A Few of My Favourite Things

Movies I have loved.

The only way with my 50 something memory, could sort out a list of all the movies I have really enjoyed would be to start with the first movies I ever saw and adored. So long ago and far away, when the wheel was invented, and the world was so much more innocent, these were my first movie loves, Willie Wonka and the chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder was great.  Old Yeller which still makes me cry , Sounder, another really sad one .

To kill a Mockingbird,with the charming Cary Grant, such a good film , watched it with my dad!

The Andromeda Strain, a fabulous and memorable science fiction .When Dustin Hoffman at his very cutest did The Graduate I have to say though I watched it again recently and it didn’t stand up to the test of time the way I hoped. More obscure but truly great ! Straw Dogs , directed by the brilliant Sam Peckinpah!

I loved all Woody Allen movies but especially Annie Hall and Manhattan.

I watched many Igmar Bergman movies, cannot remember any of them so thumbs down, Peter Sellers in The Party, birdy num num,very funny and of course Being There.

The Sting, yummy Robert Redwood , and blue eyed Paul Newman.

Blazing Saddles Hilarious! These movies are all from the 70’s, there were less movies made then, but damn there were some great ones . I remember walking out of Cinema Three after watching A Clockwork Orange and my friend Bob did the whole menacing singing in the rain dance while we walked home to the west end. 1976 was a great year with films like All The Presidents Men ,as well as Network who can forget ” I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! ” ? Taxi Driver “you talking to me?” wasn’t Robert De Nero stunning?

All the Presidents Men- the great story about the Watergate papers, really there were many political films or at least films with a message,and then there was Carrie wow  I saw that one with my Dad and when the hand shoots out of the grave my dear old Dad jumped two feet out of his seat! didn’t you?

Now that I have started I can’t stop, such good memories .How about The Conversation with Gene Hackman?or The French Connection both so great, and also Marathon Man my ex-husband used to teasingly say” Is It Safe? remember the nazi pretending to be a dentist with the drill in Hoffmans mouth? And who on earth did not want to have sex with Serpico? One of the sexiest films was Warren Beatty in McCabe and Mrs Miller?  he was also great in Heaven Can Wait .

Kramer vs Kramer with Dustin still looking good and Meryl Streep coming into her own,Of course I have to mention Deer Hunter one of Streep’s first roles, great film with a stellar cast!

Jane Fonda absolutely hit it with Klute , also great was Coming Home.Do you Remember cheering along with the audience while watching Norma Rae? The last one on my mind was the Midnight Express I have always considered myself a bad cog, how about you?

Well those are only some of the great movies from the seventies, but what entertainment ! What a privilege we have had to watch these movies.

The Low Down…

So here’s the low down on some of my favourite go-to spots when I’m visiting Sanibel Island and the surrounding area.  Some of these spots are well-known to tourists, while others are definitely off the beaten path.

Every Canadian will tell you that one of their favourite things to do while visiting the US is to go shopping. And I must confess, I am no exception. There are so many places to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start. If you want to make a day out of it, Miromar Outlets is  the perfect destination.

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Miromar Outlets – Estereo, Florida

The 45 minute drive from Sanibel Island is well worth the trip as Miromar boasts that it has over 140 top designer and brand name outlets. But do not fret, if you prefer to stay local you can always visit Tanger Outlets, which is located just a couple of miles from the Sanibel causeway. Tangers outlet does not have as many stores as Miromar does, but will still satisfy that oh so well-known ‘shopping itch’.

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Tanger Outlets – Ft. Myers, Florida

But, if you’re after some real treasures then it’s the thrift stores you want to hit. I have to confess, I became somewhat of a thrift store junkie while I was visiting Florida. Although you will only find one thrift store on Sanibel Island, a Goodwill store, there is one other place you might try. A very well-kept secret, Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop, operates out of the back of St. Michael and all Angels Episcopal Church. The shop is open Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 12:30pm, and is always teeming with local church-goers and volunteers. But be sure to get there early, as there is almost always a mile-long line-up.

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Noah’s Ark Thrift Store – Sanibel Island, Florida

On Sanibel Island there are certainly no shortage of options when it comes to dining out, and if time permits, I suggest trying as many of them as possible. That being said, I’m going to give you the low-down on what I consider to be absolute essential places to visit. Jerry’s Foods, one of two grocery stores on the island, is located conveniently on Sanibel’s main road.

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Jerry’s Foods and Restaurant – Sanibel Island, Florida

Inside Jerry’s market, you will find Jerry’s Restaurant, a low-key diner style joint that provides a relief from some of the pricier restaurants on the island. If you do visit Jerry’s and order nothing else but the chocolate cake, you will leave there absolutely delighted! While we’re on the topic of desserts, I would be doing you a disservice if I neglected to mention Mel’s Diner.

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Mel’s Diner, Ft. Myers location 

Mel’s Diner is a fantastic diner that is a complete throwback to the 1950’s! Everything I’ve had there has been fantastic! But the best thing on the menu? The coconut cream pie. I like to consider myself somewhat of a pie aficionado, and this pie tops the charts! Coconut and mile high whipped cream, do you need to know anything else? For a great snack, my go-to place on the island is Rosie’s Island Market & Deli. The owner, Rosie, will make you a delicious fresh sandwich right in front of you! But don’t worry, it’s worth the wait, as she only uses the best ingredients. I could go on and on, but it’s become quite clear to me that I spent a lot of time shopping and eating…..Oh well, that’s what vacations are for, right?

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Rosie’s Deli – Sanibel Island, Florida

The Natural Flora and Fauna

Sanibel’s main drag, Periwinkle Way, runs under a canopy of whispery pines and gnarled oaks so thick they almost obscure the small signs for chic shops and restaurants. This ambiance is the work of the locals who have worked to keep their piece of paradise intact.  In fact, more than half of the island has been preserved in the form of a wildlife reserve.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is home to all sorts of different animals such as  alligators, racoons, manatees, armadillos, and hundreds of different species of birds. You have the option of riding, biking, walking, canoeing, or kayaking through the park. An absolute must see while you’re visiting this beautiful island! If you feel like going off the map a little, you can always go sight-seeing on your own. The Sanibel area is a vital area for wildlife, and many opportunities exist to spy on animals in their natural setting. A trip to Lighthouse Beach early in the morning almost always guarantees a fantastic dolphin sighting!  This was my favourite part of the whole trip, I absolutely love dolphins. They are such a majestical animal. They often like to swim and jump in the wake of large boats, and they will perform the most amazing acrobatics, it’s hard to believe their not trained! The best part, for me, was stopping on the causeway beach to watch the dolphins play in the warmer shallow water. So be sure to keep an eye out while crossing the causeway, because there is almost always a show going on beneath you!

 

Aerial view of Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida

Captiva Island, Sanibel’s Unfussy Sister

Captiva Island, sister island to Sanibel, is connected to Sanibel by a small bridge, known locally as blind-pass. Captiva feels, and is, more remote than it’s sister Sanibel.

You’ll find none of the neon signs, amusement parks, or high-rise condominiums that clutter most beach resorts in the state. But don’t let the humble appearance of the Island fool you, Captiva Island is also home to some of the most beautiful mansions in the world. Although Captiva is less populated than Sanibel, the island is still hopping with a village connected by beach houses and resorts of all sizes and vintages. Much like Sanibel, there is only one way on or off the Island and that is the bridge at blind pass. Turner Beach, at blind pass is also a great location for shelling due to the fact that a nearby inlet allows for a large volume of seashells to collect here. Turner Beach is also highly popular at sunset as it faces due west and provides an amazing view. Visit one of Captiva’s beachfront restaurants, just over the bridge at blind pass, grab a blanket and glass of wine or champagne, and watch what is guaranteed to be one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever seen!

A sand bar that popped up at Blind Pass, Captiva Island, Florida

A huge shell pile up at Blind Pass, Captiva Island, Florida

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore..

As I’ve already noted, Sanibel Island is famous for its seashells. One of the most popular beachside activities is the collection of seashells or ‘shelling’, as it’s more commonly known.  Local residents and tourists alike can be seen doing the ‘sanibel stoop’ which refers to the position one takes when combing the beaches for some 400 species of seashells. Aficionados come from all over the world to comb the beaches for their favourites. If you’re a hardcore shell fanatic you can visit The Bailey Matthews Shell Museum, the only museum in the US dedicated solely to saltwater and freshwater seashells. The months from February to April, or after any storm, are the prime times to get out and scour the beaches for rare finds! My favourite time to shell is early in the morning just before the sun has come up, thats when the locals shell. Hunting for seashells is something you can’t imagine until you’ve experienced it yourself. There is a thrill to the hunt, especially once you learn all the names and how to identify different species, it becomes like one big treasure hunt! It’s not hard to see how this passion can turn into an obsession, I spent 3 months doing it! The beaches are covered in shells, literally, you step out onto mounds of shells, and with each tide comes a whole new batch of treasures. One of the more common shells found on the beaches here is the Florida Fighting Conch, ranging in colour from bright orange to a dark mahogany, the Fighting Conch is a shell that demands attention. But be sure to check that the beautiful shell you’re about to take home isn’t currently inhabited, as it is illegal to remove live shells.

Just some of the shells that can be found on the beaches of Sanibel…

The Best Kept Secret in the State of Florida

If you ask me- The best kept secret in Florida is Sanibel Island. Sanibel Island is an island off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida. A natural phenomena,  seashells from all over the world wash up on this fabulous island. The Island is known for it’s shelling beaches and wildlife reserves, a combination that keeps this Island preserved and serene.  One of the reasons for these accumulations of shells is the fact that Sanibel is a barrier island which has an east-west orientation. It is also due to the fact that Sanibel is part of a large plateau that extends into the Gulf of Mexico, this plateau serves as the perfect shelf for seashells to gather upon.

There is only one way on and off the Island and that is a three mile causeway that connects the Island to the mainland,  most days you can see dolphins as you cross over!!  Delightful! The main transportation on this sunny little island is on by bike, although daytime tourists do flood the Island with vehicles. At night, if you’re out for a walk on the beach, you won’t see any light’s on so as to protect the sea turtles that come ashore. It is most definitely one of my favourite places on earth…