Tuesday, June 28, 2011

VIP Vacation Rental



Come on down and enjoy our wonderful warm sunny weather

 and the finest pristine beaches in Florida

Call now for summer and fall specials on selected units 

Refuge installs QR code signs allowing visitors to enjoy virtual tour


Earlier this week, the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge took a giant leap into the 21st century with the addition of the iNature Trail, which allows visitors to scan a QR (Quick Response) code and view interactive videos — including a virtual tour of Sanibel's 6,390-acre wildlife preserve — whether they are driving, walking or biking through the refuge.

On Friday, the final group of 10 QR signs were installed along Wildlife Drive by Rick Sanford of Road Safe Traffic Systems, assisted by refuge volunteer Arianne Lujan and intern Lydia Templin.

"For people who visit 'Ding' Darling, it's a great way to experience a personal tour," said Templin, who checked each sign with her SmartPhone prior to installation. "I think it will attract more interest for folks who visit the refuge."

Paul Tritaik, Refuge Manager, agrees.

"People are always saying 'Turn off your cell phone and go enjoy the outdoors,' but we're saying 'Come visit the refuge and, if you've got a SmartPhone, bring it with you,'" said Tritaik. "We're pretty excited about this project because we're the first refuge in the entire country to have it. We like to think of ourselves as a model for other refuges, and with this we are able to reach even more members of the public. Kids are especially gonna love it."

The iNature Trail can be accessed by scanning a code — similar to a bar code — with a SmartPhone, and activated via a free downloadable app, such as Neoscan or QR Scan. At "Ding" Darling NWR, there are 10 QR codes that activate videos and virtual tour information geared towards adults, and 10 QR codes intended for younger guests.

According to 'Ding' Darling Wildlife Society (DDWS) Executive Director Birgie Vertesch, the idea to bring the QR technology here to the island came from Elon University student Lars Bredahl, who grew up on Sanibel. Discussions about the project began in March, while the filming of the virtual tour videos took place in early April.

"We were able to do this pretty inexpensively," explained Vertesch. "A local videographer, Ann Potter, volunteered her time and talents to the project, and the result is a very high quality product. The only expense we really had was for the construction of the QR signs."

Funding for the iNature Trail was made possible by private contributions to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.

"I think it's a great opportunity to experience nature at 'Ding' Darling like never before," added Vertesch.

Wildlife Drive is open Saturday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Automobiles accessing the refuge roadway cost $5 per vehicle. Bicyclists and hikers cost $1 per person (under 15 free).

To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visitwww.dingdarlingsociety.org, call Birgie Vertesch at 239-292-0566 or 472-1100 ext. 4 or send an e-mail to director@dingdarlingsociety.org.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Donations still needed for 4th of July Fireworks!!

Donations Needed For
July 4 Fireworks Show
The July 4 fireworks show, held bayside on Sanibel at the end of Bailey Road,
is still short on funding. There is only one week left to raise enough money to
pay the vendor and ensure the show, which has been a Sanibel tradition for
years. Any amount will be appreciated, from businesses, individuals, civic organizations or visitors.
Contributions can be made at Bank of the Islands, 1699 Periwinkle Way, or at
Cottages to Castles, 2427 Periwinkle Way.
For more information or to make a pledge, call 472-6385 or e-mail friendsofjuly-
The Friends of the July 4 Fireworks fund is a 501(c)3 organization

Join hands at the Sanibel Lighthouse beach access today at 12pm

Go out to the Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel today at 12pm to join hands with folks who care a clean energy future....

JUNE 25TH!!!!!!!!!!!

Learn about island history at Sanibel Historical Museum and Village

While you soak up the sunshine and enjoy the Gulf waters during June and July, why not take time out to soak up some island history? The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open on Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Aug. 6. The Museum Gift Shop, featuring a unique collection of all "Made in America" merchandise, has been moved to the Rutland House and will continue to operate from there during normal business hours. Visitors to Sanibel, as reported on the "TripAdvisor" travel website, have voted the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village the #3 attraction on Sanibel and given the museum a five-star rating.

A "step back in time" is the way the Historical Village is described by visitors. Seven historic island buildings have been preserved and moved to a charming "village" setting and are filled with artifacts and exhibits that chronicle the Calusa and Spanish periods and tell stories about the pioneer families who farmed and fished the islands from the 1880s to 1940s. Visitors see a way of life that is long gone, except as preserved at the Historical Village. Volunteer docents share island tales with visitors, and visitors, in turn, enjoy sharing their own Sanibel stories. 

As a cultural attraction, the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village continues to offer an outstanding value. Admission is still only $5 for adults, 18 and over. Children and Museum members are free. The Historical Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG Arts) and is handicap accessible. For more information, call 472-4648 or visit the Museum website, wwwsanibelmuseum.org. Special to THE ISLANDER

Armadillos, raccoons featured at CROW's Wonders Of Wildlife

A new series of informative lectures, called Wonders Of Wildlife, began this week at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, starting with a presentation focused on two of the islands' most notorious nocturnal critters.

Kyle Miller and Dot Lee welcomed a group of about a dozen visitors to the Healing Winds Visitor Education Center on Monday, sharing their expertise about armadillos and raccoons, talking about their behaviors, fun and informative facts as well as recent cases of both animals being treated at CROW.

"This is a great time of year to take in orphans — we're seeing a lot of birds and raccoons and rabbits... plus a few armadillos," said Miller, who in 2005 published the popular children's book, "Dillo: A Baby Armadillo's Adventure on Sanibel Island."

According to Miller, armadillos have an average life span of 12 to 15 years in captivity. While armadillos in Florida typically weigh 12 to 24 pounds, some species can grow up to 120 pounds.

"Armadillo comes from the Spanish, meaning 'little armored one,'" she stated. "The Aztec people called them 'azotochtli,' which is Nahuati for 'turtle-rabbit.'"

Recently, a young armadillo was brought into CROW after being found with fishing line wrapped around one of its legs. Following treatment, the mammal was rehabilitated at the animal wildlife hospital before being released back into the wild.

"The quality of care that they give animals here is amazing," added Miller.

Lee, also a volunteer at CROW, spoke about raccoons, which may be seen during daylight hours here on the islands. In most cases, the animal is nocturnal. However, they have adapted their behavior to coincide with the local tides, for foraging purposes.

The omnivorous mammal can be found to grow approximately two feet long, weighing upwards of 20 pounds at maturity. While raccoons in captivity have been known to live up to 20 years, their average life expectancy in the wild is about 3 years.

According to Lee, the name "raccoon" comes from the Algonquian Indians, meaning "Those that scratch with hands."

"They are little devils," she said, "because they will get into anything. They will get into your garbage cans because they can figure out how to get the lids off, and don't be surprised if you find one sitting in your car, because they can figure out how to open doors.

In addition, Lee noted that raccoons have excellent night vision and a sense of smell.

A recent case involving Rosie, the name given to a raccoon found in the garage of a home off McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers, detailed how the creature may have injured its hand, which required stitches from CROW's veterinary staff. 

"Most of the times we get raccoons here is because they've gotten into something they shouldn't have," said Lee, who emphasized the raccoons inquisitive nature.

Like the armadillo case mentioned by Miller, Rosie was eventually rehabilitated and released near the spot where she had been found.

The remaining Wonders Of Wildlife presentations are as follows:

• Thursday, June 23 and 30 at 11 a.m. – Student/Staff Presentation on topics of interest or patients of note in CROW’s wildlife hospital.

• Friday, June 24 and July 1 at 11 a.m. – Why Animals Come To CROW, presented by Claudia Burns. Did you ever wonder why animals end up at CROW? Claudia Burns will give an overview of reasons for patient admission.

• Saturday, June 25 at 10 a.m., CROW will feature the "Wonders Of Wildlife Eco-Tour." Join our naturalist led tour by canoe or kayak while paddling through a mangrove forest where natural beauty abounds.

• Monday, June 27 at 10 a.m. – Raccoons & Armadillos, presented by Dot Lee and Kyle Miller. From injury to release, learn about these special patients at CROW.

• Tuesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. – Sea Turtles, presented by Bev Ball. Learn about sea turtle patients found in the coastal waters between Sarasota and Miami and how they were injured.

• Wednesday, June 29 at 11 a.m. – Found An Animal?, presented by Lynn Ridlehoover, Judy Montclare and Bev Ball. Many times a rescuer is the only chance a patient may have for survival. Experience interactive demonstrations and see materials used for wildlife rescue.

All of the presentations will be given at CROW’s Healing Winds Visitor Education Center, located at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road. Admission is free for CROW members and for children age 12 and under. All others are asked to consider a $5 donation.  JEFF LYSIAK

Science at Sea cruise encourages discovering what lies in our waters

Captiva Cruises’ new Science at Sea cruise is a hands-on adventure. 

For an hour-and-a-half on a 45-foot Corinthian, a powered catamaran named Playtime, kids and adults can be marine biologists using a trawling net to observe and identify some of the unique inhabitants within our Back Bay waters.

“We go to study sites in Pine Island Sound, which is an estuary,” explained Richard Finkel, the environmental educator with Captiva Cruises.

Information is collected during each Science at Sea cruise for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s ongoing water quality research. During the cruise, Finkel discusses various topics like tides as a vehicle for small critters, such as plankton, and what lies beneath the shallow waters of Pine Island Sound that is home to important marine life.

“The sea grass and mangroves provide excellent hiding and living places for marine life,” Finkel told the kids on the cruise. 

He also told the four kids – Zachary Gorlach, 9, Jessica Gorlach, 5, Joseph Yanta, 6 and Mike Komara, 11 – about the importance of the food chain and marine habitat. 

The Science at Sea is the newest addition to Captiva Cruises’ Summer of Family Fun, which also includes the Shoreline Discovery cruise, where you will explore a secluded beach; beach and shelling excursions to Cayo Costa State Park; lunch on Cabbage Key and Useppa Island; dolphin wildlife and adventure; and the night sky astronomy cruise. 

Kids can take part in Captiva Cruises’ Junior Naturalist program, where upon completion of two of the designated junior naturalist programs (a $5 off coupon will be given for kids for a second junior naturalist cruise) kids receive a Captiva Cruises’ junior naturalist certificate.

Additional information and reservations for any of the Captiva Cruises’ tours and programs can be obtained by calling 472-5300. SHANNEN HAYES

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer selections sizzle for shoppers at Periwinkle Place

Boasting 25 quality retailers within Sanibel's largest and most centrally-located shopping center, the businesses at Periwinkle Place welcome the arrival of summer with a number of sizzling hot specials and new arrivals that will make for a pleasurable afternoon of browsing, buying and savoring the best of what makes the island the special destination we all enjoy.

Periwinkle Place features covered boardwalks, lush landscaping, two tropical fountains, a children’s play area and a butterfly garden, all of which combine to create a relaxing atmosphere that makes it Sanibel’s most charming place to shop, dine and indulge.

• Sanibel Day Spa (395-2220)

According to owner Pam Attuso, one of the most popular service offered at her business is the Botanical Keratin Treatment. 

"It takes the frizz out of your hair without using formaldehyde," said Attuso. "It's great for people with straight hair or curly hair... the humidity in the summer can make it really frizzy. But with this treatment, you won't have to fight your own hair."

Attuso also mentioned another "hot" service at the salon was their Gelish Gel Laquer Manicure. Gelish is a hybrid nail polish that goes on like a regular polish but wears like a gel. The resulting manicure remains flawless and shiny for up to two weeks.

"We do a ton of them," she added.

• Her Sports Closet (472-4206)

No matter what the season, one of the most popular and perpetually "in style" island fashions come from Lilly Pulitzer. According to Her Sports Closet representative Renee Durand, they carry a complete line of Lilly Pulitzer's trademark pink and lime green accented apparel.

"Fresh floral prints, with shells and sailboats, are very popular right now," said Durand. "We also have a good variety of pretty solids."

In addition, the ladies sportswear gallery reports sun dresses and shorts have been selling quite well heading into summer.

• Island Style (472-6657)

Featuring original art "with an island flair," Island Style's Nanci Hankins remarked that one of her best-selling items were Terry Causey's colorful pelicans and bases. 

"Pelicans are great," said Hankins. "We sell a lot of them to locals, I think, because you see pelicans around the islands."

Causey's original pelicans are priced at $130 each, with accessory stumps of several sizes ranging from $30 to $45 each.

Also, Coni Furniture — featuring bright pastel colors — come in a variety of subjects, from a lazy susan ($136) to martini tables ($180) to a bench ($300), among others.

• Sanibel Sunglass Company (472-3960)

When it comes to eyewear, classic looks never go out of style. Take, for instance, the always popular Ray-Ban line of sunglasses. According to Sanibel Sunglass Company assistant manager Ashley Reilly, both the Aviator and Wayfarer lines remain best-sellers.

"We do sell a lot of outdoor sunglasses for everyday use, rather than only for fashion," added Reilly.

• Toys Ahoy (472-4800)

The simpler, the better. That's the observation of Toys Ahoy spokesman Jeff Connelly, who noted that folks shopping at his business are purchasing more puzzles, board games and family-oriented fare.

"The trend in the last 10 years has been electronic toys," said Connelly. "But recently, the traditional toys — stuff that doesn't require batteries — are getting more popular."

Among the top sellers are LEGO "mystery" figures, wrapped individually in opaque packaging, which kids are trading with their friends, and the new "must-have beach toy: Waboba, a ball that bounces off the water.

• Island Pursuit (472-4600)

If you're searching for the hottest trend in casual but elegant sportswear, try the latest line of t-shirts from Before & Again, an apparel company based in St. Louis, Mo.

"We get a ton of them in and they sell very well," said Island Pursuit employee Cathy Hackney. "They are also one of the few things we'll get in stock during the off-season."

Before & Again's "Burnout" shirts are "all-over" printed, with new designs introduced every month. Their extensive weathering process creates an authentic vintage look, with each t-shirt truly one-of-a-kind.

Visit www.periwinkleplace.com for a complete list of businesses, photographs and contact information.JEFF LYSIAK

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Make your Sanibel Island Vacation Reservation now!!


Southwest Airlines is offering $80 fares to Fort Myers! http://www.southwest.com/
Check it out and plan your vacation around this fabulous

Call 800 237 7526 or visit  http://www.vip-vacationrentals.com/sanibel.aspx for accommodations!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Status of Independence Day Fireworks Display

The City of Sanibel has been notified by the local non-profit organization “Friends of July 4th Fireworks” that donations are still needed to fund an Independence Day firework display this year. Contributions may be made directly to the Friends of July 4th Fireworks account at the Bank of The Islands, 1699 Periwinkle Way. Questions, call Sharon at (239) 472-6385.

Interesting article on writing reviews...very funny - so true.

Everyone is a Critic!
“If the soup had been as warm as the wine, if the wine had been as old as the turkey, if the turkey had had a breast like the maid, it would have been a swell dinner.”  Duncan Hines

These days, it seems everyone likes to criticize. Even Miami Heat forward Lebron James is being told he sucks.  I've heard it all during my years as a restaurant manager.  Comments like, the waiter was horrible, the food was atrocious, and the décor is simply deplorable.  Dining out seems to bring out the professional food critic in everyone.  Restaurant review websites like BooRahChowhound,TripAdvisor and Yelp offer deals, coupons, and detailed information you will not find when visiting an individual restaurants’ website.   Whether you need information on Jimmy’s Bronx Café in New York or the Old Beijing Zhajiang Noodle King in China, computer-chair critics are dishing out the good, bad and ugly.  
These reviews are useful tools for consumers eager to find the perfect spot to drop some hard earned cash, but are they really? Here are a few good tips to remember when writing 
 restaurant reviews.........http://feedittothedog.blogspot.com/

Local filmmaker to raffle the 'Sanibel Lighthouse'

If you’ve recently visited Bailey’s General Store and noticed an accurate scale replica of the Sanibel Lighthouse, standing prominently in the front of the store, and wondered what was that all about, then wonder no more.

Rusty Farst, a Sanibel filmmaker, together with Bailey’s General Store, is selling $10 raffle tickets for the model lighthouse and the lucky winner gets to take it home. Part of the proceeds will go to start a fund that will pay for repainting the original Sanibel Lighthouse.

The replica is a 1/10th scale model of the best known and much loved Sanibel landmark: seen and recognized as a sign that we have returned to our most favorite place as we come over the causeway or visit the Lighthouse Beach.

Its creator, Ken Idle, spent nearly 60 hours welding and assembling this perfect replica, accurate in almost every detail. 

Idle has been a welder for over 45 years and does specialty work on boats and other marine structures. The lighthouse was built with aviation aluminum for its lightness and strength, stands about 10 feet tall, weighs only about 70 pounds and is the winner’s to keep. The additional perk is that the light at the top actually works and due to the chosen material, it will never rust.

“It’s a great opportunity to own a piece of Sanibel history, but in much smaller form,” said Farst. “There are so many creative things that someone can do with it, but more importantly, it will help us repaint the original.”

More than half of the available 700 tickets have been sold, so make sure to stop by and purchase one. If you’d like, you can give them to friends, employees and family as gifts.

Tickets can be bought at Bailey’s General Store or from Rusty Farst, whom you can contact via e-mail atrustyfarst@rustyfarst.com.  Special to the Island REPORTER

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!! from the Staff at VIP Vacation Rentals

SCCF And Francis Bailey Close On The Bailey Homestead Purchase

On Friday, June 10, SCCF closed on the 28.3-acre Bailey Family Homestead,
making it the latest addition to more than 1,800 acres of preserved wildlife
habitat on Sanibel and Captiva.
“With more than 1,300 campaign gifts, this really was an island-wide effort,” said
SCCF President Paul Roth who was present at the closing. “Without the generosity
of so many friends and neighbors, this historic achievement would not have been possible.”
Island Sun

July 4 Road Rally - Sanibel

Optimist Club

The 32nd annual Sanibel-Captiva
Optimist Club’s Fourth of July
Road Rally starts at noon in
Timbers Restaurant parking lot on
Tarpon Bay Road.
Get  your team together and pick up
registration forms at Bailey¹s General
Store, the Sanibel Café, in the local
newspaper or at the Timbers starting line
just after the parade. Registration is $35
per vehicle.
 This year’s theme is Rallying for a
Shell of a Good Time - Island Sun

July 4 Fireworks Donations Sought

Fundraising efforts have been under
way for the July 4 fireworks show
to be held bayside on Sanibel at the
end of Bailey Road. There are only two
weeks left to raise enough money to pay
the vendor and ensure the show, which
has been a Sanibel tradition for years.
Any amount will be appreciated, from
businesses, individuals, civic organizations or visitors.
Contributions can be made at Bank
of the Islands, 1799 Periwinkle Way, or
at Cottages to Castles, 2427 Periwinkle
Way.From the Island Sun
For more information or to make a
pledge, call 472-6385 or e-mail friendsofjuly4fireworks@gmail.com.
The Friends of the July 4 Fireworks

Celebrate Father’s Day at Traditions on the Beach

Traditions on the Beach, the gulf front casual dining restaurant located at the Island Inn on Sanibel, has a special treat in store for a Father’s Day celebration dinner from 5 p.m. onwards this Sunday, June 19. 

Come and have a delicious dinner, with the freshest and finest local ingredients while enjoying live music and dancing with piano man Joe McCormick, with a special Father’s Day repertoire for dad to enjoy. McCormick performs Broadway, jazz, Latin and pop hits, as well as everything in between. He’s accompanied by the beautiful and talented vocalists Barbara Smith and Maravilla Marzan each Friday and Saturday night.

The performers are back with Andrea at Traditions on the Beach restaurant, full bar and lounge, playing at 6:30 p.m. each night. Come for dinner, drinks and dancing, join Andrea, Joe and the whole Traditions crew. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 472 4559. From the Island Reporter

VIP Realty Group announces May leaders

The Karen Bell Team was recognized as top sales team at VIP Realty Group during the month of May.

In addition, Rob Pailes was recognized as top sales agent while the Mike McMurray and Trevor Nette Team was recognized as top producing team and top listing team in May.

Also, Janie Howland was recognized as top listing agent and Lynda Traverso was recognized as top producing agent last month.

For additional information about VIP Realty Group, call 472-5187.

Casa Ybel’s Thistle Lodge featured on Fox 4’s Morning Blend

On June 7, Casa Ybel Resort’s historic Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant and Coconuts Poolside Bar and Grill were featured on Fox 4's Morning Blend. 

Debuting Thistle Lodge's “Summer Fare” menu, Executive Chef John Wolff demonstrated his Thai Rice Thick Noodle Salad with chicken while Coconuts bartender, Lea, explained about the most popular drink on the beach – the Casarita, which is a margarita with half the calories. Lea then prepared a refreshing Lime Mojito for Morning Blend host, Bill Wood.

Thistle Lodge, long recognized as one of Sanibel Island’s most romantic restaurants, is also a wonderful spot for family dining and offers both indoor and al fresco dining. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily and offers a delicious Sunday brunch.

Casa Ybel Resort is a secluded island sanctuary sitting directly Gulf front and offering stunning views of the shell-covered white sand beach just steps from your door. The perfect for relaxing, rejuvenating and celebrating, Conde Nast Traveler has named Casa Ybel one of the "Best Places To Stay In The World" and Travel + Leisure Magazine includes it among its "500 Greatest Hotels in the World." 

Now through Sept. 30, 2011, call Casa Ybel directly at 800-276-4753, mention "Morning Blend" and receive 20 percent off a one bedroom Beachfront Suite, including welcome drinks upon arrival and a complimentary bicycle rental for two. A two night minimum stay is required. Subject to tax and availability, excludes holidays. From the Island Reporter 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Great Quote of the Day!

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

~James M. Barrie~

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Weather Averages

Average HighsAverage LowsMonthly AveragesAverage RainfallGulf Temperature
AVG YR8127.56518.873.923.24.577.5