Beach Chairs

Occasionally, we read questions online about “beach chairs”. Are they available? Are they for rent? Should I buy some inexpensive beach chairs at Kmart and donate them to a thrift shop when I leave Sanibel to go home

Different hotels, inns and condo associations have different arrangements. At West Wind Inn Sanibel beach resort, we offer beach chairs for rent at the rate of $20 per day. While not as inexpensive as buying cheap chairs on your way here and disposing of them at the end of your trip, it has definite advantages.
West Wind Inn staff will take your chair – with your name on it – to the beach in the morning, and retrieve it at from the beach at 5:00 PM each day of your rental. Unless you are eager to spend your vacation carrying your chair to and from the beach each day of your rental, you will be relieved to know that someone else will do that for you..
Incidentally, if you take your own chair to the beach, you “must” take it in at sundown. Chairs and other gear left on the beach at night can interfere with nesting turtles by impeding both the mother’s crawl to the nest site and the ability of the turtle hatchlings to get to the water, where they are relatively safe from airborne predators. Turtle nesting season is from May to October and preservation of the nesting sites has a high priority among Sanibel residents and visitors.
You may ask what happens to your chair if you leave it on the beach or leave it in your room when you go home. The answer is that it is picked up and tossed into a dumpster for trash pick-up. So bringing your own chair is questionable when it come to the protecting the environment. Also, most people don’t spend every day sitting on the beach. There are many other things to do on Sanibel. So you can rent your West Wind Inn chair just for the days you don’t want to go to “Ding” Darling NWR, the Shell Museum, shopping or being entertained at BIG Arts.
Either way, some of the best beach time is spent strolling or stooping, making a beach chair a side issue.

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They love us in Miami

Ding Darling Entry Sign (1)They love us in Miami. And not just for our Sanibel beach, which is reason enough, of course.
Author Robin Soslow writes in the Miami Herald about a trip to Sanibel and to our favorite National Wildlife Refuge, “Ding” Darling. Soslow is practically ecstatic about watching roseate spoonbills flocking into the “Ding”.

The point is made that even when the rain dampens enthusiasm for the spectacular Sanibel beach, there is plenty of entertainment. From the “Ding” to the Conservation Foundation, to the wildlife rehabilitation activities at CROW, to the world-renowned Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, even the nightlife is magical., The latter materializes as dark and starry skies, unpolluted by urban lights.

Of course, we know all this at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort. We continually brag on the beauties and benefits of our island paradise. As the closest beach resort in proximity to “Ding” Darling and nearby attractions on San-Cap Road, we attract thousands of visitors who split their time between shell-harvesting on the beach and collecting memories elsewhere on our breeze-balmy Gulf island.
It is little wonder that we have so many fans from Miami, Tampa, Orlando and other citified places in Florida. We welcome them enthusiastically. We are all sun-lovers. Our sun is just a little easier to love.

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E Awards

EAwardsLogoIt’s E Awards time again at West Wind Inn.

For those readers who don’t know about E Awards, here’s brief description:

For many years, Elaine McLaughlin was the Executive Director of the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau. That’s the organization charged with providing an exceptional experiences for people who visit Sanibel Island and other Lee County destinations. When Elaine retired, the Lee VCB created an award in her name to honor Lee County hospitality workers who go out of their way to care for visitors to the county. The list of eligible recipients includes lodging employees and anyone else who meets, greets and treats visitors in a caring and helpful manner.

Potential winners are nominated by visitors, like you, who want to recognize anyone to fulfills that standard. Winners are announced and celebrated at breakfast in September. It is a very big honor. It can lead to raises and promotions for the winners and is promoted by by the properties that employ them.

Cutting to the summary, if you were served well and above your expectations by anyone at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort – front office greeters, maids and cleaning people, maintenance workers, servers at Normandie Pub or at the Pool Deck kiosk and snack bar, anyone, please take a few minutes to send the VCB a nomination form for that person. There is no limit to the number of people you can nominated or the number of events you can nominate them for. Simply go to the this online address to complete and email a form,

It’s a great way to recognize those who serve you (and it really does motivate them to keep up the good work.)

Thank you.

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News from West Wind Inn’s favorite National Wildlife Refuge: “Ding” Darling

If you will be visiting Sanibel from now until June 7, you should plan that the Indigo Trail, between the fee booth and cross dike, and the Wildlife Education Boardwalk is closed to enable crushed shell resurfacing. It will reopen on Saturday, June 7, for National Trails Day.

On the good news front, a new “handicap lift” has been installed to serve those who want to visit the Visitor & Education Center and are challenged by stairs and ramps. There was a ribbon cutting recently. Guests at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn will find that “Ding” Darling keeps
IndigoTrail-signgetting better as a reason to be on Sanibel. These improvements excite us, as the True Sanibel experience, and the closest beach resort to the National Wildlife Refuge. We are grateful for the work of Refuge management, including Paul Tritiak, Refuge Manager, and Ding Darling Society members such as Emeritus Board Member, Marilyn Kloosterman.

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Sanibel Island: A Beautiful Jewel

commercial news logoDON RICHTER of Danville, Illinois, writes in praise of Sanibel Island in his local newspaper, The Commercial-News.

His observations of Sanibel’s charms match those of almost everyone who visits here. We hear the comments regularly from guests at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort. They regard West Wind Inn as the “jewel” in the jewel.

Don’s story starts in a local shopping plaza. He doesn’t say which one and we have several. Periwinkle Place, the largest and most popular among shoppers, is the likely venue.

Don describes a conversation with another male. Both are consigned to a waiting bench while their ladies finish up their searches for island treasure.

After the customary comments on seasonal traffic on Periwinkle Way, he swings into a list of what makes Sanibel special. One of those things is the politeness of drivers on Sanibel, who tend to be willing to wait and leave an opening for cars crossing or entering traffic.

He then comments on our “elaborate system of bicycle trails” that make it possible to avoid the daily traffic jams.

Eventually, he moves on to the island’s preoccupation with nature, from its controls of outdoor lighting, “in deference to the sea turtles that nest there” , to acres and acres of land devoted to habitat for wildlife. The latter include renowned J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a resource that West Wind Inn proudly claims to have as its close neighbor.

Then there is the beach that many consider Sanibel’s ultimate attraction, known throughout the world for its abundant seashells.

Strangely, or not so strangely for the male of our species, Don stops short of drilling further into another strong attraction for visitors: the shopping, with which he opened his article. By tradition and City regulations controlling the growth “chains”, Sanibel shops present a fascinating array of merchandise a shopper would have a hard time finding in a mall at home.

These are the pleasures and treasures that await you as you are drawn to this jewel on the Southwest Florida Gulf coast.

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Sanibel’s beloved Herb Strauss Theater


If the world was formed by a “big bang”, it must have been a hilarious start. That’s what the creators of “The Big Bang”, a musical at the BIG Arts Herb Strauss Theater would leave you thinking. The show, written and composed by Boyd Graham and Jed Feuer, opens on April 11 and plays through May 3, 2014. It was originally performed by the creators Off Broadway in New York City. Join a pair of theatrical producers as they borrow a swanky Park Avenue apartment to try to persuade investors to back a new production with a millions of dollars. As all stops are pulled out, the apartment is trashed and the audience is treated to a wacky evening of entertainment.

There is an opening night reception at 7 pm. Show performances are at 8 pm evenings, with two matinees at 2 pm on April 16 and 23. Admission is $42 for adults and $5 for children and students. For reservations and information, call 239-472-6862 during box office hours.

The Herb Strauss Theater is on Periwinkle Way, opposite the Sanibel Community House. From your West Wind Inn beach resort accommodation, follow Gulf Drive to Tarpon Bay Road, turn left on Tarpon Bay to Periwinkle Way, then right to Dunlop Street. The theater is on your left.

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Les Miserables

Les Mis Pic for Show Page LargeLes Mis Pic for Show Page LargeIn just two decades, the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre has grown from a vacated supermarket space to a first-class theatrical space. Now in its21st season, the Fort Myers live-theatre venue entertains more than 170,000 play-goers each year. The facilities Include a 450-seat dinner theatre, a 100-seat “black-box” theatre called The Off Broadway Palm Theatre, a 120 seat dining room called Café Cabaret and a 30-seat space just off the main lobby called, The Art Café.

So much for background. The most important thing to know now is that “Les Miserables” is on the boards at the Broadway Palm main stage through April 12, 2014. In 2012, the movie version of this inspiring story of love, passion, sacrifice and redemption situated in Paris of the 19thcentury won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture. Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, the scenario involves some of theater’s most dramatic and emotional musical moments.

The professional standards of the Broadway Palm are very high, the productions are remarkable, and getting there from the West Wind Inn Sanibel Island beach resort is an easy trip over the bridge to McGregor Blvd and north to Colonial Blvd.

This writer must confess that Les Miserables is one of his all-time favorite musical theater presentations. So, please excuse the enthusiasm.

If you can’t get to Les Miserables, consider one of the future shows – The Music Man, April 17 through May 24; Mid-Life The Crisis Musical, May 29 through June 21 and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, June 26 through August 9th.

Even the food, from salads to desserts, prepared by the chef on premises and served buffet-style, is plentiful, fresh and tasty.

For more information, dates/times/prices and dinner menus, we recommend a visit to the Broadway Palm website

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Israel Fest



With so much at stake in the middle east, this is an uplifting time to join our West Wind Inn’s Jewish guests in celebrating the 66th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. The event, a cultural celebration and Israel Fest, will take place on March 30 at the Jewish Federation campus from 12:30 to 4:00 pm.

Expect a joyous experience with lively musical entertainment by Oren Nizri, international Israeli D.J. and producer, other entertainment including Israeli folk dancing by The Shalom Dancers, a belly dancing performance and performances by local synagogue groups are promised. There also will be Israeli delicacies from falafel, hummus, shwarma to Israeli salads and desserts. They will also be tasting Israeli wines.

For children, there will be an inflatable obstacle course and a basketball throw, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, an archaeological dig and face painting. Families will be able to create a square for a community quilt to be displayed at the Federation. Local Jewish organizations will on hand with information about Israel today.

The Jewish Federation campus is across Summerlin Road from HealthPark Medical Center, at 9701 Commerce Center Court in Fort Myers. Admission is $2 per person; children 5 and under are free. Summerlin Road is the straight-ahead extension of McGregor Blvd. after the Causeway bridge to the mainland. So getting there from your West Wind Inn beach accommodations  is easy.
For more information, visit

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Opera Lovers can never get enough


Opera Lovers can never get enough
, especially when they leave the traditional world of opera performances.

But, just because you need to escape the urban landscape doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the occasional dose of operatic music and performance.

This is especially true when the Sanibel Music Festival is in residence, as they are now. On Tuesday, March 18, the touring Opera Theater of Connecticut will present “America Sings”. Billed as, “An entertaining and informative look at the development of music theater in America,” the Opera Theater of Connecticut and Alan Mann offer an evening of beautiful music, from the European operettas of Lehar and Gilbert & Sullivan to the musicals of the American Stage.

This Sanibel Music Festival performance is presented at the Sanibel Congregational Church on Periwinkle Way (across the street fom Periwinkle Place), at 8:00 pm. Tickets and information are available at 239-344-7025.

If you will be staying at West Wind Inn, Sanibel’s inn on the beach, the performance venue is an easy ride down Perwinkle Way.

Following, the March 12 event, Opera Theater of Connecticut will perform another program for opera fans under the title, “The Bad Boys and Wicked Women of Opera”. You will enjoy an evening of performances by young stars in training, accompanied by supertitles and witty commentary by Artistic Director Alan Mann.

Put this one on your calendar for March 22. Also at 8:00 pm.

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Not be confused with “Monty” Python,

250px-Gator_and_Python (1)

the next film on the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center Bi-Weekly Film Series is “Monster Python”.

While fascinating, there is nothing funny about this video import from the PBS series, “Inside Nature’s Giants”. This wildlife documentary will be screened on Wednesday,March 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm. The event is free but seats always are limited and available on a first come basis.

For Monster Python, the production team ventures into the swamps of the Florida Everglades to find the illusive and dangerous giant Burmese python. It is uncertain how these Southeast Asia predators found their way to Florida and the Everglades. Nevertheless, the reality is that these voracious giant reptiles are threatening extinction for many indigenous Everglades species.

Reptile authority, Jeanette Wyneken, joins the production team to dissect and investigate two specimens. One is a 9-foot long male. The other is a 14-foot female.

The anatomical and digestive system surprises will keep you in wonderment, as will Richard Dawkins’ descriptions of the evolution of snakes from pre-historic, four-legged lizard-likes to the slithery creatures they are today.

The film is sponsored by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), which advises that all films in this series begin promptly at 2:30 p.m.If staying at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort, you should have no worries about being on time. We are, after all. the nearest beach resort to the Refuge.

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