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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 importance 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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Getting Out of the Weather at ‘Tween Waters, Captiva Island

Late summer on Captiva Island, Florida, can mean bouts of intense sunshine tempered with short afternoon showers. When avoiding the raindrops or taking a break from the sun, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is perfectly poised with solutions.

My favorite get-out-of-the-weather strategy takes me shopping and spa-ing right on property. Maybe work a little fitness center time in there for good measure. Then, you can easily rationalize some retail therapy followed by massage therapy.

Other times I feel like exploring the islands – their intriguing ecology, their history, their culture. That’s when I plan a field trip. Some of my favorite stops?

  • J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge: I always learn something new at its admission-free Visitor & Education Center. Its cool new artistic Learning Lavatories restrooms are worth the visit in and of themselves. The 4-mile tour around Wildlife Drive rewards with wetland vistas populated with feathered friends and crawly creatures.
  • Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum: You don’t have to love seashells as much as I do to appreciate the ecology, historic significance, and sheer beauty of the creatures and their homes. This one-of-a-kind museum brings a whole new appreciation.
  • BIG ARTS: Sanibel’s cultural nucleus always has a couple of changing art exhibitions going on in its galleries. You can also catch an art class, film, or live performance.
  • Sanibel Historical Museum and Village: This cluster of vintage island homes and other buildings is literally stuffed with fun history lessons you can easily absorb at strolling pace.

Can’t bear to go inside? Here’s another solution: Rent a cab ana at the Serenity Pool for al fresco protection from the elements.

Pelican’s Roost puts the tropical in your closet

 

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Mark Your Calendar For Fun, Fun and More Fun at ‘Tween Waters Captiva.

It’s only August, but it’s time to start marking your calendar for all of the good times, family fun and (yes) occasional case of the sillies at the legendary ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, the Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island.
Got your Google Calendar ready? Here we go:
  • Saturday, August 18: 100,000 Facebook Followers Party. There’s still time to get in on all the fun this coming weekend, as we celebrate our 100,000 (and counting) Facebook followers by hosting a pool-and-beach party topped off with fireworks and $100 room nights! You’ll enjoy CJ the DJ rocking the pool deck all afternoon and into the evening, with mighty beverage specials and an over-the-top beach fireworks display at 9 PM. Call 800.223.5865 now to book your night (or even better, weekend!).
  • Friday-Monday, August 31- September 3: Labor Day Weekend. Most parts of the country call Labor Day the “unofficial end of summer.” Here at the Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island, we call Labor Day the official kickoff of four months of special events and fun! This is a weekend the whole family can enjoy, from pools and beach, to parasail and jetskis, to standup paddleboards of just relaxing poolside (either Family Pool or Serenity Pool). Plus, we’ll have our September Songwriter Jo Smith poolside on September 1. Book it at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Friday-Sunday, September 21-23: Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. It’s the Fifth Annual Songwriter Festival, and that means another chance for you to get up close and personal with a host of talented Nashville singer-songwriters, playing intimate settings throughout ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. If you love music and hanging with the artists, book the weekend now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Saturday, October 6: Songwriter Saturday at the Pool. This monthly, singer-songwriter Brinley Addington brings his chart-topping Nashville sounds to the poolside relaxation here on Captiva Island. Make it a weekend at 800.223.5865 or book online here.
  • Saturday, October 27: Hallo’Tween. Don’t be afraid, because this all-time classic party brings out the very best in our guests — be they locals or visitors. You’ll partake of an evening of fun with live music, DJ tunes, beverages specials and big-time, cash prizes for the best costumes. Book the weekend now at 800.223.5865!
  • Thursday-Friday, November 22-23: Thanksgiving Day Buffet and Annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Here come the holidays! Be sure to book your weekend stay now, so you can enjoy all that makes the holidays so very special on Captiva and at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. Thursday’s Thanksgiving Buffet is a must-do, then relax and recharge Friday during the day — because come sunset Friday night, it’s the Annual Tree Lighting Celebration with live music, DJ tunes, hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights, a spectacular fireworks on the beach celebration and yes!, the only snowstorm in Southwest Florida. Hurry, only a few reservations remain so book the weekend now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Tuesday, December 25: Christmas Day Buffet. Here’s one present you’ll want to find under your palm tree — a holiday vacation to ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, including the always delicious Christmas Day Buffet. Wow, this one’s got your name on it. Book it now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Monday, December 31: New Year’s Eve Party. Ring in the new year in style, at the one and only Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island. This is the party to start all parties and kick off the new year with live music, laughter, fun and a beautiful sunset. Make it a weekend by booking now at 800.223.5865.
Remember: When you Book Direct you save with No Resort Fees plus a host of exclusive, VIP freebies and discounts no other travel site offers. So call our friendly on-site reservationists today at (what’s that number?) 800.223.5865 or online here. See you soon and, hopefully, see you often!
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Green ‘Tween Saves Energy with GeoThermal Pool

For many years, guests have enjoyed and luxuriated in the ‘Tween Waters’ Olympic-sized pool, and now more than ever, that experience is to be celebrated. As a leader in green policies, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has partnered with Symbiont to install a GeoThermal heating units, which use the earth’s heat to warm or cool the pool — making these the greenest pools on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

This time of year, with air temperatures in the 80s and 90s, keeping the pools at a refreshing temp actually comes from the earth’s heat! The GeoThermal unit can both warm and cool the pools at ‘Tween Waters. This works by utilizing the heat of the earth to transfer energy, rather than employing the heat of the earth as the heating source.

Utilizing two wells, one to bring the water from earth, and another that transfers to a heat pump, this geo-thermal process utilizes water in the ground and then returns back to the ground. This process is 30% more efficient than a traditional heat pump that uses air, and 80% more efficient than a heat pump that uses gas (what most hotels use to heat their pools). This all results in less energy being used, less waste and more use of our natural resources to provide an eco-friendly swimming experience. Plus with two pools to heat and cool at ‘Tween Waters, that’s double the energy savings!

Not only is geo-thermal heating more eco-friendly, but it’s also economical and reliable, meaning the hotel saves money on gas bills and can utilize that budget toward additional hotel improvements. This system also lasts 15-20 years (whereas a typical gas system lasts between 5-10 years) meaning less breakdowns and repairs, meaning guests will enjoy the pool all year round without issue!

This installment isn’t new — the ‘Tween Waters has been using GeoThermal energy for a few years, but the significance of how ‘Tween is staying green makes this newsworthy. For more information, visit https://symbiontservice.com Plus, visit our sister property, West Wind Inn, who has newly invested in this GeoThermal system on Sanibel Island.

 

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