Honeymoon Sanibel Style

July 1962

We left Central Florida about 9 P. M. in our 1958 Triumph TR3 sportscar heading south, not knowing where we would spend our first night as husband and wife.  We drove for about an hour before we stopped.  The next morning hubby decided we didn't need to have breakfast before we got on the road.  He liked Sanibel and wanted to get there as quickly as possible.  That meant no breakfast until lunchtime.  By then we were in Ft. Meyers.  After eating we stopped to buy groceries.  Sanibel is only accessible by a ferry which runs from 8 AM. until 5 P.M.

The ferry is boarded at Punta Rassa on the Gulf of Mexico.  At this time it took an hour on the ferry.  We could view the new bridge being constructed.  That will be something when it is finished.  No more ferry.  They take all our fun away.  Standing at the rail, the water sprays over and we get wet.  

Our stay is at Sanibel Cottages on the Gulf side.  These folks are from Lake County and have had the cottages for rent for years.  The wife loves to make items from shells.  We were presented with a large conch shell filled with other shells and worm casings, beautifully arranged and all glued in (thank goodness) !  

Our cottage is air conditioned and does it work.  Not being used to A/C it was both a treat and a freezing time.  The no see-ums were out at night so one stayed in or slathered themselves with bug repellant.  Many hearty souls like to fish at night.  My husband was one of those.  He enjoyed the fishing but didn't seem to catch anything he had to clean.  Must have left them with the owner of the cottages.

Days were fun. The Gulf is wonderful.  Small waves, shallow water for the most part with a sand bar a short ways out that keeps the water peaceful.  This is God's shell shop.  The largest shell shop in the world.  And it is free.  The only problem is you have to find the whole shells among the crushed ones that wash back and forth at the water's edge.  Armed with a shell description book full of pictures, we set out to get the most beautiful we could find.  In the slough between the sand bar and shore there were many large pin shells hinged like periwinkles. These are elongated shells that remind one of praying hands.  These get caught on the bottom and in turn trap shells around them as the tide goes out.  

We used plenty of sun screen on our upper body.  That worked pretty good except for the fact that in order to pick up the shells that part of our body was underwater a good portion of the time.  Not so with our feet.  Feet turn the most amazing color of red when they get sunburned.  Not to mention that wearing shoes is almost impossible until the color disappears.  

There were wonderful homey restaurants which served my favorite food - SHRIMP!!!  I could eat shrimp 3 meals a day.  One restaurant by the bridge to Captiva, the next island north, served bowls with vinegar water which covered beets and onions  in one bowl and cukes and onions in the other.  These were fairly large bowls and we enjoyed them so much we didn't care if lunch was delayed or not.  

At the north end of Captiva was The Plantation.  This was the closest thing to a resort we had.  It was a large compound with lots of rooms for tourists.  Their restaurant was an upscale one with wonderful food.  

The mornings began with door delivery of milk products.  The truck was full of not only white milk but also chocolate.  That was a treat. I had not had milk delivery since I was a child of 6.  There was one store on the island, Bailey's, which is still in operation.  They handled everything possible. They were the grocery store, the dime store, the clothing store all rolled up into one.  Treasure hunting was fun in this large wooden island building.  

Along the way was an Episcopal Church.  Other denominations were there also, but this one was the closest to our cottage.  People did not dress up very much for church there.  They offered a children's sermon long before we had one in our home church.

The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge  is on the mainland side of the island.  Many species of birds are seen and the plants and trees are beautiful as well.  No shelling is allowed on this side of the island as these are live shells and are needed to continue the abundance of empty shells one can collect on the Gulf side.

At the time we were there, someone had dredged out a channel and floated a Mississippi river paddle wheel boat in and beached it parallel to the Gulf waters then filled in the channel again.  This was their home away from home.  The island is small enough to allow for nice leisurely walks along the waters edge.  We only traversed the Gulf side, leaving the other side for the live shells.

I could not believe what a developer did.  The island is not that much above sea level.  There were small sand dunes over the section he had bought for a housing project.  He decided to level the whole area.  All he succeeded in doing was making the whole subdivision a mini lake.  He then had to fix an area for draining the water.  

A week here just doesn't seem long enough.  It is a wonderful way of life, slow and lazy.....Fran
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