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Turning rainy season into Tween Waters rainbows

Greetings weary (or soon-to-be weary) traveler.

If you’ve made it to this portion of the Tween Waters Inn website, there’s a good chance you’ve either arrived here in blissful Southwest Florida or have plunked down non-refundable airfare for a trip.

So now that that’s done, it’s time for your favorite outdoor adventurer to come clean.

Regardless of what they tell you in the brochures or what’s suggested in other places, summertime means far more in our area than simply beaches, sunsets and umbrella-borne drinks.

It rains. Quite a bit.

In fact, from the point our northern friends begin opening swimming pools on Memorial Day to the instant they’re lamenting the prospect of a killer Labor Day frost, we down here experience what the brainy meteorological types have scientifically labeled “rainy season.”

It’s all got to do with air mass thundershowers that build in the tropical heat and drop bursts of heavy afternoon precipitation nearly every day, amounting to an average of 29.27 inches across June, July and August – according to Weather.com – which translates to a daily dose of 0.318 inches.

And while the phenomenon has made celebrities of the TV weather talent at NBC-2 and its alarmist “First Alert” ilk, the application to vacationing TWI guests is a bit more practical.

Once the rains drive you from the sand or the pool deck, you’re going to need to find something to do.

Which, dear friends, is why we’re here.

In conjunction with summer’s official arrival, we’ve assembled a quick list of suggestions that’ll get you through the spates of midday precipitation and perhaps add a little flavor to your respite, too.

Less than a mile from the Tween Waters front desk at 11560 Chapin Lane (that’s a 16-minute walk for the hearty umbrella-toting crowd), the Captiva Memorial Library offers access to the collections of the entire Lee County public library system. Programs have an emphasis on local information and nature sources, and the library sponsors activities for adults, teens and children, including family programs.

The library is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays.

Meanwhile, if you can’t get the beach completely out of your system, the nearby Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel – an 8.5-mile car ride to 3075 Sanibel Captiva Road – is the only museum in the U.S. solely devoted to shells and the mollusks that make them.

A world-renowned malacologist and two marine biologists are joined by highly educated docents to offer knowledge, surprising facts and rare insights into the lesser-known complexities of shells, including their cultural, historical and culinary facets of shells. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers loads of free parking and free admission to both active military and children under 5.

Of course, if time away from home brings out the shopper in you, a little rain is no concern.

Toward that end, the Tahitian Gardens shopping mall – just a shade past 10 miles at 1975-2019 Periwinkle Way – offers a “Something for Everyone” retail experience that stretches from the elegant to the whimsical and features designer labels, unique collections, toys and jewelry, not to mention family-style meals from breakfast to dinner.

But hey, let’s face it. If you’re soaked from a dip in the water and/or sporting an outfit that’s not quite ready for public consumption, you might just want to keep your endeavors on familiar resort turf.

To some, that’ll mean it’s time for a massage at The Spa or a quick workout at the Fitness Center.

To others, though, a few rain clouds instantly trigger the instinct to continue revelry under cover.

In that case, you need only park flip flops at TWI’s own Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille, where you’ll find great food, great fun, great times and great entertainment served up nightly.

More than 74 percent of reviewers on TripAdvisor.com gave the place a rating of “excellent” or “very good,” and the 2017 menu of beach tapas, salads, oysters, sandwiches and entrees is supplemented by an entertainment calendar that includes live music on weekends, the not-to-be-missed Captiva Crab Races on Mondays and Thursdays and the always entertaining Wednesday night karaoke.

And who knows, by the time you’ve downed some tuna tostadas or worked your way through a creole grouper, your own version of Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” might not sound so bad.

Happy drizzling.

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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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Old Gold: Bringing the Decathlon to ‘Tween Waters

IMG_8682I blame Ashton Eaton. My television. And my parents.

After all, if not for the now two-time Olympic decathlon champion and his late-summer omnipresence on NBC, I’d have never come up with the silly idea. And had it not been for Bernard and Alice Fitzsimmons welcoming me to the world in March 1969, I’d not have been so old by the time it arrived.

Nevertheless, thanks in part to all of them, the testosterone die was cast.

Fueled by Eaton and the other nightly images of competition from Brazil’s coastline on the south Atlantic Ocean, I decided to pursue my own brand of Summer Games glory during a recent jaunt to the Tween Waters Inn – roughly 4,300 miles north of Maracana Stadium.

My personalized five-ringed gauntlet included 10 events that’d take me across and around the resort over just more than 24 hours, and incorporate as many different endeavors as my middle-aged body would allow without outright collapse.

The sweltering Sunday portion included a trip to the fitness center for a 30-minute workout, followed by a hardcourt set on the nearby tennis courts, a quick sidestep for a game of shuffleboard, a trip across Captiva Drive for a Gulf water surfboard relay and a trek back to the marina to depart on a kayaking dash around the mangroves.

It was challenging. It was invigorating. It was exhausting.

And to suggest I had a restful sleep – from roughly 8 p.m. straight though until 7 the next morning, in fact – would be an understatement of gold-medalist proportions.

But, alas, there was still a day’s worth of “work” to be done.

Russ TWIAnd while the Monday follow-up was certainly less strenuous, it was by no means less busy.

It began with a 15-mile rental round trip bike ride from the resort to the Sanibel School and a one-hour dockside fishing pole respite upon return.

As for those results, suffice it to say I remind exactly no one of Greg LeMond or Jimmy Houston.

Regardless, a 50-minute deep tissue massage at The Spa as event No. 8 provided ideal therapy for tired muscles nearing their collective half-century mark, and a penultimate sunset walk with the wife, son and pup blended nicely into a Crab Races at the Crow’s Nest finale – where, ironically, the extent of my exertion was exhorting a crustacean who looked as if it’d been through a weekend similar to mine.

Though the untimely slow-shelled tardiness cost me a few bucks, I was in no shape to criticize.

And when the Tokyo Games come on the tube in four years, I’ll make sure and switch to PBS.

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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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There’s No Need To Pack A Lot When You Are A Guest At ‘Tween Waters Inn

On trips to Captiva Island you can travel light and be sure to take advantage of the perks!
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When you wake up lots of things around the resort are waiting for your convenience and enjoyment. Rooms with kitchen amenities have coffee makers and are outfitted with coffee to use during your stay. Specialty coffee and treats are sold at ‘Tween Beans to enjoy while you sit by the pool and the sunrises quietly to the east. Later, when you get an appetite sitting by the pool, the Oasis Pool Bar serves famous hamburgers and fish sandwiches.    
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In the morning, coffee is always brewing at the Captiva House where a free, extraordinary continental breakfast is served everyday. Head to the buffet after your first cup of coffee by the pool and savor an array of the finest fresh fruits, baked goods and pastries on the Islands. You don’t need to pack a lot of clothes on this trip. Shorts and sandals are perfect attire for most ‘Tween Water settings. You may want to dress up just a little for dinner at the Captiva House.
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Swing located between the pool and the front desk.
Towels for the pool or beach are provided when you check-in. Pick up fresh ones whenever you like by exchanging the towels you’ve already used. Along the beach shoreline there are cabanas and umbrellas to rent, as well as, drink services from the Crow’s Nest staff who are around to help you stay cool.
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All rooms at ‘Tween Waters Inn have the ‘nicest’ of bathroom sundries for you to use. Don’t pack your blow dryer because one is definitely there. If you are missing something special, be sure to call the Staff to request an item you may need that they keep on hand.
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If you are staying in a vintage cottage with a fireplace you’ll find logs ready to burn when it’s cool. There are variety of floating devices like noodles available to make your swimming more relaxing in the heated pool. Resort wi-fi at no charge is available everywhere around the resort 24 hours a day. The Staff will offer you pass codes to use when you arrive at the resort. Sit back, enjoy the sunshine, your phones and devices.
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Visit the Marina to take in the sights on the bayside.
Over by the marina is the Pelican Roost Boutique and Snack Center where you can enjoy a snack and also browse sportswear and accessories to wear and take home as a gift for yourself or someone else. One light cardigan jacket or wrap is all you’ll need if the air is chilly and the easiest to remove when the temps warm up in the middle of the day.
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Most importantly, remember to simply enjoy!
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Savoring Your Island Favorites And Relaxing Go Hand In Hand

frozen_margaritaGetting away from it all, visiting new or familiar places, a little fresh air and simply taking it easy does wonders for an appetite that may have been sagging.

Visitors to the Islands often report that they start to let go of their stress while traveling along the Sanibel Causeway and taking in the beautiful views. It’s only natural that an appetite for their favorite foods always seems to follow as they get settled in for a visit.

On Sanibel & Captiva Islands food options are numerous with so many unusual island places and menus to enjoy. Ask the locals for popular suggestions and in no time, I know from experience that the hamburgers and grouper sandwiches served at Tween-Waters Inn are sure to be recommended as the best around the islands.

We all know that the hamburger is a favorite food for almost everyone, add a fresh grouper sandwich available in SWFL unlike so many other places and the combination is a perfect choice for land lubbers and sea farers alike, adults and children. Make this suggestion to any travel group you’re with and you’ll get lots of enthusiastic responses from the crowd saying, “okay, that sounds great.”

scamp-grouper-mycteroperca-phenaxWhile the salt air, the Gulf of Mexico view and the relaxed, island environment may peak an appetite, it’s the great food prepared just right at Tween-Waters Inn that satisfies the senses. Visit this link to view the Oasis Pool Bar OR Crow’s Nest menus ahead of time. Paired with a fresh, frozen fruit drink with or without a rum spike from one of the Tween-Waters bars, and you’ll feel heavenly.

When your meal is done and you are on the way to enjoy islands sights, nature, and the beaches, you’ll be happy I shared the great reputation of these savory favorites with you. Unless of course you already know… Lots of people do!

Most importantly, enjoy.

 

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Culinary Gladness Served With A Side Of Sparkling Gulf Beach

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The Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille offers a setting to remember everyday and for every occasion.

In the late afternoon, it’s a warm and rich environment filled with scrumptious smells, light conversation and music. During the day, a wash of sunshine fills the room from the windows located next to the booths with a view of the beach.

At night when things get dark outside, the Crow’s Nest is dedicated to entertaining guests who come from near and far, ready to settle in and share some fun with old and new friends they make. Dinner the night we visited was intentionally before sunset, and the setting was quiet, relaxed and easygoing. The menu offered us all kinds of delightful options: See for yourself the array of choices… Our dinner included the Captiva Favorite: Gulf Shrimp ’N’ Grits, along with a Fresh Grouper Sandwich served on a homemade bun.

Did you see the creative, culinary madness on the menu for yourself? Our only care was to select ‘that one choice’ we wanted to enjoy from so many that sounded so good. From soups to salads, shrimp, grouper, and lobster, ahi tuna, bruschetta, mozzarella or wings, these are all available as appetizers and intended to get your party started.

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All this and a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico.

Munch down on your favorite sandwich served the ‘Tweenie way. Get adventurous with choices like mahi mahi, roasted chicken, a pot pie, the fresh catch of the day, unique pizza, ribs or a ribeye. Then top it off with any of the unique options served by the Crow’s Nest bar.

If you prefer, come for just coffee and dessert because your options for both, we can report, are definitely worth it. Most importantly, take a stroll after you eat down to the beach and enjoy!

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Family Dining at ‘Tween Waters Inn

If you have a picky eater in your group, we have something in common. My youngest son could live on chicken fingers and Cheerios, so that’s another reason why we love the ‘Tween Waters Inn.

For starters, breakfast is free for resort guests (score!) — just head to Captiva House for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Feast on homemade pastries (made onsite), bowls of whole and sliced fruit, assorted cold cereals, breads and bagels, yogurts, hot cereals and cheeses. A separate menu is available with omelets, huevos rancheros, pancakes and French toast, for a nominal fee. I happen to be a big fan of the oatmeal.

For lunch, no shirt, no shoes, no problem! The Oasis Pool Bar and Grill is open 11:30 am to 5 pm and the smoke from the grills will make your mouth water. Order at the counter or grab an open table. The menu offers sandwiches, wraps, gyros, hot dogs, burgers, and salads. The Char Broiled Grouper sandwich scores high marks with my teenager.

Dinner is a toss up between Captiva House and Crow’s Nest. Both offer a kid’s menu, but Mondays and Thursdays, we choose the Crow so we can participate in their famous Crab Races. “It’s the stupidest thing you’ll ever see,” but the 6pm show is family friendly and has raised over $225,000 for the United Way. They serve a buffet on these nights; every other night they offer a large menu. Our fav is the chicken barbecue pizza and ice cream sundaes but their ‘Gulf Shrimp and Grits’ is SO good, with shrimp, chorizo sausage and cheese grits. Yum!

Your kids will love the sundaes at Crow's Nest.
Your kids will love the sundaes at Crow’s Nest.

Captiva House is the top rated restaurant on Captiva by TripAdvisor but don’t let that scare you from dining here with kids. By day’s end, my little one can be crabby, but we LOVE the food here, so we make reservations early, before the meltdown. Many times, there several other families dining right alongside us. Blue crab bisque, bouillabaisse, twin lobster tails…oh my. Instead of dessert, we have Devon (my youngest) throw a few dollars in the piano player’s tip jar. It’s a nice way to end the evening.

I hope you’ll try these onsite restaurants on your next visit. Let me know what your favorite dish was!

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Watching The Sunrise On The First Morning Of Your Stay

Soft serene sunrise at 'Tween Waters Inn overlooking Pine Island Sound, Captiva Island, FL

Sunrise Boating from 'Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island, FL

Oh Happy Day!

While sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico from ‘Tween Waters Inn are spectacular and famous worldwide, a stay at the resort on Captiva Island offers guests something more that’s similar, and just as special. It offers you an insider’s view of the glorious sunrises every morning at the marina overlooking the Bay to the east.

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Begin your visit with a plan on the first night, to take in the sunrise when you wake up the next day. You may be ready for a good night’s sleep, so plan to sleep well and set an early alarm for when it’s still dark and dawn is on the horizon.

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After you’re up take a leisurely stroll down to the Marina. Aside from yourself, you’ll find the baitfish wake up first causing ripples in the smooth water. The birds begin to fly, and on our recent trip we saw a manatee bobbing to the surface at the water entrance to the marina.

We also noticed a couple on a nearby dock using equipment to view birds from a distance. Boaters moved around, dogs went for walks, people went fishing, and other guests appeared along the water’s edge, too. Bring your phone or camera; throw on your comfy clothes and go.

From the Observation deck on the dock at 'Tween Waters Inn the views are wonderful, especially in the morning.

 

 

You are going to be totally energized after watching the most serene sunrise around. The panoramic display above the trees and on the water lasts about twenty to thirty minutes. Look for the observation deck stairs, where the dock turns right. From up there you can relax and watch everything come to life.

After the sun rises, you’ll love having breakfast in the Captiva House dining room. Located on the beach side of the resort, it’s the place where there are always treasured views of the Gulf to take in, as guests come and go from the Gift Shop and Crow’s Nest restaurant, as well.

When you wake up, look forward to the Continental breakfast buffet that is complimentary for guests only. The morning buffet at ‘Tween Waters Inn features fresh fruits, pastries and more. Best of all, breakfast favorites served with the sunrise will be waiting for you every morning of your stay. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

A sunrise wonder viewed from the 'Tween Waters Inn marina overlooking Pine Island Sound

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