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First solo trip....

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Any where warm!
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First solo trip....

In celebration of running my first 5K and that I'm still alive (I had a stroke this past fall and am recovering)....I've decided to treat myself to my first ever solo vacation...yeah me! I've chosen Sanibel Island as I've always wanted to visit...I will be on the island for 9 days in Sept. I have read through a lot of the documentation on the board.....looking for input on ideas for day trips (I will have a car)......I'm a very casual low key diner......so restaurant suggestions in which I would feel comfortable dining alone would be appreciated. I'm looking to relax...run the beach, shop (I hear there is a Vera Bradley outlet), shell....etc. Thanking you in advance!

Massachusetts
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1. Re: First solo trip....

Hi. You've made a wonderful choice for your first solo vacation. People are very friendly and the island is fantastic. I love the Island Cow, Matzaluna and the Over Easy Cafe for casual dining.

I doubt the Vera Bradley outlet is on the island- it must be at the outlet mall that's located just off the island. There is lots of good shopping on the island, though, including fun things by local artists.

WE almost never leave the island when we're there, because it is so beautiful. You might want to take one or more of the cruises to out islands and one or more of the cruises in Tarpon Bay to see wildlife. You might also want to rent a bike- the bike paths are awesome.

ottawa
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2. Re: First solo trip....

Biking is a absolute must .. the car almost never leaves its parking spot once I arrive.

For solo dining.. I suggest JERRY's diner at the supermarket is pretty darn decent .. great prices too with nice staff.

Js.

The Bakery
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3. Re: First solo trip....

I often fly solo on Sanibel and Captiva. Sanibel Cafe in Tahitian Gardens is a favorite of mine for breakfast and lunch. For a nice upscale dinner, try Sunset Grill. Sept is off-season and they love single diners and I never had an issue. You can even sit at the bistro counter and watch the chefs work. Cheebruger Cheeburger, also in Tahitian Gardens, has decent burgers, but service can be iffy even when not crowded. At the Over Easy Cafe, a breakfast spot favorite, I've had mixed experiences as a single. The Blue Giraffe does a decent lunch, and I like their Island Wrap. Grandma Dot's for their fried grouper sandwich (or grilled) and again, they have both table and counter service. And Doc Ford's, not to be missed though is sits in an odd location mid-island. You can eat at the bar, but off season, I take a booth and it's fine. They are happy to wrap up any extra food to take home and they have the best brownies and carrot cake on the island.

Only Sunset Grill is a bit upscale - but it's bistro style and requires no dressing up. They even have porch seating with a view of the Gulf. I have never felt uncomfortable in any of the places I named, but in fairness, I travel on business alone, so dining by myself is common for me.

For day trips - take the Lady Chadwick cruise to Boca Grande and rent a golf cart for a few hours to see the south end of the island, or just walk the charming village area. If you like nature walks, and weather permits, walk Big Cypress Swamp, about an hour and a half from Sanibel. Bike the island, Sanibel is PERFECT for that. The outlets are just over the bridge from Sanibel in Ft Myers. There's a bigger outlet mall in Naples, but I honestly have never been there. I have been up to the by Sarasota. Spend a day doing the Ding Darling Wildlife refuge, the shell museum and arrange the sunset cruise on Tarpon Bay thru Tarpon Bay Explorers. You can also rent a kayak and see the bay, or join a ground and see Ding Darling from the water.

What ever else you do, spend time on the water in the sound, be it The Lady Chadwick, and/or some private cruise. It's an amazing place.

Monmouth County,NJ
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for Southampton Parish
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4. Re: First solo trip....

Marin....congrats to you! And I hope you continue with good health! Your celebration by going to Sanibel is a perfect choice. Tourm gave you great suggestions and you will feel very comfortable anywhere you go on the island. My mom would travel to and stay on Sanibel alone. Enjoy planning your trip. September will be sultry...but, that's what you want for an island vaca. Please post about your trip.

The Bakery
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5. Re: First solo trip....

By the way, some of my favorite shops are Pandora's Box (bought a lot there over the years), Island Style (same for this place and they have colorful and fun eyeglass leashes for reading or sun glassing), Cedar Chest Fine Jewelers (Love this place), Suncatcher's, and Lily's - another jewelry shop.

Periwinkle Place has many clothing shops, but no outlets. Tangier should fill that need.

http://www.tangeroutlet.com/fortmyers

Orlando is kind of the outlet capital of FL. There are THOUSANDS of them there, but like most things, keep an eye on the prices and remember the sales tax.

Good luck and good health to you!

Miami FL
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6. Re: First solo trip....

I'm going to be in Captiva for 2 weeks this summer; I deliberately scheduled the weekends so I have company (family gatherings), with some days in between for me to be alone. I'm really looking forward to that. Personally I don't think there is much need to worry about booking up activities and plans....the beauty of the island is that you can have a pretty great time doing, as the saying goes, a whole lot of nothing at all. Relaxing with a good book on the beach, a nap, a nice quiet dinner and then the glory of the sunset makes a pretty complete day in my summer vacation mode!

And, a celebrity is in our midst. Tourmaline, for those who may not know her, was a wonderful, superbly helpful DE on this forum for years. When I first started coming to the island her insights were unbelievably helpful-and I know that is true for many other people.

Tour, it is GREAT to see you back and passing along useful information!

reading
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7. Re: First solo trip....

you might want to do a day trip to matlacha and pine island. matlacha is a little artistic fishing village with colorful little shops enroute to pine island. pine island is more laid back then Sanibel as it is not as developed but it has some great little seafood restaurants on the st james side where folks are welcoming and friendly. the island is very lush with fruit and palm tree plantations and is very old florida. there are preserves to hike and a paved bike path that runs the length of the island. it has a special charm that is hard to find as it has resisted over development. also amazing fishing, kayaking (as part of the calusa blue highway) and wild life.

Sanibel Island...
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8. Re: First solo trip....

Marin, glad you can celebrate on Sanibel Island. You have already received lots of great advice from some very knowledgeable people. You already have more that you can do than you will have time for. Remember, you can always return next year or whenever. Do as much or as little as you want, since it is your vacation. I will comment on only one of the recommended shops. The Cedar Chest, http://www.cedarchestsanibel.com/ is a fun place. MurexAlice thinks that a trip to Sanibel is not complete without visiting that shop. Over the years I have spent more at the Cedar Chest than I am willing to admit. I will just say that I now receive a lifetime discount. In addition, MurexAlice receives cards and presents from the Cedar Chest on her birthday and our anniversary. It is a fun place to browse.

Any where warm!
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9. Re: First solo trip....

Thank you everyone for all your great ideas and suggestions.....I appreciate your time! Looking forward to my visit....

Debbie Myers
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10. Re: First solo trip....

Murex Ken,

I clicked on your link to Cedar Chest and got a malware warning. So I googled it to make sure that the link was correct. It is, and when I tried to access from google, I got the same malware warning.

Did you arrange this message so MurexAlice could not access?

(of course I am teasing here, but I thought I should let you know)

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