Monday, February 28, 2011

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan offers spacious suites, fine dining, unique view of Gerald Ford

Opened as the Pantlind in 1913, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Amway Grand Plaza Hotel underwent major renovations in 1981… Sorry, I can’t continue this review without addressing this feature upfront: Many rooms in the hotel’s Glass Tower have sweeping 270-degree panoramic views that overlook The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, which includes his burial site. Do [...]

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Have We Got an Incentive for YOU!

Well, we’ve been announcing this everywhere, all over the island, so I figured that I better make a note of it here as well! If you haven’t already heard, Rob and I are super excited about an incentive program that we are coordinating with the amazing Congress Jewelers, right here on the island. We’ve never [...]

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Courtney?s Tiki Bar, Sanibel Lunch and Drinks

Courtney?s Tiki Bar, Sanibel Lunch and Drinks Are you looking for the best Tiki Bar in Southwest Florida? All you have to do is go down Middle Gulf Drive to�Courtney?s On Sanibel. Right next to the gorgeous pool and beautiful beach,Courtney?s Tiki Bar is one of the most laid back places on Sanibel Island. Stop [...]

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Top 10 low-cost diversions in Jacksonville

The Visit Jacksonville folks know that money is tight and in that spirit offer� inexpensive options under $10.
Here’s the list:
1. Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier ? Take in a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and Jacksonville?s expansive shoreline from the pier, rocketing nearly a quarter mile into the ocean. Pedestrians, $1; children six and under, [...]

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Orlando - One Place, Two Theme Parks

No matter if you have come to Florida to escape the cold and stay warm, or just to enjoy the cool breezes; the time of year to visit Florida is not always relevant due to it’s relatively close temperatures all year round, which makes perfect for places like the beach or theme parks. Well skip [...]

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Camping 101: Getting started and gearing up

Barbra StuterWelcome! If you have landed on this page, you've decided to try your hand at camping. Before we start, let me assure you I am not a novice camper and you are in capable hands. I have been backpacking and tent camping since I was old enough to walk...July 17, 2009

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sanibel Video

Sanibel Island Seashells - Sanibel Island is known world-wide for its seashells, but the beach is full of other mysterious items. We explain some of the island's odd beach finds and share Hot Tips in this short video.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amelia Island Sunset Kayak

Watch birds fly in for the night as the sun sets over the scenic marsh at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Naturalists will help guests identify species and share the unique aspects of their salt marsh habitat. All skill levels are welcome, but you must be at least eight years old to participate. The cost is $100 per couple, with single and double kayaks available. Space is limited. Additional information is available at or by calling (904) 321-5082.

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Florida beaches road trip: Jacksonville to Key West

Barbra StuterYes, it's from my sunroof! I get the road trip itch honestly. Both my parents were teachers, so during my childhood everyone at my house had the summers off. With family on the east coast, we hit the road to travel from California to Georgia every...June 28, 2009

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Driving on Daytona Beach is More Fun than Driving Up North

As I watch the news, I see drivers up north getting stuck in snow storms and I think how nice it is to be able to drive on the beach. It’s a much nicer, more friendly environment and getting stuck in the sand isn’t nearly as awful as getting stuck in the snow. Winter is [...]

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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens

If you should tire of relaxing on the beach, boating, and playing in the surf during your next Melbourne Beach Florida Bed and Breakfast Vacation, consider a trip to the Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens. The museum and gardens include the James Wadsworth Rossetter House (built in 1908), the William P. Roesch House (1901), [...]

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Taste of the Beach in Fort Myers Beach, Florida

12th Annual Taste of the Beach Takes Place on June 3, 2007 ResortQuest offers Fort Myers vacation homes and condos for visitors.

(PRWeb April 19, 2007)

Read the full story at

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Saturday, February 19, 2011


ROTARY CLUB OF SANIBEL-CAPTIVA 28th ANNUAL ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR, 1 of 2 galleries of Photos Today is the first of two days for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club. It is the 28th Arts & Crafts Fair. The day is perfect, the weather in the 80′s, not a signal cloud in sight, the fair seemed even [...]

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On and Off Island: A Sanibel Sampler

It's been a while since I posted.

The oil spill worry has been consuming me. And though the experts are predicting only a 10 percent chance of the oil hitting Sanibel, I am concerned none the less. I am concerned for Sanibel and for the Gulf as a whole. Florida is accustomed to hurricanes, they come through on occasion. They are a major inconvenience, but they leave. The spill may take a very long time to dissipate, and the damage it has/is/will cause is yet to be calculated. All these thoughts kept me from posting more regularly.

And then there has been the move. We left New Jersey 2 weeks ago, settling into our condo in Naples while we renovate our house on Sanibel and fulfill our rental agreements.

The area where we are living in Naples is quite lovely. It's low key, nothing fancy, but quite lush and tranquil, only a 5 minute drive to a great beach and a 10 minute drive to the glamorous sections of this beautiful town.

Being as comfortable with these current surroundings as I am, it was a really nice comparison to leave Naples yesterday to do some business on Sanibel.

And, yes, Virginia, there is a difference between being on and off island.

The island environment is just smaller, more compact. The roads are smaller. There was no traffic anywhere to be seen, and, of course, no traffic lights. We opened up some bank accounts on Island and the fellow who helped us was dressed in a polo and chinos. He said that is how he comes to work every day.

We stopped at Jerry's for groceries and a light bite surrounded by folks who had thrown something over their bathing suits, but with their hair still wet and sand clinging to their toes.

There are few GRAND houses on the Island, and if you want to see them you need to search. We remembered when Hurricane Charlie had come through Captiva and how surprised we were to see the vegetation blown away revealing very modest homes on that very pricey island. No high rises on Sanibel or Captiva, and nothing taller than a palm tree on Sanibel itself.

The few cars moving moved slowly, almost the pace of the Island tortoises. The few people we saw were on their bikes. The few birds barely moved at all. It was as if time was standing still.

The towns off island such as Naples, arguably the liveliest and prettiest of them all, have a lot to offer. But if one is looking for a truly laid back, tropical and natural experience, none of the towns can compete with the 12 mile long Sanibel.

We love where we are. We love where we are going. We are so, so lucky!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sounds of Smooth Jazz Come to Florida's Gulf Islands

ResortQuest Southwest Florida offers Anna Maria Island accommodations for out-of-town visitors conveniently located near Jazz on the Islands

(PRWeb June 26, 2007)

Read the full story at

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New room designs, lobby upgrade headed Renaissance Vinoy Resort

There’s a new design in the guest rooms�at Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club and lobby renovation on the way this summer.�
The historic resort in St. Petersburg has just unveiled a new design for all 361 guest rooms transforming the rooms into personal retreats with colors, fabrics and textures inspired by the hotel?s waterfront location. [...]

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where to rent on Captiva?

Captiva Island Vacation Rentals Captiva Island is a beautiful Island, located off of Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, Captive Island has become a popular vacation spot for Florida locales and tourists alike. One of the most unique aspects of Captiva Island is the fact that the island houses not a [...]


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Even a Hot Dog Tastes Like Gourmet Cooking on Sanibel

As Joe and I advertise blatantly on our website, we are fussy. We got into the vacation rental business because we are so often disappointed with accommodations and bought several of our own so that we could make them the way we want. We insist on a comfortable king sized bed, lots of cooking aids, good electronics and decent linens in our places, as much for our selves as for our rental guests.

We are equally fussy about food and ambiance....most of the time. We don't mind paying more for fresh ingredients, a nice presentation of food including the table setting, good service and a pretty restaurant.

There are several restaurants on Sanibel that meet our needs in all of those respects and we do go there when we want to eat out on the Island.

But we were on Sanibel today doing further inventory on our Toucan House and bringing over some things from our Naples condo to prepare for some updates to Toucan House.

It was a bright, sunny, breezy day and we needed to take a break so we went to lunch.

We were in a bit of a hurry to return to the tasks at hand, so we went to Schnappers, the closest thing you can get to fast food on the Island. The bright colored "shack" is exactly what you would expect inside. Simple, easy, limited in choice but not in taste.

My hot dog (without the bun) and french fries were so particularly good, better than ever, in fact, that I had to ask at the eatery if they had changed cooks, or formulas or owners. No, I was assured, everything was exactly as it has been for years. I told them things were crisper and more delicious than ever and all seemed pleased.

But not nearly as pleased as I. The crispy dog and crispy fries hit the spot. And sitting under the umbrella at the outdoor table feeling the breezes and watching few cars pass by was all I needed to feel on island and on point.

Even fuss pots like us can appreciate the simple things in life, and life on Sanibel can make even the simplest things feel absolutely grand!

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Sanibel This and That

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Gasparilla Fest sets sail in Tampa Jan. 29

A Tampa tradition since 1904, the annual Gasparilla Fest sets sail in the wee morning hours of Saturday, January 29 as Hillsborough Bay braces itself for yet another invasion by the tall-masted Jose Gasparilla pirate ship. The ship will appear at the south end of the bay at 11:30 a.m., where it will be met by a multitude of pre-registered pleasure crafts. Will these captains be prepared to defend the city, or join the pirates in all of the marauding fun?

The colorful Gasparilla Flotilla, presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, will make its way north across Hillsborough Bay and into Seddon Channel (channel between Davis Island & Harbour Island) for the official Gasparilla Invasion. After docking at the Tampa Convention Center at 1:00 p.m, the Mayor will surrender the Key to the City of Tampa into the hands of the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, and onlookers are invited to join the pirates? victory celebration in the Parade of the Pirates down Bayshore Boulevard. The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates will have more than 130 units ? including more than 90 elaborate floats, 14 marching bands, over 50 distinct Krewes.

Other events related to Gasparilla Fest 2011 include the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch and the Pirate Street Festival. The parade is free of charge and begins at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. It continues along Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein Street, then north on Ashley Drive. The parade ends at Cass Street & Ashley Drive. For more information visit

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reading in SF. New Outline. Ripping Vinyl.

Upcoming event: I?ll be reading “The Birth of Transrealism,” a section from my forthcoming memoir, Nested Scrolls , at 7 PM this Saturday night, January 15, 2011, in San Francisco at the SF in SF gathering in the Hobart Building on Market St. near Montgomery St. and 3rd St. Diana Paxson will be reading as [...]

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The and is Looking for photographers and Sales Reps.

The and is Looking for photographers

The is Looking for photographers
The www.SanibelCaptivaDaily.comis looking for local photographers and outside Sales Reps.�around the area to help share light on the great things to do on Fort Myers along with Sanibel and Captiva Island! We are looking for people�who�are�fun and outgoing,�experienced, dependable and who can have [...]

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Oil Spill Not on Sanibel (yet) but Still Raising Questions of Who's to Blame, Who will Pay?

Like the tricolored heron pictured here, who "shades" the water with his wings to better see the fish below the surface, we all need to take a better, deeper, more historical look at the Gulf spill.

Though it has not reached Sanibel Island, and perhaps, with luck, will not reach Sanibel Island, its impact is felt up and down the west coast of Florida.
But as the onion unravels about the spill, the more unsettling the truth becomes.

A couple of weeks ago, BP claimed it was not their accident, but that they would take responsibility for it.

Well, I'm not sure just whose accident that were saying it was, but the information out there certainly points to their finger prints.

On a Sixty Minutes interview of Mike Williams, a Transocean engineer on the Deep Water Horizon who barely survived the explosion, fire and swim to safety, Mr. Williams was very credible and very clear that BP was very culpable.

First there was the issue of the obviously too quick approach to the drilling at the behest of BP who was losing money because the drilling was taking too long.

Second, there was the issue of the broken annulor, a piece of apparatus that was supposed to be a safety valve of sorts. BP knew full well that the annulor was broken.

Third, there was the process of the expeditious closing of the well, which was determined by BP and which was the final straw in creating the explosion.

If these observations and accusations by Mike Williams are proven accurate, there is no way that BP can take the stand it was not their accident.

And, to be fair, they have stated publicly that they will make good for the damage done to the environment and to the industries, largely fishing and tourism, that are suffering and will continue to suffer from the spill.

Giving the company the benefit of the doubt, accepting that they will do as they have offered, the question still remains as who is really going to pay?

Clearly, it's the earth, once again sullied by man's continual quest to spent less time in making more money.

The question of whether it is wise to allow off shore drilling has been answered with Deep Water Horizon. But is any one listening?

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Planning spring break travel, here?s an option for coupons

If you’re making spring break travel plans (or any travel plans), it might be worth checking It’s touted as a�one-stop-shop for the best deals on the web all in one place.
�The site has an extensive travel section featuring discounts from, and others such as:
? Reach the beach for less with vacations from [...]

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oh Yes The Shelling Is Wonderful

Shelling on Sanibel Island Sanibel Island is a barrier island located off the southwest coast of Florida by Fort Myers. It has a population of 5,600 that quadruples during the winter which is prime tourist season. Sanibel Island is twelve miles long and four miles wide. Thousands of visitors flock to this island yearly to [...]


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ResortQuest Named Manager of Tropic Isle Inn on Bradenton Beach, Florida

The management contract of Tropic Isle Inn expands ResortQuest's presence in Southwest Florida, where it currently manages more than 1,500 vacation rentals.

(PRWeb March 15, 2007)

Read the full story at

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Golfing on Sanibel Island: The Links to Heaven on Earth

Best known for its shelling, beaches, birding and wild life, Sanibel is no slouch when it comes to a good game of golf.

The courses are lovely and offer a range of challenges.

The 18-hole "Dunes" course at the The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, pictured here, features 5,578 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 70 . The course rating is 68.0 and it has a slope rating of 123 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Mark McCumber, ASGCA, the Dunes Golf Course opened in 1973. The Dunes course is rated four stars by charges, based on season, a range of $70 to $110 for the 18 courses. The Dunes has a restaurant open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those looking to add some "meat" to their greens!

The 18-hole "Beachview" course at the Beachview Golf Club facility features 6,400 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71 . The course rating is 70.8 and it has a slope rating of 127 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Ray Fenton, the Beachview golf course opened in 1976. rates Beachview 3.5 stars. Beachview Steakhouse & Seafood Restaurant's in-season hours are now in effect. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days per week from 9:00am til midnight. Relax with your favorite beverage from a fully stocked bar while you enjoy the natural Beachview surroundings.

The 18-hole "Sanctuary" course at the The Sanctuary Golf Club facility in Sanibel, Florida features 6,806 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72 . The course rating is 73.0 and it has a slope rating of 138 on Bahia grass. Designed by Arthur Hills, ASGCA, the Sanctuary
Golf Course opened in 2005. The Sanctuary Course has earned 5 stars by The Sanctuary Golf Club is a private golf course and does not offer online tee times to the general public but if you know a member, you will find playing the Sanctuary is as good as it gets!

Both the Dunes and Beachview courses are public and are sanctioned by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses protecting the environment and preserving the natural heritage of golf. Both courses are set among a beautiful natural, island backdrop.

You just might catch a glimpse of an Eagle or Roseate Spoonbill while shooting your best game.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Deals on vacation rentals on sanibel

The Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill is being watched vigilantly by Sanibel officials. Deals on�vacation rentals on Sanibel are growing. Tourism professionals are trying to lure customers to these resorts. The media is circulating much fear and people are really scared. The truth is Sanibel and other Florida key beaches have not yet been touched [...]


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Dinner and Movie series starts at Daytona State College

Here’s a potential road trip idea:
In the Dinner and a Movie film series at Daytona State College film fans can enjoy dinner at Daytona State College’s Cafe 101 and follow up with a comfortable seat in the Museum’s Madorsky Theater for a look at classic films.
Meals at Caf� 101 are available by reservation only and [...]

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Southwest Florida Christmas Fun with the Snowbirds

Yep, it’s Christmas… �I can’t hardly believe it! Well, I thought I would share some holiday cheer (and some definite laughs) this year by sharing a light-hearted video about our beloved “snowbirds” that descend upon Florida over the holidays to get out of that VERY chilly weather up north… So, sit back and have a [...]

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Florida lighthouses

Although the number of lighthouses in Florida was much greater a century ago, The Sunshine State still has 30 historic lighthouses along Florida?s 1200 mile coastline. Some of these lighthouses are easily accessible to visitors but charge admission to climb to the top, while others require a boat ride to reach and are in serious need of repairs and renovation before anyone will be allowed inside. Lighthouses have been constructed out of various materials over the years, but the stone structures have both the longevity and the beauty to attract nautical history buffs from around the world.

Some of the more notable lighthouses in the state include the lighthouse at Fernandina Beach in Amelia Island. The tower was completed in 1838 and is still in use today. St. Augustine?s lighthouse was built in 1875, and the swirling black and white striped pattern is similar to lighthouses in the Carolinas. Farther down the Atlantic coast is the distinctive red brick lighthouse at Ponce Inlet (pictured). The current tower was completed in 1886 and was resurrected from a state of decay?along with historic buildings from the light station-- in the 1970s. The white brick Cape Florida lighthouse in Key Biscayne (near Miami) is part of Bill Baggs State Park, which has one of the nicest beaches in Florida.

Moving over to the Florida Keys, the white brick lighthouse in Key West is a favorite landmark. Completed in 1848, the lighthouse was constantly upgraded and historians have preserved the tower and the adjoining light station as it appeared in 1890. Farther up the Gulf Coast, there are more iron lighthouses constructed on various barrier islands, and the lighthouse at Pensacola requires special permission to view because it is located on a Naval Air Station. For more information on lighthouses in Florida and other parts of the country, visit

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