Heading west past gaudy fishing shack/ motels we reached the center of Pine Island and headed north. Stringfellow road took us past several miles of mango groves, and Pine Island is well known for their annual MangoMania Festival. We reached the Four Winds Marina on Jug Creek and enjoyed lunch using a gift certificate that had been included in our auction package at The Lazy Flamingo. The place was packed with people. They are known for their seafood and they did not disappoint! Oysters on the half shell were quickly downed followed by conch fritters and a shared fish platter of mesquite grilled triple tail– some of the best we have ever tasted! The Key Lime Pie was OK but nothing special.
Tarpon Lodge was founded in 1926 as a private fishing lodge and named the Gra-Mar villa by its original owners, Graham and Mary Wilson of Philadelphia. The property once consisted of over 32 acres, but after going through several owners and uses including a retreat for the American Bible College and The Cloisters, a drug rehabilitation center. Present owners the Rob Wells family, bought the property in 2000 and after extensively refurbishing the lodge, cabins, and former dormitory building renamed it the Tarpon Lodge. The Lodge has 22 guest rooms including 8 rooms in the original lodge building. The family also owns the Inn at Cabbage Key. Hurricane Charley caused severe damage (about $850,000), but with volunteer help was restored and back in business several months later. We loved the old fireplace in the room that housed the bar:
Our room-was in the former dormitory building called The Island House. The small but pleasant room featured a balcony with a beautiful view of the Pine Island Sound.
Every boat that visited the lodge and the marina next door had to pass by the lodge due to shallow water and a channel that had already damaged the sea grass beds that had been growing there. There has been an effort to restore the sea grass beds in that area as they help produce food for the rest of the inhabitants of the area.
After we rested, I took a walk before watching the sunset
We had drinks at the bar and a wonderful dinner in the 4 star restaurant before retiring.