travel destination in the world, according to respected travel guru Arthur Frommer, the mastermind behind Frommer’s guidebooks. Frommer recently ranked his ten favorite places to visit and listed Sanibel first, above destinations like Bali and Paris, citing the island’s natural beauty and home for rare birds found at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

– Sanibel Island was recently named by USA Today as one of the worldwide “Top 10 Great Places for Families to Escape the Snow”.

– Trip Advisor has named Fort Myers and Sanibel and Captiva Islands a “Top 10 Favorite Travel Locale” and honored the area with the 2012 Travelers’ Choice National Destinations On The Rise award.

Gulf Breeze Cottages has some great special rates! Come – or return – to Sanibel Island and see our natural beauty for yourself!

Gulf Breeze Cottages receives prestigious “White Glove Award”

The Lee County, FL Tourist Development Council announced Friday that Gulf Beach Cottages on Sanibel Island has received the Superior Small Lodging Association Citation as a White Glove hotel/inn. The White Glove award is given after unannounced visits by inspection teams who grade member lodges on cleanliness. In order to receive the award, Gulf Beach Cottages was required to pass every item on a long check-list of housekeeping and cleanliness standards.
According to Gulf Breeze spokesperson, Katrina Salokar “This is not a casual matter for us. We work very hard to be a place where guests not only enjoy the best of Sanibel Island beaches and other island experiences, but also they encounter spotless conditions in their rooms and cottages. This is recognition we are very proud to receive.”
Gulf Breeze Cottages invites you to book your reservations for Fall on Sanibel and the upcoming Season – space is going fast!

Dodging the bullet

That’s the conventional way to comment when impending disaster threatens, but in the case of Isaac, it was more like dodging the shotgun pattern. As the storm turned into the Gulf and skittered past Sanibel, it was so wide that the island got a lot of rain but fairly modest winds – THANK GOODNESS!!

We hunkered down, in the way Gulf Coasters are all too familiar with, and watched through shuttered windows. It wasn’t until it was over that we realized how non-threatening Isaac actually was for us. Then our thoughts went to folks in New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama and the Panhandle and we prayed nature would be merciful.

Today on Sanibel we have blue skies and fair weather again. This would be a good day to book your reservations Gulf Breeze Cottages for this fall. Come to Sanibel and we’ll all have a good time.

New Waterfront View 2 Bedroom

We finally decided to do something about only having three beachfront units… so we had friend of ours come over and paint a mural of the sea! Number 8 has a view of the ocean complete with many of our winged friends! Adam Stephens will be painting at least one more mural on property, this one will be a sea-scape; can’t wait to see how it turns out!