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!



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.


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



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.

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!
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.    
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most importantly, remember to simply enjoy!

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.



Take A Relaxing, Getaway Bicycle Tour Of Captiva Island

It’s a beautiful sunshiny day ahead and you’ve got some time to enjoy the scenery.

So, now is a good time to head down to the ‘Tween Waters Marina and rent a bike for the day. Pack up your beach-life belongs, maybe a towel and a fresh t-shirt, wear tennis shoes and bring flip flops.


Check with the front desk, Oasis Pool Bar or Captiva House Restaurant and you can order a picnic lunch that’s ready to travel. Grab some bottled water and you’re off. When you leave, turn right out of the ‘Tween Water Inn driveway entrance. You’ll be on famous, Captiva Drive that runs parallel to the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico water.

The road will turn right again and you’ll be headed toward town… or let’s say, into the heart of the village. To your left you’ll find the Chapel By The Sea and the Captiva Island Historical Society Gallery. On the right you’ll begin to ride along the bay side of Captiva Island. A little further down the road you’ll find grocery shopping at the corner of Andy Rosse Lane, and see other retail storefronts where you may want to stop. Stay on Captiva Drive and you’ll eventually arrive at another beautiful stretch of beach.

The sun rises and sets here the same as everywhere on Captiva Island. Take your time and take it easy, and when you’re ready, head home riding back the way you came. You can’t get lost, and you’ll get just the right amount of exercise, no too much and not too little. There are longer bike tours to take and after this tour you may be ready, or not, to try one… if so, check with the front desk for good information.

It’s true that there’s no place like home… You’ll likely remember this no matter when you get back to the place you affectionately call home while you’re staying here with us. Aww thanks, we love having you at the ‘Tween Waters Resort, too. Enjoy!



Today, Is Kickin’ Back At The Shack Time

The Oasis Bar at 'Tween Waters Inn

If it’s shady and comes with cool drinks it must be The Oasis pool bar. Your time spent at the ‘Tween Waters Inn will likely include a trip or two to the pool. While you’re at the pool be sure to enjoy the tasty, poolside menu items served in a casual style from the bar and at nearby tables. Spot the blue roof and you’ve made it to the right place.

On a recent visit, I enjoyed the best frozen Rum Runner drink I’ve had in many years. My husband and I also shared an order of Fish Tacos that were excellent. If you like Grouper, you’ll find this item a fresh way to serve up some yum. Another favorite item is the Cheeseburger, obviously in paradise, served here, too.

Favorite Spot at The Oasis pool bar

— Near the bar, look for the usually shady, hightop table in the corner. It may become your favorite spot just like it is mine. You see, a popular pastime for local residents in a tropical environment like this one, is simply spending lots of time outdoors soaking in the sunshine, and having a good time enjoying and also ‘shooting the breeze.’

— Before you return to the pool for another dip and some sun, take a short walk into the local area near this table… Do this because you’ll find a creatively crafted, swinging bench located between the cottages to just sit on and relax for awhile.

Bench Swing tucked away amongst the cottages and foliage.


Life at the ‘Tween Waters Inn doesn’t get much better than this when you’re spending time at the pool. If you try my recommendations or discover something even better, please be sure to let me know.





Getting My Day in (Pool-Side) Court

If you want danger, Florida’s got plenty.

The late-summer heat and humidity can be enough to swallow a tourist whole, which is similar to the fate that can await those who traipse uninitiated into the area’s many bodies of fresh or salt water – where they might just meet face-to-face with a hungry alligator or snack-seeking shark.

Which is precisely why I chose to keep my latest outdoor adventure on good old terra firma.

Proving ground in paradise.
Proving ground in paradise.

Of course, what I lacked in carnivorous marine life I now more than make up for in middle-aged joint pain, thanks in no small way to the pool-side tennis courts at the ’Tween Waters Inn.

Fueled by the sort of early September U.S. Open zeal that used to let me get a three-setter in before my junior year Editorial Methods class, I called upon good friend and colleague Michael Korb to play Andre Agassi to my John McEnroe in a 40-something reenactment of hard-court glory days gone by.

Truth is, we were a lot closer to Brooke Shields and Tatum O’Neal even at our peaks, but the pristine, sun-soaked playing surface made it feel enough like Flushing Meadow to render the task worthwhile.

Indulging our inner John and Andre.
Indulging our inner John and Andre.

The courts are open free of charge to resort guests from dawn to dusk, and can be reserved via the sign-up sheet that’s tucked away at the front desk. “Andre” and I strolled in the office shortly after 9 on a recent Sunday morning, and we were exchanging serves, volleys and maniacal grunts well before 9:30.

The subsequent two hours featured pretty much more of the same, with the occasional skid, tumble and snarky comment mixed in for color – not to mention the groans, head shakes and cringing glances around the perimeter fence to make sure no one had seen us whiff on a would-be overhead smash.

By 12, we were passing the Icy Hot while drowning our soreness in cool drinks at the Oasis Pool Bar.

Which, when you think about it, is a lot easier than lugging a silly trophy back to the car anyway.


Need Gear?
Rackets can be rented at the marina for $6 (for a 2½-hour time block) between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Balls are included at no additional charge. A complimentary clinic is held every Saturday for adults and children, and lessons are available from a vendor who contracts with the resort.