Taste of the Town vs. Taste of the Islands

Yes, it’s the battle of the “Tastes”.

Taste of the Town 2013The Taste of the Town 2013, (Fort Myers style) will start it off with the 31st Annual staging of this event on Sunday, November 3rd from 11am – 5pm. It’s moving from downtown to JetBlue park, aka Fenway South. For those new to the area, it’s called Fenway South because it’s the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.

Here’s how it works: Entrance to the park is $5, children under 12 enter FREE. Cash only is accepted the day of the event. Once in the park, you buy food and beverage tickets, which you exchange for dishes prepared by top area restaurants. After you buy tickets your money isn’t any good because no vendors will accept it. The cost of each dish is between $1 and $5 in tickets. Tickets can also be used to purchase an “all-you-can-play” wristband for the children’s entertainment area. Parking is $5 per car.

Sound like fun? If you like to eat and drink while enjoying live musical entertainment – it is! Proceeds from the event go to fund volunteer activities of the Junior League of Fort Myers, which stages the event. Beach chairs and blankets are welcome. But leave your pet, your cooler and your gun at home.

Then, on Sunday, November 10th, the Taste of the Islands takes place at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club on Sanibel. It’s closer to home if you are staying on Sanibel, but a week further away on the calendar. So we’ll tell you about that in our next blog message.

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Good News for West Wind Inn Cyclists

As the closest Sanibel beach resort to the refuge, West Wind Inn is excited by the news that J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge will offer two days of free access to Wildlife Drive during Ding Days.

red-bike_2To celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week, Sanibel’s “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge will open with free admission to the improved Wildlife Drive on two days during this year’s “Ding” Darling Days. In addition, on Friday, October 25, a day the Drive would normally be closed, it will be open to bikers and hikers only, except for special tram tours. (Tram passengers receive a 25% discount that day and all week long, Oct. 21-26. Adults $9.75. Children $6.)

This is especially good news for West Wind Inn guests who can rent bikes at the resort to ride the convenient distance to the Refuge.

The following day, Saturday, October 16, admission to Wildlife Drive is free for vehicular, as well as bike and foot traffic. It’s Conservation Art Day, with a free, two-hour Photography Tram Tour departing at 3 p.m. Reservations are recommended at 239-472-8900.

But first, on Sunday, Oct. 20, the drive is going to be open for free to all. It’s the rescheduled “Ding” Days’ kick-off Family Fun Day. In addition, Tarpon Bay Explorers (TBE), the refuge’s recreation concession, is offering free narrated 60-minute tram tours of the drive on a first-come basis to those who sign up that day.

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Sanibel Island Beauty

Turn up your speakers and see what we mean by True Sanibel!

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USS Mohawk: The Sinking World Exhibit

mowhawkHave you heard about the art exhibit that was placed on the sunken decks of the USS Mohawk? It has now surfaced, literally, in an exhibit at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts.

“The Sinking World Exhibit” was created by Austrian photographer, Andreas Franke, who took photographs of the ship and of models dressed in the clothing of the 1940s, secured them in water-resistant materials and had them placed on the ship. It has been reported as a great visual experience for divers who visited the ship.

Now, those photos have been retrieved from the ship and will go on display at the Alliance for the Arts 10091 McGregor Blvd (corner of Colonial Blvd.) in Fort Myers on Friday, October 4. There will be a reception from 5:00 to 7:30 pm. Mr. Franke also will conduct a Gallery Walk including his comments on Saturday, Oct 5 at 10:00 am.

The exhibit will continue through October 28, 2013. Telephone 239-939-2787 for more information or go online to artinlee.org.

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J.N. “Ding” Darling Scheduled Re-opening

Just in time for Ding Darling Days, the refuge WildLife Drive will reopen on October 1st with a grand reopening celebration. The drive has been repaved for smoother transit by drivers and cyclists. Come on down! Enjoy the event  and take advantage of West Wind Inn’s special lodging deals.

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Ding Darling Days 2013

It’s that time of year again – In about month from now, “Ding” Darling Days 2013 will begin!

DDD_logo_2013_1Opening day is October 20 and includes a whole day of Free Family Fun. The value is $50 per adult. But for you, on Sunday, October 20, all this is free:

10:45am – FREE Flag-raising ceremony
11am-noon – First arrivals receive a ready- made recycled t-shirt bag or bring your own t-shirt and learn how to make one, EC parking lot
11am – FREE Talking Trash Game with prizes, EC parking lot
12noon – FREE Live Florida Animals Program, EC parking lot
12noon – FREE Naturalist-narrated 60-minute walking tour of Indigo Trail and the NEW Children’s Education Boardwalk, limited spaces – pick up ticket at Archway Info Table
1pm – FREE Snakes Alive! Program, EC parking lot
2pm – FREE Amazing Live Animals Program, EC parking lot
2pm – FREE Naturalist-narrated 60-minute walking tour of Indigo Trail and the NEW Children’s Education Boardwalk, limited spaces – pick up ticket at Archway Info Table
3pm – FREE I Love Reptiles! Program, EC parking lot

Plus all this through out the day:

FREE hourly (on the half-hour) life-size Endangered Species & Wildlife Puppets and puppet crafts garden presented by Heather Henson, daughter of the late Muppets creator, Jim Henson
Archery Skills Lessons
FREE Naturalist-narrated 60-minute guided tours — limited space, pick up ticket at Archway Info Table
FREE Face-painting in the EC Birding Room
FREE Hot dogs
FREE Shuttle service from TBE and Special Events Parking site (look for signs)
FREE Butterfly House
FREE Hands-on nature crafts
FREE Environmental displays and informational booths with free giveaways to fill your Tshirt bag

For a full schedule of events, head to the official Ding Darling Days 2013 website.

Now is the time to reserve your room for the week of “Ding” Darling Days 2013 at West Wind Inn, the closest Sanibel beach resort to “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

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BIG Arts 2013 Is Coming!

When people picture “paradise”, they don’t think just of swaying palms, enticing beaches and tropical drinks with plastic umbrellas. They imagine a place with a lot of generally pleasant experiences.

West Wind Inn has a lock on the palms, the beach and tropical drinks at our friendly upper deck pool bar, but we also offer a place where happiness prevails, in part as a result of the work of Barrier Islands Group for the Arts, familiarly known as BIG Arts.

Wendy Webb & Friends

WENDY WEBB & Friends “November Moon Concert”
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 at 8pm; Pre-reception at 7:30pm

BIG Arts is every bit as much part of the Sanibel Island experience as is the West Wind Inn Sanibel Beach Resort. We are proud to sponsor their annual season and happy to be so conveniently located for our guests to enjoy the events. This is part of why we say West Wind Inn is True Sanibel – everything you visit Sanibel for, all at hand.

As the summer concludes, BIG Arts begins. From Classical Concerts to pop and jazz, theater at the Herb Strauss, dance and more, the Season Schedule is coming together. You can find it here.

Among the first attractions will be Wendy Webb and Friends: November Moon Concert on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at Herb Strauss Theater. The 8pm performance will be preceded by a reception beginning at 7:30pm.

Look the schedule over now and take advantage of some preseason discounts and make your reservations at West Wind Inn, where the stars above are joined by the stars down here.

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Upcycle! Art Fest

When art meets nature, this is what it looks like, as the “Ding” Darling Society presents a new art fest to benefit J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

alligators from recycled tiresNamed “Upcycle! Art Fest”, the idea of this inaugural event is “to provide an artistic venue for artists to showcase fine art and craft of the highest quality made from recycled and re-purposed materials. It will also educate and entertain the public on the importance of recycling and ultimately protecting our wildlife.”

The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014 at Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, and will offer visitors ideas and visions of yard sculptures made from used tires, healthful food options, art and craft projects, live music and a plein air art event along Wildlife Drive. Perhaps most spectacular will be a group art project featuring seven artists collaborating over seven days on a single exhibit to transform trash into treasure. The completed sculpture will be revealed on Saturday, April 26.

Plan on being here for this first-time-anywhere event. For more information, visit the Upcycle! Art Fest website.

Book accommodations for the weekend and the run-up at West Wind Inn. We’d love to have you here!

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E-Award Excellence

You have something to say about how you are treated when you visit Sanibel Island and the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau has a system working on your behalf. Have you experienced great customer service by someone who really went above & beyond the call of duty? The “E Awards” are designed to recognize that person.

Anyone who experiences exceptional customer service can nominate a person an award, assuming that person meets award criteria. Nominations are reviewed by an objective panel of industry experts and those reflecting the most compelling instances of service are selected for the top awards. The awards are announced and presented at a major breakfast meeting in September. Every nominee and his or her employer are invited. Whether a top winner or not, anyone nominated considers it a true honor.

Ready to nominate someone? Visit the VCB website to read the full program description and criteria, then follow the link at the bottom of the page.

Thank you for participating. You are the best judges of how friendly and supportive our destination is.

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We All Scream For Ice Cream

Will you be bringing your kids to West Wind Inn in June?

Here’s a deal. Local yogurt and ice cream shop, Poco Loco in Jerry’s Shopping Center, is now offering locally-famous LoveBoat Ice Cream, and promising a free single scoop of ice cream for kids under 12 who come in with their parents in June (one per child).

PLlogo2smallPoco Loco was a recent addition to the array of shopping options at Jerry’s Center. The owners have  been long-time participants in the activities of Sanibel and Captiva. We appreciate their generosity in so many ways.

As for LoveBoat ice cream, it is made locally in their scoop shop on San Carlos Boulevard and has been a traditional stop for adults and kids for a few decades. It is excellent to see that brand and the scrumptious ice cream available on island.

Okay, there are other good sources for ice cream on the islands, and we don’t mean to ignore or slight them. But FREE is FREE, right?

If you have another favorite ice cream stop on Sanibel, send us a comment and we will post the name on the blog too.

“I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream.”  Ah, the joys of childhood!

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