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Taking Advantage of Offseason at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa for a Girls Getaway

Yes, “Captiva Island” are those two magical words that make winter go away.

Yes, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is the perfect antidote for snow blindness and frostbite.

YAS! In the offseason, Captiva and ‘Tweenies is the place my gal pals and I head for a getaway without the seasonal crowds (and rates!).

We spent an off-weekend (Sunday and Monday nights) in offseason (end of September) and barely paid anything for our gulfview rooms. But even better, we happened upon Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, a region-wide event that spends its first few days on Captiva Island.

Picture this: Hanging at ‘Tweenies pool, mojito in hand, while artists who have written songs for the likes of Garth Brooks and Eddie Rabbit, sing their hits, crack jokes, and take you on a journey through their Nashville careers.

Just us and the birds on the morning beach

Island Hopper happens at almost a dozen venues on Captiva, but you can’t beat ‘Tweenies’ pool and Oasis Pool Bar scene. So start making plans now for next September.

Trolleys and shuttles take you free-of-charge to other Island Hopper venues on Captiva, and after the show ended at ‘Tweenies, we hopped aboard to discover “downtown Captiva” at its offseason liveliest.

We wound up back at the Crow’s Nest, where the popular Gatlin Show act paid tribute to Island Hopper’s country music theme with a cowboy hat hall-of-fame presentation and repartee that had us laughing out loud. And vocals that had us dancing like no one was looking. Watch for the entirely entertaining male-female duo every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night starting at 8:30 p.m. through October.

The rest of the “unweekend” we spent on a morning beach walk, lazing by the Serenity Pool, getting a pedicure (orange nails for fall) at the spa, dining at the marvelously remastered Old Captiva House, and kayaking.

We learned a little offseason secret about the latter. The ‘Tween Waters marina has a small fleet of single and double kayaks for guests’ complimentary use. Another good reason to go in the offseason, when you have a better chance of scoring one, or, in our case, three. That physical exertion called for cocktails at the Serenity Pool bar, where we posted selfies of our fivesome on the swings at one end. Another new discovery!

 

 

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Drinks a Flowin’ at Oasis Pool Bar & Grille

Songwriter SaturdaysSoak in some rays, splash in the pool, and then join me poolside, as I enjoy the best cocktails on Sanibel or Captiva. That’s right, I’m headed to Oasis Pool Bar & Grille.

The Oasis is the best place on the island and on property to get tropical, alcoholic drinks that will quench your thirst and your need for a little fruity cocktail, poolside. If you’re not into the fruity cocktail mixes, you’ll also find bucket specials (buy 4, get 1 free!) on beers like Corona, Bud Light, Miller, Yuengling and more.

My favorite, and also a favorite by all, is the rum runner. This mix of light and dark rum, banana liqueur, blackberry brandy, orange juice and pineapple juice, plus 151 rum floater screams VACATION! I have to watch myself, because after a few, I’m more prone to falling asleep under the sun and waking up with more than a hangover (a sunburn!).

If you’re not into rum, you might try a Mr. Delicious — a specialty drink created by one of ‘Tweenies very own bartenders. It includes vodka, lemonade, sweet tea and a vodka float, and is sure to float your boat! On the rocks, my friends love the mojitos, margaritas and raspberry lemonade twists to name a few.

With the serenity pool and Olympic-sized splash and fun pool both within steps, you could spend your day between the Oasis and loungers, so be sure to soak up some of those drinks with some tasty menu items as well. The Oasis is actually one of my favorite places on the islands to grab a Chicken Caesar wrap, grouper sandwich or grouper tacos. Haven’t tried grouper before? It’s a light, moist, white fish that isn’t strong in fishy taste — a perfect introduction to the Florida seafood scene.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention ‘Tweens Beans, located just a few steps away, where you can also grab cookies, coffees and ice cream treats too!

It’s hot and happening at the Oasis Pool Bar & Grille. Will I see you there?

 

INNSIDER TIP: All Spring and Summer, enjoy music stylings from Nashville Songwriters at the “Saturday Songwriter” events, held poolside.

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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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GREEN AT ‘TWEEN: ‘TWEEN WATERS ISLAND RESORT TAKES EARTH-FRIENDLY MEASURES

Say goodbye to plastic straws at the Oasis.

Don’t get me started on the topic of plastic straws! Yes, I’m talking about that little plastic tube that gets used for an average of 10 minutes, but, because it is not recyclable, takes 100 years to decompose in the environment. In the meantime, it ends up in the stomachs of sea turtles and other marine creatures.

As it does decompose and turn into microplastic, it even gets into our own digestive systems.

Did you know that every day in the U.S. alone, consumers use an estimated 500 million straws – enough to circle the planet 2.5 times?

So I rejoiced, and not quietly, when ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island made the announcement. It will be discontinuing the use of plastic straws at its Oasis Bar & Grill in the weeks to come. (Plastic straws distributed at outdoor venues increase the likelihood and quickness with which the light straws get blown into waterways.)

“I think it is the right decision given the local ecosystem and our relationship with it,” said ‘Tween Waters General Manager Brett Gooch.

Bravo, Mr. Gooch! Let’s hope other Captiva Island establishments follow suit.

The outdoors plastic straw ban will add to a long list of measures ‘Tween Waters quietly has put into place to save the environment over the years.

Take its cool pools. They get cooled in the summer and heated in the winter using geothermal technology. For more than seven years, the resort has been employing this green system to keep the pools a consistent temperature of 84 to 86 degrees.

Like many resorts these days, ‘Tween Waters encourages guests to reuse bath towels and bed linens to reduce the resort’s carbon footprint. But ‘Tween Waters took it a step more committed via its luxury towel program.

The theory behind it? Buy plusher, bigger, more absorbent towels and you will diminish the need to a) provide guests with fresh towels daily, and b) buy new towels as often.

To further reduce the use and disposal of plastics into the environment, ‘Tween Waters introduced its Tervis Tumbler program. The resort sells a logo version of the definitive Florida brand of insulated drink ware, which recycles broken and damaged products to make new tumblers.

Buy one for $19.95 and get your 16-ounce frozen drink for free. Furthermore, bartenders at any property bar will make your drinks in your new Tervis instead of plastic to-go cups, thereby reducing waste.

Finally, ‘Tween Waters does its part, and then some, to protect the rampant wildlife that Sanibel and Captiva islands are famous for. Beyond requiring lights off for sea turtles this time of year, when they are nesting and hatching, it protects the manatees that love to congregate in the harbor with signage commanding boaters to cut their engines as they enter.

Kayak and canoe eco-tours teach guests about the manatees, birds, and other native creatures, many of them threatened or endangered.

The islands claim nearly 250 species of birds, and flocks of them frequent the marina and beaches of ‘Tween Waters. The resort has provided nesting poles for ospreys, whose shrill whistle, for many returning guests, sounds like a welcome-back call to this place so in sync with nature.

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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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Getting water-logged to chase a flying Fox

If you ask me, Michael J. Fox is the culprit.

After all, it was a movie in which he played a starring role — 1989’s “Back to the Future Part II” — that first made red-blooded American boys like me start dreaming about the airborne sweet spot somewhere between terra firma and a jet airliner at 30,000 feet.

OK, full disclosure… I was 20 going on 21 when the movie came out.

Fox is Canadian, though, so there’s got to be a favorable conversion rate in there somewhere.

Anyway, the point is that after watching Marty McFly bounce off walls and race next to cars with what amounted to a low-hovering skateboard, we all figured similar real-world gallivanting was imminent.

But now, as 49 stares down the barrel at 50… Fox’s fantasy still seems way too far-fetched.

At least when it comes to land, that is.

Fortunately, the ‘Tween Waters Inn is flanked on two sides by water, which provides a bit more opportunity for those still hoping to give ol’ Michael J. a run for his multi-colored money.

And just as fortunately, it’s only a shade more than a mile from Yolo Watersports, too.

There, at 11534 Andy Rosse Lane, TWI guests and visitors can get their Fox on in the form of “flyboarding” — an activity in which riders stand on a board connected by a long hose to a watercraft.

Motion is created when water is forced under pressure to a pair of boots with jet nozzles underneath, providing thrust for the rider to fly as high as 50 feet in the air or dive headlong down to 8 feet.

It’s $95 for a 30-minute session with the certified folks at Yolo, who’ll ride shotgun to ensure fun and safety while the paying customers – with pre-flight instructions rattling around in their heads – desperately attempt to replicate YouTube videos that make it look barely harder than riding a bicycle.

For the record, those instructions seem pretty simple and focus mainly on basic movements – 1) stand with locked legs to begin; 2) point toes down or up to move forward or backward; and 3) lift alternating knees to go in the opposite direction (left knee moves you right, right knee moves you left) — but they provide little solace as you rise and tumble with all the alacrity of a sleep-deprived toddler.

It’ll take all but full-on Olympians (read: show-offs) multiple tries (read: crashes) to stay consistently dry and vertical, at which point a true adventurer may endeavor to raise his or her game, literally, by raising elevation – which provides both the thrill of flying and the terror of crashing for the same low price.

Soreness was alongside exaltation and exhaustion by the time my half-hour was up, though the sensation of a nose full of water lasted long after I’d gotten back to shore.

Turns out a comfy chair and attentive servers at the Oasis Pool Bar quickly take the edge off, especially upon their arrival with a frosty Rum Runner or Margarita.

And, whaddya know (eh!), it only took two or three repetitions before I’d begun to forgive my Alberta-born nemesis.

Maybe not enough to punch up “Doc Hollywood” on Netflix just yet…

But I’m surely willing to negotiate.

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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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Finding the Ultimate Serenity at ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island

Serenity Pool at 'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort on Captiva Island

The change was uncanny. One moment I was surrounded by the happy sounds of families unabashedly enjoying the chill welcome of a mid-summer day at the pool. Two steps later, I had entered a different world. A different mindset. Serenity.

Enter Serenity

The Serenity Pool had opened just moments before on that Thursday in July, taking relaxation to a new depth at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa – about 4 feet in depths to be exact. Infinity edged, the pool itself invites slow, leisurely immersion to soak away the day’s mental detritus. Although only separated by low walls from the main pool, tumbling water and some kind of Zen magic make it feel deliciously sequestered.

A Cabana All Your Own

Four private cabanas named for island shells – Coquina, Junonia, Lion’s Paw, and Lightning Whelk – allow you to further shut out the world with curtains or canvas flaps. Rentable for $50 a day, they come furnished with a couple of cushioned lounge chairs and umbrella plus matching upright chairs and tables for enjoying food and beverage delivered from the Oasis Pool Bar. May I suggest the Caribbean Jerk Chicken Salad with a coconut-y Pirate Punch?

Unique Serenity

Not only is this new pool a unique escape from the bustle of an active resort, it’s also unique in its construction as the only (besides ‘Tween Waters Inn’s main pool) geothermal heated and cooled pool on the islands keeping the temperature a constant 87 degrees.

Serenity Squared

An afternoon snooze and you’re ready for the final coup for your serenity afternoon. The ‘Tween Waters Spa lies only steps away, and a relaxation massage tenderizes away any lingering tension that stands in the way of you and ultimate serenity.

For a tour of the serenity pool watch out video here:

 

Cabana at the new Serenity Pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort on Captiva Island
A water wall separates Serenity from the main pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort on Captiva Island

 

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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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