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.

Posted in Blog Post

“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.

Posted in Blog Post

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.

Posted in Blog Post

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

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 http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/lectures

Posted in Blog Post

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. 

Posted in Uncategorized

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.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Blog Post

Thanksgiving at West Wind Inn

NormandieSeasideWest Wind Inn guests over Thanksgiving have a special treat waiting! You’ll be walking-distance to a great restaurant serving on Thanksgiving.

We’re speaking here of the. They’ll be serving from 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Thanksgiving Day.

Reservations are required on this high-demand holiday – please call Ext. 310.

Hope to see you there! We all have so much to be thankful for.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Blog Post

Tower Gallery Artist Reception


Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Blog Post

Sanibel’s Taste of the Islands

Continuing the “Battle of the Tastes”…

2013-taste-logoThe 32nd Annual Taste of the Islands is scheduled for Sunday, November 10th from 11a – 4p at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club.

Sanibel & Captiva’s “Best Island Event” is going back to its original venue, The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. This popular festival will celebrate its 32nd year with the best of food and fun as it raises awareness and financial support for Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW).  Kick back and relax with great food and a cold beverages while taking in musical entertainment from some of our area’s best bands!

For more than three decades, island restaurants have come together to put their dishes to the test at the Taste of the Islands festival.  Many different food tastings will be offered, sure to please any palate.  A local celebrity judging panel will decide which restaurant will win “Taste of the Taste”, while the “People’s Choice” award will be chosen by attending appetites.

Admission: $5 adults, children 12 & under are free
Food & beverage tickets sold separately
Visit www.tastesanibelcaptiva.com for more information.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Blog Post