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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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Captivaville: Wastin’ Away a Sweet Weekend of Songwriters and Sunshine

Take your basic tropical island paradise named one of the world’s top vacation destinations. Add in a top-rated, laid-back, beach-to-bay full-service resort. Then mix in four of Nashville’s finest singer-songwriters, playing live poolside by day and center stage by night. Throw in blue skies, sunshine, outstanding food, big bad beverages and “America’s most romantic sunsets,” and you’ve got yourself one heck of a party.

It’s called Captivaville Songwriters Weekend and it debuts June 7-9 at the legendary ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa of Captiva Island, Florida.

Inspired by the popularity of the resort’s monthly “Songwriter Saturdays,” the Captivaville Songwriters Weekend promises to be a three-day party headlined by Clint Daniels (who currently owns a Top 20 hit with “Some Of It” performed by Eric Church), Wynn Varble, Catie Offerman and Kat Higgins. Featuring two artists per set, showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights 9 PM – 11 PM at Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, plus Saturday 2PM – 4PM and Sunday 12 PM – 2 PM poolside at Oasis Pool Bar.

“It’s gonna be 72 hours of sun, fun, outstanding live music and the biggest party of the summer.”

A TripAdvisor top-rated Captiva Island resort, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is offering specially-priced weekend “Stay and Play” packages that include:

  • Stay 3 or more nights, enjoy another night FREE at 800.223.5865 (be sure to mention “Captivaville”)
  • Book direct for guaranteed lowest rates plus 20 FREE amenities and services
  • Book direct and enjoy BONUS FREE 2 ‘Tweenies Tumblers per reservation

 

“We’re very excited to bring the Captivaville Songwriters Weekend to Southwest Florida,” says Brett Gooch, Resort Manager. “It’s gonna be 72 hours of sun, fun, outstanding live music and the biggest party of the summer, with 300 or more folks you’ll call friends by the end of the last show. Availability is limited and going fast, so book your weekend now.”

Captivaville Songwriters Weekend is sponsored by Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, BMI, Karbach Brewing Company and MG3ntertainment.

For reservations or information, visit Tween-Waters.com/Captivaville or call 800.223.5865. ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is the Official Jammin’ Beach Resort of Captiva Island.

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Only the Best: For Our Guests and Our Islands.

sanibel captiva beach resorts business of the year 2019

All of us at Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts are proud to share some very exciting news: your favorite island destination marketing organization has been named 2019’s “Business of the Year” by the Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented recently at the Chamber’s annual meeting.

Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce President John Lai noted that the corporation, under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Tony Lapi and Chief Operating Officer Doug Babcock, “has given back greatly to our community with their resources and time. This award recognizes their tremendous generosity over the years.”

“All of us at Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts are thrilled with this honor,” Babcock noted. “In particular, both Tony and I want to thank all of our 250-plus employees across our resorts, vacation rental company, restaurants, marinas and spa for living our mission of making our guest experiences so outstanding they return year after year, and sometimes, generation after generation.” Mr. Babcock (with wife Paige) accepted the award in Mr. Lapi’s absence.

In 1931, the aptly named ‘Tween Waters Inn welcomed its first overnight guests to Captiva Island and a history of hospitality that now spans two centuries was born. Forty-five years later, a young man from Rochester, New York — Tony Lapi — and his partners made ‘Tween Waters Inn the first lodging brand under the newly formed Rochester Resorts.

That company — today known as Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts — has grown to become among the largest and most successful destination, marketing and management organizations in Southwest Florida. The company’s portfolio includes the historic ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa of Captiva Island; West Wind Inn, Beachview Cottages and Castaways Cottages of Sanibel Island; and Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals (with more than 150 premier properties).

SCBR also operates five outstanding and top-rated dining destinations including the landmark Old Captiva House, Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, and Normandie Seaside Cafe — as well as two marinas, a fitness center, wedding and meeting facilities, plus day spa.

As part of its mission, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to island causes — particularly those that support the protection and preservation of our ocean, environment and wildlife. “We’re eager and enthusiastic to be a part of Southwest Florida’s economy, as well as many of our region’s very important water quality and environment efforts,” Babcock added.

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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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Captiva Sunsets via Text, Compliments of ‘Tween Waters

I’m in! I just became a member of ‘Tween Waters Resort & Spa’s latest communications inspiration, called ‘Tween Waters Mobile Club.

I am not typically what you would call a “joiner.” Other than my women’s book club and supper club with fellow empty-nester couples, I avoid signing up for membership. I also avoid subscribing to website email newsletters.

So why, then, did I jump the minute the invitation to join the ‘Tween Waters Mobile Club hit my email inbox? Well, that tells you right there. I DO subscribe to ‘Tweenies’ email newsletters. They bring a ray of Florida sunshine to my inbox with discounts and specials and just happy images of the beach, sand, food, and memories of a Captiva Island respite.

So why wouldn’t I want more of that popping up on my phone’s text message app from time to time? Bursts of Captiva Island to brighten my day with exclusive members-only savings and “the best complimentary sunsets.” Who could resist?

They promise three messages a month, so not too much, just enough to leave you wanting more. More sunsets. More Captiva, that island unlike no other place on the planet. An island that truly defines “away from it all.”

So, join the club! It takes literally two seconds to text “CAPTIVA” to 55222 and bam! Break out the cocktails: It’s sunset time.

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Booking, Dining, Amenities & More — It’s All Here

What does ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa have to offer that other resorts in the area do not? From VIP Book direct benefits, to no resort fees, to on-site dining, boating, spa and more, “It’s All Here.”

When you book direct with ‘Tween Waters, you are guaranteed the lowest rate out there! Find a lower rate? Give us the details and we’ll match that rate, because we guarantee that what you find on our site and with our reservationists is the absolute best we’re offering. So when you’re booking your next vacation, we’re the one stop shop, because, “It’s All Here.”

And making your reservation isn’t the only way that ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is your one stop shop. From bike rentals to boat rentals, spa to dining, Serenity Pool to hopping Oasis Pool Bar, there’s no shortage of things to do while on vacation, and no reason to leave the resort — because, yep, “It’s All Here.”

And while you’re taking advantage of everything ‘Tween Waters has to offer, you’ll enjoy the resort’s policy on resort fees — there’s isn’t one! Unlike some resorts and hotels in the area that charge you for the convenience of the amenities all in one location, ‘Tween Waters doesn’t charge a resort fee.

From booking, to vacationing, to enjoying all the resort has to offer, you’ll find it all at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, because “It’s All Here.”

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Butterflies on Captiva

Southwest Florida is the shelling capital of the world, and while there are so many types of shells to love, there is one that sparks my interest and flies with my heart — butterflies.

You may have noticed Conquina shells before — they litter the Captiva beaches and are often purple or pink in color. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find that many of them are still attached together. This is because they are very tiny clams, connected at the hinge. This gives them that beautiful butterfly look. There are a ton of colors to collect, and they are my favorite hidden gem on Captiva Island.

Innsider Tip: Stay silent by the surf, and you will hear these shells wash ashore. They help provide the tinkling sound as the waves wash the shells ashore — millions of little pieces of shells making music with the ocean!

Crouching on Captiva, you’ll find more than 250 species of shells, but if you’re not as lucky as me to have a local shell-educated friend, ‘Tween Waters, Captiva Island and Sanibel Island boast a variety of local experts willing to take guests on shelling expeditions in search of knowledge and the perfect souvenir (for a small fee of course).

With an abundance of shells to chose from, you’ll be sure to go home with a souvenir or two when you visit the beaches at ‘Tween Waters. PRO TIP: Don’t forget a container to keep your shells in as you search, so that these butterflies aren’t crushed or disconnected when you bring them home!

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Let the Music Move You at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort

What’s on your favorite vacation playlist? If, like us, you vacation often at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island, the music playing in your head, sparking fond memories, comes from the live musicians who entertained you. Who got you moving out on the dance floor. Who turned your day at the pool into a songfest.

On top of the usual weekend jams at Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, ‘Tween Waters loves to throw a party with live music. Two such lively occasions are on the horizon and should be on your calendar right now.

The resort’s biggest party bash of the year happens on Oct. 27. Hallow’Tween invites you to “Eat, Drink & Be Scary” at two separate parties that require only one admission fee – a $10 wristband. After dinner at the Crow’s Nest or Canoe & Kayak, get ready for some scary fun. A total of $1,750 in prizes assure amazing costumes that range from frightening to creative to a little bit naughty.

The live music by a ‘Tweenie favorite, The Gatlin Show, kicks in and kicks up its heels at 9:30 p.m. at the Crow’s Nest. A little bit country, a little bit of everything else you want to hear: Darryl and Andrea of The Gatlin Show are sure crowd-pleasers. On-property in the Wakefield Room, a DJ Dance Party starts spinning the hits at 10 p.m.

If you’re still in the mood for live country music, mark Saturday, Nov. 3, for the next in ‘Tweenies monthly poolside songwriter series. Singer-songwriter Clint Daniels brings his brand of Americana music from 2 to 5 p.m.

In addition to charting two songs on the country singles chart himself, Clint has co-authored songs for other artists, including the hits “Brokenheartsville” by Joe Nichols and “Roll with Me” by Montgomery Gentry.

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A Rare Dining Experience for a Short Time Only at ‘Tween Waters

If blessings can come in disguise and good things in small packages, The Canoe & the Kayak club at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island ranks as both.

I consider it a blessing that the resort’s main kitchen and Old Captiva House are undergoing renovation, not only because it promises a new and exciting experience, but also because it gives me the opportunity to revisit this adorable little cottage marina-side.

And the good things? The temporary downsized space and menu somehow concentrate the charm of a ‘Tween Waters dinner experience.

Down Memory Lane

Dining there takes me back to the days when the club served lunch and dinner there on the bay, back in the late 80s to the early 2000s. Prior to that, the historic cottage served as guest accommodations, a house for visiting band members performing at the Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, and a temporary home for next door’s Captiva Island Yacht Club.

In the here-and-now, Canoe & Kayak typically functions as a special event venue. It has been called back into regular dining service, however, until the new Old Captiva House reopens later this year. In the meantime, breakfast has moved to the Crow’s Nest. Dinner at Canoe & Kayak is a casual, intimate affair huddled around a fireplace with paddle fans overhead and views through the patio of Roosevelt Channel and Buck Key.

Simple Menu, Complex Dishes

Executive Chef Greg Nelson has simplified the menu to include some of this signature Old Captiva House dishes and others that I was seeing for the first time when I dined there recently with my husband.

We started with a Roasted Shrimp Cocktail. A refreshing twist on a classic, its five jumbo shrimp wear a seasoned coating that boosts the flavor and plays well with the tangy red horseradish sauce.

For his entrée, my husband went with the filet mignon small plate, one of three listed. He immediately pronounced it the best steak he has ever tasted. The 6-ounce cut (also available in full-sized portion) benefited from an experienced grill hand and the combination of gorgonzola cream and port glaze that struck complex but harmonious chords.

Meanwhile, I was expressing the same superlatives about my pomegranate glazed lamb chops, one of four Big Plates. The just-sweet-enough glaze stood up well to the richness of the meat, grilled perfectly to my rare-to-medium-rare specs.

Both came with garlic-parmesan mashed potatoes and a colorful mélange of sliced and shredded roasted veggies that overachieved in the side dish department. Glasses of Cab Sav and Malbec made the perfect complement.

A stack of three almond cookies sandwiching key lime mousse, the Key Lime Napoleon finished our dinner on a sweet note that, too, was a blessing. And, to say the least, a good thing.

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