Lessons Learned and Sanibel Island

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, my favorite, my family went to Sanibel Island. While I was in Panamá stressing about my mother, her move, her care, my husband and children planned this getaway. As I have said before, these are the best trips!!! All I had to do was pack my bag and go.

We left on Tuesday the 24th, stopped for a fabulous brunch at a small cafe in Coral Gables and drove to Sanibel. It is true that I dislike the roads and highways in Florida. Unfortunately with good reason, but this time I was instantly relaxed, so slept most of the way.

The plan was to relax, watch sunsets, celebrate Thanksgiving and enjoy each other company. It has always been important in our family to take time to recharge batteries and reconnect. This trip was our effort to do this before the craziness of the Christmas Season.

12301709_10153890851636802_8608273706029870815_nThat is the first lesson, not new, but so essential. You need time with your loved ones to reaffirm your bonds, to get closer, to just enjoy their company without any definite plan. Unpacking done, we went to have something to eat. Did you know you can have alligator meat in this area without any trouble? Not that we were going to even try it…..we are not that adventurous!!! The place, fortunately, had other choices.

Lesson two, the family that plays together……yes, we do that. Twice we played miniature golf. I am sure not everyone shares our passion for this game, but it’s a family tradition, if we are together and there is one around: we must play. This is old-fashioned and corny, but we love it. We found one: The Story of Tarzan, complete with giant gorillas, water traps, banana tees and crates of all sizes. Along the way, we were treated to painted boards with parts of the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Frank plays real golf, so he did well, but we all had a ball.

When in the hotel, we played rounds of the new Trivial Pursuit. You can get the funniest answers in this family, so there were laughs and jokes. We also played Scattergories.  There was more laughing and joking when words never heard of before made it to Frankie’s answers. My mind was either too relaxed to concentrate or just in suspended animation. My paper more than not was empty!!!

89cbe25a32f8be3c6eca62c05a689d71Lesson three, really, take to the road and see where it takes you. Too much planning could so curtail your fun. Getting to know the place you are visiting is a priority if you want to enjoy the trip. First stop: the lighthouse and the beach. Beautiful weather to be outdoors. We also visited the  Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. It was a great idea. This was easy, relaxing and informative. The lives of those first inhabitants was not easy, but it was exciting. I found out that the mild weather invites rocking chairs……there was an abundance of them and I sat on each and every one. Have pictures to prove it!!! After this visit, time for a late lunch was approaching, so we asked for recommendation from the staff. Got the best:  Rosie’s Cafe & Grill. Owned by a direct descendant of one of the first African-American families to settle on the island. Remember to try their homemade ice cream.

IMG_4582Lesson four: the best Thanksgiving lunch is the one you do not cook and someone else serves for you. Hands down, you will get no argument from me. Camille had made reservations at the Sanibel Island Golf Club. Wonderful setting, delicious traditional food, unlimited Mimosas. The service was attentive and the atmosphere just right. The weather was mild and sunny, so a walk around the fairways after the meal was a perfect idea.

IMG_4608Lesson five, if you enjoyed the beach…..go back!!! Every stretch of beach was fairly crowded and the water too cool for these island people, but walking along the water edge was so what we needed. Went shell collecting, no seaglass…..I wonder why. Of course, when it was that time when the sun goes down and everything is tinted in beautiful colors: from reds and oranges to peaches and golds,  we headed for the beach. Drinks in hand, we sat looking at the spectacle. Well worth it…and I have been an admirer of sunsets all my life.

8534fe5d8d5557c4f231739f247325c5Lesson six, you should go bicycling with your family. Well, in my case I have gotten out of this one for years. Never did learn to do this well and never had any interest in trying again. This time there was no getting out of that, exploring the island was something everyone wanted to do. Easy solution: I got a tricycle!! Yes, it was fun. Not that I care at all, but there were others doing the same and it’s so much easier!!!  Don’t you love the outfit? Stopped for a great and healthy lunch at Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts. Picked up some original gifts for the Holidays too.  On our wanderings around in our bicycles (and tricycle), we got to see the residential parts of the island, the quiet neighborhoods away from the tourists, the lush vegetation. It is beautiful.

The hotel itself had few things to offer, but a dip in the hot tub, was more than welcome at the end of the day. We managed to walked around and enjoyed the full moon on Thanksgiving night. We even had time for a small shopping trip across the road at the outlet stores and ended our stay with a visit to a small arts and craft festival and a visit to a vintage store. Great ending!!!

 We got back to Miami tired, but ready for the Holidays.