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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Have you read about this?

White Orchid of the Everglades

The illusive white orchid of the Everglades, also known as the “Ghost Orchid? It has been the subject of numerous articles and even a crime novel.


It can be found, if it can be found, in the Fakahatchee Strand. Small fortunes have been spent trekking through the Strand to locate it, high in the trees, where it escapes normal human view.


Now, you can learn more about the white, ghost orchid when Mike Owen, lead biologist for Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, appears as a special lecturer in Sanibel Island’s “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center. Owen’s free presentation will be at 10 am and 1 pm, Friday, March 21,


Owen will talk about the famous, wild orchid populations at Fakahatchee Preserve, known as the “Amazon of North America” because of its remarkable flora and fauna – 44 species of native orchids, 14 of native bromeliads, royal palms, bald cypress, Florida panthers, black bears, and more.


Admission is free to the lecture, which is sponsored by The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), as part of the latter’s 12-week FridayAfternoon Lecture Series. Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis.


When staying at the West Wind Inn, the Sanibel Island inn and beach resort, you are in the closest such accommodations to J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It’s one reason why we have such an affinity for nature. The other is that our location on the Sanibel beach places us in center of one of Florida’s natural sanctuaries.


We’d love to have you stay with us, and share our love of Nature.

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“Nice body. Good legs.”

Wine FestWe’re not talking about what you think we are. The comments are about wine. They are the kind of observations you might hear tossed around at “Sanibel Uncorked” on February 23. It’s an event in honor of the noble grape and its juice. It’s hosted by Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery from noon to 2 pm and sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, with proceeds devoted to four-year college scholarships for local students.

This is the sixth year of Sanibel’s winter wine festival, and if previous years are indicators, it’s sure to be a fun and instructional afternoon of food, wine, and music. Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery has hosted the event in past years as well.

Local wine distributors Southern Wine and Spirits and Johnson Bros. Liquor Co. will provide a variety of fine wines for tastings during the festival. Culinary samples and complementary wine pairings will be presented by Matt Asen of Timber’s Restaurant as well as other local gourmet chefs, including Karl Hamme of Bailey’s Catering and Prepared Foods Dept. and James Jones of Sweet Melissa’s.

Again this year, there will be a silent auction at Lily & Co., with more than 50 auction items donated for this year’s cause, including a special magnum of Golden Bear red wine. The wine commemorates the 50th anniversary of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus’ first win, complete with his signature and a certificate of authenticity.

Optimists Club President Stan Howard reported, “We had two $6,000, four-year scholarships when we started this. Last year we grew to six.” Lily & Co. has worked with the Optimists for years to raise funds and provide a beautiful, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the festivities. “I think a lot of people don’t realize what the Optimist Club does for the community,” said Lily & Co. owner Dan Schuyler. “It’s a lot of work to put on these events. When you have groups helping each other it lessens the burden and stress.”

Lily’s is located on Tarpon Bay Road, across the road from Bailey’s General Store. It’s a convenient distance from West Wind Inn, a benefit for guests staying at Sanibel’s beach inn.

Tickets will be available at the door or by calling 472-0836. Donations of $30, (or $25 for designated drivers) are requested. Free valet parking will be available. Each guest will receive a special, commemorative etched wine glass. Tickets are available now at Bailey’s General Store, the Sanibel Cafe in Tahitian Gardens, the Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, and Lily & Company.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 23. This may be one of the most enjoyable charity events you experience all year.

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Edison Festival Of Light

EdisonFestivalLogo copyBetween the Super Bowl and the Olympics, the information highway has left little room for news about the premier event in Southwest Florida – The Edison Festival of Light – which takes place in Fort Myers. In fact, certain outlier aspects of the event are already underway, as a warm up to the major event highlights.

Next up this weekend, Sunday Feb. 9th, downtown Fort Myers will hot the Junior Fun Run (1 PM), the Junior Parade (2:30 PM) and the Junior Coronation and Awards (4:30 PM).

If you are unfamiliar with this annual event, which has been celebrated in one form or another by Fort Myers since 1938, here is some background. The highlight of the festival is the Grand Parade. It will take place in Fort Myers, at 7 PM, on Saturday, Feb 15th starting at Fort Myers High School’s Edison Stadium and proceeding to the its conclusion in the River District. (This is a reversal of the earlier route which started downtown – now the River District – and continued to the High School for a final stadium celebration. The Edison Festival of Light Grand parade has been touted as the country’s largest, lighted nighttime parade, although lately some bowl-game parades may have surpassed it in crowd size. It is still surprisingly large for our small community.

Marching bands come from around the state and country, attracted by both the renown of the event and the nice February weather in Southwest Florida. A highlight of the parade as been the introduction the Festival Queen & King and their court, selected from young ladies in the community. As a bow to the even younger area residents, a Junior Parade was created, including its own “Junior” Royal Court, hence the Feb. 9th coronation and parade.

Returning to the Grand Parade, one of its quirkier aspects was the habit of local residents placing folding chairs on the sidewalks along the parade route to reserve their space for the big night. Since these place markers were often put out a month or more before the parade, sidewalks littered with aluminum folding chairs started to become an unattractive nuisance. Of late, they have been replaced by strips of duct tape displaying the name of the “reserving” parties. The significance of this is its demonstration how popular the Grand Parade is for spectators.

Warming up for the Grand parade are Saturday events such as a pre-Parade party downtown in Centennial Park, a craft and vintage show also in Centennial Park and a 5K run before the parade. On Sunday, Feb. 16th, there is a Classic Car Show down town, a mutt strut (dogs on parade) and a benefit concert at the Davis Art Center.

As you can tell, this is a lot of stuff to do on one weekend. Fortunately, if you are staying with us at WestWind Inn, you can squeeze in a little beach time to relax.

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kki Matsumoto, revered Sanibel artist, has passed

IkkiTasteArtRegular visitors to and residents of Sanibel Island would have seen Ikki Matsumoto’s distinctive art in numerous island and other Southwest Florida venues. He was known for stylized portrayals of birds, sealife and semi-tropical landscapes reflective of the nature on his beloved Sanibel Island. His art decorated posters and apparel offered at such respected arts organizations as Sanibel’s BIG Arts and Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. He was also known for a joyous and generaous spirit, donating numerous examples of his art to community fund-raisers.

Born in Tokyo as the second of seven children of an accomplished Japanese artist father, he studied art at the Art Acadeny of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he met his future wife, Polly. The two moved to Sanibel in 1975, where they owned an art galleries featuring his work and Polly’s fiber art.

“Ikki’s work had incomparable charm and lightness, always with a sense of delight at the subjects he portrayed”, said William Waites, who had a tribal art gallery with his wife in the same Sanibel plaza as one of the Ikki and Polly’s galleries. “His visits to our shop were bright spots in our days, always accompanied by a smile and sparkle that epitomized his artistic vision.”

Eventually, the family moved to Ohio, but their sojourn into snow and cold brought them back to Southwest Florida, where the purchased a house in rural Buckingham. Sadly, Ikki’s eyes began to fail, much to the concern of those who loved him and his work. Then, in 2013 he was diagnosed with cancer of the liver. Attempts to reverse the progress of the illnes proved fruitless and Ikki said goodbye to us on December 31, 2031.

Among is accomplishments were illustrations for the famous Joy of Cooking cook book, an Easter egg commissioned for the White House by Nancy Reagan and whimsical line drawings for children’s books. He will be missed.

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Friday Lectures at J N Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Among the lesser known attractions at J N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge are the Friday Lectures. The lectures are free and held twice each Friday, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Coming up on January 17, Author Bob H. Lee will discuss his book, Backcountry Lawman; True Stories from a Florida Game Warden. On January 24, Charles LeBuff & Deborah Gleason take lectern to talk about their book,- Sanibel & Captiva Islands: A Look Back in Time.

Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. As providers of the True Sanibel experience, and the nearest beach resort to “Ding” Darling NWR, West Wind Inn on Sanibel Island is both pleased and proud to be able alert guests about events, big and small, taking place there.

More information can be had at

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BIG Arts events


If you love to attend BIG Arts events
while staying at West Wind inn on Sanibel, here’s an opportunity to save. Between now and December 31, you can save 10% off admission on selected events and performances at BIG Arts. 


Eligible Concerts, Performances and Events:

Holiday Spectacular: December 19 through December 31, 2013
Calidore String Quartet: January 9, 2014
Into The Woods: January 10 through February 15, 2014
Rossano Sportiello/Nicki Parrott/Eddie Metz Trio featuring Harry Allen: January 11, 2014
Dance Alive National Ballet: January 18, 2014
Kaleidos Duo: January 19, 2014
Dmitry Kouzov: January 26, 2014
Susan Egan “The Belle of Broadway”: February 1, 2014
The Piano Men Starring Jim Witter: February 8, 2014
Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater: February 15, 2014
Defamation: February 20 through March 2, 2014
Faure Quartett: February 27, 2014
Tom Paxton: March 7, 2014
Romance/Romance: March 7 through April 5, 2014
National Geographic LIVE: March 14, 2014
Country Royalty: March 21, 2014
The Big Bang: April 11 through May 3, 2014


And you can even purchase tickets online in anticipation of your later arrival in the season. Sanibel is always special and BIG Arts makes it extra special. So what does 10% off make it? Irresistable. 

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Holiday Greetings from West Wind Inn

As Hanukkah comes to a close and the Christmas season hits fever pitch, all of us at West Wind Inn wish you happy holidays.
May great joy come to you at this exalted time year.

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