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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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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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Changing Landscapes — New Renovations to ‘Tween Waters

Landscapes are changing at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, and for the better! The resort is always looking for ways to make the guest experience better, and some of us don’t love change, how could you not love an improved vacation experience?!

It started a few years ago with all new interiors on the main buildings. That includes gutting the kitchens, bathrooms and carpets, replacing them with granite counter tops, beautiful tile and glass showers and more. These room renovations have now included new mattresses for the whole resort, new furniture, updates to the cottages and a paved drive to cut down on the dirt and dust of this traditional “old Florida” property.

But changing landscapes don’t stop in the rooms. This year, the resort added a second “serenity” pool to the mix. For those opposed to the more active, loud, family-friendly, Olympic-sized pool, now adults can relax at the quiet, calm serenity pool. Renovations around the pool also include new pool chairs, umbrellas and cabanas and a tent over the kiddie pool.

I’m most excited to reveal this year’s plans now include renovations to the kitchen and dining experience! A complete overhaul to the Old Captiva House and Crow’s Nest kitchen will begin June 11, and will be closed for a brief four days, with plans to return power back to Crow’s Nest on June 15. Lunch will be served at Oasis Pool Bar in the meantime. With renovations and décor redesign made to the Crow’s Nest last year, this restaurant will serve as the main dining experience until fall, when Old Captiva House will complete the full restaurant updates. You can expect a new, state-of-the-art kitchen, full reno to the dining room, chairs and tables, bar top area, and new décor all meant to provide a better, more efficient and relaxing dining experience.

What I love most about these renovations is that not a single one of them takes away from the charm, history or integrity of the resort you know and love. As National Historic Register property, there are a restrictions to décor, style and even paint color that you can use, so while the resort is adding comfort and style, they’re truly sticking to tradition.

 

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A Cocktail-Lover’s Guide to ‘Tween Waters on Captiva Island

Personally, I love good wine and, when lounging poolside, a top-shelf gin with tonic to refresh. The wine and cocktail lists at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island keep my thirst well quenched, but also offer a full suite of martinis, frozen drinks, signature craft cocktails, and local beers.

Sunny Sipping

Starting at the Oasis Pool Bar & Grille, the adult beverages pair well with splashy, sunny days. It’s known for its tropical frozen drinks – perfect for warm spring days this time of year.

I especially love ordering mine in a Tervis tumbler, the definitive Florida brand of insulated drinkware. Buy the ‘Tween Waters logo tumbler for $19.95 and get your 16-ounce frozen drink for free. Another cool pool bar deal, the Bucket Promotion awards you one free bottle of beer when you buy four.

Plus! Sipping poolside has never been so cool or so full of savings: Oasis Pool Bar has now launched 50% off all drinks for Happy Hour from 5:30-6:30PM nightly.

Nightlife & Nosh at Crow’s Nest

As an apertif at Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, I lean toward the Murky Water cocktail – ‘Tweenies version of a dirty martini made with Ketel One vodka and a blue cheese-stuffed olive. My beer-snob husband orders from the craft beer menu, usually Bury Me Brewing’s From My Dead Cold Hands IPA on tap, made nearby in Fort Myers. Reef Donkey APA from Florida’s Tampa Bay Brewing Co. also comes in draft, along with other crafts in bottles.

When I’m in the mood to drink my dessert, the Key Lime Pie Martini differs from others with a douse of Rumchata mixed with key lime liqueur and vanilla vodka.

Wining & Dining at Old Captiva House

Dinner at gracious Old Captiva House calls for a nice bottle of wine.

“I select the wine personally with my team,” said Food and Beverage Manager Laurent Bosc. “My goal is to offer good wines at good prices. Many countries such as Italy, New Zealand, and Australia are offering excellent unknown wine that often can compete with French and overrated Californian wines.” He urges guests to move out of their wine comfort zones to experiment with the excellent, lesser-known vintages.

I’m also a big fan of the bar’s Cumber-Tini, a twist on my usual GT with Hendrick’s gin and muddled cucumber. With that, it’s time to toast a hearty cheer to a day of sunning, supping , and sipping at ‘Tween Waters.

NOTE: Starting mid-May, kitchen and dining room renovations will mean that Old Captiva House will be temporarily relocated to the Wakefield banquet facility overlooking the Gulf.

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New wave hits ‘Tween Waters culinary scene on Captiva Island

At the restaurants of ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, I’ve been watching what’s old become new and what’s new turn back to old. Let me explain.

It began two years ago, when the then-new Food & Beverage Manager Laurent Bosc identified a need to freshen things up – both in the kitchen and dining rooms.

His aspirations came to fruition last summer with the hiring of Greg Nelson, a longtime culinary fixture around these islands.

“Because I knew the islands so well, I knew exactly what people here want – locals and visitors,” Chef Nelson said. He is enjoying the flexibility of designing food for three different venues at ‘Tween Waters.

Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille

His first task-at-hand was to  redesign the dinner menu at the Crow’s Nest, to go along with the dining room’s new coastal, nautical vibe.

“My vision was to offer a family-oriented menu with only fresh, mostly local ingredients,” said the chef. “Only dishes we make from scratch. We don’t buy pre-made ingredients. And mostly seafood, because that’s what people want on these islands.”

Besides shrimp, mussels, calamari, grouper, crab cakes, and salmon on the seafood-heavy menu, Chef Nelson rounded things out with chicken wings, salads, grilled veggies, baby back ribs and one of his favorites: The Ultimate BLTAE. He adds avocado, a fried egg and a smear of habanero mayo to the traditional BLT formula, served on sourdough bread.

Oasis Pool Bar & Grille

Chef Nelson also oversees operations at this ultra-casual, al fresco venue, which serves lunch (until sunset) and fruity specialty cocktails. From burgers to Caribbean Jerk Chicken Salad, the menu offers meals made for families and swimwear. The Tween Beans sells coffees, cookies, and ice cream at the other end of the pool.

Duck spring roll

Old Captiva House

Old Captiva House, the resort’s finer dining venue also underwent a renaissance, beginning late 2016, when management pulled the tablecloths and high-end pricing in favor of a more relaxed attitude. Last year, it also subtracted the “old” from Old Captiva House and added sushi, which my family raves about.

With upcoming décor changes, the “old” has returned “to keep our historic, 1930s roots alive,” said Mr. Bosc.

Chef Nelson’s new breakfast and dinner menus debuted last month. On my most recent dinner there, I ordered a triple-tail seafood special that was out of this world. And you’ve gotta try the duck spring roll! Now, I can’t wait to get my tastebuds around the Artichoke Chorizo Benedict for breakfast.

A total overhaul of the resort’s main kitchen is also slated for this year, putting the final touches to a fresh, new experience at this legendary historic resort.

We love the sushi!

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Music to your ears: Jamming at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Captiva Island holds a reputation for some of the best music to be found around Southwest Florida, and you can thank ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa for that. For as long as I can remember, our visits to Captiva have been orchestrated by a party-down visit to the Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, where live contemporary musicians take the stage several nights each week. It has always been THE place to nightlife in these parts.

In the past few months, ‘Tweenies has gone a step jivier with the introduction of its Songwriter Saturdays the first weekend of each month. On the shirttails of the famous, countywide Island Hopper Songwriter Fest each September, ‘Tween Waters has piggybacked on a building reputation for high-profile artists from the BMI circuit. The informal Saturday concerts – to further sweeten this deal – take place at the Oasis Pool Bar, where the drinks are fruity and the setting tropically splashy.

The next Songwriter Saturday hits the pool deck on Feb. 3 starting at 4 p.m. ‘Tween Waters welcomes Hugh Mitchell to the stage. He has toured nationally since 2006 as a side man for other artists in venues ranging from bars to arenas. Now he has broken out on his own with a new 2017 release.

From his hometown in Alabama, the Birmingham Magazine writes: “Hugh Mitchell has an unmistakable down-home flavor, but he isn’t the result of a country factory. Call it country, call it rock. Just listen.”

I believe I will, and that you should too.

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What to Do with an Extra Day at ‘Tween Waters Inn

‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa’s current offer to earn one free night when you book three nights got me thinking: What would I do with a whole extra day on Captiva Island.

Well, it did not take me long to fill that day, let me tell you. I have not yet tried the Captiva Water Sports’ new parasailing adventure from the resort, for starters. And I love to paddleboard, but somehow I always end up lolling at the beach or having cocktails by the pool, and I never manage to fit in a paddle into the quiet, wildlife-rich back waters. And why not book a jet ski ride, while I’m at it.

And whereas I have had my favorite standard Relaxation Massage at the spa, I would love some more time for a body scrub, facial, and pedicure. You know, really go for the super pamper works.

I always intend to hit the fitness center, but alas, I’ve actually never been inside. And I hear the yoga classes at the resort are zenful. I need some of that.

So, look at that: Day overfilled, and I haven’t even finished my bucket list. Now I just cannot decide between sushi at Captiva House for dinner or that life-changing shrimp and grits at Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille.

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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

 

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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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