COASTE July-September 2017

JULY-SEPTEMBER 2017

YourCOASTE.com

ART I ST I N RES I DENCE

PLUS: SWFL’s Premier Events Calendar ALWAYS FREE!

Contemporary American Cuisine

ADynamic Culinary Experience IN A CASUAL ,ELEGANT SETTING Enjoy a one-of-a-kind Sanibel dining experience featuring Art Deco inspired indoor dining, live piano music nightly and unparalleled service by an approachable team. All meals are prepared daily with sustainable, fresh from Florida fish, produce, grass-finished beef, lamb and free-range chicken. Il Cielo provides the most creative and comprehensive Farm to Fork experience on Sanibel Island.

Tuesday – Sunday, 4:30 to 9pm | Happy Hour Menu, 4:30 to 6pm | Scott McDonald on Piano Tuesday – Sunday, 7pm

AwardWinning Dining Voted Best Fine Dining Three Years in a Row! Voted Best Seafood and Taste of the Taste

1244 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel Island, Florida 33957 | (239) 472-5555 ILCIELOSANIBEL.COM

List Distillery Small-Batch Distillery • Handcrafted in Fort Myers Made in the USA

We’re a handful of people devoted to the craft of distilling and creating the best spirits possible. As Fort Myers’ original small-batch Distillery, we are anxious to share our unique products and look forward to meeting people who appreciate high quality, craft spirits.

Stop by our Distillery and watch as we Mash, Cook, Mix and Distill. Taste our unique Flavors like Apple Pie Rum, Key Lime Pie Rum, Coconut Rum, Spiced Rum, Habanero Honey Whiskey, Caffe Latte, Raspberry Mint Gin, Hazlenut Liqueur and many more...

Our mission is to use locally grown crops for the production of Premium Craft Spirits. Give us a try and see for yourself how unique these handcrafted spirits can be. Visit Our Gift Shop and Enjoy a Tour With Us!

Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm Saturday 11 am – 4 pm Sundays only per appointment! 3680 Evans Ave, Suite A • Fort Myers, Florida 239-208-7214 • info@listdistillery.com www.ListDistillery.com

COASTE | EDITOR’S WELCOME

With all due respect to the George Gershwin classic, summertime is family vacation time for many of us. And here in one of the most popular vacation destinations in America, we’re delighted to welcome you — and we thank you for gathering your family, packing your bags and making way to our beaches, attractions, resorts, restaurants and other vacation venues. If you have children, you no doubt know the saying: the days are long but the years are short. It’s profoundly true, and as a parent sad in a way. A blink or two of the eye and suddenly your babies are turning 15, 13 and 10 this year (as ours are). While there are as many reasons why vacations are as important and special as there are people to enjoy them, to me it’s about memories — memories captured forever by a photograph (or more accurately today, a digital image) that stops

time and chronicles the years of those you love, one vacation after another, from walking a beach in swim diapers, to holding hands while exploring an ancient fort, to getting certified to scuba dive. Click. Click. Click. Memory. Memory. Memory. Two years old here, eight years old there, twelve years old here. My hope for all of you vacationing in Southwest Florida is that you, too, find moments here that — either through your mind’s eye or your camera’s — will stay with you a lifetime. Moments that you can always look back on, travel back to and be in the experience again, no matter the distance in years. John Sprecher Founder | Editor

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Volume III Number 4

EXPERIENCE OUR DELICIOUS Island Inspired American Cuisine

Founder | Executive Editor John Sprecher John@YourCoaste.com Creative Director Director of Photography Milissa Sprecher Milissa@YourCoaste.com Director of Sales Meg Giffen Sales@YourCoaste.com Graphic Designer Christina Robertson Contributing Photographers Laitham Haddad Beaches of Fort Myers-Sanibel Online & Calendar Editor Eric Sprecher

239-472-2525 • BlueGiraffeSanibel.com Periwinkle Place Shops • 2075 Periwinkle Way, Unit 14 HEAD & SHOULDERS ABOVE THE REST! Family Owned & Operated • Patio Dining • Taste of the Islands 2nd Place People’s Choice 2016 Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner • Full Liquor Bar Monday-Sunday, 7am-8pmor Later • Breakfast Till Noon • Happy Hour 4-6pm

COASTE is published five times annually by COASTE LLC. COASTE Magazine + Multi- Media Network reaches FREE a minimum 250,000 impressions via print magazine distribution, digital magazine subscribers, e-marketing, social media communities, downloadable apps and website. COASTE is a member of Florida Magazine Association and statistically aligns with City & Regional Magazine Association. P.O. Box 869 Sanibel FL 33957 Editorial: 239.395.3251

stylish gifts | artisan crafts | home accents and decor

Sales: 239.470.5611 www.YourCoaste.com

239-472-8111 | cargosanibel.com Periwinkle Place Shopping Center | 2075 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel

ISLAND RESORT & SPA

Choose your island. choose your beach. Choose your style.

With Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, it’s literally here a beach, there a beach, everywhere a beach for you to enjoy. From full- service luxury resorts to classic “Olde Florida”cottages, you’ll love our outstanding accommodations, amenities, service, hospitality, food, drink, relaxation, fun and—oh yes!—value. So go ahead, be choosy. We are. We look forward to seeing you soon.

SanibelCaptivaBeachResorts.com

info @

For All Things Beautiful!

For your information, you can learn more about the many outstanding destinations to be enjoyed in Lee County via these organizations. Just click or call them today! Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce BocaGrandeChamber.com 941.964.0568 Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce BonitaSpringsChamber.com 239.992.2943 Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce CapeCoralChamber.com 239.549.6900 Estero Chamber of Commerce EsteroChamber.com 239.948.7990 Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce FortMyersBeach.org 239.454.7500 Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce FortMyers.org 239.332.3624 Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau FortMyers-Sanibel.com 239.338.3500 Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce LehighAcresChamber.org 239.369.3322 Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce Sanibel-Captiva.org 239.472.1080

Massage • Advanced Skincare • Reflexology Manicure and Pedicure • Full Service Salon Body Care • Bridal Services www.SanibelDaySpa.com Located In The Periwinkle Place Shopping Center 2075 Periwinkle Way • Suite 24 Sanibel Island, Florida 33957 239.395.2220 • 877.695.1588 MM# 2782

GET DOWN. HERE. Everyone’s Favorite Downtown Fort Myers River District

WWW.FORTMYERSRIVERDISTRICTALLIANCE.COM

MUSIC WALK Every 3rd Friday (6-10pm)

PET WALK Every 4th Friday

ART WALK Every 1st Friday (6-10pm)

MYSTERY WALK Every 2nd Friday (6-10pm) Seasonal

(6-8pm) Seasonal

RDA Special Events: Car Cruise-In, Bike Night, Downtown Countdown, St. Patrick’s Day, Holiday Stroll, Creative ARTs Market, Downtown Farmers & Arts Market, Freedom Fest, Veterans Day Parade

The River District Alliance would like to thank our sponsors, volunteers and event donors who make Downtown Fort Myers rock!

COASTE CONTENTS

July - September 2017

on the cover The Clark family on Captiva enjoying time at South Seas Island Resort. Photography by Milissa Sprecher.

in this issue

features

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TAKE FIVE Meet Laura Ruane. As business reporter for the News-Press , she’s watch tourism become the engine that drives our economy. WELCOME HOME Here’s another inside look at living the good life in Southwest Florida.

1 2 ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Laitham Haddad is a true diamond in the rough — a superior environmental photographer just waiting for his moment in the sun.

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20 ATTRACTIONS

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Here comes Southwest Florida’s up close and personal music festival: the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. Get your toes tappin’!

ROOMWITH A VIEW Come visit one of our favorite places to relax, rest and reconnect. COASTE CALENDAR It’s Southwest Florida’s premier calendar of events, so mark your calendar for all the entertainment, electricity and fun headed your way.

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28 PERSONALITIES

Pam Rambo loves, loves, loves shells — and thanks to her, so thousands of others have fallen in love with Southwest Florida and our shelling.

CELEBRATE SUMMER WITH

DOWNTOWN DINING DESTINATIONS JOIN US FOR LUNCH, HAPPY HOUR & DINNER

SPORTS BREWS & BARBEQUES

WATERFRONT CASUAL DINING & NIGHTLIFE

2278 FIRST STREET, FORT MYERS 239.433.BREW (2739) WWW.THELODGEFL.COM

2224 BAY STREET, FORT MYERS 239.334.FIRE (3473) WWW.FIRESTONEFL.COM

OPEN AT 4PM

2225 FIRST STREET, FORT MYERS 239.337.COAL (2625) WWW.CAPONESCOALFIREDPIZZA.COM

SOUTHWEST GRILL & TEQUILA BAR

2226 FIRST STREET, FORT MYERS 239.332.CABO (2226) WWW.LOSCABOSCANTINAFL.COM

COAL FIRED PIZZAS & PASTAS

DOWNTOWN’S FIRST & ONLY GARDEN BAR

1406 HENDRY ST, FORT MYERS 239.337.SOHO (7646) WWW.DOWNTOWNSOHO.COM

2282 FIRST STREET, FORT MYERS 239.337.IZZY (4999) WWW.IZZYSFTMYERS.COM

IZZY’S FISH & OYSTER BAR BY RENOWNED CHEF JAMIE DEROSA

OPEN AT 4PM

Proud supporters of the River District Alliance and our Community www.KRGdining.com

36 combining an honest and unfiltered narrative of their life story with the world class dancing, creativity and passion they are known for. Collaborating with the greatest choreographers in he busine s and supported by a cast of fellow dance professionals, the show will surprise and delight with timeless elegance and steamy seduction. www.BBManPAH.com www.rentals.viprealty.com 1506 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel, FL 33957 Toll Free (877) 541-6681 36 239-472-5300 w w.captivacruises.com MAKS & VAL LIVE ON TOUR: OUR WAY June 18 Brothers Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, the hottest stars of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” are bringing to life the show they’ve dreamed about since childho d, combining an onest and unfiltered narrative of their life story with the world class dancing, creativity and passion t ey are k ow for. Coll borating with the greatest choreographers in he busi e s and supported by a c st of fellow dance professionals, t e show will surp ise and delight with tim less elegance and steamy s duction. www.BBMa PAH.com www.rentals.viprealty.com 1506 Periwinkle Way | Sanibe , FL 33957 Toll Free (877) 541-6681 239-472-5300 www.captivacruises.com Come out to beautiful Captiva Island. Explore our amazing “out islands” and watch dolphins in the wild. First class tours and expeditions. Customized private charters. Captiva Cruises will be your vacation highlight. MAKS & VAL LIVE ON TOUR: OUR WAY June 18 Brothers Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, the hottest stars of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” are bringing to life the show they’ve dreamed about since childhood, Come out to beautiful Captiva Island. Explore our amazing “out islands” and watch dolphins in the wild. First class tours and expeditions. Customized private charters. Captiva Cruises will be your vacation highlight. June 18 C aptiva C ruises Island Hopping • Shelling • Dolphin Watching Sunset and Sailing Cruises • Private Charters GALLOWAY CAPTIVA TRIATHALON Sept 10 & 11 The Galloway Captiva Triathlon is now open to online registration. The Captiva Triathlon is a family, fun and fitness weekend at South Seas Island Resort centered on a children’s race on Saturday morning and an adult sprint-length race on Sunday morning. www.captivatri.org Make Your Castle in the Sand! Nov – Jan Getaways Online SUBSCRIBE FREE aptiva C ruises Island Hopping • Shelling • Dolphin Watching Sunset and Sailing Cruises • Private Charters COASTE | ON STAGE Sept 10+ 11 2016 ISLAND HOPPER SONGWRITER FEST Sept 23 – Oct 2 From Sanibel and Captiva, to Fort Myers Beach and downtown Fort Myers, there’s live music here, there and everywhere as 50-plus singer-songwriters come together in Southwest Florida’s fun-tastic festive event. You’ll have to pay attention who’s playing what where, but there’s nev r cover charge and always a good time to be had. www.fortmyers-sanibel.com GALLOWAY CAPTIVA TRIATHALON Sept 10 & 11 The Galloway Captiva Triathlon is now open to online registration. The Captiva Triathlon is a family, fun and fitness weekend at South Seas Island Resort centered on a children’s race on Saturday morning and an adult sprint-length race on Sunday morning. www.captivatri.org ake Your Castle in t Sa ! Nov – Jan Getaways Online SUBSCRIBE FREE Cayo Costa State Park # 1 shelling destination 2016 ISLAND HOPPER SONGWRITER FEST Sept 23 – Oct 2 From Sanibel and Captiva, to Fort Myers Beach and downtown Fort Myers, there’s live music here, there and everywhere as 50-plus singer-songwriters come together in Southwest Florida’s fun-tastic festive event. You’ll have to pay attention who’s playing what where, but there’s never a cover charge and always a good time to be had. www.fortmyers-sanibel.com Cayo Costa State Park # 1 shelling destination Daily Dolphin Cruises with naturalist on board Useppa Island picturesque island retreat Daily Dolphin Cruises with naturalist on board Useppa Island picturesque island retreat COASTE | ON STAGE Sept 10+ 11 Sept 23- Oct 2 Enjoy your free Digital edition Of the best of sanibel, captiva and sw Florida 5 times a year, wherever you May be. Sept 23- Oct 2 Enjoy your free Digital edition Of the best of sanibel, captiva and sw Florida 5 times a year, wherever you May be. June - September — On Stage June - September — On Stage Sunset Cruises wildlife, sailing, or live music Sunset Cruises wildlife, sailing, or l v music Cabbage Key “cheeseburger in paradise” Cabbage Key “cheeseburger in paradise” Lady Chadwick Lady Chadwick June 18

Thru July 2 Thru July 2

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MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL Thru July 2 MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL Thru July 2

RATED Food — 4½ Stars Service — 4½ Stars Atmosphere — 4 Stars Out of 5 Stars RATED Food — 4½ Stars Service — 4½ Stars Atmosph re — 4 Out of 5 Stars

Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common other than a black lace bra — and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, lack of sex and more. The hilarious celebration of women and life’s change is set to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s that’ll leave you laughing and dancing in the aisles! The show runs Saturday, May 19 to Saturday, July 2. www.BroadwayPalm.com Fo r women at a lingerie sale have nothi g in common other than a black lace bra — and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, ack of sex and more. The hilarious c lebration of women and life’s change is set to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s that’ll leave you laughing and dancing in the aisles! The show runs Saturday, May 19 to Saturday, July 2. www.BroadwayPalm.com

AIRPORT & LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IslandTaxi.com • ride@islandtaxi.com Call for Reservations 239-472-4888 More Than a Ride! 239-472-1956 • SweetMelissasCafe.com 1625 Periwinkle Way • Sanibel, Florida 33957 4 we e i sa f c Celebrating 8 Years on Sanibel! Newly Renovated Bar • Newly Crafted Menu Cre tively Out of the Ordinary Lunch 11:30am-3:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday Dinner 5pm-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED Executive Chef Melissa Talmage AIRPORT & LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IslandTaxi.com • ride@islandtaxi.com Call for Reservations 239-472-4888 More Than a Ride! 239-472-1956 • SweetMelissasCafe.com 1625 Periwinkle Way • Sanibel, Florida 33957 4 S tMe W y • i e , r d Celebrating 8 Years on Sanibel! Newly Renovated Bar • Newly Crafted Menu Creatively ut of the Ordinary Lunch 11:30am-3:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday Dinner 5pm-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED Executive Chef Melissa Talmage AIRPORT & LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IslandTaxi.com • ride@islandtaxi.com Call for Res rvatio s 239-472-4888 More Than a Ride!

Yourcoaste.com Yourcoaste.com

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artist in residence

One look at his work, and you might say photographer Laitham Haddad is a diamond in the grocery store. By John Sprecher Photography by Laitham Haddad

Laitham Haddad

If you’re at all a peruser of Facebook with a Southwest Florida hashtag, you may have occasionally come across a dramatic, breathtaking, color-saturated image of a sunrise over the Sanibel Causeway, or a sunset on Fort Myers Beach, or any number of other spectacular images of the natural beauty surrounding us here. Looking closer, you’ll see the byline “Two Eyes One Image Photography” — the official digital art gallery of Laitham Haddad, a self-taught photographer with

a stunning eye (or “Two Eyes”) for the Southwest Florida environment whose Facebook following now exceeds 140,000 followers. But the story of LaithamHaddad and his works of art is decidedly different than you might expect of someone with his talents and following. The fact is, Haddad is an artist in many ways waiting to be discovered, instead working 40 hours per week at grocery store in Sanibel while capturing his images in his off time.

COASTE | ARTIST IN RESIDENCE 13

The story of Laitham Haddad and his photographic works of art is decidedly different than you might expect of someone with his talents and following.

Haddad was a fitness specialist at Loyola University in Chicago until 2009, when he moved to the island after the death of his father to take care of the condo his parents owned. To put food on the table, he found a job at the local grocery store where today he still serves as a buyer. “I haven’t done the business side of photography as I should, I know that,” he admits. “I’ve sold a good number of images at shows and online, but not enough yet to go it alone as a photographer. Hopefully, that day is coming.” Now 39 years old, Haddad began “experimenting and learning” the fine art of photography in Chicago, where he wouldwander the city and find interesting shots “at all hours of the night. Little by little, I kept improving and I’ve been helped a lot by the comments and suggestions people have given on images I posted to Facebook.”

One look at his Facebook page demonstrates the passion people have for his work — with many images generating thousands of likes, hundreds of shares and compliment after compliment. “I prefer to process images as close to straight from the camera as I can,” he explains, “and if I need, make any adjustments in post production. I’d define my work as trying to capture the natural beauty of Southwest Florida, while pushing the boundary a little bit.” As Haddad looks ahead, he sees great opportunity through his viewfinder. “I think there’s a lot of potential for my work and I’m excited about the future,” he says. “I’m in the process of building a website, and I’m not in any galleries yet, but I think anybody who visits here would love to take my stuff home.

{ www.Facebook.com/TwoEyesOneImage }

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take five

“Whatever it takes to tell the story, I’ll do it.” By John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher

Once upon a time not too many years ago, the marketing of a destination such as Lee County wasn’t anywhere as sophisticated or funded as it is today. Even in a tourism haven such as Florida, it was as if county and state governments slowly awoke to realize the employment and tax revenue opportunities a tourism marketing organization could bring to their community. Formore than25 years, LauraRuane has chronicled the business of business in Southwest Florida as a reporter for The News-Press — with roughly the

last 15 years focusing on what has become the big business of tourism promotion, and the millions of dollars organizations spend to bring visitors here. Ruane has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia (one of the oldest journalism schools in the world), along with an impressive portfolio of work and a keen eye for the newsworthy. From her earliest days writing obituaries to learning video production and social media today, Laura Ruane has told a lot of stories. Today, Take Five tells her story.

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When in your reporting did you notice that tourism marketing had become big business? Lee County’s Tourist Development Council was established in 1982. I remember that in the late 1980s, a small group of Collier County hotels got together to create the Wanderlust travel auction gala to help fund promotion of their properties and greater Naples. That was before Collier County launched an official convention and visitor bureau. By the early 1990s, you could see more local government involvement in organized tourism promotion. Once it began, that trend spread rapidly. But there was a time when destinations didn’t have multi-million dollar budgets, that’s for sure. Although you’re a reporter, be an editorialist: what’s your take on the quality of the hospitality industry here? My take is that the hospitality industry here is always trying to improve. The interest in training is significant, and that to me shows a commitment to being better today than the day before. There are a lot of people here who want to please others, and that’s one of their greatest strengths. What do the tourists tell you? Of course they love the weather, they love the beaches, but they also like the less stressful environment here and the people. Generally, we’re more laid back than where they come from, and they like that. How has your reporting changed over the last 10 years? My job is to take the pulse of an industry crucial to our economy and quality of life. Now more than ever, I look for the return on investment from publicly funded tourism promotions, and explore what can be done to keep tourism and hospitality businesses sustainable and beneficial to both visitors and locals. You’ve been reporting a long time.Howare youadapting to themany new media outlets you have? Well, I’ve now done three or four Facebook live events (she laughs), which is my newest accomplishment. Of course, social media and digital media are very important to know and to use. And I’ve learned how to create videos for our digital news source, News-Press.com! I never thought I’d be creating videos, let alone that I’d actually be in some of the videos — but whatever it takes to tell the story, I’ll do it.

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COASTE | ARTIST IN RESIDENCE 19

community

20 COASTE | COMMUNITY

THE MUSIC The Annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest has become a must-do for everyone who likes music front row center — as in a laid-back watering hole or sunset view patio. By John Sprecher | Photos Courtesy Lee County Visitor &Convention Bureau

When most people hear the words 10-day music festival, they picture a sea of humanity and a world of chaos — wall-to-wall thousands under a hot Florida sun, music so loud you have to shout in your companion’s ear, plus that most appealing visual of a phalanx of blue porta-johns and interminable long lines. And then there’s Island Hopper. The 2017 Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, now celebrating its fourth year, is the brainchild of the marketing minds at the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), along with executives from BMI (the global leader in music rights management) and iHeart Media – Cat Country 107.1 of Fort Myers (one of the leading music apps that allows you to digitally stream hundreds of live radio stations around the country or customize your music, similar to services like Pandora). As the leader of tourism promotion in Lee County, the VCB is always exploring ways to drive more dollars into our destination via lodging, food and beverage sales. Here inSouthwest Florida andmany othermarkets, tourism is weaker during “shoulder seasons” — in our case, that’s September and October in particular. Nancy MacPhee is Manager of Product Development at the VCB, and notes that “our goal from the beginning has been to create an extended stay kind of event that would have broad appeal to both local and regional markets. After researching some similar concepts around the U.S., we decided to focus on music with a country slant — as performed by the original songwriters — due to our partnership with BMI and iHeart Media. It’s different, it’s better and it really reflects the laid- back vibe of Southwest Florida.”

What that means is: the music is low key, easy to get to and easier to enjoy. Across 10 days (this year September 22 – October 1), acoustic music fans will have opportunities to hear songs performed by the very men and women who wrote them — at numerous locations that arewithinwalkingdistance of each other on Captiva Island (September 22- 24), downtown Fort Myers (September 25-28) and Fort Myers Beach (September 29-October 1). This year, that includes two songwriters who are inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, a good number of local artists plus upwards of 20 new writers and performers. “All of the venues are free, there will be a few ticketed shows, no cover charge,” MacPhee explains. “You walk in, grab a seat, sit back, relax, savor a cold beverage and listen to some great music — and the stories behind the songs — in intimate settings where often, you can chat with the artist after the show.”

Island Hopper is really an intimate, acoustic environment we’ve created for both the artist and guest — the total opposite of arena concerts. If you want to get up close and personal with the person who’s written one of your favorite songs, here’s the chance.” — Daniel Spears, BMI

COASTE | COMMUNITY 23

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For complete information on locations, artists and schedules, visit the Island Hopper website at www.Island-Hopper.FortMyers-Sanibel.com

24 COASTE | COMMUNITY 24 COASTE | COMMUNITY

Daniel Spears is Vice President of Industry Relations at BMI, and worked with the VCB from day one of year one in helping create and successfully launch Island Hopper. “Songwriter festivals are about the folks who write the music and the stories behind their songs,” he says. “Island Hopper is really an intimate, acoustic environment we’ve created for both the artist and guest — the total opposite of arena concerts. If you want to get up close and personal with the person who’s written one of your favorite songs, here’s the chance. We’re helping create Southwest Florida as a vibrant music destination and it’s growing every year.” AsMacPhee explains, one of the keys to IslandHopper’s success is identifying Southwest Florida locations — like Captiva, Fort Myers Beach and downtown — that offer multiple live music venues within walking distance of each other, as well as accommodations. “You can literally enjoy a day and evening, going from one venue to another. The settings are intimate, the crowds are smaller and there’s more connection between artist and audience. Where else can you go to hear some great music by the original author, and then maybe have a beer with them afterward?” MacPhee estimates more than 13,000 attendees last year with, of course, the goal to exceed that total in 2017. “Our tourismpartners are very happy with Island Hopper,” she adds. “Most partnering businesses tell us they see a 45% to 65% increase in food and beverage revenue, with increased room bookings, and that’s our job at the VCB.” But just as importantly, another job at the Visitor & Convention Bureau is to entertain Lee County guests and provide an experience they enjoy enough to want to repeat — and Nancy MacPhee feels that’s mission accomplished with Island Hopper. “The chance to see one of these talented songwriters up close is an experience like no other,” she says. “Typically on any given night there are three or four shows within walking distance, so grab your walkin’ shoes and get ready to be entertained.”

Welcome Home

Each issue, COASTE opens the door and welcomes you to tour one of Southwest Florida’s premier homes. After all, living here is more than a lifestyle. It’s a soul style.

This exquisitely designed and constructed European-style estate is one of only four homes south of the historic Edison&FordEstates, directly on theCaloosahatchee River. Enjoy almost 6,000 square feet of luxury, including two separate Master Suites, two guest bedrooms, 5.5 baths, three-car garage and many other features including a 60,000-gallon negative edge pool and waterfall constructed by the contractor who created Pirates of the Caribbean at DisneyWorld. The oversized lot (just under one acre) features a 150-foot dock with 14,000-pound lift, and no traffic noise due to the distance from all bridges. Your best value for direct riverfront living near the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Price: $1,999,999. Listing agent: Mary O’Toole, Barclays Real Estate Group.

Photographer: Nick Hopkins | Photoluxephotography.com

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personalities

By John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher, PamRambo and the Beaches of Fort Myers-Sanibel

On an island that hosts the only shell museum in the United States, it goes without saying that — from the Sanibel Stoop to the Captiva Crouch — you’ll find a lot of shell lovers. However, there’s only one person passionate enough to have conceived and created an automobile completely covered in shells, as well as perfected and published her own dictionary of “shell speak.” Meet Pam Rambo. As Southwest Florida’s unofficial spokesperson of shells, Rambo and her daily walks on the beach are simply following in the footsteps that her mother set out for her, years ago as a child growing up near the shores of Virginia Beach and vacationing the beaches of North Carolina. “Our house was full of shells,” she recalls. “It was our kind of way of life. It’s what I knew growing up.” Rambo’s way of life took an unusual twist (pardon the pun) in 1994, upon her first visit to Captiva Island. There, while wading in the low surf searching for shells with her soon-to-be husband Clark, the two were playfully jostling for position when his foot stuck in the sand — and he toppled over, breaking his leg. “We had rented a house on Captiva for a month, and he winds up having surgery and a cast. That’s how our love of shelling started,” she laughs today. Following marriage and five years in Miami for his job — interspersed with regular vacations to Sanibel and Captiva — the couple decided to permanently relocate to the islands in 2001. Always an artist and a lover of art,

Her passion is shelling, and thus the website iLoveShelling.comwas born. “I felt like I had foundmy calling. I started writing and it just took off. It’s a community of people who love what I love. It reaches somany people around the world, for somany different reasons.” —PamRambo

COASTE | personalities 29

York Times , National Geographic , Coastal Living , Florida Travel & Life plus many more, including international travel media.

Pam Rambo opened two galleries in three years, selling work that she and others created. As fate would have it, she sold those galleries four weeks before Hurricane Charlie in 2004. But Rambo’s hardly the retiring type, and her passion for art and shells came together a few years later, when she started painting shells and holiday cards, and quickly gained distribution in 30 stores within a month. And then, along came her first Apple computer — and this odd thing called “blogging.” “I took one of the classes at the Apple store to learn how to build a website,” she recalls. “When I asked the guy how to get people to my site, he said: do a blog. I had never heard of such a thing, but he encouraged me to write about what I was passionate about.” That passion was shelling, and thus the website iLoveShelling.com was born. “I felt like I had found my calling,” Rambo says. “I started writing and it just took off. It’s a community of people who love what I love. It reaches so many people around the world, for so many different reasons.” And reachpeople shedoes. According to internet and social media analytics, Rambo’s website was visited by almost 675,000 shell lovers last year in 173 countries. And her social media outlets — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube — average 425,000 or so impressions every month. “The thing is, I’m just a sheller who enjoys sharing what I can with others,” she explains. “None of this happened by design.” Maybenot, but PamRambo today is recognizedas one of the go-to people for shelling in Southwest Florida — and has been a featured contributor to Good Morning America , the Travel Channel , Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio , the New

But few endeavors to bring the love of shells to the world can top her amazing creation for the first National Sea Shell Day on the first day of summer in 2016. Working with Lee County VCB staff that conceived the holiday as a way to put a spotlight on Southwest Florida, Rambo volunteered to come up with the big idea. After two days, it hit her: a huge shell sculpture that was mobile, capable of spreading the joy of shelling anywhere. The result is the “Shell Love Bug,” a Volkswagen Beetlebeautifullydecorated inmore than20,000 native shells with (appropriately) a Junonia in the center of the heart. “I came up with the idea and the design, and every single one of those 20,000 shells was collected in Southwest Florida,” she says. “Sixty-five people were involved in the project, including the Sanibel Shell Crafters, and in the end it was a 1,200 hour labor of love.” The Shell Love Bug is now the property of the Visitor & Convention Bureau and is seen

at many tourism events, where crowds gather in amazement at the beauty and detail of this moveable art. Most recently, Rambo has released a fun-filled (and pun-filled) dictionary of what she calls The Official Guide to Speaking Shellanguage . Available at her web and in retail outlets on Sanibel and Captiva, the colorful book takes readers on a lighthearted tour of “shell speak” that’s sure to have you “shellaughing.”

In the end, however, Pam Rambo is simply a woman who loves shelling, and loves sharing that passionwith other like-souled individuals. “We walk the beach every day,” she says, “sometimes at sunrise, others at sunset. The best time is whenever you aren’t rushed, because the beach truly is therapy. Everything else disappears.” { www.iLoveShelling.com }

COASTE | personalities 33

Room With A View What’s your favorite kind of vacation destination? Each issue, COASTE opens the door and takes you on a tour of one of Southwest Florida’s premier places to rest, relax, reconnect and recharge your body and soul. Hotel Indigo is the only upscale lodging choice in downtown Fort Myers with spectacular views of the cityscape and the Caloosahatchee River. The boutique hotel features 60 luxury guestrooms and seven suites, each with a host of creature comforts including complimentary coffee, tea and Wi-Fi. A 24-hour fitness center and swimming pool is located rooftop for guest convenience and pleasure. If you’re in the mood to celebrate in the evening, Hotel Indigo’s Rooftop Bar is where you’ll want to watch the sunset. Personalized service and an artsy, boutique style are all yours to enjoy.

34 34 COASTE | ROOMWITH A VIEW

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OASTE - JUNJUL16MS.indd 35

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What’s Happening on Your

July - September — Community Events

Jul- SEPT

DOWNTOWN FORT MYERS ART WALK July - Sept On the first Friday of eachmonth from6 PM - 10 PM— and now, on the first Saturdays from 11AM– 4 PM— art fans can enjoy an evening of visual arts, art gallery openings andmore! Over 11 art galleries invite locals and visitors to a self-guided tour throughout the Downtown Fort Myers River District core and Gardener’s Park area. Art enthusiasts can evenmeet the artists at most of the galleries and enjoy live art demonstrations! www.FortMyersArtWalk.com

JUL- SEPT

FORT MYERS MYSTERY WALK July - Sept Every second Friday of themonth, MysteryWalk is a festival that combines culture and different mediums of art to bring our community together in an educational experience! Elements of performance art, street art, digital art, community interactive art, visual art andmusic all formas one to createMysteryWalk. TheMystery is that guests will never know what to expect! www.FortMyersRiverDistrictAlliance.com

jul- sept

FORT MYERS MUSIC WALK July - Sept On the third Friday of every month from6 PM - 10 PM, the River District comes alive with local music! Numerous participating venues feature livemusic by local and regional talent. Restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops also showcase a wide range of music during themonthly MusicWalk. Featuring jazz, blues, rock, drum circles, and piano, guests can expect to hear a wide variety of musical genres. Many venues will also feature additional attractions such as wine and food tastings. www.FortMyersRiverDistrictAlliance.com

July - September — On Stage

jun 15- jul 29

RIGHT BED, WRONG HUSBAND! (June 15 - July 29) In order to have his allowance increased, young bachelor Ted wrote his pinchpenny uncle that he has recently beenmarried. However, this is not true and nearly blows up in Ted’s face when his uncle stops in for an unexpected visit. Ted is thrown into the whirlwind of amess when his unclemistakes Ted’s best friend’s wife as Ted’s new wife. Things only get more andmore hilarious from there on! Come see this mixup of who’s who at The Broadway Palm this summer! www.broadwaypalm.com

JULY 18-19

PAW PATROL LIVE! (July 18 & 19) PAW Patrol Live!, based on the hit preschool series PAWPatrol, is coming to Southwest Florida this summer at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall! The show will bring everyone’s favorite pups to center stage for an action packed, high energy, musical adventure. Each performance will prove that “no job is too big, no pup is too small” by sharing lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills and problem solving. www.bbmannpah.com

Sep7- OCT7

GROOVIN’ THE 60s & 70s MUSICAL (Sept 7 - Oct 7) Remember the good ol’ days when themusic was great and the dancing was too? Then this play is for you! Get ready to be transported back to those days with this fun-filled comedy musical. Get ready to groove with the 60s and boogie with the 70s classic hits. Featuring songs likeMidnight Train To Georgia, Let’s Get It On, Sweet Home Alabama, Saturday Night Fever, IWant You Back, Stayin’ Alive andmany more. Come catch the excitement at the Broadway Palm! www.broadwaypalm.com

SEP 19 OCT22

OUTSIDE MULLINGAR (Sept 19 - Oct 22) Tony awards and Pulitzer Prize receiving author John Patrick Shanley shares with us this delightful romantic comedy set along the quiet Irish countryside. Come follow the romance between two lovable oddball characters, Anthony and Rosemary, as they seek to figure out what love actually is. These two farmers will need to overcome land feuds, rivalries, and their own romantic hesitations to find true happiness. Shanley uses great combination between dark humor and poetic pose, illustrating it’s never too late to take a chance on true love. Come see this spectacular tale at the Florida Rep! www.floridarep.org

July - September — Arts

JULY 7-26

STRICTLY NATIVE AND UNTAMED WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY (July 7 - 26) Retiredmarine and wildlife scientist, and backcountry guide, Al Hoffacker has experiencedmany memorable outdoor moments through his work. Luckily for us, he tookmany photographs and will be sharing themat his exhibit during July. The exhibit opens Friday, July 7 during the Fort Myers ArtWalk in the downtown historic River District. www.sbdac.com

AUG 4-23

TEXTURES, TONES & TEXTILES (Aug 4 - 23)

Through themultifaceted, multicultural experiences of eight eclectic artists, this group exhibit will demonstrate the importance of art as an essential asset in the tapestry of our society. Featuring Artists Gina Battle, KathyWood, Donna Valenti, Lesley Morrow, NickMasiello, Dharma LeFevre, andMichael Pinckne —“Textures Tones &Textiles,” expression of personal experiences is depicted through the materials each artist chooses to work with. Prepare for an explorative journey that will bring creativity and interpretation tomind! www.sbdac.com

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JULY- SEPT

SOCO SECOND SATURDAY ART CRAWL (July - Sept) Fort Myers is quickly becoming a hub for artists, art advocates, musicians andmore, and the SoCo Art Crawl further intensifies this. Since their first event inOctober 2016, the event has brought together local talent and their patrons for a night filled with fun, artistic entertainment! www.fortmyers-sanibel.com

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July - September — In Concert

“The best way to have a

july - aug

on Fort Myers Beach!”

SOUNDS OF SUMMER CONCERT SERIES (July - August) The Davis Arts Center proudly invites you to come attend one of their Sounds of the Summer Concert series. On July 14, come see Pine Island’s Strange Arrangement — the talentedmusical family that has broken down themusical genre borders creating a unique and wonderful sound. On July 28, Tampa’s contemporary rock brothers duo Ries Brothers headline, with Southwest Florida’s reggae band The Freecoasters opening for them. Finally, to finish up summer of 2017, onAugust 11 come see locals MorganMarie and Alec Prorock play a variety of different genres andmusic, while sticking around for Jazz headliner Danny Sinoff. www.sbdac.com

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Compare. Not all Southwest Florida media are alike. Some serve up the same old same old, the same old way. Not COASTE. We’re the first Southwest Florida magazine that’s a new, true multi-media network. Compare. We reach today’s readers when, where and how they want to be reached. Print magazine. Interactive digital magazine, downloadable as a mobile app. E-marketing. Social media. Website news. That’s a fresh, multi-media approach that reaches 150,000-plus high income visitors and residents in Lee and Collier Counties with every issue. And unlike other magazines, it’s all free. Compare. Fascinating stories and breathtaking photography, in a fresh, new look and feel. Now, choose COASTE. Nothing else compares. The top pick for smart advertisers like you.

Read us now. Submit your news now. Subscribe free now. Advertise now. Sales@YourCoaste.com | 239.395.3251 | YourCoaste.com

Where the Locals Go to Dine

july- aug

BELL TOWER SHOPS SUMMER CONCERT SERIES (July - August) Come visit the Bell Tower Shops as they host the summer’s must see livemusical series! Happening every Thursday, the free summer concert series offers mall goers the chance to see live performance acts as they stroll about through their day. Be sure to come July 6 and August 10, as NBC’s ‘The Voice’ star — and Southwest Florida resident — Sheena Brook will perform. For a complete schedule, please visit www.thebelltowershops.com. STEVE MILLER BAND & PETER FRAMPTON (July 15) Since 1966, the Steve Miller Band has pumped out hit after hit such as The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle, and Jet Airliner (to name a few). SteveMiller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, and is looking forward to coming to Southwest Florida on tour! Opening for them is another music great, Peter Frampton. From“ShowMe theWay” to “Baby, I Love YourWay,” Frampton is sure to have everyone singing along. Come see these twomusic greats at GermainArena July 15! www.germainarena.com

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july 15

Olde Sanibel Shoppes 630 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel 239-395-1464 - IslandPaws.com Sunset Cruises wildlife, sailing, or live music Lady Chadwick Come out to beautiful Captiva Island. Explore our amazing “out islands” and watch dolphins in the wild. First class tours and expeditions. Customized private charters. Captiva Cruises will be your vacation highlight. MAKS & VAL LIVE ON TOUR: OUR WAY June 18 Brothers Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, the hottest stars of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” are bringing to life the show they’ve dreamed about since childhood, combining an honest and unfiltered narrative of their life story with the world class dancing, creativity and passion they are known for. Collaborating with the greatest choreographers in he busine s and supported by a cast of fellow dance professionals, the show will surprise and delight with timeless elegance and steamy seduction. www.BBManPAH.com June - September — On Stage www.rentals.viprealty.com 1506 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel, FL 33957 Toll Free (877) 541-6681 36 239-472-5300 www.captivacruises.com Cayo Costa State Park # 1 shelling destination 2016 ISLAND HOPPER SONGWRITER FEST Sept 23 – Oct 2 From Sanibel and Captiva, to Fort Myers Beach and downtown Fort Myers, there’s live music here, there and everywhere as 50-plus singer-songwriters come together in Southwest Florida’s fun-tastic festive event. You’ll have to pay attention who’s playing what where, but there’s never a cover charge and always a good time to be had. www.fortmyers-sanibel.com Daily Dolphin Cruises with naturalist on board Useppa Island picturesque island retreat Cabbage Key “cheeseburger in paradise” Sept 23- Oct 2 Enjoy your free Digital edition Of the best of sanibel, captiva and sw Florida 5 times a year, wherever you May be. June 18 C aptiva C ruises Island Hopping • Shelling • Dolphin Watching Sunset and Sailing Cruises • Private Charters GALLOWAY CAPTIVA TRIATHALON Sept 10 & 11 The Galloway Captiva Triathlon is now open to online registration. The Captiva Triathlon is a family, fun and fitness weekend at South Seas Island Resort centered on a children’s race on Saturday morning and an adult sprint-length race on Sunday morning. www.captivatri.org Make Your Castle in the Sand! Nov – Jan Getaways Online SUBSCRIBE FREE COASTE | ON STAGE Sept 10+ 11

Thru July 2

COASTE - JUNJUL16MS.indd 36

MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL Thru July 2

Breakfast & Lunch Open 7:00 am - 3pm

RATED Food — 4½ Stars Service — 4½ Stars Atmosphere — 4 Stars Out of 5 Stars

Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common other than a black lace bra — and memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, lack of sex and more. The hilarious celebration of women and life’s change is set to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s that’ll leave you laughing and dancing in the aisles! The show runs Saturday, May 19 to Saturday, July 2. www.BroadwayPalm.com

Olde Sanibel Shoppes • 630 Tarpon Bay Rd. • Sanibel 239.472.2625 • www.OvereasyCafeSanibel.com 239-472-1956 • SweetMelissasCafe.com 1625 Periwinkle Way • Sanibel, Florida 33957 4 a Celebrating 8 Years on Sanibel! Newly Renovated Bar • Newly Crafted Menu Creatively Out of the Ordinary Lunch 11:30am-3:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday Dinner 5pm-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED Executive Chef Melissa Talmage AIRPORT & LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IslandTaxi.com • ride@islandtaxi.com Call for Reservations 239-472-4888 More Than a Ride!

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