Step back 80-plus years to the days of rumble seats and airplanes landing on the beach — without having to leave the grounds of ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island. Begin your day steeped in history with breakfast at the Old Captiva House restaurant, which dates back to the resort’s origins in the 1930s. Read the historic plaque outside for your first history lesson.
Step inside, then, and admire the cartoons of Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, namesake of today’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel. You can see a collection of his Pulitzer Prize Award-winning political cartoons from the Des Moines Register. The resort also displays some of his original work, including a triptych piece called “The Big Parade,” depicting Captiva beachgoers back in the day.
Darling wintered for many years starting in the 1930s at ‘Tween Waters, where he had both a cottage with his wife and a studio for himself built with higher windows, said resort owner Tony Lapi. Today both cottages have been restored for guest accommodations, along with 17 others. Most of them, along with the Old Captiva House building, are on the National Register of Historic Places. Four are named for other historic figures who have visited Captiva through the years: pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh, who is said to have landed his plane on the beach; his wife, author Anne Morrow Lindbergh; President Teddy Roosevelt; and ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson.