Sanibel Sea Turtles

The world knows Sanibel for its shell-covered beaches. Less well-known but just as significant is Sanibel’s association with sea turtles. Each year, sea turtles land on Sanibel beaches to nest. The nesting season officially starts, as recognized by the City of Sanibel, on May 1.

Baby turtles on their way to sea

Scores of Sanibel residents and guests volunteer to locate the nests, cordon them off from human intrusion and monitor their development. Eventually, little hatchlings work their way out of the nests and scamper to the Gulf water to begin their life at sea. Since, these little critters are tasty morsels for airborne predators, the hatchlings make their migration at night, guided by light on the Western horizon.

For more about sea turtles and Sanibel, plan to attend a free lecture at 10am & 1pm in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Education Center auditorium, on Friday, April 5. Jeremy Conrad & Amanda Bryant will talk about Sea Turtles of Sanibel. For a more information, call the refuge at 239-472-1100 ext. 241.

Need beach accommodations on Sanibel? Gulf Breeze Cottages has traditional island style cottages for your comfort and relaxation. 800-388-2842 is the number to call.

Last Spring Training of 2013

Sanibel has almost everything a great vacation requires – right here on island.  And what it lacks, if you are a baseball fan – is available at our mainland neighbor.

To make access even easier, the Sanibel Recreation Center has arranged to offer tickets for the last game of the 2013 Spring Training Season to be played at JetBlue Park. Residents and guests can buy tickets on island at the Rec Center ($27) to see the Boston Red Sox play their cross-town rivals, Minnesota Twins, on Friday, March 22.  The game starts at 1:35 p.m. at JetBlue Park, aka “Fenway South”, at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers.  After this game, there are no more Spring Training Games until 2014. For information about ticket arrangements, call the Rec Center, call 239-472-0345.

Play Ball!

Royal Obsession Comes To Sanibel

Here’s a special reason to travel to Sanibel Island on March 28th, as the Sanibel Community House journeys back to the era of royal protocol in England in the 1930s. SCH will hold a special performance of Wallis Simpson – Royal Obsession.

The performance, in conjunction with a noon luncheon, tells the story of an ambitious Baltimore socialite who encountered the bitter hatred of Britain’s royal family when King Edward VIII abdicated his throne in order to marry her. The couple becomes known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Ms. Simpson is portrayed in this one-woman show by actress Joanna Olsen and is based on her research of correspondence between Ms. Simpson and her second husband.

Cost is $20 for Sanibel Community Association members and $25 for non-members. Lunch is included in the price and features a menu of honey-grilled chicken salad with mixed field greens and raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 239-472-2155.  The Sanibel Community House is located at 2175 Periwinkle Way.

Gulf Breeze Cottages encourages you to spend a few nights with us on the beach at Sanibel before and after this special event.

Sanibel Island’s New Birding Trail

We predict many happy birders and hikers!
Coming soon – visitors to Gulf Breeze Cottages, and Sanibel Island in general, will be able to enjoy a new boardwalk at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Children's Birding Trail, Sanibel IslandIn partnership with the Refuge and Sanibel School, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) is raising funds to help build a walking trail that will be a direct link between the School to the Refuge’s Indigo Trail.

The new boardwalk trail, named The Children’s Birding Trail, is scheduled for completion in April. The trail will be accessible to all Refuge visitors, but the walkway will be securely gated where it reaches the school.

The trail will include:
• Opportunities to view freshwater habitat and species previously inaccessible to Refuge visitors
• Approximately 200 feet of boardwalk wide enough to accommodate groups of children
• Educational signs
• Removable scope for spotting
• Benches and gathering areas, including a covered gazebo.

Anyone interested in contributing to the project is asked to contact the DDWS at (239) 472-1100 ext.233 or email

Why not take advantage of our current specials & book a stay at Gulf Breeze Cottages?
Escape the cold and snow – we’d love to hear your tales of the trail!

Biking Sanibel Island

We like to bike. How about you?

The Sanibel Shared Use Path, which also serves as a biking path, goes right past Gulf Breeze Cottages. So you can get on a bike here (we rent them!) and pedal off to explore the rest of the island.

The fabled Sanibel Lighthouse is a short jaunt away, while if you are up for a longer ride, Blind Pass, where Sanibel meets Captiva, is a few miles (one way). We mention that because, even without hills to wear you out, the return trip is always more of a struggle than the outbound leg.

We recommend you take your biking experience in short bites because the Florida sun – even on cloudy days – also can take its toll. That’s also reason to layer on the SPF35 before setting out.

You’ll probably bike past numerous shopping stops and enticing restaurants. There also are some kiosk shelters to stop for a rest.

You’ll soon learn why bicycling is one of Sanibel’s favorite pastimes – and why staying at Gulf Breeze Cottages is such an ideal way to start and end your biking day.

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!