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.


All the World’s a (Terrifying) Stage

My first concert was Van Halen. My first poster was Bruce Springsteen. My first girlfriend would have ditched me for Jon Bon Jovi. So, needless to say, music has played a role in my life for many years.

And it’s no stretch to suggest – alongside champion boxer and prolific author – that being the front man of a rock band has been a prime fantasy of mine since the hair was long and the face was smooth.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Grammys… turns out I can’t sing a lick.

Oh, I can hang with “The Boss” from the comfort of my bathroom and I’ve been known to draw stares as I belt out “Margaritaville” at red lights, but when it comes to hitting the high notes more than an arm’s length from showerhead or steering wheel, I’m far better off staying on mute.

Given my role as TWI’s adventurer-in-chief, though, the right to remain silent is no longer an option.

So with that responsibility weighing heavy on a recent Wednesday night, I paid a visit to the 8:30 p.m. karaoke session at the Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille with an intent to indulge my inner entertainer.

It’s a relatively new outlet for wannabes – having started as a regular weekly gig in early 2016 – but it’s an automatic attention-getter once the “stage” starts going up in the corner of the dining room.

The stage is a stage by only the most liberal definition, of course, but once the predictable procession of Buffetts, Beatles and Beastie Boys begins revving-up the enthusiastic, bottle-tipping vacation crowd, it might just as well be the big room at Madison Square Garden.

But if you think that might help with the nerves… think again.

More than a dozen people were there to perform and I got the number nine slot, nestled comfortably between a retired U.S. Army master sergeant (we all know what divas they are) and a guy who did the worst Ricky Martin impersonation this side of the actual Ricky Martin. Whoa.

The crowd was an eclectic mix of perhaps 30 people, ranging in age from early 20s to early 50s, most if not all dragged by a friend or loved one who was going to take the stage. I brought my better half and, having heard my act for 12 years, she compassionately began praying for a power outage.

From the mic you could look out and see traffic drive by, which provided the comfort of knowing the world didn’t care. But that was all the relief I got as I learned other wannabe stars, too, tend to cut their teeth on the “Wanted: Dead or Alive” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” ditties that I had planned.

You can totally get away with that stuff if you’re the first person up, but being No. 9 suddenly stunk. Best Buy employee “Chad” killed it in the No. 1 spot with all my material, leaving me scrambling through an internal CD catalog for old Bruce nuggets like “Glory Days” and “Pink Cadillac.”

Suddenly, teen nights spent with headphones while cool kids partied elsewhere were a boon.

Anyway, the sound of my thudding heartbeat essentially drowned out performers two through eight, and by the time my name was called an hour or so later, position nine turned out to be completely innocuous. People had lost steam after the first several songs and were busy refreshing their drinks by the time I grabbed the microphone – and within 10 minutes, my one-man show was over.

I ducked into the bathroom and came back prepped for an encore, but by that time the Ricky Martin guy had hit the second verse of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and I was already old news.

So I headed to my Kia instead, and left the windows down while Bruce and I gave the residents along Captiva Drive an impromptu show for the ride home.

Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days…


Sauntering the Captiva Island Beach from ‘Tween Waters Inn

Walking the beach is my favorite form of exercise and relaxation, as contradictory as that may sound. What can I say?: I’m a type-A Pisces. So, being goal-oriented as I am, I like to plan a destination for my beach walks. A purpose.

When setting out on my beach strolls from ‘Tween Water Inn Beach Resort & Spa on Captiva Island, I have two different routines from which I choose. When I’m looking for serious beach quiet and meditation, I head south toward Blind Pass. The uncluttered beachscape along this 2-mile stretch allows me to commune with nature – from the tiny ghost crabs scooping sand out of their coin-sized holes to the pterodactyl-esque brown pelicans that dive-bomb the surf for breakfast.

Days I’m feeling more social, I aim my flip flops north, where the beach parallels the road and glimpses of majestic beach homes are more likely. My goal on these jaunts? The shops of “downtown Captiva” and perhaps a stop for a pina colada or slice of key lime pie for incentive. Maybe a visit to the cemetery next to Chapel-by-the-Sea, where mourners leave seashells on gravestones rather than flowers.

The return walk always is less energetic. That’s when I do my favorite kind of shopping – searching for seashells and other beachcomber finds. I take it slowly, promising myself the final, most fulfilling goal at the end of the walk: A dip in the new Serenity Pool at ‘Tween Waters, followed by a snooze under a cool blue umbrella.


A Winter Wonderland for Manatees

One of my favorite things about a winter vacation at Tween Waters Inn, besides the beautiful weather, is the influx of manatees. When temperatures dip to the north, the manatees head south looking for warmer water. Here’s a quick guide of where to find them and what to look for.


How to spot manatees

Look for round swirl patterns in the water. The swirl is caused when their large paddle tail moves up and down.

Scan the water for dark masses. Manatees usually surface for air every 3-5 minutes, but can stay down as long as 20 minutes. You might also see their snout and whiskers poking above the water’s surface.


Where manatees hang out

The marina at Tween Waters Inn is a fantastic place to see manatees (and dolphins)! They tend to hang out by the docks and by the mangroves to the right of the kayak rentals. <Innsider TIP: If you have a bayside room at Tween Waters Inn, you can often see manatees from your balcony/lanai!>

Manatee Park in Fort Myers is another great location. The power plant next door pumps out warm water so the manatees gather in droves. It’s quite a sight, and it’s a nice drive from the resort.

J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge is only a few minutes away and in addition to manatees, you can see all kinds of birds and an assortment of wildlife, including gators and otters.


Manatee laws

‘Look but don’t touch’ when it comes to manatees. If you’re kayaking or paddle boarding, try not to cruise over top of a submerged manatee; you never know when they’ll resurface. They might pop up right beside you though, and that’s ok! Just admire and enjoy your good fortune.

See you at the docks with fingers crossed!


The Haunting of ‘Tween Waters Inn

Ghost Stories 'Tween HistoryAs stores begin to haul out their goblins and ghouls, and Halloween decorations, I begin to prepare for one of my favorite times of year! I love history for their stories, and what’s more, I love stories that feel alive. Perhaps that’s why Halloween is one of my most anticipated holiday seasons — for the ghost stories!

‘Tween Waters Inn is steeped in a rich history, with residents dating back more than 100 years. The island itself just oozes the perfect Halloween history, with pirates keeping their prisoners “captive” on the island, hence the name Captiva Island.

And while ‘Tween Waters Inn has never had an official ghost hunter give us the verdict on paranormal activity at the resort, it’s easy to see why the possibility is very real. What began as a collection of fishing cottages, expanded to an epicenter for remote tourists beginning in 1931. Prior to that, the Captiva House restaurant stood as a one-room schoolhouse for children of Captiva’s Pioneers. If you visit today, you’ll see some of the same architecture from that school house still standing.

As you walk through the shaded boardwalk paths of the resort or skim the walls of the Captiva House, it’s not difficult to image the former famous guests of Teddy Roosevelt, Charles and Grace Morrow Lindbergh or J.N. Ding Darling doing the very same, or haunting the halls peacefully today. After all, the resort is known to have inspired artists, authors and countless others — why wouldn’t they want a little “extended” stay in paradise?

Grab your sunhat and walk beach, and you might find Charles Lindbergh haunting the beach itself. There’s something calm ad serene about the ocean that seems to call the ghosts of ‘Tweenies past to the beach, and rumor has it that Mr. Lindbergh used to land his plane right on their shores. Grab a pole and head bayside where the resort has actual photos of Teddy Roosevelt fishing the very same. If you can’t feel his presence then you can surely imagine how it would have been, with so much untouched nature and quiet serenity.

Ghost Stories 'Tween History

And while there’s no gruesome ending for any guests, nor swamp thing peeking out of the mangroves, ‘Tween Waters Inn does have their very own resident white cat who ghosts the perimeters of the property. Like most ghosts, he won’t harm anyone and has been on property for years. If you’re seeking a more “lively” bunch, there’s always the annual Hallo’Tween party, held this year indoors and out.


How to Save When Booking Your Next Captiva Vacation

Hotels Deals on Captiva Save

If you’re like me, before you book your vacation, you’re searching multiple sites for the best deals and ways to save on your hotel, flight and tickets. It’s a pain to search around, researching how to save, when to stay to save and how long to stay to save, but luckily for you, I’ve got the Innside scoop on how to get the best deals with ‘Tween Waters Inn. I’ll let you in on the secret…

Book direct. You can shop around for deals on or, but after speaking to the reservations manager at ‘Tween Waters Inn, I’ve discovered that booking direct will get you the best deal — here’s why.

Hotels have to pay a pretty hefty percentage to those “OTA’s” like Priceline, TripAdvisor,, Expedia and Orbitz, so they’d rather you book directly with them because that means all of your booking goes to the hotel and not any third-party sources. Therefore, they’re willing to offer you a lower rate, just so that they can cut out the middleman.

And now, ‘Tween Waters Inn and many other hotels are willing to reward you for booking direct too. With ‘Tween Waters Inn, they’ll not only cut your rates but they’re also removing any resort fees when you book direct.

Want to save even more? I’ve found that while booking online can be a nice streamlined and easy process, calling the friendly reservations staff at ‘Tween Waters Inn can save you money. Their reservationists know how to combine deals or grab the lowest rates using package rates for multiple nights, which often include dining credits as well. Plus, the reservations department at the resort tells me that they don’t place all of their inventory online — meaning there may be more options available for you when you call. You can reach reservations at 800-223-5865 x 1.

Lastly, you’ll want to stay for three days or more — and who wouldn’t want to stay in paradise a little longer? When you do, you receive a multi-night discount, and you’ll nab their current “Stay 3, Get Another Free” offer plus $100-value resort coupon book.

So the bottom line on saving your bottom line: Book direct. Call. Stay longer.


Getting Wowed by the Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille’s New Menu at ‘Tween Waters

I consider myself something of a shrimp-and-grits snob. I’ve eaten the iconic Southern dish from here to Charleston and New Orleans. My favorite used to be the Ya-Ya Grits at a restaurant in Pensacola. It’s been dethroned, however, by the Shrimp and Unbelievable Grits on the new menu at the Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa.

Believe the “unbelievable” part. Laced with roasted corn, poblano cheese, and chorizo, the grits languish in an insanely delicious smoked tomato sauce. They make the bed for meaty shrimp dusted with cornmeal and pan-fried. The crowning touch: slices of fried green tomatoes for a final Southern accent.

The shrimp-and-grits are but one indication that Chef Greg Nelson’s recently debuted menu says “wow.” We started with cocktails: I, a Murky Water (i.e. dirty martini with just the right touch of olive juice and two blue cheese-stuffed olives); my husband, one of four Florida craft beers listed.

We sampled quinoa salad and cracker-crusted crab cakes for starters. A white-peach vinaigrette adds subtle sweetness to the tri-color quinoa’s texture. Sandwiched between apple slaw and cayenne remoulade, the crab cakes burst with flavor and moistness.

Rob ordered coconut-crusted shrimp served po-boy style, the shrimp jumbo and juicy. Tasty and perfectly executed as it was, the side dish of red beans and dirty rice practically upstaged it. Over-sated, we passed on the dessert tray. We’ll return soon to try other selections on Chef Greg’s menu. Wow!

Crow’s Nest dessert tray at ‘Tween Waters Inn Resort & Spa
Shrimp and Unbelievable Grits at the Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, ‘Tween Water Inn Resort & Spa



Stargazer the Seahorse

Have you met Stargazer? This five-foot tall beauty is always smiling, and greets everyone who enters the lobby at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Stargazer is actually a seahorse, maybe you’ve seen her (or him?), even taken a photo, but do you know its colorful history?

A seahorse on a mission

Starting out as a white fiberglass statue, Stargazer was one of 40 seahorses ‘born’ in Wisconsin and created for a fundraiser called “A Seahorse Dream,” to benefit the building of a new children’s hospital in Ft Myers.

Citizens and businesses ‘sponsored’ the seahorses, each hand-painted by a Florida artist. ‘Tween Waters Inn was a Gold sponsor, and the artist that brought their seahorse to life was Cathie Zurich-Wus.

 And breathe life into the seahorse, she did! Bright shades of pink and blue were chosen for their childlike vibrancy – and ability to promote joy – like the whimsical creatures on a carousel. To achieve such brilliancy, Cathie painted Stargazer three times, using house paint, which is very difficult to work with. Swarovsky crystals make her eyes sparkle and clear ornaments resemble bubbles from the sea. Once completed (in only two weeks!), it was clear-coated at an auto-body shop. Who knew?

Is Stargazer a boy or girl?

Cathie says the choice is in the eye of the beholder, and the pink and blue support whatever your choice. (I think she’s a girl, but my husband thinks he’s a boy.)

Where did the name come from?

Because Captiva is an ideal place to serenely gaze upon the stars, away from harsh city lights, in paradise, Cathie named him Stargazer. Stars can lead you through dark waters, and Stargazer is always there to calm fears.

Stargazer’s mission – complete

‘A Seahorse Dream’ raised more than $380,000 and the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida opened in May of this year. It took more than six years and $200 million to complete.

We hope you never need to go, but if you do, look for Stargazer’s royal brother and sister in the lobby – a King and Queen seahorse, complete with sparkling crowns, also painted by Cathie Zurich-Wus.

And next time you’re at ‘Tween Waters Inn, please come introduce your children to Stargazer!


A Parasailing Adventure on Captiva Island

Parasailing Tween Waters Inn

I once tried to go parasailing in South Padre Islands, but the two young men running the boat had never worked a parasailing adventure before in their life. Their plan? Stand on the raft out in the water and hit the engines in hope that the force and speed brought me up into the air like a kite. The result? I was dragged through the water like a fish on the line. The parasail was soaked and no one else could ride the rest of the day…and I lost my sunglasses.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I risked another pair of sunglasses and my nerves and headed to ‘Tween Waters Inn and Captiva Water Sports for the adventure of a lifetime. No more college students with a “plan.” No more standing on a raft in the middle of the ocean. No more being dragged through the water when they hit the gas. Nope. This was the professional deal — complete with branded ‘Tween Waters Inn parasail.

Despite my need for all things adventure, I was nervous as hell to try out this specific adventure, but with $90 in hand (single rider, $80pp double or triple riders), I summed the courage and stepped out on a nice ledge attached to the boat. From there, it was as easy as reeling me in and out like a fishing pole toward the sky and we were off.

And let me tell you, there is something surreal about seeing all those miles of beach and bay from the sky. Despite being considered an adrenaline-packed adventure, I’ve never felt so at peace. Maybe it was the roar of the water, boat and wind, or the way the sun reflected on the water, but I will remember this day in my dreams.

To book your adventure, stop by the ‘Tween Waters Inn Marina, or call 239.472.5161 X442 or 239.472.6336 or Book Online Here.


Finding the Ultimate Serenity at ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island

Serenity Pool at 'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort on Captiva Island

The change was uncanny. One moment I was surrounded by the happy sounds of families unabashedly enjoying the chill welcome of a mid-summer day at the pool. Two steps later, I had entered a different world. A different mindset. Serenity.

Enter Serenity

The Serenity Pool had opened just moments before on that Thursday in July, taking relaxation to a new depth at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa – about 4 feet in depths to be exact. Infinity edged, the pool itself invites slow, leisurely immersion to soak away the day’s mental detritus. Although only separated by low walls from the main pool, tumbling water and some kind of Zen magic make it feel deliciously sequestered.

A Cabana All Your Own

Four private cabanas named for island shells – Coquina, Junonia, Lion’s Paw, and Lightning Whelk – allow you to further shut out the world with curtains or canvas flaps. Rentable for $50 a day, they come furnished with a couple of cushioned lounge chairs and umbrella plus matching upright chairs and tables for enjoying food and beverage delivered from the Oasis Pool Bar. May I suggest the Caribbean Jerk Chicken Salad with a coconut-y Pirate Punch?

Unique Serenity

Not only is this new pool a unique escape from the bustle of an active resort, it’s also unique in its construction as the only (besides ‘Tween Waters Inn’s main pool) geothermal heated and cooled pool on the islands keeping the temperature a constant 87 degrees.

Serenity Squared

An afternoon snooze and you’re ready for the final coup for your serenity afternoon. The ‘Tween Waters Spa lies only steps away, and a relaxation massage tenderizes away any lingering tension that stands in the way of you and ultimate serenity.

For a tour of the serenity pool watch out video here:


Cabana at the new Serenity Pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort on Captiva Island
A water wall separates Serenity from the main pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort on Captiva Island