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Written by jenandfrank on 28 Jan, 2005
Most of the people we met while down here were not originally from Florida. Interestingly enough, they were from everywhere but Florida. Cape Coral (and Sanibel) seems to be primarily filled with people from the Northeast who have either moved here full-time or now own…Read More
Most of the people we met while down here were not originally from Florida. Interestingly enough, they were from everywhere but Florida. Cape Coral (and Sanibel) seems to be primarily filled with people from the Northeast who have either moved here full-time or now own a second home here (snow birds). That said, I cannot recommend any hotel accommodations in this journal because we stayed with family. Although Sanibel is the real attraction here, Cape Coral is a nice town with lots of new buildings and a much cheaper option for lodging if you are looking for a weekend getaway.
We found the best way to get into Cape Coral was by flying into Fort Meyers (RSW). What a beautiful and super-clean airport! (Although once you exit the terminal, there is construction everywhere you look.) The only airlines we found that flew direct from New York were JetBlue and Delta. Florida in general is a place where you must rent a car, and these towns are no different. Normally, considering it's Florida, one would think that the rental would be cheap (like Orlando). Not the case. Book this in advance and hope for the best. We paid $180 for three days in the off-season for an economy car!
If the library is something that interests you, the Cape Coral-Lee County library should not be missed. It is located at 921 SW 39th Terrace in Cape Coral. This library is about two years old and absolutely beautiful. They have an area with at least 50 brand-new computers, all set up with Internet and printer access. The Internet access is free once you've provided an ID, and the printer costs $.10 per printout. The library is spacious and packed with just about anything you could need, and there is plenty of parking as well.
Sanibel is best-known for its shelling. Once you cross the "bridge," there is a visitors center with bathrooms and an information booth, as well as charts listing the shells found in the area. You will see people with shopping bags who came to the beach solely for this reason. In fact, on the day we went, the beach was packed, but there were no chairs or towels set up. According to the visitors office, the best times to shell are early morning, at low tide, and after a storm. We found the best shells to be closer to the lighthouse toward the end of the beach. The beach offers parking, but it will cost you. Make sure to pay for a parking ticket, or you will be towed. If you are interested in learning more about shells, there is also a museum called Sanibel's Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, and it’s open six days a week. For those people who love shelling but don't have the time or patience to shell, there is a store called The Shell Factory, and they have a HUGE selection of shells, each more beautiful than the last. They are located off Tamiami Trail in North Fort Meyers. Expect to pay up for the really nice ones, obviously. If you should find a live shell (a fish still inside) and choose to keep it, make sure you pull the fish out and wash the shell thoroughly. If you don't, you will regret it, because the dead fish smells like rotten eggs. It's a perfect day or afternoon spent just shelling, lying out, relaxing, or taking a walk.
See http://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/deals/. If you put in the dates of your stay, all the deals in the area will show up.
Written by jenandfrank on 06 Jan, 2005
Island Cow Eatery, 239/472-0606 (Sanibel): First, let me start with the muffins—oh, the delicious muffins that are served instead of bread when you are first seated. They are fresh, homemade, and still warm when you get them. During a 2-hour, very relaxed meal, we were…Read More
Island Cow Eatery, 239/472-0606 (Sanibel): First, let me start with the muffins—oh, the delicious muffins that are served instead of bread when you are first seated. They are fresh, homemade, and still warm when you get them. During a 2-hour, very relaxed meal, we were given at least four plates (of four muffins), and every plate had a different flavor. We got to try the chocolate chip, cranberry, coconut, and butterscotch muffins. Can you say delicious?! Getting past that, the meal was actually pretty tasty as well. The service was very friendly, and the atmosphere could not be beat—relaxed and outdoors. The menu was so big that I didn't know what to order. They have sandwiches, fajitas, salads, burgers, etc. I had the chicken fajita, and it was so large that I barely got through half of it. My husband got the burger and seemed very happy (burgers usually get a tough break with him—he's a burger connoisseur). Overall, it is a perfect place to stop for lunch after spending the day on Sanibel Beach. The waitress even sent us home with some muffins; it doesn't get any better than that! Highly Recommended.
Perkins Family Restaurant, 239/540-8181 (Fort Meyers): This is a family place that reminded me of Friendly's (New York chain restaurant). They had a horribly slow and incompetent staff. We waited over an hour for a burger, and there was only one other table seated. My salad was delivered with no dressing, and the four other people at the table had eaten before I got it. If you are hungry and nothing else is open, I would reluctantly go here. Otherwise, drive right by. Not recommended at all. Perkins Family Restaurant
Rib City Barbecue, 239/549-7427 (Fort Meyers): What a meal! This is a very casual, local hangout where beers are "buy one, get the second for a nickel" and the food falls off the bone. You can't go wrong, whether you are ordering the chicken, beef, or pork (we tried them all). They offer three types (flavors) of ribs, and they also sell combo platters so that you don't have to choose. All of the entrées also come with your choice of two sides: fries, coleslaw, baked potato, applesauce, baked beans, or sliced tomatoes. (I am getting hungry just typing this.) They also have sandwiches and salads for those who are watching their figures. The service was fast and friendly, and there was plenty of parking. It is a good place to hang out or bring the family (they have a kid’s menu). Recommended.
Written by jenandfrank on 30 Dec, 2004
Tanger Outlets - 20350 Summerlin Rd. (Exit 131 off I-75), Fort Meyers This is one of the nicer outlet malls we've been to, with tons of parking and pretty landscaping. There are around 60 stores, all brand-name retailers, ranging from The Gap to Samsonite. We…Read More
Tanger Outlets - 20350 Summerlin Rd. (Exit 131 off I-75), Fort Meyers This is one of the nicer outlet malls we've been to, with tons of parking and pretty landscaping. There are around 60 stores, all brand-name retailers, ranging from The Gap to Samsonite. We found this outlet to have great prices, much lower, in fact, than surrounding outlets. I mean, when have you ever been to the Gap when they are having a 75%-off sale?! It is very close to Sanibel Island, and therefore, during off-season, they beg for customers, and the deals are like they are giving stuff away. Note, though, that, other than fudge, this outlet mall does not have a food court. Pack ahead or eat before you go! This is highly recommended.
Miromar Outlets - 10801 Corkscrew Rd., Estero This outlet has over 120 shops and places to eat, which are all major retailers as well (at least the three restaurants that we saw). It has higher-end stuff (in some cases) than the Tanger Outlets, but it is also pricier. We found fewer deals here but a much larger selection. They have everything, from Zales to Escada and from OshKosh to Off 5th Saks. Directions: I-75 to Exit 123 (Old Exit 19). This is recommended.
Edison Mall - 4125 Cleveland Ave., Fort Meyers Considered the largest mall in southwest Florida, this mall has almost 200 stores and eateries. The major department stores include JC Penny, Burdines, Dillard's, and Sears. We found huge deals at Burdines (the men’s and women’s departments are located in two different stores on opposing sides of the mall). The cashier was nice enough to give us the coupon discount when we told her that we were from out of town and did not have the circular deal. This is recommended.