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5 Reasons Why the Tree Lighting at ‘Tween Waters is Pure Magic

Holiday Tree Lighting

It’s the most magical time of year, and while Northerners think they have the upper hand on the holidays with all of that snow and roaring fireplaces, you’ll be surprised to learn that the Tree Lighting ceremony at ‘Tween Waters has all that, a little more! As a true northerner transplant (originally from Wisconsin), I can confidently say there’s nothing quite as magical as the Tree Lighting ceremony on Captiva. Here’s why:

*Snow. I’m leading off with the big one, because yes, there’s snow on Captiva and you can find it only at ‘Tween Waters. With a giant snow machine sending out the fluffy white stuff, you can celebrate in your shorts, while enjoying this Christmas miracle.

*Food. For the first time ever, you can get the VIP treatment by joining ‘Tween Waters in the Wakefield Room and watch the show from the balcony. It includes a family style Italian Buffet and family seating, for just $37/adult and $18/child. That’s a steal, for the best seats in the house! If you aren’t interested in the VIP treatment, you can also enjoy a meal in the Crow’s Nest (special menu) or grab a hot dog and chips, or burger and chips, at the outdoor event!

November 23, 2018 | The fun begins around dusk | FREE to all | Arrive early to secure parking | Call for Wakefield VIP Dining! 800-223-5865 

*Music. Not only is CJ the DJ rocking it poolside all afternoon, and part of the evening, but the Gatlins are returning to Captiva for some live music performances starting at 8:30PM in the Crow’s Nest. During the lighting ceremony, there is a music and lights show, and some live caroling, which is my favorite ode to the traditional holiday spirit.

*Lights. With 100,000 twinkling lights, all played and synchronized to the holiday music, the light show is by far the most magical moment of the night. From candy cane palm tree tunnel, to Rudolph leading Santa’s sleigh, there is no other holiday display like it in, dare I say it, the world. Without any street lights on Captiva, this display is made extra special because it truly lights up the night and can be seen from the beach and beyond.

*Fireworks. The lights are shining brightly everywhere (says Mariah Carey), the music is playing, you’re cuddled up with your loved ones, and then the sky bursts into light. This is pure magic.

If you can’t make the lighting ceremony, you won’t miss all of the fun. The property stays lit until after the new year, and you can walk the property to see all of the beautiful lights. Be sure to stay midweek Sunday to Thursday in December to receive 50% off guestrooms, studios and one-bedroom suites too!

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Butterflies on Captiva

Southwest Florida is the shelling capital of the world, and while there are so many types of shells to love, there is one that sparks my interest and flies with my heart — butterflies.

You may have noticed Conquina shells before — they litter the Captiva beaches and are often purple or pink in color. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find that many of them are still attached together. This is because they are very tiny clams, connected at the hinge. This gives them that beautiful butterfly look. There are a ton of colors to collect, and they are my favorite hidden gem on Captiva Island.

Innsider Tip: Stay silent by the surf, and you will hear these shells wash ashore. They help provide the tinkling sound as the waves wash the shells ashore — millions of little pieces of shells making music with the ocean!

Crouching on Captiva, you’ll find more than 250 species of shells, but if you’re not as lucky as me to have a local shell-educated friend, ‘Tween Waters, Captiva Island and Sanibel Island boast a variety of local experts willing to take guests on shelling expeditions in search of knowledge and the perfect souvenir (for a small fee of course).

With an abundance of shells to chose from, you’ll be sure to go home with a souvenir or two when you visit the beaches at ‘Tween Waters. PRO TIP: Don’t forget a container to keep your shells in as you search, so that these butterflies aren’t crushed or disconnected when you bring them home!

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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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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year — Celebrate with ‘Tween Waters

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa — event season! Yep, this is the time of year to celebrate all things — from songwriters to Hallo’Tween, Thanksgiving to New Years. And what better way to celebrate these treasured events than with parties, buffets, fireworks and music. It’s going to be huge, and you won’t want to miss it. Here’s what’s happening:

Songwriter Saturday:  ‘Tween Waters is still celebrating Nashville songwriters by the pool with another great musician every month. Our next songwriter is Clint Daniels performing November 3 from 2 PM – 5 PM, as always free to our guests with a great poolside venue. Visiting for the day? Just $50 a carload gets you a day pass, parking, live music and access to amenities.

Hallo’Tween: Saturday, October 27, Hallo’Tween is going to be a smash this year, with a variety of dining options at the Canoe and Kayak Club and Crow’s Nest! Plus it’s a night full of live music from the beloved Gatlin until 1 PM at the Crow’s Nest, CJ the DJ spinnin’ it in the Wakefield Room from 10 PM – 2 AM, and our infamous costume contest with grand prize of $1000. Wristbands are just $10 after 10PM (21 and older) and you must be there by 10 PM to enter. Make your reservation ASAP as this event fills fast and lasts all night, so you’ll want to be safe and spend the night!

Thanksgiving Buffet: Everyone loves a good buffet, and even more so, they love the ‘Tween Waters Thanksgiving Buffet. It’s a great way to gather with family and share the love, without any of the work. The menu is already live at the Old Captiva House website, so be sure to check it out and make your table reservations asap!

Tree Lighting: With over 100,000 twinkling lights lighting the property, if you haven’t experienced the ‘Tween Waters Tree Lighting Celebration, you won’t want to miss it this year. It’ll feature CJ the DJ spinning music poolside and beachside day and night; at sunset live caroling, the grand Tree Lighting Celebration with fireworks, a Captiva snowstorm and more; plus all-new holiday lighting displays. Plus new this year, in addition to dinner at Crow’s Nest, you’ll have the option of a unique VIP dinner venue in the Wakefield Room with balcony viewing of the show!

Christmas and New Year: Spending the holidays at ‘Tween Waters is extremely special. Guests enjoy the Christmas buffet, holiday lights around the property, and more intimate New Year’s Party at the Crow’s nest with champagne toast. Spend your holidays on Captiva!

However you choose to celebrate the next few months, be sure to include some time on Captiva!

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Introducing Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals just got a whole lot better on Sanibel and Captiva Island with the launch Monday of the new Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals — one of the largest vacation rental companies on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida, with currently more than 150 properties in its extensive inventory of luxury, boutique rental homes, cottages and condos. The brand represents the merger of vacation rental properties from ‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals and Re/Max of the Islands Vacation Rentals, which occurred earlier this year.  For rental information or to place your vacation rental in the SCIVR program, visit www.SCVacay.com or call 239.472.5050.

Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals has been rebranded to reflect the best of both Sanibel and Captiva Island, promoting the dual locations for vacation rentals that the vacation rental company offers. This new branding and business model will include an 8-part Concierge Program for owners and prospective owners, and exclusive Renter’s Rewards that reward guests with $100-plus of valuable discounts, in conjunction with the Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts brand, to focus on both owner satisfaction as well as guest satisfaction.

“We look forward to making the vacation rental experience the best it’s ever been — in service, in revenues and in guest satisfaction,” says General Manager Doug Babcock. “We felt a fresh name with an upscale visual presentation that reflects both islands and both companies was an important step in this process.”

This new and altogether better vacation rental company is 85 years in the making — founded on award-winning island hospitality marketing through the Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts properties. Vacation rental guests benefit through a variety of advantages including a large search set of properties, Renter’s Rewards (including coupons) and the use of many partner resort amenities. Owners benefit from this partnership through the robust marketing, personalized concierge approach, and 50-plus years of real estate and vacation rental expertise on Sanibel and Captiva. Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals is managed under Doug Babcock, with Sales Manager Jackie Royka and Sales Associates Rachel Walsh and Sue Plein.

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Meet the ‘Tween Waters Management Team

Sanibel Captiva Management Team

I’ve had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with the ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa management now, and have learned a different side to the hotel experience. When many of you visit the resort, you see hard working individuals riding golf carts, cleaning rooms, serving meals and drinks and spraying down surfaces, and I’ve come to appreciate each and every working piece and person to a resort. But when many of you don’t see the management side of hotel.

Meet General Manager Brett Gooch. Not only does he manage two little girls at home, but he’s also managing things at a huge 138-room resort. Oh wait, make that two 130+ room resorts (he’s also the GM at West Wind Inn). Did you know that Brett personally addresses TripAdvisor reviews? Anyone who has worked in customer service knows how difficult a disgruntled customer can be, and Brett handles it with grace and patience.

Meet President, Doug Babcock. From beach cams, to new furniture and equipment, to marketing and those discounts you receive on your stays, Doug is heading the charge on my financial and marketing ends. He’s also the General Manager of the sister vacation rental company and president of the overall Sanibel Captiva Beach Resort company. But did you know when first started, in order to get an understanding of all aspects of the resort, he did everything from take out garbage to work in the kitchen? He installed Christmas lights, did beach duty and even parking duty. Talk about involved!

Lastly, I’d like you to meet the man, the myth, the legend, Tony Lapi. Most long-time guests have met and seen Tony Lapi around the resort. This CEO of a major island resort is often found painting, fixing, installing and riding around on a tractor. He’s also been known to carry luggage to rooms, park cars, greet guests, and install renovations. Somehow, he finds time to be a generous and caring human being known to hang out at the Crow’s Nest for a drink, donate to the United Way and fight water quality issues. And did I mention he has a marshmallow gun for holiday events?

What I took away from meeting with the management of ‘Tween Waters was that no matter you position or how much you make, how long you’ve been with the organization or what else is going on in your life, the people who own and work for the resort care. They care about making a difference and truly proving their mission statement: to deliver a warm, friendly and memorable island resort experience that provides value to all our guests resulting in a desire to return. So on your next vacation, if you notice one of these friendly faces, be sure to say hello to the management team.

(Photo Left to Right: Brett Gooch, Doug Babcock, Tony Lapi and Rick Boyd)

 

 

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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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Getting Out of the Weather at ‘Tween Waters, Captiva Island

Late summer on Captiva Island, Florida, can mean bouts of intense sunshine tempered with short afternoon showers. When avoiding the raindrops or taking a break from the sun, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is perfectly poised with solutions.

My favorite get-out-of-the-weather strategy takes me shopping and spa-ing right on property. Maybe work a little fitness center time in there for good measure. Then, you can easily rationalize some retail therapy followed by massage therapy.

Other times I feel like exploring the islands – their intriguing ecology, their history, their culture. That’s when I plan a field trip. Some of my favorite stops?

  • J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge: I always learn something new at its admission-free Visitor & Education Center. Its cool new artistic Learning Lavatories restrooms are worth the visit in and of themselves. The 4-mile tour around Wildlife Drive rewards with wetland vistas populated with feathered friends and crawly creatures.
  • Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum: You don’t have to love seashells as much as I do to appreciate the ecology, historic significance, and sheer beauty of the creatures and their homes. This one-of-a-kind museum brings a whole new appreciation.
  • BIG ARTS: Sanibel’s cultural nucleus always has a couple of changing art exhibitions going on in its galleries. You can also catch an art class, film, or live performance.
  • Sanibel Historical Museum and Village: This cluster of vintage island homes and other buildings is literally stuffed with fun history lessons you can easily absorb at strolling pace.

Can’t bear to go inside? Here’s another solution: Rent a cab ana at the Serenity Pool for al fresco protection from the elements.

Pelican’s Roost puts the tropical in your closet

 

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Green ‘Tween Saves Energy with GeoThermal Pool

For many years, guests have enjoyed and luxuriated in the ‘Tween Waters’ Olympic-sized pool, and now more than ever, that experience is to be celebrated. As a leader in green policies, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has partnered with Symbiont to install a GeoThermal heating units, which use the earth’s heat to warm or cool the pool — making these the greenest pools on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

This time of year, with air temperatures in the 80s and 90s, keeping the pools at a refreshing temp actually comes from the earth’s heat! The GeoThermal unit can both warm and cool the pools at ‘Tween Waters. This works by utilizing the heat of the earth to transfer energy, rather than employing the heat of the earth as the heating source.

Utilizing two wells, one to bring the water from earth, and another that transfers to a heat pump, this geo-thermal process utilizes water in the ground and then returns back to the ground. This process is 30% more efficient than a traditional heat pump that uses air, and 80% more efficient than a heat pump that uses gas (what most hotels use to heat their pools). This all results in less energy being used, less waste and more use of our natural resources to provide an eco-friendly swimming experience. Plus with two pools to heat and cool at ‘Tween Waters, that’s double the energy savings!

Not only is geo-thermal heating more eco-friendly, but it’s also economical and reliable, meaning the hotel saves money on gas bills and can utilize that budget toward additional hotel improvements. This system also lasts 15-20 years (whereas a typical gas system lasts between 5-10 years) meaning less breakdowns and repairs, meaning guests will enjoy the pool all year round without issue!

This installment isn’t new — the ‘Tween Waters has been using GeoThermal energy for a few years, but the significance of how ‘Tween is staying green makes this newsworthy. For more information, visit https://symbiontservice.com Plus, visit our sister property, West Wind Inn, who has newly invested in this GeoThermal system on Sanibel Island.

 

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Sunrise, sunset at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort

“Sunrise, Sunset:” One of my favorite songs from my all-time favorite musical, Fiddler on the Roof.

Sunrise, sunset: One of my favorite reasons for staying at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island.

True to its name, it settles comfortably between the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound. For water lovers, that means the best of both worlds: beach and bayside scapes and endless water sports.

To me, it means sunrise, sunset.

In Fiddler, Tevye and Golde express, in song, a bittersweet emotion as they realize their daughter has grown. With a fled-the-nest son of my own, I get that. But nevertheless, the rising and setting of the sun are ever  joyful, introspective happenstances in my life, especially given the beauty of the moments at ‘Tween Waters.

We like to book a bayside room, where coffee and sunrise go together. Sometimes, if my husband is sleeping in, I will sneak down to the marina docks, where all is silent but for the sounds of early birds and lapping water.

From there, I can do a simple sun salutation as I feel the day come alive. Fishermen head out to catch a good tide and manatees often poke their piggy whiskered snouts out of the water. Pelicans kamikaze-dive for breakfast and dolphins arch silently at the surface. It’s magic, with the promise that the day could bring anything at all. Like an unfilled journal page.

The beach, of course, is for sunset, and little can improve upon a sand-based farewell to the day. But at ‘Tween Waters, there’s more than one way to watch sun melt into sea. Charter a sail or motor boat ride, and toast the parfait sky with a bottle of bubbly. Paddle a kayak or board out to meet the sun. Book a seaplane cruise into the gilded clouds.

Meditate on the flow of the day, the swift flight of years. Relive the happiness and tears: the filled journal page.

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