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Finding More to Love at West Wind Inn’s Normandie Seaside Café

The baked scallops appetizer bathed in sherry cream and topped with streusel-textured parmesan bread crumbs was my first clue. But the Mediterranean Clay Pot Grouper cinched it.

The Kalamata olives. The capers. The whole cloves of mild, soft garlic. The plump mushrooms. The artichoke hearts and fingerling potatoes. The fennel-tinged roasted tomato sauce. The grouper! – so perfectly cooked to the very brink of doneness. It’s as if Executive Chef Patrick Fitz had peered into my deepest food fantasies when he created this elegant comfort food.

The grouper dish is unequivocally the star of the new, brilliant dinner menu that Chef Fitz introduced recently at the Normandie Seaside Café. Named for the famed French ocean liner, Normandie stands, in more ways than one, as the flagship restaurant at West Wind Inn, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort’s sister property on Sanibel Island.

The new chef comes to Normandie from the Blue Coyote Supper Club, an establishment renowned for its fine cuisine. He brings to this restaurant a flair for Italian and Mediterranean flavors, immediately recognizable in the fennel sprinkled through the new menu.

While I went for the new, my husband stayed with one he has long loved: crab-stuffed snapper with lobster cream sauce. It shines brighter  now from Chef Fitz’s polish and magic. He has added his tweaks to many of the familiar favorite appetizers and entrees on the menu. The garlic mussels app, for instance, has evolved into a curry cream rendition. The pan-seared scallops entrée benefits from a tomato fennel sauce and chef’s evident know-how when it comes to cooking seafood to the proper degree.

Our scallops appetizer, another tweaked rendition, came with two gigantic scallops in a ramekin, baked to a lovely pink rareness. My husband didn’t exactly lick the bowl, but he did bread-sop up every last drop.

Besides the grouper dish, a beef tenderloin tips appetizer with caramelized onion, mushrooms, and brandy reduction; and a roasted half duck entrée glazed with raspberry and accompanied by sweet potato puree also make a first-time appearance on the menu.

Expect more signs of Chef Fitz’s accomplished meddling on Normandie’s breakfast and lunch menus. He has effectively elevated the legendary café to so much more than your typical hotel food.

 

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Blues on the Beach: A First-Time-Ever Concert Event on Captiva Island!

tween waters blues on the beach

Do you love the blues? Do you love the beach? Here’s your chance to experience both — for the first time ever on Sanibel and Captiva Islands — when Blues on the Beach takes the stage at ’Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. Saturday December 14, from 7 pm – 10 pm, our private resort beach comes alive with the amazing sounds of three of Florida’s top next generation blues artists, including singer-songwriter-guitarists David Julia (18), Trey Wanvig (17) and local sensation Johnny Jensen (16).

To celebrate the occasion ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa has created an added-value 2-Night “Blues Weekend” offer that includes guestrooms from only $215 per night — with every Friday-Saturday night stay including 2 FREE TICKETS to the concert per bedroom, per guestroom. That means if you book a 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom accommodation, you’ll receive 2, 4 or 6 free tickets. Availability is limited, so to book your Blues Weekend now click here (enter “blues” in Special Requests Comment field at online checkout) or call on-site reservationists at 800.223.5865.

About the Players

At age 18, David Julia is a guitar prodigy who calls Central Florida home but who’s made his musical mark across the country. Since picking up the guitar as a 7-year-old, he’s grown his craft and honed his vocal and guitar skills under the tutelage of blues master guitarist Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin — with whom he recently collaborated on an album entitled “Inspired.” His blues style is described as both “contemporary and traditional electric blues.” Learn more about David Julia here.

Hailing from Sarasota, Trey Wanvig is 17 years old with a resume that already rocks. Trey has performed at numerous blues and music festivals including the Bradenton Blues Festival, Dallas International Guitar Festival, B.B. King’s in Memphis, Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa and even aboard the Allure of the Sea, one of Royal Caribbean’s “Oasis Class” cruise ships. Wanvig has performed alongside many great artists including Shemekia Copeland, Annika Chambers, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Bryan Lee, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson. Learn more about Trey Wanvig here.

Local favorite Johnny Jensen has been banging the drums and playing guitar from the age of two. Growing up on Captiva Island, he wasn’t much older than a toddler when he joined his Uncle Jimmy and band the Troublestarters for weekend jams at Jensen’s Marina & Cottages. Today, Johnny’s played everywhere from Fort Myers to Nashville, and has opened for a number of headline national touring acts — all before or at the age of 16 years. Learn more about Johnny Jensen here.

About ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa

Be sure to join us for the first-ever concert on the beaches of Captiva Island, at the private Gulf-front sands of the legendary ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa — where standing ovations are better ’cause you’re barefoot. Book your weekend here or purchase advance tickets only here.

‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is the Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island, Florida. With a history of island hospitality almost 90 years famous, ‘Tween Waters is a luxury beach resort brand of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, Southwest Florida’s top hospitality marketing and management organization that also features West Wind Inn, Beachview Cottages, Castaways Cottages, Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals, five top-rated restaurants (including TripAdvisor favorite and historic Old Captiva House at ‘Tween Waters), two marinas and day spa.

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“Look Ahead and Book Ahead” for Captiva 2020 Beach Season’s Lowest Rates!

look ahead book ahead tween waters

As the weather changes and begins to cool in many parts of the country, warm weather lovers everywhere turn their thoughts toward Florida — and, for more and more of you each year, Southwest Florida in particular. Lucky you, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is looking forward to our 2020 Beach Season and inviting you to book now for our absolutely guaranteed, we-wouldn’t-fib-about-something-this-valuable lowest rates.

We call our special promotion “Look Ahead and Book Ahead,” and that’s exactly what any cold weather hater should do now. Simply visit our more than 130 highest quality seaside cottages, Gulf-front and Bay-front studios, suites and guest rooms here on our website, find your favorite and book it prior to November 15! When you do, you’re guaranteed the lowest rates on any and every 2020 vacation rental — as rates change at 12.01 AM November 16.

One final note: keep in mind that when you book direct with us at ‘Tween Waters (versus places like Expedia), you’re guaranteed our lowest rates, you enjoy no hidden resort fees, you receive a Resort Rewards coupon book with more than $100 of valuable food, beverage, water sports and fun discounts, plus you receive 15 free amenities and services. And that’s only when you boo direct, with us. Tick tock, hurry and book now!

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Taking Advantage of Offseason at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa for a Girls Getaway

Yes, “Captiva Island” are those two magical words that make winter go away.

Yes, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is the perfect antidote for snow blindness and frostbite.

YAS! In the offseason, Captiva and ‘Tweenies is the place my gal pals and I head for a getaway without the seasonal crowds (and rates!).

We spent an off-weekend (Sunday and Monday nights) in offseason (end of September) and barely paid anything for our gulfview rooms. But even better, we happened upon Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, a region-wide event that spends its first few days on Captiva Island.

Picture this: Hanging at ‘Tweenies pool, mojito in hand, while artists who have written songs for the likes of Garth Brooks and Eddie Rabbit, sing their hits, crack jokes, and take you on a journey through their Nashville careers.

Just us and the birds on the morning beach

Island Hopper happens at almost a dozen venues on Captiva, but you can’t beat ‘Tweenies’ pool and Oasis Pool Bar scene. So start making plans now for next September.

Trolleys and shuttles take you free-of-charge to other Island Hopper venues on Captiva, and after the show ended at ‘Tweenies, we hopped aboard to discover “downtown Captiva” at its offseason liveliest.

We wound up back at the Crow’s Nest, where the popular Gatlin Show act paid tribute to Island Hopper’s country music theme with a cowboy hat hall-of-fame presentation and repartee that had us laughing out loud. And vocals that had us dancing like no one was looking. Watch for the entirely entertaining male-female duo every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night starting at 8:30 p.m. through October.

The rest of the “unweekend” we spent on a morning beach walk, lazing by the Serenity Pool, getting a pedicure (orange nails for fall) at the spa, dining at the marvelously remastered Old Captiva House, and kayaking.

We learned a little offseason secret about the latter. The ‘Tween Waters marina has a small fleet of single and double kayaks for guests’ complimentary use. Another good reason to go in the offseason, when you have a better chance of scoring one, or, in our case, three. That physical exertion called for cocktails at the Serenity Pool bar, where we posted selfies of our fivesome on the swings at one end. Another new discovery!

 

 

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Enjoy the Thrilling New Shark Boat!

Shark Boat Tween Waters

The newest and most thrilling adventure on the water has joined the watersports brigade at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa! Replacing the banana boat, the new “shark boat” has guests zooming across the water and splashing through the surf in a thrilling ride. The new boat holds up to 6 passengers, which makes it perfect for big groups or families ready for a good time!

Better than the banana boat, the shark boat has individual seats that keep riders safe and separated. With double the size of the banana boat, the shape and size of the shark boat helps riders to board the boat easier, keep riders on the boat, and keep them stabilized. The boat also has foam handles with knuckle guards to help guests hold on during the ride with ease.

Guests glide through the Gulf side, splashing through waves on this 12 to 15 minute ride. Enjoy it all for just $20 per rider, available with Captiva Water Sports located on-location at the ‘Tween Waters Marina or beach stand. The shark boat is pulled behind a jet ski and operated by a USCG licensed Captain. Riders must be over 40lbs and under 250lbs, and riders under 18 must have a parent or guardian present to consent.

If you’re looking for more adventure watersports while at ‘Tween Waters, try jet ski tours and rentals, parasailing, and private boat rentals — all hosted through Captiva Water Sports — available at the ‘Tween Waters Marina. Visit Captiva Water Sports for more information on the shark rides or call 239-472-6336 to book your next adventure with Captiva Waters Sports.

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Get Your ‘Tween Waters Free Tumblers Before They’re Gone

What’s the deal with the tumblers? It’s a great deal, that’s what! Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has boasted the Stay 3, Get Another Night Free offer as the best deal of the summer, but now they’ve added in a bonus! Get this deal, plus also receive 2 free drink tumblers with the ‘Tween Waters, Beachview Cottages, Castaways CottagesSanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals or West Wind Inn logo as a bonus!

Each of the tumblers is made by Tervis, a Florida-based but nationally-recognized company, which makes insulated drink mugs boasting cooler or warmer drinks. The tumblers come as a pair, with matching basic sip lids, all which are dishwasher safe.

This tumbler promotion is not only a bonus way of saying Thank You for booking your summer vacation (must book by August 31, 2019, but also a great way to stay aligned with our “Green” initiative. These drink mugs are a sustainable method to a cool drink by the pool, and bartenders at the resorts will fill your tumblers with drinks instead of utilizing the plastic non-reusable cups.

The tumbler offer is just another way that SCBR is adding value to your stay! With free nights, free tumblers, free parking, free $100-value resort coupon books, and no resort fees at any of our properties, you’re bound to see why Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts are you Official Beach Resorts of Sanibel & Captiva Islands.

This offer has been extended to August 31, so make sure to book now! You must book by August 31, 2019 and stay within the confines of the Stay 3 Get Another Night Free offer dates, in order to receive your free tumblers. Bookings after August 31, 2019 still receive the free night but will not be eligible for the two free tumblers.

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Discovering What’s Old and New at Restyled Old Captiva House

Finally! I’ve been waiting for my favorite dinner-out island escape to open for months. On May 15, the highly anticipated re-opening of the Old Captiva House at ‘Tween Waters Beach Resort & Spa on Captiva Island finally happened. I was there within days to bask in the polished, refreshed setting that makes old and new a seamless time warp.

Old Captiva House’s roots reach back to 1908, when it served as Captiva Island’s first schoolhouse. After the Price family opened their ‘Tween Waters Inn in 1931, the schoolhouse, now on the National Register of Historic Places, transitioned into a kitchen and dining room to serve guests – guests, through the  years, who have included Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh,  preeminent birding author Roger Tory Peterson, and Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, an important editorial cartoonist in the 1930s who twice won the Pulitzer Prize and created the national wildlife refuge on Sanibel now named for him.

Darling, in fact, became one of ‘Tween Waters’ biggest fans and proponents, decorating the lodge’s registration book with his famed doodles. To honor the man and his legacy, the new design of the Old Captiva House has created a Darling Gallery of some of his original cartoons and engravings.

The gallery greets guests as they enter the shiny space that gleams with new furnishings and appointments and the gracious patina of its venerable years.

The restaurant retains its two indoor and patio seating areas. The veranda-like smaller dining room with its lulling sea views is a favorite, but the addition of a physical sushi bar to the larger room ups its attraction. From their handsome wood floors to new patterned, stamped-tin ceilings, the inside dining rooms spell pure class. But in a relaxed vein, despite their starched white table linens.

One of the biggest changes of the multi-million-dollar renovation is one guests don’t see: a totally revamped kitchen. But they can enjoy those upgrades in breakfast and dinner menus that, like the restaurant itself,  joins hands between before and after.

The dinner menu has made a Caprese salad convert of me. Well, for this version, anyway: grilling the juicy beefsteak tomatoes and the swap of basil pesto and lemon-infused white balsamic for the typical red balsamic send it over the top.

We also loved the addition of the “steak of the moment” option, which rewarded us with a bone-in filet mignon on our most recent visit.

And with such inventions as the artichoke chorizo benedict and cheddar bagel steak and eggs sandwich, the breakfast menu adds so much dimension to morning dine-out options on these islands. Finally!

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A Classic is Reborn: The New Old Captiva House Officially Welcomes You.

It stands on the site of Captiva Island’s very first schoolhouse that opened its doors in 1908 to a few pioneering students and families. In 1931, when the first overnight guests to Captiva Island checked in at the new ‘Tween Waters Inn, Grace Price treated guests to homemade meals at Old Captiva House while husband F. Bowman Price tended to their fishing excursions.

Across the many years since, Old Captiva House has welcomed tens of thousands of guests to its tables — notable names like Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, J.N. “Ding” Darling, Roger Tory Peterson and more, as well as equally notable names like you.

Today, May 14, 2019, a new chapter of Old Captiva House has officially been written. After more than a year in the works and one-million-dollars-plus of investment, Old Captiva House has been re-envisioned and re-created to once again stand as the top island dining destination for its classic styling, contemporary design, breathtaking beauty and mouthwatering cuisine. And this National Registry of Historic Places landmark is ready to welcome you and your family to experience it all, for breakfast or dinner.

Chief Executive Officer Tony Lapi is excited. “Old Captiva House has a long tradition as a top-rated TripAdvisor Captiva Island restaurant,” he explains. “The time had come to ‘up our game’ and over-deliver to our guests with a new Old Captiva House that combines its classic style and feel with bright and beautiful additions.”

Laurent Bosc serves as Food & Beverage Director of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, and has led a team of highly talented foodservice professionals — including Executive Chef Greg Nelson, sous chefs, servers and attendants — in creating an exciting new menu of Florida-fresh favorites, along with the highest standard of service to be enjoyed on the islands. Bonus: this talented team gets to perform their magic in a sparkling all-new kitchen that rivals any in Southwest Florida for state-of-the-art preparation and presentation.

Chief Operating Officer Doug Babcock anticipates that guests — both those who’ve visited the resort in years past as well as local residents — will be wowed. “The new Old Captiva House is simply remarkable, the moment you walk through those famous doors that front the Gulf of Mexico,” he says. “Your eyes literally wander from here to here to there, with so many ‘wow moments’ as you take it all in.”

Drawing from its historic past, Old Captiva House features a delightful “Darling Gallery,” a collection of original J.N. “Ding” Darling illustrations that — over his many years as guest — he would sketch in ‘Tween Waters Inn’s registration book. The illustrations are sometimes fun, sometimes silly, but altogether fascinating in their “slice of life” in the 1940s and 50s.

Open to the public (breakfast and dinner) and available for weddings, Old Captiva House has indeed embarked on a new chapter in its remarkable history. Be a part of it — make your reservations now to see, taste and experience the best dining on Captiva Island, with a Gulf-front view of Captiva’s romantic and beautiful sunsets, no extra charge.

Visit OldCaptivaHouse.com or call 239.472.5161 (Extension 421) for reservations.

 

Old Captiva House
Old Captiva House
Old Captiva House
Old Captiva House
Old Captiva House
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Relishing Sanibel Island’s best breakfast at the Normandie Seaside Café

Bloody Marys and sauteed plantains. The Normandie had me there. Because when it comes to breakfast, I seek the unusual. The creative. The eye-opening. The excellent. Normandie Seaside Café at the West Wind Inn – one of the Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts group – has thereby become my favorite breakfast restaurant on Sanibel Island.

Let me preface it by admitting that my bestie breakfasts in the world have been devoured in the Bahamas. True, the Normandie doesn’t serve the Bahamas’ sheep tongue souse and fish soup breakfast specialties. But there are those caramelized sweet plantains, which are an alternative to grits or home fries as a side dish to Normandie’s ambitious array of breakfast specialties. (But, truthfully, the crispy potatoes fried with sliced onions makes for a tough decision.)

I find tropical influences, too, in its grilled French toast inventions: crusted with coconut and toasted almonds or, ta-da!,  topped with banana-strawberry cream cheese, fresh strawberries and bananas, and powdered sugar.

The omelet menu takes a more global tour. The kitchen fills the Pesto Omelet, for instance, with basil pesto, ham, tomato, and parmesan cheese. There’s also an Italian and Greek, but my favorite, the Fiesta Omelet, bulges with roasted red pepper, mushrooms, onions, salsa, and cheddar.

Its specialty breakfasts, on the other hand, salute the American flag with bennies and breakfast sandwiches. Seduced by the velvety hollandaise sauce and the quality English muffins, I sway often in the direction of the classic Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine.

As for the Bloody Marys, they’re just spicy, just strong enough. When we order mimosas instead, they come with just a dash of OJ, exactly how we order them.

Muffins, pancakes, granola, and a tasty bacon and egg wrap: No matter what the Normandie cooks up for you, it delivers excellence. And perhaps the true and most important test of its excellence is a seasoned service staff that knows the value of making guests feel immediately welcomed, no matter how busy they are, and ultimately satisfied. I can think of no better way to start the day.

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Win a Free Vacation at Any of the SCBR Properties

What’s better than a vacation on Sanibel and Captiva Islands? How about a FREE vacation, at your choice of four spectacular Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts properties. SCBR announces the “Choose Your Paradise” sweepstakes— a year-long celebration of the vacation choices SCBR provides!

Enter to win, “Choose Your Paradise” and you’ll have a chance to win one of three, five-night vacations, across three phases throughout the year. The Grand Prize winners will choose from Beachview Cottages, Castaways Cottages, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa or West Wind Inn to stay five consecutive nights in a spacious and comfortable guestroom, or similar, based on availability. Winners will be randomly selected from the entry database three times throughout the year, May 31, August 31 and November 30, 2019. Entrants may enter once per day to increase their odds at https://www.sanibelcaptivabeachresorts.com/choose-your-paradise/.

In addition, all four Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts are celebrating “paradise” with its “Spring Ahead to Summer Sale,” which provides guests an additional night free when staying three or more nights. When you book direct at the property websites, you enjoy guaranteed lowest rates versus other travel sites; 100% complimentary resort fees; $100 value Resort Rewards coupon book; plus up to 20 exclusive, free amenities and services not otherwise available.

The ”Choose Your Paradise” sweepstakes celebrates the variety of options available when booking with Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts. Choose from Sanibel or Captiva Islands, intimate cottage settings to beachfront resorts with a full-range of amenities, properties with marinas and properties with beachfront views. Guests have the luxury to choose it all: Choose your island. Choose your beach. Choose your style.

Choose Your Paradise and enter to win today! https://www.sanibelcaptivabeachresorts.com/choose-your-paradise/.

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