Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sanibel Part I

So Spring Break has finally rolled around (as if we haven't gotten enough days off this year), and I really have been counting down the days! This year my mom, sister, and I took a girls trip down and escaped down to Sanibel Island, Florida. My mom had spent all of last week at her organization's annual meeting, and was in desperate need of a vacation. My sister and I were set to fly down to Miami to meet her, before renting a car and driving up to Sanibel.
This is where things went a little haywire.
You see, the plane was delayed one hour. We didn't care, because it allowed us to "sleep in" until 5:30am (a step up from 4:30!) But after we boarded the plane, we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. This is an additional 2 hours of sitting on the tarmac doing nothing. They eventually came over the intercom and informed us that the fire extinguishing mechanism in the cargo hold of the plane wasn't working, and after 2 hours they managed to decide there was nothing they could do to fix it. Ridiculous already, added to the fact that they then told us they couldn't carry any checked bags on the plane, because they might start a fire. So we finally took off, 3 hours behind schedule, with no bags. Let me tell you how aggravating that was. And now my luggage was mistakenly sent to Dallas (I have to say, it seems airports cannot do a single thing right), so it's not getting in for another day and a half.
On the bright side, I did manage to get a few pics out the window.

Anyways, we eventually landed in Miami and started the drive up to Sanibel Island. But on the way, we had to stop for some "local cuisine" ;)

Okay, I don't care where you are- a strawberry-banana smoothie will always be a strawberry-banana smoothie, and they are always delicious.
After finishing up some last-minute shopping, we pulled into Sanibel. You see, I've only been to Florida once before. We stayed at the Breaker's Hotel in Palm Beach. There, designer sundresses are the norm, and people spend the day swishing cocktails on the veranda and chatting about their yacht clubs and whatnot. I always figured that there were 2 sides of Florida-that side (rich, sophisticated, socialites), and then the party-hard college side. 
Sanibel doesn't fit either one of those descriptions. Nestled just off the coast of Ft. Meyers, it has an incredibly vintage, low-key vibe. It seems that the island didn't quite catch up to the 21st century. Here, resorts are small and family-owned, boutiques and cafes lay back behind overgrown underbrush. The speed limit is 30mph, so you barely move faster than the couples riding down the bike paths. There isn't a chain-restaurant, high-rise hotel, or mega-mart in sight. Perfect for 3 girls looking to relax! In fact, Sanibel is so retro that we passed by the one franchise on the island, Dairy Queen, and my mom cried out, "Hey! That's the Dairy Queen I went to 40 years ago! It looks exactly the same!" It seems even the most enterprised corporations haven't bothered to update since the 1960s. Why would they? 

We crossed over the bridge just before sunset

We accidentally took a wrong turn at some point and ended up in a wildlife refuge, where I found this lovely sign:
In Florida, they have to tell you not to feed the Alligators. I don't know about you guys, but if I saw a gator all I'd be thinking about is how not to become its food!
We then checked into our hotel-a small inn made up of several condos and cottages (I promise to provide a more in-depth picture eventually), and ran right outside for some shell-hunting.
In my family, we're all shell nerds. The whole reason we picked Sanibel in the first place was because it's famous for its amazing seashells. So as the sun set we walked along the surf, scouring the beach. 
We found sandcastles,

Ponderous Arks (yes, I know the exact names of most seashells)

Egg cases 

Most of the time you'd come across piles like this, and spend a while digging through to find the good stuff

A couple of pelicans going home for the night

A lovely sunset 

Some broken conch shells (the real jewels are the ones completely intact)

Every now and then you'd find a perfect shell, only to discover it's already been claimed :)
We'd then set the little critter down in the sand and watch it scuttle away. 

Stay tuned for more of my Sanibel adventures!

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