Downtown Fort Myers Is

Melissa Talmage: Executive Artist. Executive Chef. Or Executive Both? Fish Stories: A Day in the Life of a Fishing Guide

A Room With A View A Gift From the Sea Plus Win a 3-Night Captiva Island Vacation!

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With my nose pressed to the cold glass.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but my heart and soul has been owned by Florida since I was a child, visiting my older bro and nephews (about my age) in Clearwater each year. Once November arrived and the trees were stripped barren, I knew I was in for a six-month punishment. Overcast skies that hovered week upon week, like some gray alien mother ship — mirrored on land, of course, by snow, not the pretty white stuff that lasts a few hours, but the ugly and dirty snow that accumulates everywhere, the last filthy touch to this bleak-and-white picture called winter. And me? I watched out the window with my nose pressed to the cold glass, waiting for spring. It still amazes me that so many people I know from the Midwest and other parts of Cold Country U.S.A. are adamant about life there — that while they love vacationing in Southwest Florida, well, it’s a nice place to visit but they just

couldn’t live with the heat. First, we thank you for visiting us; you’re always welcome back. Second, thanks for not moving because the traffic would be, if possible, worse. I say this as summer in Southwest Florida descends upon us, with 90-some degree days for the next three months and humidity like a wet blanket. I love it. I love it hot, and I always will. And I know many of you feel the same way. Four months of rigorous heat sure beats six months of monotonous cold. So get out there and join me in embracing summer, with all its heat and humidity and sunshine and blue skies and afternoon showers and gorgeous, God-given sunsets. And take a magazine with you to read — tablet or print. You know which one. Enjoy.

John Sprecher, Editor


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VOLUME 1 | Number 3

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More than a lifestyle. It’s a soul style.

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ON OUR COVER: the Ewing family at Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel. Image: Milissa Sprecher




ByWendy Payton

Images: Milissa Sprecher



Melissa Talmage, Executive Chef of Sweet Melissa’s Cafe, has put Sanibel Island, Florida squarely on the culinary map.

Don’t let the deceptively demure name fool you. Melissa Talmage, Executive Chef of Sweet Melissa’s Cafe, has put Sanibel Island,

Talmagehasbuiltanaward-winningrestaurant that exudes laid-back warmth, extraordinary made-from-scratch food combinations and

flawless service. The open floor plan allows the diner a glimpse of the exhibition kitchen, where you can see Melissa and her team at work conjuring up delicacies from sauces

Florida squarely on the culinary map. Take away the world-class shelling, breathtaking sunsets, warm Gulf breezes and sugar- sand beaches of Sweet Melissa’s Cafe’s

A can’t-miss destination for the adventurous foodie. Yes, she really is that good.

to desserts, delivered to you like gifts wrapped in bows. Fine linens, a comfortable bar area, gracious patio dining and sultry jazz immerse

Sanibel locale, and the island would remain a can’t-miss destination for the adventurous foodie. Yes, she really is that good.



you in a dining experience unlike any in Southwest Florida.

Her culinary heroes reflect her personal principles. Besides McPhail, Talmage points to celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, who is politically active in the farm-to-table movement to support small

Originally schooled for a career in law, Talmage decided that she’d rather spend her days in a kitchen than in a courtroom.Her tenacious pursuit landed her at Manhattan’s French Culinary Institute, and then in to the kitchens of some of the most respected restaurants in the United States. She soaked up both culinary

producers and ensure that no American goes hungry. Her admiration of top female chefs, including James Beard honoree Barbara Lynch, reflect her passion for the advancement of women in a field traditionally dominated by men.

Talmage on Sanibel Island, Florida in 2009 after fleeing Hurricane Katrina. And, she landed nicely with a job offer from the former Redfish Blufish restaurant, which was reformatted to fit the chef’s landed

excellence and restaurant business acumen from New York City’s prestigious Union Cafe as well as Tory McPhail at Commander’s Palace and others in New Orleans.


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creative vision, and reopened as Sweet Melissa’s Cafe.

salty” — that shows up again and again in unusual dishes like Pork Belly with Pine Island Clams and Seafood Stew, a delectable explosion of mahi-mahi or redfish with scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels,

Talmage was determined to succeed on Sanibel Island, but only on her own terms. “I was lucky enough to be supported financially by an investor who believed in me. I wanted to keep things interesting, keep even restaurant regulars guessing,” Talmage

chorizo and fennel, accented with a lemony saffron cream. Duck confit is a not-so-small, melt-in-your-mouth fowl served over subtly sweet lentils. Even the Roasted Beet Salad is kicked up with a mouth-watering layering of red and yellow beets, hearts of palm, orange segments, arugula, spiced pecans and roasted shallot vinaigrette.

“I had to resist the pressure to do what everyone else was doing. The island didn’t need another fried grouper sandwich, and I refused to give in.”

explained. “For the first couple of years when I was trying to new things than what was typically

done here, I had to resist the pressure to do what everyone else was doing. The island didn’t need another fried grouper sandwich, and I refused to give in.”

Fall in love if you must, but, don’t expect these amazing culinary combinations on the menu for long, because Talmage is always striving to deliver the next great culinary experience.

And for that, her patrons are grateful. Chef

So what’s next? She won’t commit to specifics.

Melissa’s dishes leave even the regulars with an “aha!” each time they visit, thanks to her playful flirtationwith fresh, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, and a mind that’s constantly creating new taste adventures delivered via your choice of small plates or full-sized entrees. Not an easy task when you’re dedicated to adapting ingredients from a small island location. Yet, Talmage works her menu like a maestro, each beguiling bite delivering juxtapositions of subtlety and brashness, earthiness and refinement.

“I’m toying around with a couple of ideas for Sweet Melissa’s Café,” she explains. “It’s too hard to be successful by opening another restaurant. Instead, I’ll continue to work with some new things here in order to stay creative and inspired. Perhaps a cookbook, we’ll see.” With a proven track record of sweet success, whatever Melissa Talmage comes up with next is sure to surprise and delight both long-time local fans and first-time Island visitors.

Talmage’s favorite dish? She doesn’t have one. But, she does have a favorite flavor profile — “sweet and



Sweet Melissa’s Cafe is located at 1625 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. The cafe is open for lunch Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to close. For more information, call 239-472-1956 or visit

} { For more information or reservations 239-472-1956



Room With A View What’s your favorite type 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. The legendary ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa of Captiva Island hasn’t earned its “legendary” status via some inspired marketing ploy — the fact is, the resort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts a highly colorful history across its 80-plus years of hospitality. But one thing’s for sure: ‘Tween Waters Inn boasts some of the most charming, historic seaside cottages (with incredible Gulf of Mexico vistas) anywhere on Sanibel or Captiva. Oh, and the view indoors is as beautiful as outdoors, too.



“A lot of our clients think this is the best job in the world, and for me, it is. But they don’t have a clue about the work involved.”

— Captain Rob McKay


hat’s One Mighty Fish Story By John Sprecher



This Wednesday begins like most other Wednesdays during season in Southwest Florida — a season that (fortunately for our tourism economy) seems to be getting longer each year. Up at 4:30 AM, out the door of his Fort Myers home 15 minutes later, then about an hour’s drive to Captiva, where Rob McKay pulls into the Marina at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort and Spa, and prepares for another day on the water. Captain Rob, as fishing guides are so anointed, has been repeating the same routine for 13 years now. McKay is co- owner of Santiva Salt Water Fishing Team, a renowned and highly respected group of guides that includes father-in- law Jim Burnsed Sr., and brother in law, Jimmy Burnsed. Captains Jim, Jimmy and Rob all operate out of ‘Tween Waters Marina — and with Captain Jim’s 30- plus years, that makes him the most experienced guide on the island. His definition of a great guide isn’t one who necessarily will deliver the biggest catch, or largest number of fish caught. As Captain Rob prepares his boat for the first excursion of the day — trips are $100 per hour and can be booked in two-, four- or custom-hour packages — he knows that if he’s lucky, he’ll be back home with his wife Amy and daughters Abby and Carly in about, oh, 15 hours or so.



“A lot of our clients think this is the best job in the world, and for me, it is,” McKay says. “But they don’t have a clue about the work involved, and you really have to love it to do it. Being on the water is something I’m definitely passionate about, so no, I guess I don’t go to work like most people might think. Although after months of long days, it does feel a little like work.”

are more than 400 licensed fishing guides in Lee County alone — and his definition of a great guide isn’t one who necessarily will deliver the biggest catch, or largest number of fish caught. “We believe that the best overall experience is what people want to enjoy most,” he says, “not just catching a boatload of fish. We have a lot of families with children, and we try to share the history and nature of Southwest Florida, too, as part of our service. And not everyone wants to

How competitive is this work that really isn’t work? According to McKay, he estimates there


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To his credit and client service style, Captain Rob treats us all with the utmost respect — and never laughs (derisively) when one of us pulls a boneheaded move. His instincts as a father of two

Captain Rob McKay ruminates on his life. “I’ve been lucky,” he says. “My father-in-law has been my teacher. When I started guiding, he took us out and taught us everything — to have the knowledge

girls are quickly revealed as he baits our children’s hooks, shows them how to hold the rod, helps them cast and demonstrates how to reel in. Plus, he passes on the opportunity to laugh when yours truly tries to cast, and fails miserably. Repeat: miserably. In the end, due to an approaching thunderstorm, our outing is cut short for obvious safety issues. We wind up with one catch — a sea trout — plus numerous, vigorous bites from the dolphins that surrounded our boat and apparently loved our bait.

of someone who’s been doing this 34 years is a great blessing, and nobody ever taught him. He’s taught me how to read the tide, read the weather, understand what the various types of fish do and where they’ll be, instinctively. Everybody things they can find fish, but it ain’t that easy. Still, I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t a fishing guide. I can’t even imagine my life.” Fortunately, Rob McKay doesn’t have to imagine. All he has to do is manage maybe 6-7 months of 15 hour days, make as much money as he can, then readjust to slow season that’s slow enough he’s “eating Ramen noodles forever” while — of course — having to deal with the

As we no-wake-zone our way back to dock at ‘Tween Waters Marina,


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occasional customer who loves to complain and share about the “one that got away.” “I call them my ‘steak eaters’,” McKay says. “You know, the guys in the restaurant who eat just about everything on their plate, then complain it wasn’t just right, and want it for free. I’ve had a few ‘steak eaters’ in my day. Not many, but they exist.” As we arrive the dock, Captain Rob fillets the sea trout we caught for dinner that evening — even as a serious thunderstorm aggressively approaches from the east and drops lightning all across Pine Island Sound. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I probably love my job like a 12,” he says as he fillets the trout. “I get to do some pretty cool stuff every day, meet a bunch of great people — 99% of whom are terrific. If I do my job right, I help create an outing they’ll remember the rest of their lives and hopefully, they come back for more as many have. It’s a good office. I definitely have a pretty good office.”

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Santiva Salt Water Fishing Team 239-472-1779




That was then, and this is now, and downtown Fort Myers is once again the place to be and be seen — thanks to a remarkable renaissance led by city visionaries and gutsy leaders.

Just about any given evening in the Downtown Fort Myers River District, you can find yourself bumping elbows with a cavalcade of personalities befitting a fashionable art district that’s complete with vintage brick streets, statuesque palms, fountain-studded plazas, studios, galleries, rhythmic beats, cocktail bars, cafes, theater houses, unique boutiques — studded with glorious glimpses of the meandering Caloosahatchee River and its breathtaking sunset vistas.

Today, it’s hard to imagine that only a few years ago this place was all but desolate, save for a smattering of downtown government workers who cleared out weekdays by 5 p.m. The handful of shops and cafes that existed closed then too, and remained that way all weekend. Few merchants had reason to smile then — because the only real, bona fide downtown between the cities of Sarasota and Miami had lost its mojo and became, for all intents and purposes, a ghost town of sorts.



TO BE. Images: Milissa Sprecher

But that was then, and this is now, and downtown Fort Myers is once again the place to be and be seen — thanks to a remarkable renaissance led by city visionaries and gutsy leaders. The hustle and bustle of this vibrant enclave, in fact, reflects a new wave of people with a fierce love of the River District, and a loyalty for its local businesses to match. Professionals of all ages, laughing over happy hour libations. Politicos

pontificating. Afternoon shoppers with near- bursting bags of new treasures. Loft residents catching up on the latest gossip. Expats lounging outside coffee houses, conversing in German, Spanish or the Queen’s English. Midwesterners taking in ghost tours. Theater patrons skittering to pre-performance dinners. Club kids grabbing a slice of pizza or a taco before the night gets hopping. Which means big smiling faces of downtown artisans, restaurateurs and shop keeps.



Established in 1886, Fort Myers was first a cattle trade hub, and from there built a commercial core. The town became well known nationally thanks to famous winter residents Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, whowere known to visit even before its incorporation, when recreational fishing in the area was in its hey day. When the railway reached Fort Myers in 1904, the city became an important destination for both commerce and tourism. Fort Myers saw its first skyscraper, the seven-story Franklin Arms Hotel, in 1924. Boom and bust cycles came and went throughout the years, yet downtown Fort Myers slowly grew to become the governmental, commercial and social center of Southwest Florida. But then, things went from quiet to bad to worse. Acombination of perceived (or real) crime, abandoned buildings and economic recession hit downtown hard and in 1983, City leaders — led by Council Members Veronica Shoemaker and Mayor Ellis Solomon — determined to stem the tide. Establishing the Downtown



Redevelopment Agency (DRA) through state enabling legislation, civic and business leaders created a master plan to better capitalize on the underutilized riverfront, revitalize the River District and establish a Historic Preservation program to protect and preserve the historic neighborhoods and landmarks not found anywhere else in Southwest Florida. “I wanted to be part of a way forward, to share my ideas and vision. Fort Myers had such potential.” - Mayor Randy Henderson

Today, Randy Henderson is Mayor of Fort Myers. “It was such a beautiful downtown,” he recalls. “In 1983, I wondered what it would be like in 20 to 30 years. I wanted to be part of a



way forward, to share my ideas and vision. Fort Myers had such potential.” The 2005-2009 utilities project included 54 contiguous blocks, and tore up every street in downtown. A few businesses did not survive the gutting. By the turn of the 21st century, however, the picture and potential of downtown was even bleaker. This once vital center lost its appeal to convention business as hotels pulled out, corporate businesses departed for larger cities with superior infrastructure, and tourists skipped downtown in favor of bustling Gulf beachfront hotels 15 miles away.


But downtown Fort Myers was lucky — because a talented and dedicated visionary has been leading the Downtown Redevelopment Agency since its inception. Over the past 30 years, Executive Director Don Paight has worked with political leaders and River District Alliance merchants group to reenergize the historic district. Anchored by an underground utilities project, the City of Fort Myers in turn found grant money to undertake a streetscape improvement project to the tune of $55 million, the largest known project of its kind in the U.S. “The 2005-2009 utilities project included 54 contiguous blocks, and tore up every street in downtown. A few businesses did not survive the gutting,” explained Paight. “But, as painful as that experience was, the result is an award-winning restoration that included resurfacing to restore the original 1920s brick streets, improved infrastructure, the reintroduction

32 30


of Fort Myers’ legendary palm trees, new water basin and Riverside Park, which has led to a

heritage. Some of our buildings date to the 1800s. Almost every single retailer and restaurant in the

renewal of the downtown area. The project has been such a success, we’re now turning our attention to the revitalization of those corridors leading in to the River District.” Paight gleams at the result of the ambitious effort and ongoing success of the public-private

River District are one-of- a-kind businesses that you just can’t find anywhere else.” And, its the romantic appealoftheuniquehistoric district that has attracted dozens of ambitious new entrepreneurs, small business owners and retailers, including Daniel

“Almost every single retailer and restaurant in the River District are one-of-a-kind businesses that you just can’t find anywhere else.”

partnership to restore the River District. “What we have is an authentic downtown with a unique

and Zak Kearns of the Kearns Restaurant Group, a father-son team with more than 30 years

33 1


experience in hospitality and real estate on the east coast of Florida.

From two-and-a-half years of work, the Kearns group has opened the phenomenally popular Ford’s Garage, which features a bevy of mouthwatering beef and buffalo burgers, some of which are named for local movers and shakers. A stop at Ford’s Garage is not

“We were originally called in as consultants to help brand what is now The Edison Restaurant on McGregor Boulevard, but my dad saw the potential in downtown,”

“The small hometown vibe — a tight-knit community that supports events like Art Walk, Bike Night,

Zak Kearns says. “It was poised to be the area’s e n t e r t a i nm e n t district, and when a prime property opened up on Main Street, we couldn’t

complete without a visit the restaurant’s loo to check out the Firestone tire sinks in the bathroom.

Music Walk and car cruises make our business happen.”

With that success, the entrepreneurs

resist the opportunity to build up the River District dining scene. The small hometown vibe — a ‘Mayberry’ tight-knit community that supports events likeArtWalk, BikeNight,Music Walk and car cruises make our business happen. We had no idea we’d have the overwhelming kind of reception we’ve received.”

have launched an upscale eatery serving up unique fusion fare, Firestone Grill. The landmark restaurant also includes a second floor jazz club and rooftop bar with spectacular water basin views. The Kearns’ team also has opened up Mexican-inspired Cabos Cantina. The group’s efforts not only enliven River District

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cuisine, it has generated more than 250 jobs for local residents.

allowed us to make great progress in the River District. We don’t always agree, but we listen to each other, we are cordial, and we get things done.” There’s an old saying: “If you build it, they will come.” But, in the case of the Fort Myers River District, the better wisdom may be: “If you rebuild it they will come.” The City is counting on reaching a critical mass of residents, which in turn attracts more restaurants, retail, professional and hospitality businesses. For downtown Fort Myers, the timing couldn’t be better. Urban living is a trend happening all across America, and baby boomers especially are looking for a high quality of life as they near retirement. The downtown River District is only place in Lee County that offers within walking or biking distance a picturesque riverfront, exciting restaurant experiences, retail shopping, a new $20 million library cultural center, post office, bank, government center and all the things that make for a very high quality city. It’s almost as if

The Kearns Group currently is working on a fourth restaurant concept for the River District. Legendary gangster Al Capone was rumored to have an escape house in the River District area, and Kearns’ new joint, Capone’s, will feature the mobster’s Alcatraz prison cell and prohibition style vibe. The menu will serve up pizza from a coal fired, earth stone oven, with full liquor bar. The Kearns Group is just one story among many business owners and entrepreneurs who are helping to raise the tide for River District revitalization. Mayor Henderson believes that the River District is still underused today, but with a big difference from the early 1980s. “We have a very specific plan for development, of which 60% has evolved in tangible ways.” Importantly, he emphasizes that “the Fort Myers body politic enjoys tremendous consensus and respect for each other that has


waking up every day in paradise is just an added perk.

{ } Downtown River District

What’s in store next for the evolving River District includes a new franchise hotel to attract larger conventions for its Harborside Event Center, as well as adjoining waterfront restaurant and retail space. A new age 55-plus community will replace an old vacant hotel, and new mixed-use and condo community projects at a range of price points are moving forward as retirees, international tourists, young professionals and second-home buyers seek the unique, premium quality lifestyle that the River District affords. “Our vision is almost coming to fruition,” Mayor Henderson says. “We want every first-time visitor’s takeaway to be — ‘Wow! I’m planning right now to visit again. I may consider living here!’ When that happens, we’ve achieved our objective for the River District.”

Making it the place to be.

To find out where you can shop, dine and play in downtown Fort Myers, visit Upcoming can’t-miss activities include Fort Myers Freedom Fest on July 4th, Art Walk on the first Friday of each month from 6-10 p.m. and Music Walk on the third Friday of each month beginning at 7 p.m.


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TAKE FIVE “I’ll probably be crying tears of joy.” By John Sprecher

Kathy Bridge-Liles is Chief Administrative Officer of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Ostensibly, she is the flag bearer most responsible for the successful, medically-caring future of more than 200,000 children who currently live in the six-county Southwest Florida area that Children’s Hospital serves. But CAO of a watershed project isn’t necessarily what Ms. Bridges-Liles set out to accomplish in her career. Born of a working class family in Philadelphia with five brothers, Kathy seemed called to her career by age 7 — when she declared she wanted to be a pediatric nurse. Twenty-three years, mentors later and college degrees later, Kathy Bridge-Liles parlayed her move to Southwest Florida in 1990 to obstetrics nurse (see 7-year-old dream), but dared to accomplish more — earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees to develop new and innovative pediatric care programs with Lee Memorial Health System and Children’s Hospital. Today, Ms. Bridges-Liles is truly a rock star of Southwest Florida — helping to make Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida not a whim, or a dream, but reality — and in doing so, improving the lives (and quality of life) of everyone who lives here and loves a child. Each month, COASTE’S “Take Five” asks five questions of a community leader that have not been shared in advance. Today, Kathy Bridge-Liles tells us the how, the why and the triumphs of advancing Southwest Florida’s scope of health care for children.



Here’s your grapefruit question: how important is this to our entire community? For 15 years, we’ve been talking about expanding beds for children here. Building a newChildren’s Hospital not only symbolizes our community’s commitment to children, for generations to come, but will also help us provide better care to the entire community. 1 The new Golisano Children’s Hospital, then, will offer significant improvements in care that will benefit not only children, but also families. Yes.We’re doubling our emergency department, we’re expanding our beds for pediatric oncology and intensive care — 30 additional beds for children — plus each room is now private, with a couch that opens to a double bed, for parents who want to stay 24-7, and there are many. 2 3 Tell us about our scope of services for kids — anything we won’t have? The only two major services we are not staffing at Golisano Children’s Hospital are neurosurgery and cardiac surgery. We simply do not have the population numbers to support these specialties, in staffing, because we wouldn’t have the numbers of cases needed to keep those surgeons on the very top of their game. Maybe this is an obvious question, but what’s your biggest challenge — money or media? Of course, funding such a large endeavor is the primary challenge. Even with the help of Thomas Golisano and many other major contributors, getting to a number as big as $242 million isn’t easy. Now, we need the help of every parent, grandparent and others who love kids in our service area, to get us to the finish line — our fundraising goal is $100 million and we’re at $82 million, so it’s certainly within reach. We’re asking the community to help get us “to the finish line” so that we can provide the highest level of care to the children of Southwest Florida. It’s easy to contribute, too; just go to 4 5 So, think ahead three years from now — and the doors open for the first time. What are you doing? It’s kind of overwhelming to think about it, but when Golisano Children’s Hospital provides the highest level of quality care to children in the new patient and family centered environment — age appropriate care — I’ll feel that we’ve created a health care destination designed by children and families, for children and families that will meet 95% of their medical needs. I will probably be crying tears of joy, and feeling very proud to be a part of this community’s commitment to the children of Southwest Florida.


Welcome Home

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

Southwest Florida is replete with homes that speak to the essence of a graceful, luxurious and comforting lifestyle. This gorgeous Mediterranean-styled residence along the Calusahatchee River in historic downtown Fort Myers is such a home. Built in 2006, you’ll enjoy more than 6,600 square feet of living area including four bedrooms, four baths, high volume ceilings and vaulted windows, luxury appliances, three fireplaces and more — plus creature comforts such as boat dock with lift, infinity pool and spa, billiards room, media and fitness room, even guest suite. Price: $2,795,000. Listing agent: Mike McMurray, McMurray & Nette of Royal Shell Real Estate.




• Boundary • FEMA • State Permitting • Construction 2410 Palm Ridge Road Sanibel, Florida 33957 Office: 239.472.0095 Fax: 239.472.3566 Andrew Johnson, PSM President


A Gift From the Sea “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea We at COASTE recognize the gifts we are given each day. The following are some gifts from the sea that we’ve collected on our shores over the years. See how many you can identify and then get out and search for your own. Just remember that if an ocean friend is still inside that you must gently put it back. Only the deserted shells are yours to keep. 1. 2. 3.









Fighting Conch

Though the male Fighting Conch can be territorial toward other males of its own kind, the Fighting Conch is actually a lover, not a fighter. Flip one over and you can see its sword like foot swing out to flip itself right side up. Hence the name Fighting Conch.


Atlantic Fig Snail

The common fig snail is also known as the Atlantic figsnail. It grows approximately 3 - 4 inches in length, with a thin, light shell. The shell is pear shaped and flat at the top. If you find one of these treasures, you’ll need to be sure to wrap carefully to take home. Its shell is fairly thin and fragile.


Come and find out why Sunshine Seafood Café & Wine Bar of Captiva was voted 1st Place in Gulfshore Life Magazine as Best Kept Secret & Zagat rated. This casual and lovely café specializes in fine dining witha very respectable wine list. You have your choice of dining inside or outdoors Reservations are suggested and children are welcome. Open Daily, 11:30am - 9:00pm

Award winning RC Otter’s Island Eats is a place for the whole family! Serving the finest seafood dishes, voodoo steak and chops, creative pasta, and the largest vegetarian and kid’s menu anywhere. Over 100 menu items. Happy hour daily. Take-out available. Call-ahead seating available. Play the ring game and listen to the island sounds of our talented local musicians.

You ought to eat at Otter’s! MONDAY - SUNDAY, 8am - 10pm

14900 Captiva Drive, Captiva Island 239.472.6200 or Visit our Sister Restaurant Sunshine Grille Wood Fired Steaks & Seafood 8700 Gladiolus Drive at Winkler, Fort Myers 239.489.2233

Located in the Heart of Old Captiva Village 11508 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva Island, FL 33924 (239) 395-1142

Featuring Queenies Homemade Ice Cream, Milk Shakes, Smoothies, Candy Store, Gifts and More! 11508 Andy Rosse Lane Captiva, FL 33924 239-472-0234

The only place for fresh gourmet pizza


11513 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva Island, FL •

An Island paradise atmosphere for every special occasion.

Captiva’s most exciting restaurant Lunch and Dinner

Aside from offering an eclectic, innovative and contemporary menu, the Keylime Bistro boasts a less formal ambience with an uncompromising level of cuisine. Voted Best Island Dining by the News Press Readers Poll, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, First Place at the Junior League’s Taste of the Town, First Place People’s Choice at the Chef’s Auction, the Bistro continues to be a popular destination. We feature live music daily during lunch and dinner with a Sunday Jazz Brunch. Monday - Sunday 8:00am - 10pm Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Sunday Jazz Brunch Late night bar 239.395.4000 • 11509 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva Island

Seven Days a Week 11:30am - 10:00pm

Enjoy unique and spicy atmosphere while savoring the fine Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. To complement the evening choose from an array of imported and domestic beers and wines, not to mention refreshing margaritas. Dine inside or out. Take out available for those on the run.

14970 Captiva Drive, Captiva Island • 239-472-0248


3. Typically, shells of this family are shaped like long, slender augers or screws. World- wide, there are about 300 species. All are sand-dwelling carnivores found in warmer waters. By projecting a venomous barb, they stun their prey, which consists of various marine worms. They are easy to find for the most part while walking the shoreline, but don’t forget to check for a snail. 4. Despite its common name, the Crown Conch is not a true conch. While true conchs are herbivorous scavengers that feed only on plant matter, Crown Conchs are predatory. They feed on snails (including other Crown Conchs) and bivalves like clams and oysters. Not very royal behavior if you ask us. 5. The Lace Murex prefers coral reefs, rubble, in sandy ormuddy areas. The species ismost commonly found in intertidal to shallows just off the beach. Its range is from North Carolina south to southern Florida and west to Panama along its Caribbean coast. It’s the most common Florida Murex. It feeds on many species of bivalves, by boring a hole in the shell to feed on its occupant. Auger Crown Conch Lace Murex


ow to be on vacation for the rest of your life.

1. Start every day on the beach. Rise to splendid mornings with the rushing tide, the salty air, opulent shells, and the call of native birds. 2. End each day with a sunset. Delight in brilliant fusions of color that make every evening

a spectacle for the senses. Relax and breathe in a hypnotic sense of the islands. 3. Find your island paradise to call home. Discover the ease of island condo life or the sprawling adventure of a beachfront home. Live the life you’ve always wanted, here on Sanibel-Captiva.

We can help extend your vacation to a lifetime.

Call 239.472.3334



Robert Coscia, Broker / Owner


1177 Causeway Road, Sanibel Island, FL 33957 


Lettered Olive

Mmmm. Olives. Oh, wait. Not those kinds of olives. This olive, like all olives, is a carnivore: it captures bivalves and small crustaceans with its foot and takes them below the sand surface to digest. Its presence is sometimes detected at very low tides by the trails it leaves when it crawls below the surface on semi-exposed sand flats. 7. You can often find the Lightning Whelk egg chains on the beach. They are the long snake looking, spiky chains. FemaleWhelks produce these long egg chains which can get up to 33 inches. There can be up to 145 egg capsules in each strand and each capsule contains around 45 eggs. That’s alot of babies. The Lightning Whelk is also the only shell with a left handed opening. The Shark Eye snails are carnivorous gastropods which burrow in sand or mud. They feed on smaller snails and clams by drilling through the shells of those creatures. The snail secretes an acid onto the victim’s shell, then pierces the softened spot on the shell with its radula (tooth). One of their favorite foods is the Coquina which are the tiny multi-colored clams that burrow in sand at the shore. 8. Lightning Whelk Shark Eye



9. The Florida Banded Tulip has a beautifully decorated, spiral shell. This prized beach treasure can grow to over 4 inches in length. Banded tulips can be found from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida to Louisiana and Texas, extending to Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. They live on sand and muddy sand in water from 2 feet to 150 feet deep. FL Banded Tulip



The most prized and elusive shell you can find. So elusive — we’ve never found one here at COASTE in our 10-plus years on the islands. It is the official shell of the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club. The Junonia lives at depths of 200 feet in the Gulf of Mexico about a mile off shore. So, when one makes it to the shores, it is a big find. We on the other hand were sick of waiting, so ours comes all the way from She Sells Sea Shells where they aren’t quite as hard to find!


What’s Happening on Your

June + July — Community Events

June 1

COUNTRY MUSIC BARBEQUE June 1 Go country from 6:00-9:00 PM at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point. Enjoy a barbecue buffet with beef cowboy ribs, bratwurst and “sweet tea” pork, plus all the fixin’s. Enjoy a live concert by the JJ McCoy Band, famous for their smash hit “Redneck, White & Blue.” Country Western attire is encouraged. Tickets, $50 per person, full bar available. For details and tickets, call 239-390-4398.

SANIBEL-CAPTIVA ISLANDS NIGHT 2014 June 4 The Bailey family classic. Join in with all of fun loving Sanibel- Captiva Islanders for a Miracle Baseball Game and Lee County Sports Complex Parade. Pre-game activities and parade begin at 6:15 PM. Locals sing the National Anthem for the kids, plus between-inning games and contests. Game features Island High School Baseball All-Stars and Miracle players vs. Lakeland. $100 to sponsor event. Proceed to charity. Sponsor RSVP 239-472- 1516. Tickets free at Bailey’s General Store. June 4

June 5

HAPPY HOUR WITH AN AUTHOR June 5 MacIntosh Books will host author, Pamela Blair, Ph. D. for an informal signing with wine and cheese. Pamela is a life coach, therapist, and couples counselor with a busy practice in Shelburne, Vermont. Her books Getting Older Better & I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye offer readers sought after advice and wisdom for overcoming common life struggles. This is a FREE event. Personalized books will be available for purchase. 4 PM - 6 PM.



June 6

FORT MYERS ART WALK June 6 Historic Fort Myers Downtown River District hosts its popular, free, monthly night out from 6 - 10 PM. Art Walk features new art exhibits, live artist demos, street entertainment and a great atmosphere for shopping and dining. Art buyers and art enthusiasts take a self-guided, self-paced tour to meet local artists during exhibit openings at the many downtown galleries, art spaces and shops that sell fine art.

June 7

ROCKIN’ ON THE RIVER June 7 The concert series will showcase the #1 tribute bands in America! The lineup is June 7th Four Tops/ Temptations and Michael Jackson, July 5th Elton John and Billy Joel! These are the #1 tributes in the USA, and not only do they look like the real artist — they sound just like the real deal. It will be a “Rockin” Great Time at Rockin On The River.

June 14

3rd ANNUAL VETERANS FAIR AT HODGES UNIVERSITY, Fort Myers Campus June 14 This free event is open to all active duty military personnel, guards, reservists, veterans and their families in this exclusive military member event. Meet representatives from employers hiring veterans, local businesses, veteran’s services organizations and federal, state, and local government agencies. Plus, attendees have a chance to win some great door prizes. 239-938-7833.

June 20

FORT MYERS MUSIC WALK June 20 The River District comes alive every month during South Florida’s largest monthly free live music event. More than a dozen participating venues feature local and regional talent, and restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops showcase a wide range of musical stylings.



June + July — Community Events Continued

June 22

BRIAN REGAN LIVE COMEDY TOUR June 22 Critics and peers agree: Brian Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality, Brian fills theaters nationwide with fervent fans that span generations. Performance begins at 7 PM, tickets


Join MacIntosh Books and best-selling author, Jenny Milchman at Greenhouse Grill for a book discussion & delicious lunch. Jenny’s latest book, Ruin Falls (May 2014), is published by Random House and has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, praise from the New York Times and is an Indie Next List pick. Cost is $50 and includes lunch, discussion and personalized first edition of Ruin Falls. Call 472-1447 for more info. 11 AM - 12:30 PM

July 4

15th ANNUAL 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION AT MIROMAR OUTLETS July 4 This free Independence Day celebration begins with kids activities at 5:30 PM and continues through the 9:30 PM fireworks display over the lake. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Additional parking will be available at Germain Arena and Miromar Design Center. 239-948-3766. 3rd ANNUAL 4TH OF JULY FREEDOM FEST, Downtown Fort Myers, July 4 From 6 PM - 10 PM take part in the free live music, food, and children’s activities throughout the Historic River District. Live bands perform on several stages throughout the downtown area. Keep your eye to the sky for a spectacular fireworks display starting at 9:30 PM. 239-826-0356. FORT MYERS BEACH 4TH OF JULY Festivities kick off with a 10 AM parade up Estero Boulevard. Then, 15 minutes after sunset, one of the region’s most spectacular fireworks shows shoots off from the Fort Myers Beach Fishing Pier. Beachfront restaurants, lounges, and vendors step up the festivities, with music and activity in Times Square. Pick a seat anywhere along the sand for an eyeful of color and light. 239-454-7500. July 4

July 4



June + July — Community Events Continued 4th OF JULY FIREWORKS CRUISE FROM SANIBEL ISLAND Board at 7:30 PM to enjoy Sanibel’s fireworks show from the decks of the “Miss Paradise,” “Dolphin Waters” or “Sun Princess.” Listen to tropical music while relaxing on the tranquil waters of San Carlos Bay, watch the sunset and then catch a great view of the Sanibel Fireworks. Complimentary soft drinks are served. $49 per person. 239-472-8443. July 4

July 4

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION ON SANIBEL July 4 Enjoy a hometown parade down Periwinkle Way starting at 9:30 AM. Community picnics with free food and refreshment follow at Bailey’s and Jerry’s Shopping Centers. Then, join islanders for Road Rally, a noon-time scavenger-type hunt through the island. At 4 PM at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, magnificent fireworks mark the coming of nightfall at the Sanibel Causeway. 239-472-1080.

July 4

RED, WHITE AND BOOM, Cape Coral, July 4 The Cape Coral Bridge and Cape Coral Parkway shut down between the bridge and Del Prado Boulevard beginning at 6 AM for the 6:30 AM start of the 5K race. Festivities begin at 4 PM with a kids carnival, and food and drink vendors open. Live entertainment plays from 8 PM - 9:3o PM, when spangled fireworks explode over the Caloosahatchee River. 239-549-6900.

July 4

STAR-SPANGLED BONITA 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION July 4 Bonita Springs’ 54th annual parade moves along Old US-41 starting at 9 AM. Then,

the city throws a free, old fashioned “Party in the Park” at 4 PM, complete with food vendors, live entertainment, a kids water slide, face painting, relay races, a pie baking contest and a hot dog-eating competition. 239-961-0357. FORT MYERS MUSIC WALK July 4 Each month, Music Walk brings great rhythm and new energy to the historic streets of downtown as over 2,000 music lovers descend upon the River District. Discover great live music from jazz and blues, to rock, drums and much more. Restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops showcase a wide range of the areas best music and musicians. July 18


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