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Turning a long day into a solstice celebration

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

But it’s got nothing to do with Santa, Rudolph or stuffed stockings.

Rather, for those lucky enough to spend time in Southwest Florida, it’s an annual sun-drenched celebration known as the summer solstice.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac defines the solstice as the mid-June instant in the Northern Hemisphere when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points, conveniently making the calendar day on which it occurs the one with the most sunlight time out of all 365 days in a given year.

Here in Captiva on June 21, that meant a cool 13 hours, 48 minutes and 21 seconds.

And for your favorite Tween Waters Inn adventurer, it meant a corresponding agenda stretching from 6:36 a.m. clear through to 8:24 p.m.

Of course, given the complement of activities available via the resort and its island partners, the prospect of finding enough solstice things to do was far less daunting than the specter of finding the energy necessary to actually do them all from early in the morning to the middle of the evening.

Oh well, it’s a sweaty job… but someone’s got to do it.

Seizing the island’s pre-dawn serenity, I began the gauntlet with a stand-up paddleboard jaunt across the gulf – which simultaneously allowed unique perspective to a Thursday sunrise and discovery that while they’re not quite kayaks, the water-skimming crafts are bigger than surfboards and remain stable enough to stay afloat under the haphazard captaincy of a bleary-eyed New York-born 49-year-old.

Kneeling and paddling were a relative cinch, and, though my wobbly transition to standing won’t earn me a spot on anyone’s SUP fantasy team, the idea that I did so without becoming a shark’s breakfast was a huge moral victory. So long as you keep your feet spaced and your weight distributed, the rest, for a newbie, is pretty much academic. Simply put, staying steady equals staying dry.

(More info on rental rates, which go from $30 for an hour to $150 for five to seven days, is here)

Upon successfully surviving the gulf, the scene shifted to the resort’s east side where paddle gave way to oar for a two-hour mangrove kayak tour led by Adventure Sea Kayak and SUP. The trek takes participants across Roosevelt Channel and onto a water trail cutting through Buck Key, and it provides a chance to interact with manatees, dolphins, herons, egrets, anhinga, cormorants, ospreys and otters.

I shared a solstice trip with five TWI guests from four states and emerged with a primary takeaway:

Trying to get a perfect shot of a majestically surfacing manatee is practically impossible for a middle-aged guy wedged into a kayak and armed with only an obsolete cell phone to document the interaction, and the graceful sea cows seem to know exactly when to appear while you’re still fumbling through your access code, and precisely when to submerge just as you’ve lined up the perfect shot.

It was frustrating enough to make a guy crave seafood.

And fortunately, the Oasis Pool Bar was there to indulge.

It only took a few dozen steps to get from beached kayak to pool-side table, where a perfectly charbroiled gulf grouper sandwich ($14) provided a taste of revenge and a nicely chilled three-rum punch ($12.50) dulled the burgeoning soreness erupting from kayak and paddleboard taxed joints.

A relaxing mid-afternoon bike ride seemed the perfect follow-up to a casual midday lunch, and the quest for mild exertion amid world-class visuals began at the marina, where a full complement of non-geared bikes is available for rental by resort guests. Rates start at $15 for the first two-and-a-half hours and $5 per hour thereafter, an outlay which provides instant access to a fleet of ready-to-roll machines.

A leisurely pedal took me past fishermen on the Blind Pass bridge, alongside white egrets strolling the fence line at the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge and face to face with a gopher tortoise happily munching grass while cars whizzed past just feet away. The refuge’s parking lot was a pit stop prior to a tail-winded return trip and the jaunt was capped by a visit to the beach across Captiva Drive from the resort.

It had already been everything a sun-worshipping blog jockey could want.

But after paddleboards, kayaks and bicycles… something was still conspicuous by its absence.

Speed.

Feeling the need for a buried speedometer, I headed straight down Captiva Drive, took a quick left onto Andy Rosse Drive and sidled up to the desk at YOLO Watersports, where a fleet of WaveRunners — Yamaha’s proprietary label for the crotch rockets capable of up to 50 mph alongside dolphins, tarpon and whatever else that may sidle up — is available for rental in 30- and 60-minute increments.

Rentals run from $90 for the half-hour to $120 for a full (per machine, not per person) and as many as three people can pile on, provided the combined weight doesn’t exceed 450 pounds and the driver is at least 16. The ride area spans a mile-and-a-half along the coast and up to two miles offshore, and that’s aside from guided tours which take riders up to and around Cayo Costa before returning to home turf.

For the record, my late-arriving 10-year-old son likened my driving to “an old grandmother.”

Still, I prefer to think of it not as slow, but deliberate.

Anyway, the sound and feel of sea breezes reignited the collective appetite and sent our little crew – now augmented by the aforementioned son and my perpetually patient wife – back to our favorite resort dinner haunt, The Crow’s Nest Bar and Grille.

We dug into a pair of garden burgers and a serving of pasta primavera and dropped a couple bucks on the Captiva Crab Races while intermittently glancing out the window to make sure we’d not miss the marathon day’s final act, a sunset stroll on the beach with our resort newbie Dalmatian, Elsa.

The sluggishness of our crustacean ensured an on-time departure, and we kicked off our sandals at 8:19 p.m. – precisely five minutes before the glowing orb disappeared and began the stretch of 183 progressively sun-shortened days until winter formally arrives in the form of a 10-hour, 28-minute, 33-second solstice encore on Dec. 21.

It’s a little sad to realize it’ll be six months until days start lengthening again.

So long as the paddleboard doesn’t require chains and snow tires, though… I think I’ll manage.

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Sun-drenched and stoked on the Captiva shoreline

The Banzai Pipeline at Oahu. The massive swells off the coast near San Francisco. The sandy point breaks along Puerto Escondido in southern Mexico.

They’re among the world’s premier spots for surf enthusiasts.

But in case you hadn’t noticed, the island of Captiva isn’t included.

Compared to the jetties, piers, coves, points and turbulent ocean storms combining to create water-logged Valhallas for modern-day Beach Boys aficionados, the sands in the vicinity of the Tween Waters Inn are typically much mellower and free of topographical wave catalysts.

In fact, waves over a recent five-day stretch rarely exceeded “flat” or “1-2 foot” status, according to www.SwellInfo.com, and even when they did it was only to a waist-high 2-3 feet until winds settled back into their typical 5-10 miles per hour range.

Still, for those looking to indulge an inner Laird Hamilton on a smaller scale, there are options.

Toward that end, allow me to introduce “skimboarding.”

For those uninitiated, it’s a sport in which a “skimboard” – similar to a surfboard but smaller and without fins – glides across the water to meet an incoming wave and ride it back to shore.

It originated in Southern California, when Laguna Beach lifeguards wanted to surf local shore breaks that were too fast and shallow for surfboards.

And all that’s necessary for the TWI version, too, is a board and a beach.

That’s where the resort’s partners at Yolo Watersports – just moments away at 11534 Andy Rosse Lane – come in. Yolo offers rental boards in a variety of sizes, accommodating up to 175 pounds, but the general rule is that the ideal skimboard roughly stretches up to mid-chest height on its rider.

Rates are $12 for the first 24 hours and $5 for each subsequent day.

Larger boards are faster but will not maneuver as rapidly. Meanwhile, smaller boards tend to be more agile but slower. Thickness plays a crucial role, too, because thicker boards will glide better but won’t turn as well because they lack responsiveness.

Of course, if you’re as new to the activity as I was… it won’t matter.

You will fall down. A lot.

Why? Because just like riding a bicycle, learning how to balance on a skimboard is best done while the board is in motion, not standing still, which means each tumble gets you a step closer to mastery.

And unlike riding a bicycle, clumsily falling onto sopping wet sand is far more amenable to the head, knees and backside than plummeting onto a concrete sidewalk or a pockmarked roadway.

The basics from there are, well… pretty basic… depending on the experience you seek.

The best setting for skimming across sand is a flat beach, while beaches with more pronounced slopes are better for wave skimming. Also vital to the endeavor is a dedicated pre-skim stretching session to avoid the embarrassment of pulled muscles along with the requisite bumps and bruises.

A bit of 49-year-old advice, friends… don’t sleep on the pre-skim stretching.

Anyway, practice by leaning over and lowering the board six inches from the ground. From there, push the board across moistened sand – parallel to the shoreline – and rise up as you chase it and ultimately run onto its surface one foot at a time, subsequently bending your knees to complete the slide.

The more you try the move, the better you’ll get (trust me!), until you can do it in one step with full alacrity. Or at least something resembling alacrity. Let’s call it a step past sluggishness.

Upon mastering the sand skim, turn your sights to the water and run through the same basic steps, making sure to choose a wave that you can get to and then skim without compromising balance. Shift your weight to the inside or outside of the board depending on which direction you intend to turn, and once you skim up the wave’s front, turn away from it and ride it confidently back to the shore.

When you arrive, accept the affections of your adoring crowd.

And, now that you’re officially Hang-10 certified, there’s only one move left to perfect…

Board drop.

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GREEN AT ‘TWEEN: ‘TWEEN WATERS ISLAND RESORT TAKES EARTH-FRIENDLY MEASURES

Say goodbye to plastic straws at the Oasis.

Don’t get me started on the topic of plastic straws! Yes, I’m talking about that little plastic tube that gets used for an average of 10 minutes, but, because it is not recyclable, takes 100 years to decompose in the environment. In the meantime, it ends up in the stomachs of sea turtles and other marine creatures.

As it does decompose and turn into microplastic, it even gets into our own digestive systems.

Did you know that every day in the U.S. alone, consumers use an estimated 500 million straws – enough to circle the planet 2.5 times?

So I rejoiced, and not quietly, when ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island made the announcement. It will be discontinuing the use of plastic straws at its Oasis Bar & Grill in the weeks to come. (Plastic straws distributed at outdoor venues increase the likelihood and quickness with which the light straws get blown into waterways.)

“I think it is the right decision given the local ecosystem and our relationship with it,” said ‘Tween Waters General Manager Brett Gooch.

Bravo, Mr. Gooch! Let’s hope other Captiva Island establishments follow suit.

The outdoors plastic straw ban will add to a long list of measures ‘Tween Waters quietly has put into place to save the environment over the years.

Take its cool pools. They get cooled in the summer and heated in the winter using geothermal technology. For more than seven years, the resort has been employing this green system to keep the pools a consistent temperature of 84 to 86 degrees.

Like many resorts these days, ‘Tween Waters encourages guests to reuse bath towels and bed linens to reduce the resort’s carbon footprint. But ‘Tween Waters took it a step more committed via its luxury towel program.

The theory behind it? Buy plusher, bigger, more absorbent towels and you will diminish the need to a) provide guests with fresh towels daily, and b) buy new towels as often.

To further reduce the use and disposal of plastics into the environment, ‘Tween Waters introduced its Tervis Tumbler program. The resort sells a logo version of the definitive Florida brand of insulated drink ware, which recycles broken and damaged products to make new tumblers.

Buy one for $19.95 and get your 16-ounce frozen drink for free. Furthermore, bartenders at any property bar will make your drinks in your new Tervis instead of plastic to-go cups, thereby reducing waste.

Finally, ‘Tween Waters does its part, and then some, to protect the rampant wildlife that Sanibel and Captiva islands are famous for. Beyond requiring lights off for sea turtles this time of year, when they are nesting and hatching, it protects the manatees that love to congregate in the harbor with signage commanding boaters to cut their engines as they enter.

Kayak and canoe eco-tours teach guests about the manatees, birds, and other native creatures, many of them threatened or endangered.

The islands claim nearly 250 species of birds, and flocks of them frequent the marina and beaches of ‘Tween Waters. The resort has provided nesting poles for ospreys, whose shrill whistle, for many returning guests, sounds like a welcome-back call to this place so in sync with nature.

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A Cocktail-Lover’s Guide to ‘Tween Waters on Captiva Island

Personally, I love good wine and, when lounging poolside, a top-shelf gin with tonic to refresh. The wine and cocktail lists at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island keep my thirst well quenched, but also offer a full suite of martinis, frozen drinks, signature craft cocktails, and local beers.

Sunny Sipping

Starting at the Oasis Pool Bar & Grille, the adult beverages pair well with splashy, sunny days. It’s known for its tropical frozen drinks – perfect for warm spring days this time of year.

I especially love ordering mine in a Tervis tumbler, the definitive Florida brand of insulated drinkware. Buy the ‘Tween Waters logo tumbler for $19.95 and get your 16-ounce frozen drink for free. Another cool pool bar deal, the Bucket Promotion awards you one free bottle of beer when you buy four.

Plus! Sipping poolside has never been so cool or so full of savings: Oasis Pool Bar has now launched 50% off all drinks for Happy Hour from 5:30-6:30PM nightly.

Nightlife & Nosh at Crow’s Nest

As an apertif at Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, I lean toward the Murky Water cocktail – ‘Tweenies version of a dirty martini made with Ketel One vodka and a blue cheese-stuffed olive. My beer-snob husband orders from the craft beer menu, usually Bury Me Brewing’s From My Dead Cold Hands IPA on tap, made nearby in Fort Myers. Reef Donkey APA from Florida’s Tampa Bay Brewing Co. also comes in draft, along with other crafts in bottles.

When I’m in the mood to drink my dessert, the Key Lime Pie Martini differs from others with a douse of Rumchata mixed with key lime liqueur and vanilla vodka.

Wining & Dining at Old Captiva House

Dinner at gracious Old Captiva House calls for a nice bottle of wine.

“I select the wine personally with my team,” said Food and Beverage Manager Laurent Bosc. “My goal is to offer good wines at good prices. Many countries such as Italy, New Zealand, and Australia are offering excellent unknown wine that often can compete with French and overrated Californian wines.” He urges guests to move out of their wine comfort zones to experiment with the excellent, lesser-known vintages.

I’m also a big fan of the bar’s Cumber-Tini, a twist on my usual GT with Hendrick’s gin and muddled cucumber. With that, it’s time to toast a hearty cheer to a day of sunning, supping , and sipping at ‘Tween Waters.

NOTE: Starting mid-May, kitchen and dining room renovations will mean that Old Captiva House will be temporarily relocated to the Wakefield banquet facility overlooking the Gulf.

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Getting water-logged to chase a flying Fox

If you ask me, Michael J. Fox is the culprit.

After all, it was a movie in which he played a starring role — 1989’s “Back to the Future Part II” — that first made red-blooded American boys like me start dreaming about the airborne sweet spot somewhere between terra firma and a jet airliner at 30,000 feet.

OK, full disclosure… I was 20 going on 21 when the movie came out.

Fox is Canadian, though, so there’s got to be a favorable conversion rate in there somewhere.

Anyway, the point is that after watching Marty McFly bounce off walls and race next to cars with what amounted to a low-hovering skateboard, we all figured similar real-world gallivanting was imminent.

But now, as 49 stares down the barrel at 50… Fox’s fantasy still seems way too far-fetched.

At least when it comes to land, that is.

Fortunately, the ‘Tween Waters Inn is flanked on two sides by water, which provides a bit more opportunity for those still hoping to give ol’ Michael J. a run for his multi-colored money.

And just as fortunately, it’s only a shade more than a mile from Yolo Watersports, too.

There, at 11534 Andy Rosse Lane, TWI guests and visitors can get their Fox on in the form of “flyboarding” — an activity in which riders stand on a board connected by a long hose to a watercraft.

Motion is created when water is forced under pressure to a pair of boots with jet nozzles underneath, providing thrust for the rider to fly as high as 50 feet in the air or dive headlong down to 8 feet.

It’s $95 for a 30-minute session with the certified folks at Yolo, who’ll ride shotgun to ensure fun and safety while the paying customers – with pre-flight instructions rattling around in their heads – desperately attempt to replicate YouTube videos that make it look barely harder than riding a bicycle.

For the record, those instructions seem pretty simple and focus mainly on basic movements – 1) stand with locked legs to begin; 2) point toes down or up to move forward or backward; and 3) lift alternating knees to go in the opposite direction (left knee moves you right, right knee moves you left) — but they provide little solace as you rise and tumble with all the alacrity of a sleep-deprived toddler.

It’ll take all but full-on Olympians (read: show-offs) multiple tries (read: crashes) to stay consistently dry and vertical, at which point a true adventurer may endeavor to raise his or her game, literally, by raising elevation – which provides both the thrill of flying and the terror of crashing for the same low price.

Soreness was alongside exaltation and exhaustion by the time my half-hour was up, though the sensation of a nose full of water lasted long after I’d gotten back to shore.

Turns out a comfy chair and attentive servers at the Oasis Pool Bar quickly take the edge off, especially upon their arrival with a frosty Rum Runner or Margarita.

And, whaddya know (eh!), it only took two or three repetitions before I’d begun to forgive my Alberta-born nemesis.

Maybe not enough to punch up “Doc Hollywood” on Netflix just yet…

But I’m surely willing to negotiate.

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Music to your ears: Jamming at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Captiva Island holds a reputation for some of the best music to be found around Southwest Florida, and you can thank ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa for that. For as long as I can remember, our visits to Captiva have been orchestrated by a party-down visit to the Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, where live contemporary musicians take the stage several nights each week. It has always been THE place to nightlife in these parts.

In the past few months, ‘Tweenies has gone a step jivier with the introduction of its Songwriter Saturdays the first weekend of each month. On the shirttails of the famous, countywide Island Hopper Songwriter Fest each September, ‘Tween Waters has piggybacked on a building reputation for high-profile artists from the BMI circuit. The informal Saturday concerts – to further sweeten this deal – take place at the Oasis Pool Bar, where the drinks are fruity and the setting tropically splashy.

The next Songwriter Saturday hits the pool deck on Feb. 3 starting at 4 p.m. ‘Tween Waters welcomes Hugh Mitchell to the stage. He has toured nationally since 2006 as a side man for other artists in venues ranging from bars to arenas. Now he has broken out on his own with a new 2017 release.

From his hometown in Alabama, the Birmingham Magazine writes: “Hugh Mitchell has an unmistakable down-home flavor, but he isn’t the result of a country factory. Call it country, call it rock. Just listen.”

I believe I will, and that you should too.

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Living the top-rated life on Captiva Island at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Recently, Coastal Living magazine published its 2018 list of 20 Best Places to Live on the Coast. Captiva Island made the top 10. My only surprise at that was: It should have placed number one. But of course we’re talking about a board of “experts” who don’t know Captiva Island like I do. And the scope, after all, is worldwide.

IMHO opinion, Captiva Island tops out even if you can only live there for a week or three days. Especially if you are living it up at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa, with its prime location balanced between Gulf of Mexico sunsets and Roosevelt Channel sunrises.

In that way and place, the sun dictates how you live on Captiva Island. I like to start with a morning coffee on the marina docks, where I can watch the bustle of morning boaters raring to get out on the water. Ospreys squawk and scold at all the commotion. Manatees and dolphins play undisturbed around the mangroves. Captiva Island comes alive.

In between, there are two swimming pools, a pool bar, a spa, tennis courts, and dining to see you to the other side: the Gulf side, where long beach walks, seashell hunts, and sandy snoozes bring you to the magnificent, near-religious finale of solar adieu. Sunrise, sunset. If that isn’t the way to live life to its fullest, what, I ask you, is?

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Searching for Shell-Halla in the dead of winter

The Weather Channel was in ghastly form.

Three-quarters of the country below freezing. More than 40 percent experiencing wintry precipitation.

Snow angels, Southwest Florida style.

And measurable amounts of the white stuff falling in North Florida from Tallahassee to Gainesville.

But just when it seemed the Jim Cantore basic cable film festival would never end, a thought suddenly occurred to me:

It doesn’t snow in Southwest Florida.

So while friends at nearly all points in the contiguous U.S. preoccupied themselves with the travels of “Winter Storm Grayson,” I grabbed my outdoor adventurer’s cap, scooped up the wife and son and again set out for the high Lee County seas.

That meant a return trip to The Marina at ‘Tween Waters Inn, where we booked ourselves three seats on an afternoon beach/shelling excursion to Cayo Costa — a north/south barrier island about eight miles from the resort via Pine Island Sound.

Another day in winter paradise.

The boat docked on the island’s southeast side after a 30-minute ride, and a brief trip across a boardwalk and a tree-lined sandy path ended at the entry to a pristine white-sand beach that stretches the length of the island along the Gulf of Mexico.

And even on a blustery 55-degree day, it was a shelling Shangri-la.

The three-hour trip allowed for two hours of beach time, and the remoteness of the island — it’s accessible only by boat or helicopter — provided untrammeled shoreline and tidal pool examination simply not available in places with more traffic.

Frenetic 9-year-old Ryan crammed a pair of one-gallon bags full of conchs, murexes and pretty much anything not nailed down, while the more discerning (age withheld) Danielle — with a single bag in tow — sought a very particular treasure consisting of olive shells, snail shells and fully intact sand dollars.

The biggest lightning whelk on Cayo Costa, alongside a regulation-sized quarter.

We were in full-on competition with a few fellow passengers for a couple hundred yards, before the field flaked off to just the heartiest hunters once we’d been walking for 45 or so minutes.

Of course, armed with the Tennessee determination (read: stubbornness) of her mother Sondra, Danielle was hell-bent to go 20 yards past the longest survivor, and her indomitable nature was rewarded in the form of a barnacled lightning whelk as big as my head that weighed in at a cool seven pounds.

Her semi-educated guess was that it had been in the water for half a century, which paired nicely with the Nike swoosh-shaped piece of sea glass she figured had been wet for roughly a decade.

We lugged our haul to the boat to claim prime return seats, a choice that paid off with a clear view of a frolicking bottlenose dolphin herd about 50 yards off the bow. Any shot at glimpsing manatees, however, was short-circuited by the cold snap that drove the regal sea cows to the warmth of a nearby power plant.

Sand dollars, shells and other treasures.

Absent our mammalian pals, Ryan, Danielle and I rode out the final few miles spotting islands, flamingos, and buoys for blue crab traps — while simultaneously making advance choices for our dinner at the Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille and thinking up mocking Facebook posts for our freezing-cold friends up north.

Incidentally, Danielle and Ryan shared a Crow’s Nest Burger and an Ultimate BLTAE and posted half a dozen shots of the TWI sunset … while I had the grouper sandwich, then made up a catty meme for a friend in Niagara Falls whose pipes froze over the night before.

“Greetings from Shell-Halla, Grayson… Wish you were here.”

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Holiday & Christmas Event at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa

There’s no lack of fun and holiday cheer to spread here at ‘Tween Waters, starting with our annual Thanksgiving buffet followed by a full day of Tree Lighting celebrations, sunsets arias and a special pre-holiday accommodations offer. Check out the details:

Turkey Turkey Turkey. Gobble Gobble Gobble up a fantastic Thanksgiving feast at Crow’s Nest and Captiva House November 23, 2017, with favorites like a roasted turkey and classic homemade gravy carving station and roasted redskin smashed potatoes and new variations like vegan spinach ravioli and califlower au gratin. Captiva House Buffet Hours 12-8PM. Crows Nest Buffet Hours 2-8PM. Call for reservations: 239-472-5161 x 421 OR book online via captiva-house.com Open Table reservations. Check out the full menu here.

Launch the holidays right with the brilliant sight of the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, November 24, 2017,  at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. NEW this year, we’ll be celebrating for hours, starting CJ the DJ spinning by the family pool noon-3PM, holiday tuns beachfront 4-6PM, live music from Gatlin at 6PM while 100,000 lights come to life around the property with the lighting of the gigantic 30-foot tree overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, followed by a colorful fireworks display starting around 7PM choreographed to holiday music. Continue the party outside with music by CJ the DJ after fireworks, or head inside to the Crow’s Nest for dinner and another performance by Gatlin.

Seeking more holiday fun and magic? Prepare to be inspired by sunset operatic arias live on the beach at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Saturday, November 25, 2017. Beginning at 5PM opera singers Alicia Branch and William Strattford will fill the beach with beautiful music, only matched by our gorgeous nightly sunsets. Cash bar available. Make the evening an event with dinner reservations at Crow’s Nest or Captiva House: https://captiva-house.com/

Like Santa, ‘Tween Waters also loves to give, which is why when you book a reservation midweek Sunday-Thursday November 26-December 21, 2017, you’ll save 50% off guestrooms, studios and one-bedroom suites and 30% off cottages and two- and three-bedroom suites — plus extend your stay and we’ll pro-rate the weekend! PLUS, your multi-night stay includes FREE continental breakfast buffet, FREE wi-fi and no hidden resort fees, and a FREE $100-value resort coupon book on any reservation through 2017! Call only, BOOK DIRECT, 800-223-5865! Saving this much means spending more on presents for the ones you love during the holidays.

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Benefits of the New Breakfast Policy

breakfast tween waters inn

I hate change, so when I heard that ‘Tween Waters was switching their breakfast policy, like many of you, I started to panic! Would they have my beloved pastries? What about the mornings when I just want something fresh? Was this going to cost me more? I just want my breakfast back!!!

After speaking to Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts CEO Tony Lapi (and maybe taking a chill pill too), I was able to calmly examine the policy a little further, and began to realize this really wasn’t the end of the breakfast world as we know it. In fact, I might actually save some money.

As explained to me, in order to maintain their bountiful buffet, they have to work that into the nightly rates. It’s built in. So removing the free breakfast buffet option, I don’t have to pay that automatically in my nightly rate — so no money lost. In fact, they reduced their rates by 8% across the board (so all cottages and suites too), meaning I’m actually paying less per night in the future.

So now that I have 8% back in my pocket — equating to anywhere from $20-40 per night — can I still spend it on breakfast? Of course! But I also don’t have to. Food and Beverage Director Laurent Bosc says they plan to have quick breakfast options, which will have grab and go items like fruit, cereals, pastries and more, all at reasonable prices, so that I can grab my breakfast, not waste any time getting to the beach, and still have money left over in my pocket each day in savings.

But some days I want a little extra — pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, oh my! Bosc tells me that that won’t change. I will still be able to order these items from a menu for breakfast, just like I had when the breakfast buffet was in place.

Plus, with newly renovated rooms complete with partial and full kitchens in some rooms, I also have the option to make my own breakfast.

So to all of my ‘Tweenies peeps who, like me, started to fret when they heard about the 2018 policy, don’t panic! It’s designed to save us money, reduce waste and save us precious beach time, while still giving us options — and that’s the truth.

NOTE: The New Breakfast Policy doesn’t begin until 2018, and they’ve been planning this for a while now, which means your rate most likely reflected the 8% change. If you booked your reservation extremely early (around 1 year prior) your initial reservation might not have been adjusted, but has since been refunded the 8% difference. 2017 reservations are not affected by this new policy.

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