March 26 - April 2, 2016 Sanibel
Check-in at our seaside cottage on Sanibel Island was 3PM and we got there precisely on the dot. We had driven across the more scenic highway 41 after leaving Miami. Along the way, we stopped at Everglades City for lunch at The Camila Street Grill - one of our favorite places in this neck of the woods.
We had been lucky and probably got a cancellation at Shalimar when we booked last December. As we opened the door to the cottage, we were astounded to see that the rear door entry was through the bathroom!
The surf was up on the close-by beach and we stocked up on essential food at Sanibel’s first general store, Bailey’s, which was established in 1899. Their motto is, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” We needed gulf shrimp and had a fine meal with rice and a green salad. It was a treat to eat a small meal after all the rich dinners on the ship - and Tom was so glad to be the chef.
We had brought our own aprons and a supply of coffee from home along with our favorite fry pan and utensils - although the cottage had a better supply of such essentials than others we had rented before. This was a time to relax and try to get back to “normal.” Tom pretended to be camping and slept on the screened in porch the first night, listening to the sound of the surf.
We went out to eat twice and had the leftovers the subsequent nights. One of our favorite places to eat on Sanibel is The Mad Hatter which was as good as ever. We found a new place just within walking distance from our cottage - The Sandbar which provided a great meal.
The sunsets were spectacular and our visit to the Ding Darling national wildlife refuge was rewarding, but there were not as many wading birds as we had experienced in the past since we visited at high tide.
Sanibel was as charming as ever and it is one of our favorite spots - Anne still remembers when she was only five years old and her visits back then before the long bridge of today. She went there on a ferryboat across the channel from Fort Myers Beach. Although crowded today, there is no traffic signal on the island and during peak rush hours, there are traffic police doing the job of keeping the cars moving smoothly.
We left on Saturday early and headed out on a long journey (nearly 450 miles) to Georgia. It seemed that every other Easter Vacation traveler was also on the road and there were many slowdowns and in some places there were “parking lots” on the interstates. We found backroads when we could and enjoyed the scenic ride without any obstructions.