Captiva is a 90 minute drive northwest of Naples, Florida, where I live. Several years ago I used to belong to a gallery and had to sit once a month while I displayed my art tiles there. Once you leave most of Ft Myers traffic madness, the drive over the Sanibel causeway is quite beautiful.
We next moved on and stopped at Gene’s Books. I have been coming to Sanibel for years and never knew this hidden gem existed. Featuring two locations across the street from each other,it has a huge library and reading rooms full of thousands of mostly paperback books. He specializes in mysteries, but there were hundreds of other titles as as well. Well worth a stop.
After a short drive up San-Cap Road we crossed over the little bridge to Captiva and arrived at the home after passing many creatively named homes such as Skiddadoo, Winetime,and Spindrift. Her place was a big pink house artistically decorated with hand painted stencils, paintings and faux finishes. The back yard lead to a pool with a path to a dock on a waterway. It was a pretty spot.
After a brief rest, afternoon rains came as we departed for our scheduled sunset cruise with Captiva Cruises. Fortunately the rain stopped before we were ready to board. The boat took us out to the Gulf past South Seas Plantation and a 1940’s house over the water that former cartoonist “Ding” Darling built as a surprise gift for his wife- she hated it and refused to even step a foot in it, so Ding occupied the home for several years and wrote many newspaper columns there. It was later sold to artist Robert Rauschenberg to become his residence and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We returned to the dock and walked in the dark to the beach, then to a boardwalk that lead to the Captiva Chapel by the Sea. It was beautifully decorated with Christmas lights and the chapel was open to see a beautiful scene of Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child.
We walked down the lane to our car and returned for a relaxing dinner and evening after briefly stopping to see the lights at Tween Waters Inn. I slept the best night of sleep I had in months!
The next morning after I woke up totally refreshed we had a leisurely breakfast before packing up. We headed back down San-Cap road and stopped at the CROW (clinic for rehabilitation of wildlife) Center,
(another place I had driven by for years and never stopped.) We enjoyed a lecture about owls and took pictures of their resident ambassador, Mina, a Great horned owl.
Our guide then took us down a sandy lane to their wildlife hospital, where we were able to observe the staff feeding and evaluating patients. They were taking care of a baby racoon that day who was real cute! Billy, the resident armadillo ambassador was rooting for grubs in his pen, and a bald eagle was recuperating in a cage just out of sight from people.