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Just returned!

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Just returned!

We just returned this afternoon from FMB / Sanibel. It was a nice trip. We stayed at the Sanibel Harbor Marriott and really enjoyed our stay. I honestly was a little worried after reading some of the reviews but I can't think of a single thing to complain about. The resort is beautiful, room was nice, view was outstanding and the staff friendly and helpful. I have stayed at lots of very nice resorts and hotels and I would rank it up there with the best of them. We checked in and went down to FMB to Smokin' Oyster Brewery (SOB). The valet recommended it and it was the perfect way to start a beach vacation! The atmosphere was casual and fun and the food was all great! The garlic crab is one of the best things I think I have ever eaten! In fact we loved it so much we went back for more last night! Thursday we had planned to spend the day in Miami but after a few too many rum drinks at SOB we decided to go take it easy and explore the area around FM. We did an airboat ride and saw several gators despite the cool weather then we did some shopping. Dinner that night was at The Lighthouse. It was a bit pricy but the food was good.Friday was the wedding so we went down to FMB and walked the beach that morning before heading back for the wedding. I was determined to have Stone Crab on this trip so we went to Skip One. I don't know if it wasn't truly fresh or maybe the garlic crab spoiled me but it was not great. Tasted just like snow crab but harder to eat. Saturday we planned to spend the entire day on Sanibel. We headed over about 7:30 to do some shelling. I was very disappointed. There were TONS of shells but no variety. We went to Lighthouse beach first and walked away from the lighthouse and didn't find anything exciting so we decided to go to Bowman's and found the same thing. We even got in the water to look. I did find a small conch shell that wan't broken. Even though there are not as many we found a much bigger variety on FMB. I'm not sure what they are called but some different shapes and colorful shells and some small transparent looking disks. They were similar to capiz shells. We decided to go check out Captiva the parking lots were already full at Blind Pass by that point so we decided to drive to the other end only to find it was closed. Captiva is beautiful though! I honestly thought it was prettier than Sanibel. It really felt tropical. We did stop at The Bubble Room for some orange crunch cake. It made the drive out worth it! So good! We went to Doc Fords for some drinks before leaving and having another dinner in FMB. Sanibel is nice and I'm glad we went but it was not at all what I was expecting. Just a little too slow paced for my taste. Thank you all for answering all of my questions about the trip!

Captiva Island...
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1. Re: Just returned!

Shelling can be a bust sometimes, especially since you were only on the Island for part of a day. If you head to the right when you arrive on Bowman's you can walk a long way without ever seeing anyone. I usually find a ton of colorful scallops there.

The "transparent looking discs" that you found were probably jingle shells. Turn them over and you can see what looks like a baby's footprint.

Pam Rambo of ILoveShelling did and excellent post on Jingle shells.

iloveshelling.com/blog/…

Glad you had a great time, even if it was in Fort Myers! Ha!

Edited: 5:53 pm, October 27, 2013
Captiva Island...
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2. Re: Just returned!

"Captiva is beautiful though! I honestly thought it was prettier than Sanibel."

Your Wise Beyond Your Years! ;-)

Pittsburgh, PA
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3. Re: Just returned!

I know what you mean about the shells. The first time I visited Sanibel I was a little disappointed in the shell variety. I guess I was expecting to see all kinds of different shells and sizes and on that first trip I found not much other than scallops and broken shells. On return visits, however, I've found all different kinds of shells. I guess you just never know what you'll find! One time on FMB I hit the jackpot and found all kinds of different shells. I can't remember all the names, but there were a ton. I was in shell heaven! There are certain things I love about FMB, certain things I love about Sanibel (especially the restaurants), and certain things I love about Captiva (mostly the tropical look and feel). One of these times I'm going to split my stay between all three!

Hutchihson, KS
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4. Re: Just returned!

So glad you had a good time. I have a few questions, as I am going to stay at the same place the middle of November. Does it cost to park at the resort? Are the rooms big? Is there a ref or microwave in the rooms? What was the weather like?I am real excited about shelling, did you always have to drive to a beach to collect shells? Sure I will have more questions later. :)

Thanks for your response.

Captiva Island...
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5. Re: Just returned!

I always feel badly when someone is so excited to shell and leaves empty handed. We didn't find many shells when we were on the Islands earlier this month. I was definitely disappointed. We even, for the first time ever, left the Islands to shell a few places on the mainland. Nothing.

It's funny too, how perspective changes over visits. On our very first trip, we stayed for two weeks in a rental home on Captiva. We thought we were in shell heaven. Only after our next trip down, did we realize that there were WHOLE shells to be found! I have a huge jar of all the broken beautiful pieces of shells my kids collected that first year. Its a good reminder of simpler times when I wasn't always on the hunt for a Junonia!

Captiva Island...
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6. Re: Just returned!

@kansasgirl Just wanted to make sure that you know that The Sanibel Harbor Marriott is NOT on Sanibel Island. It's on the mainland in Fort Myers, right before the causeway bridge to Sanibel Island.

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7. Re: Just returned!

The weather was cool and cloudy the first two days and warm and sunny the last two. Yes you will have to drive to a beach to find shells. The resort has a very small beach for weddings but I do mean small. About the size of my living room! No microwave there is a minibar fridge but we didn't get the key to it. We did valet which of course had a fee but I'm not sure about the regular parking.

Sanibel is nice but yes Captiva is so lush and tropical. I just wish we could have found a place to park to spend some time there.

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8. Re: Just returned!

We just returned yesterday. I found quite a few shells on the beach near the lighthouse. I had to go into the water, up to knee deep at times, to find them. Of course some were live and had to be put back but I did find a good amount there.

Hutchihson, KS
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9. Re: Just returned!

thanks for the infoj. Need to rethink my plans now, will put a post on here to get some suggetions.

Captiva Island...
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10. Re: Just returned!

There are a ton of lodging options on Sanibel, most of those require only walking down the front path to get to the beach, no driving involved! Please post and we will be happy to help you!