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Getting Wild & Seeing Wildlife: A Girl’s Getaway to ‘Tween Waters Inn

Two frisky manatees
Karaoke crazed!

My gal pals and I plan our annual summer getaway to a place where we can park the car and walk everywhere we need to go. So ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island made the perfect match this year. An easy stroll up the beach takes you to all the island’s shops, restaurants, and bars. But truth be told, we only left the resort once. We found all the entertainment we needed right on property.

That started the afternoon we arrived. I walked out on our balcony overlooking the bay and noticed a swirling disturbance that I immediately recognized as manatees mating – a summer romance ritual not uncommon to the islands. Those frisky manatees! They went at it for the entire weekend right off the sandy shore. I was able to get close enough to snap a couple of quick pictures (I kind of felt I was invading their privacy).

At nightfall, another kind of show grabbed our attention at Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille. It was Wednesday, Karaoke Night, and that usually means trouble. That third cocktail inevitably does it – lubricates our vocal chords and numbs our awareness of our lack of talent. So Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy” seemed appropriate enough.

Following our usual pattern, the second day we spent in quieter pursuits – beaching, shopping, and a lovely dinner at Captiva House. Then a night-cap toast from our balcony to those feisty, amorous, and always loveable manatees – undoubtedly a highlight of our visit.

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Shopping for Summer on Captiva Island, Florida

Pelican’s Roost puts the tropical in your closet.

Since summer is year-round at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa, you can find the best stock of warm-weather fashions, accessories, home décor, and supplies in its two retail shops and in one-of-a-kind boutiques in “downtown Captiva.”

I like to start at the resort’s Pelican’s Roost Sportswear, bayside at the marina. It’s like a mini department store. I head for the upstairs women’s clothing section, because I’m a big fan of Jams World shirts and dresses, and I also love the Brighton footwear and fun Wallaroo hats. Surprises lurk in every corner, such as whimsical wall clocks and bags that are “Feeling Nauti.”

Whimsical clocks at Pelican’s Roost

Of course there are men’s fashions also – name brands such as Royal Robbins, Fishware, Sperry, and Reef that fit the ‘Tween Waters salty lifestyle.

Downstairs you will find kids’ wear, swimsuits, and shelves full of practical necessities and fishing and boating sundries.

Next stop, T.H. Osprey, a delightful segue between Captiva House and Crow’s Nest restaurants. It is literally stuffed with stuff. And I mean good stuff.

Here’s where you will find a gift for everyone on your list – from the cat sitter to the grandkids. Buy her some SeaJewels toiletries or a clever Vinbrella (an umbrella in the shape of a wine bottle). Thrill them with sea-themed kids books or an animal puppet. And don’t forget a ‘Tween Waters Tervis Tumbler or a seashell wreath for yourself.

INNSIDER TIP: Score a free pina colada with the purchase of a logo Tervis Tumbler.
Vinbrellas at T.H. Osprey

 

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Digging the New Vibe at The Crow’s Nest at ‘Tween Waters Inn Resort, Captiva Island

Nautically nice, the new decor at The Crow’s Nest speaks to Captiva Island’s salty character.

My husband and I have been partying at The Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grill at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort far longer than I would like to admit. Before we had children. Before we were married, truth be told. It has always been a hot spot for late-night dancing to live bands around the fireplace. The nice thing? That hasn’t changed, even as we and our lives have.

It has, however, undergone a recent metamorphosis that continues to unfold with the brightness and drama of a butterfly. Gone is the 1980s look of dark wood and retro furnishings. Behold the lightness, the ropes, brass fixtures, and other nautical nuances. Now this looks like it belongs to Captiva Island! And to a new era.

Watch for more changes to come as the new executive chef, well-loved island kitchen wizard Greg Nelson, works his magic on the menu. “He’s a great person with great qualities,” says ‘Tween Waters Food & Beverage Manager Laurent Bosc. “Greg has top experience developing menus for beach themed restaurants. He is a leader because he’s a hands-on chef.”

Chef Greg will be overseeing menus and kitchen operations for all of ‘Tween Waters’ restaurants, including the Captiva House, Oasis pool bar, and the bar and grill that will open in May at the new adults Serenity Pool.

But for now, hubby and I are heading our fancy-free, empty-nester party-time back to where we once danced to Eagles and Van Halen covers. And still can at The Crow’s Nest.

Welcome to The Crow’s Nest new island personality.
Ropes, portholes, brass, and wood give The Crow’s Nest its salty air.
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Resort Coupon — An Added Value Experience

Added Value Resort Coupon

When choosing a vacation destination, I’m always looking for two things: quality and value. With ‘Tween Waters Inn, I certainly know that I am receiving quality — about 85 year’s worth of positive customer reviews have told me so. But what about value?

Enter: the $100-value resort coupon books. These have been a great added value to multi-night guests for a few years now, but now, more than ever, they truly are adding value to your resort experience. Here’s why:

The new coupon books feature deals from local vendors and sister properties; meaning I get to explore not just Captiva Island, but Sanibel Island too! And with a variety of offers covering a variety of amenities, I feel I’m receiving a full vacation experience, at a great value.

Upon checking in at ‘Tween Waters Inn, guests who book a two- or more-night stay receive this coupon book. It features deals from Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa and West Wind Inn, and their on-site amenities and restaurants, including Captiva House, Crow’s Nest, Oasis Pool Bar, ‘Tween’s Beans, The Spa at ‘Tween Waters Inn, T.H. Osprey, Pelican’s Roost, Normandie, The Upper Deck and so much more, including coupons for:

  • Food and beverage BOGOs and discounts
  • Gift shop discounts and coupons
  • Cabana rental credits
  • FREE spa treatments
  • Discount boat rentals and sailing adventures
  • Waverunner coupons
  • Guided kayak tour credits

In all of my years of traveling far and near, I’ve never experienced this level of added value and “freebies” from my accommodation option, simply because I booked a multi-night stay. I think that says a lot about the resort and management — not only about value, but quality as well.

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Filling Up on Sushi at ‘Tween Waters’ Captiva House

 

This is only a fraction of our gluttonous order!

One word never fails to get our millennial son to the dinner table with us: sushi. So when Aaron found out that the Captiva House Gulffront Seafood Restaurant at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa has added sushi to its dinner repertoire, he was there!

Believe me, this is no afterthought to keep up with the sushi super-trend. Captiva House goes the whole distance, using only the freshest products rolled up to order in creative packages.

On the regular menu, two sushi rolls appear every night – the Specialty Sushi Roll and Ultimate Captiva Sushi Roll. Then, Tuesday through Saturday, an extended menu of sushi, sashimi, rolls, and sake totally seduce even the casual sushi lover, never mind the obsessed type like my son.

Allow me to illustrate: Whereas my husband was content with the Tropicana Roll as an appetizer and I with the Ultimate as a meal, Aaron ordered five different specialty rolls.

I love my rolls with a little kick, so the sriracha aioli with the lump crab and ahi tuna on the Ultimate struck the right chord, as did the spicy tuna in Aaron’s So Yumi and Sunrise rolls.

He leans toward the fried seafood rolls and anything with cream cheese, so, as a surfer, could not resist the Surfing on the Ocean, where the entire crunchy-creamy roll is deep-fried.

We all loved the naming process — so in keeping with ‘Tween Waters’ sassy seaside temperament. Bikini Heat Stroke or Dancing on the Beach, anyone?

Aaron tucks in.
Welcome to Captiva House Gulffront Seafood Restaurant!
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Dreaming of a Foodie Holiday at ‘Tween Waters Inn, Captiva Island

When it comes to the winter holidays, I turn into this complete sentimental sap – listening to carols obssessively and decking the halls with festive abandon.

My husband? He’s more the Grinch to my Cindy Lou Who. But a visit to the ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island, Florida, gets even him in the falala spirit. Besides all the fun and original holiday decorations – never try to tell me it doesn’t feel like the holidays in Southwest Florida! – there’s feasts that would put Whoville to shame.

This year’s Captiva House holiday menus are no exception. They balance traditional with creative in visions that beat sugarplums any day. Take the Christmas Eve special menu. Like our customary night-before meal, it includes oysters and other seafood, but with more glam punch than I can manage: baked oysters with gouda and spinach, Chilean sea bass with polenta and lemon beurre blanc, and seafood lasagna, for instance.

Then, come the big day, nothing but a lavish holiday spread will do. More fresh seafood, sweet potato cinnamon bisque, roasted salmon with dill butter, and carved steamship round, ham, and leg of lamb. But save room for all your favorite seasonal sweets.

Wait, it’s not over! There’s a New Year’s Eve gala prix fixe menu with themed dishes such as scallops with strawberry and champagne compote, holiday-spiced pan-seared duck breast, pinot noir braised lamb osso bucco, dessert, and of course, bubbly.

Season’s jolly greetings, season’s fine eating to all!

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Savoring the New Menu at ‘Tween Waters Inn’s Captiva House

Captiva House Gulf Front Seafood RestaurantOne day after the debut of a new menu at Captiva House, the flagship restaurant at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa, we booked a table in anticipation of its shifted focus. With its name change to Captiva House Gulf Front Seafood Restaurant, the accent is on casual seafood dining, including two sushi items on the Starters menu.

We started instead with Oysters Alexander – four plump oysters transposed to stylized oyster-shaped dishes to accommodate roasted red peppers, smoked gouda, artichoke heart, spinach, bacon, and go-ahead-and-slurp-it sauce.

That whetted my appetite for more seafood, and the new menu proffers a number of choices in small plate and entrée size. My Caribbean Spiced Grouper entrée presented a generous portion of grilled black grouper on a bed of wonderfully seasoned Captiva House Dining Room pumpkin mash studded with dried cherries, all topped with mango salsa and sided with a complex citrus-dressed salad of kale, carrots, and mandolin-sliced Brussels sprouts.

My meat-loving husband also found satisfying options, selecting the peppercorn-crusted ribeye, whose red wine demi-glace and truffle French fries created nothing short of sensational.

The small plates are also available in full portions, and include blackened scallops with key lime butter, Chilean sea bass with lemon beurre blanc, and mahi mahi with lobster salad. Notice a theme here? Citrus, mango, and other Florida requirements bring a sense of place to the plate.

So of course there’s key lime pie on the dessert tray, but this one is dotted with white chocolate mousse rather than whipped cream. A sweet finish to an exceedingly island experience.

INNSIDER TIP: Captiva House has shifted its focus to casual, which means they’ve dropped their dress code — opt for more casual attire, but expect to enjoy elegant and quality dishes!

Oysters Alexander at Captiva House, 'Tween Waters Inn
Oysters Alexander
Caribbean Spiced Grouper at Captiva House, 'Tween Waters Inn
Caribbean Spiced Grouper
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MANGROVE SUITE: A Romantic Getaway to ‘Tween Waters Inn

Cocktails at Oasis Bar & Grille, 'Tween Waters Inn Resort & Spa, Captiva Island, FloridaOur first tough decision: the pool or the beach? The pool won by dint of its Oasis Pool Bar & Grille, where we toasted our escape with a Pirate’s Punch and frosty Rum Runner.

We had decided that just because our son has moved out of the house, it doesn’t mean we should deprive ourselves of the “quickie” romantic getaways we used to take. That’s how we ended up in the Mangrove building at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa. A perfect love nest, our Mangrove suite, and its screened balcony, overlooked the marina.

After the Oasis, we relaxed on that balcony, watching the marina’s activity and a pair of love-bird ospreys swaying with precarious talon-holds on a tall coconut palm at our eye level.

The one-bedroom suite, like all of ‘Tween Waters Inn’s accommodations, recently underwent a facelift that turned it into a spacious luxury unit with a limited kitchen, granite counter seating, and an enviable bathroom.

Ospreys' love nest at 'Tween Waters Marina, Captiva Island

After 30-plus years of marriage, we tend to like our together time with lots of space. So we appreciated features like his and her sinks, a huge tiled shower, and a king-sized bed.

Our next tough decision: dinner at Captiva House or drinks and dancing at Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille. Wait, why choose? We did both and managed to sandwich a sunset beach walk in between. The live band at Crow’s Nest covered our favorite classic tunes for a sweep-down-memory-lane finale to a glowing day at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

 

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Plan To Stay Cool When The Sunshine Is The Brightest!

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Staying cool’ around the resort when the sunshine is bright — is a vital skill or perhaps, even an art.  

Many ‘Tween Waters Inn guests on Captiva Island visiting Southwest Florida have ‘sunshine’ at the top of their list for ‘why’ they travel here to spend their spare time. With so many things to do outdoors my husband, Eric and I know first-hand how easy it is to get too much sun, too fast and find ourselves looking for places and things to do while we cool down a little bit.

Consider some of these good ideas offered from my own personal experience, for staying cooler around the resort from morning until sunset:

  • Walk through the lush vegetation areas to get around the resort and stay cool under shady trees and roof lines.
  • Visit the pool early morning or late afternoon when temps are the coolest all day and it’s the perfect time to start a tan.
  • Pack and wear your stylish hats, or pick up a new ones in the Pelican’s Roost Boutique near the dock entrance of the Marina.
  • Umbrella spots beside the pool are more likely to be open when the pool deck is less busy and the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Morning is the time to reserve a shady chaise on the beach and to simply take it easy hanging out beside the sand and surf.
  • Wear shorts, skirts, light fabrics, t-shirts and sandals anytime, anywhere and dress up only if it suits your beachwear fancy.
  • Remember that the Oasis Pool Bar offers a shady spot all day where you can chill, sip cold drinks, make friends and sit beside the pool.
  • It’s also the place to enjoy lunch or order it ‘to go’ and take lunch back to your air-conditioned room, suite or cottage you call home.
  • Early afternoon is a favorite time to relax on your private lanai where the temps are cooler when the sun is high in the sky.
  • Schedule favorite Spa appointments dedicated to your complete comfort and relaxation after you’ve been outside in the morning.
  • Afternoons are traditionally the tropical time for a brief siesta or nap when the temps are always the hottest outdoors all day.
  • Later in the day take your time exploring the quiet back bay waters paddling a rented canoe or kayak through the mangroves.
  • Make a reservation at the Captiva House restaurant first thing and look forward all day to a memorable dinner right around sunset.
  • After dinner share a night cap or even an impromptu fiesta at the Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille next door where having fun is popular.
  • Make it a habit in the evening to take a stroll down to the beach before bed when it’s cool, breezy and the sand is lit by the moon.

At ‘Tween Waters Inn when you get over heated you have the Gulf of Mexico waters and the resort pool to cool down in anytime. Then you can take it easy while you make a decision about what to do next.

Most importantly, stay cool and enjoy!

 

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Relax, Chill, And Perhaps Do A Little Dance!

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At the end of almost any day, but everyday at ‘Tween Waters Inn it’s time to relax and enjoy the evening.

My husband and I are usually ready for a cold drink, cold beer, a fine wine or favorite cocktail after being on the beach and around the resort during the day. When we’re visiting we look forward to having dinner together, along with a few evenings out sharing a little fun. Best of all, the entertainment we’re looking for is conveniently located right at the resort.

At night the ‘Tween Waters Inn is all about The Crow’s Nest… where we sample great food, drinks and entertainment. We count on spending lots of time at the popular …Beach Bar & Grille. Around the Islands it’s simply called the Crow’s Nest. As a local, I know firsthand that many memorable evenings have been made enjoying live music and drinks “at the Crow’s Nest on Captiva Island” for special occasions of every kind!

Drop in before or after dinner and plan to stay as long as you like. Stop by later in the evening after walking the beach or enjoying dinner at the Captiva House restaurant next door. Families with kids and crab race enthusiasts from everywhere, love watching the famous Crab Races scheduled during the week. It’s a good idea to check with the resort Staff to find out what’s planned for any particular evening during your visit.

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Many nights, guests are treated to a variety of outstanding live music that is perfectly suited to the upscale but casual, Island setting of the Crow’s Nest. The entertainment changes from night to night and features popular music, the songs everyone remembers and original music from solo artists. When there’s a band we love to “do a little dance” together. When a crowd gathers later in the evening it seems like everyone is dancing and those who prefer, just sit back and take it easy.

The Crow’s News is open until after midnight when it closes and reopens for lunch every day.

Click Here to view the Gulf of Mexico in real time, from the Crow’s Nest Beach Cam located across the street.

Most importantly, enjoy!

 

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