APRIL - MAY 2016


Bravo! Bravo! ARTISTs IN RESIDENCE Love You’ll Lovers Key State Park

Homestead Home Sweet Exploring SCCF’s Bailey Home

• A Room With A View • Welcome Home • Take Five

c oolest JEWELRY




Something for

Historic Homes • Tropical Gardens • Museum Thomas Edison’s Laboratory River Cruises • Waterfront or Garden Dining Options

OPEN DAILY 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Open in December 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

2350 McGregor Boulevard • Fort Myers, FL 33901 239.334.7419 |


It may not be perfect, but it’s paradise.

A few years ago, our family had the opportunity to visit Northwest Florida — specifically Destin and Fort Walton Beach. As we began our journey home to Sanibel, we opted for State Highway 331 north to Interstate 10. Fortunately for us, it was a weekday — for unknown to us, the one way out was a two-lane highway that stretched on for what seemed forever. We later learned that on departure days (like Saturday), traffic is so heavy it can take up to two hours to traverse those 24 miles to Interstate freedom. So the next time you’re tempted to complain about traffic — be it PeriwinkleWay on Sanibel to Tamiami Trail in any direction — take a deep breath and try to enjoy the ride. True, we’ve had other issues to contend with this year out of the ordinary. The unusual rain in January and the Lake Okeechobee releases are a real problem, and we should commend our mayors for banding together, demanding action and making progress. We endured cooler than average temps much too often, and a few long stretches where the sunshine state was the overcast. Then along came Florida’s “state of emergency” regarding the Zika virus scare — making national news — despite only a few reported cases. Through it all, Southwest Florida celebrated another extremely bustling and successful tourism high season — one undeniably generated by our unique combination of natural beauty, promise of sunshine and warmth, some of the country’s greatest beaches and a hospitality community that understands how to satisfy the customer and keep ‘em coming back, a challenge today in a travel era where “trying something new” is rapidly replacing “returning somewhere comfortable.” But we do have one big advantage that few other destinations in America can boast, one that will keep ‘em coming back. This truly is paradise, occasional wart and all, and you can’t top that.

John Sprecher Founder | Editor


Sanibel’s Award Winning Casual Restaurant

INFO @ 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 941.964.0568 Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce 239.992.2943 Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce 239.549.6900 Estero Chamber of Commerce 239.948.7990 Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce 239.454.7500 Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce 239.332.3624 Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau 239.338.3500 Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce 239.369.3322

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Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce 239.472.1080

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Any given Friday, for every age, there’s something for everybody to love in The River District Downtown Fort Myers.



ViewEvents Schedule atwww.WhereFriday.Rocks

MYSTERYWALK Every 2nd Friday (6-10pm) Seasonal

ARTWALK Every 1st Friday (6-10pm)

MUSICWALK Every 3rd Friday (6-10pm) 5.

PETWALK Every 4th Friday (6-8pm)


RDA Special Events: Car Cruise-In, Bike Night, Downtown Countdown, St. Patrick’s Day, Holiday Stroll, Saturday Art Fair, Freedom Fest, Veterans Day Parade

3. 6. The River District Alliance would like to thank our sponsors, volunteers and event donors who make Downtown Fort Myers rock! Special thanks to Edison National Bank, Music Walk sponsor.

VOLUME III | Number 2

For All Things Beautiful!

Founder | Executive Editor John Sprecher Creative Director Director of Photography Milissa Sprecher Director of Sales Katrina Salokar

Graphic Designer Madison Chaffe

Contributing Writers Madison Chaffe

Contributing Photographer Nick Adams Photography

COASTE is published by COASTE LLC. Print and digital magazines are offered by subscription, e-mail or mail. You can also download digital issues FREE on the App Store and Google Play for your mobile devices. 2340 Periwinkle Way, J3 | PO Box 869 | Sanibel FL 33957 Editorial: 239.395.3251 | Sales: 239.395.5878 x2

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ON OUR COVER: Two Sprecher kids near Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel. Image: Milissa Sprecher.


Photograph Milissa Sprecher




For this talented Fort Myers theatrical couple, one standing ovation doesn’t seem quite enough.

To hear the stories stage actors will tell, it can often be a challenging journey they’ve chosen in life — or better put, life’s chosen for them. You go where the work is, meaning if you’re good or lucky, you can be traveling from city to city, around the country, eight weeks here, six weeks there. Or, then there are the times when there’s no work to be had — sometimes months on end — rejection at its finest, whether you’re called to audition or the phone doesn’t ring. But actors are artists, and they do it for the love of their craft. And here in Southwest Florida, there’s a highly talented couple who not only do it for love, but in love. Rachel Burttram Powers and husband Brendan Powers are familiar names to those aficionados of Florida Repertory Theatre, named among the

“top repertory companies in the United States” by the Wall Street Journal. And while combined they’ve performed in more than 100 plays, it was an innocuous first rehearsal late in 2007 that might be called the most important performance of their lives. “The first time I met Rachel was in the rehearsal hall of the Rep,” Brendan recalls. “I had been hired out of New York and was contracted for only one six-week show. We knew we got along well and enjoyed each other’s company, so when the show ended and I was scheduled to return to New York, there was some disappointment. But then, fate stepped in.” In this case, fate was in the form of an actor who was unable to perform for the next show — and fate was aided, in no small part, by Rachel’s dual



for the Rep, as she convinced the company to hire Brendan to fill the role for the next performance. And thus, they began to live happily ever after. A graduate of the University of Alabama- Birmingham with a theatre degree, Rachel found her way to Southwest Florida via stops including Louisville,

first gig was on stage, he shortly thereafter landed a production in Buffalo and made a reconnection with someone from his alma mater, Niagara University—whereupon completion of the show’s run, he wound up (“believe me, it’s a long story”) becoming artistic director of the theatre studies

program. But five years later in 2007, the itch to act was too much to resist, so without a plan, he quit his job and started looking for work. “I went four or five months and couldn’t get anything,”

“We’d rather be working actors than waiting actors, so we gladly performed wherever the opportunity was.”

New York City and tiny St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. “I did some shows off Broadway, auditioned a lot, but I didn’t spend enough time

in New York,” she says. “We’d rather be working actors than waiting actors, so we gladly performed wherever the opportunity was.” Eventually, she landed the job of company manager of the Rep in 2002, also performing in three shows that season. Originally from Boston, Brendan holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and Master’s Degree in English (with a focus on theatre). While his

he said.

But then, along came Florida Rep — and Rachel Burttram — in 2007. Three years later, moves to Boston and Ithaca, where they played everywhere the work took them in the Northeast, then back to Fort Myers. Eventually in 2013, they were married in the ArtStage at the Theatre, once the rehearsal hall where they met.

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“It’s a fairly rare thing when you find couples who are both professional stage actors. It’s a really amazing bond, because you both understand each other’s madness,” he laughs. “But it’s also difficult for the obvious reasons: stability, travel, separation.”

spokesperson for Alabama Tourism’s “Road

Trips” campaign the past three years, for which he’s been the featured talent in 13 spots. “They didn’t want me to sound like a guy from Boston, but they didn’t want Southern either,” he explains.

“Sort of the American everyman. It seems to be working!” Rachel’s filmography includes a minor role in USA Network’s “Burn Notice,” as well as the season two finale of

However, Rachel notes that “because we both have relationships with a lot of theatres, here in Florida and across the country, we’re often cast together. We’re very lucky in that regard.”

“It’s a really amazing bond, because you both understand each other’s madness.”

“Bloodline” she recently wrapped in Key West. But the project she seems most excited about is her starring role in a 12-minute Indie shot in 2014 called “Emma’s Fine,” directed by international Emmy award-winner (and Bonita Springs resident) Miguel Matias. With 11 international festivals and six U.S. festivals to its credit, “Emma’s Fine” is

They’vealsobeenlucky(read:talented)enoughtobe able to expand their art beyond stage performances. Brendan has performed in both “Graceland” and the series premier of “Bloodline,” and also has an extensive advertising commercial and long- format video background — most notably as the


carried virtually solo by Rachel’s performance. “It’s been such a great little treasure in my life, totally unexpected,” she says. “It was a real blessing and I learned so much. When it played in New York last year, I had to go — I mean, how many times are you going to see yourself on the big screen?” A screening of “Emma’s Fine” in Fort Myers is hopeful in 2016. But while these two artists are able to succeed in multi-media settings, it’s really theatre that stirs their passions. “Theatre is free and dynamic and exciting and beautiful,” Rachel states. “It’s the thrill of like anything could happen any night, and every night is different. You’re creating something with

living, breathing people — including the audience. That’s so different from the vacuum of the sound stage.” { } Rachel + Brendan

FL Rep Photographs: Nick Adams


Click here for an important traffic message!

The City of Sanibel wants you to enjoy your vacation. During peak season, Sanibel Island experiences daily heavy on-bound traffic congestion from 8 a.m. to noon and heavy off-bound traffic between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. On a weekly basis during peak season, Saturday traffic volumes are the highest, and traffic volumes are the lightest on Sundays and Tuesdays.

To best enjoy your visit to Sanibel: • Avoid driving on and off the Island during these peak times • Plan in advance to travel around the Island by foot and bike • Stay on Island – have dinner and shop on Island to avoid traffic delays • Check the City of Sanibel website for traffic updates:

We look forward to your visit to our Island! Mayor Kevin Ruane, City of Sanibel


“It’s A Very Positive and Exciting Time.” By John Sprecher


Originally fromNorthCarolina, RandyHenderson has been a resident of Fort Myers since 1979, when he married Virginia Corbin (daughter of former Fort Myers Mayor Oscar Corbin), whom he had met in college. He began his career in banking before becoming president of Corbin Henderson Company — an investment real estate firm — six years later, a position he still holds. His career in politics began in 2000 when he was sworn in as City Councilman, Ward 5. Previously he served on the City of Fort Myers Conference and Convention Council, as well as volunteered with many other civic groups including president of the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. He was elected Mayor of Fort Myers in 2009, and re-elected in 2013. Upon meeting, he’s a man who reflects the qualities of grace, humility, style, passion and love for his community. Each issue, “Take Five” poses five questions to a community leader or personality that have not previously been shared. Here, Mayor Henderson addresses the vital Southwest Florida issues of water quality, economic development, quality of life and his own plans for the future.



1 An obvious question, but a timely one: just how vital is the issue of water quality here in Southwest Florida? The events of this past January, where we received more than 12 inches of rain, created a situation of water releases from Lake Okeechobee and other runoff that hasn’t been experienced in decades. It demonstrated how vulnerable and ill prepared we are for this. The human reaction to the brown, ugly water was all negative, tourists and residents alike. Poor water quality is a threat to our economy and a threat to our quality of life, simple as that. 2 3 How satisfying was it to see a coalition of our region’s mayors take a stance and take our story to Washington, D.C.? It was definitely one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had in 16 years of public service. This random act kind of stimulated all of us to form a sort of permanent resolve to find a solution, so that our quality of life and economic development won’t be adversely affected in the future. You’ve been mayor during what many would call the renaissance of downtown Fort Myers. How much pride do you take in that? I’ve been involved in economic development for many years, but this is way bigger than just me, it’s been a process that’s included other well-intended, smart and hard working elected colleagues. It’s a consensus of moving the city forward in a positive way. I have been part of this, certainly by choice, and it’s been very gratifying to me to participate in it. It hasn’t been my ideas per se, but all of us reaching out to professionals in urban design and planning, asking: how can we make our city better? I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of the history of the city at this time. And there are more big things coming to downtown Fort Myers? I would estimate there’s probably about $425 million in permitting in place right now for private sector investing. Developers are responding to baby boomers and young professionals alike who are wanting downtown residences and a walkable urban environment. That’s on the horizon, and it’s fair to say that we’re closing in on having a new hotel in the downtown area too. There are also plans that are not in permitting yet, but look to expand the footprint of the downtown area in exciting ways. And how about your future? Today I’m here to tell you, I’m very excited for 2017, I plan to run again for the Mayor’s post. I feel confident in this work, I enjoy it, and it’s a very positive and exciting time to be involved with the city. I like that, it makes me want to perform and work hard and make things even better. So yes, I hope to keep on doing this work and doing the best I can. 4 5


By John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher Love You’ll lt.

Whether it’s beaching, kayaking, paddleboarding, trailing, birding, biking or just relaxing, you’ll find it at Lovers Key State Park. And yes, you will love it.

To the uninitiated, it might seem out of place, the 4.9-mile stretch of prime, undeveloped Southwest Florida beachfront sandwiched between the last of the towering condos of Fort Myers Beach to the first of a parade of million-dollar homes that line the shores of Little Hickory Island. But when you look closer, right about smack in the middle, there you’ll see it: the inconspicuous entrance to Lee County’s largest Gulf-front park that isn’t an island (honors to Cayo Costa). And large Lovers Key State Park is — a total of more than 1,600 acres, of which almost 800 acres are uplands (meaning the remaining is wetlands). So that begs the question: does size really matter? In this case, most definitely yes, as nearly one million guests enjoyed the park in 2015, or approximately 2,700 visitors every day of the year that the park is open.

been employed by Florida’s Division of Recreation and Parks for 15

years (including a previous stint at another romantically-titled venue, Honeymoon Island State Park in Clearwater). While nodding to the uptick in tourism since 2010, she also notes that Lovers Key is a park where guests can literally vacation for days with all that’s available to enjoy — which is perhaps why the park ranks as the number one Fort Myers Beach area attraction on TripAdvisor. “We’re open from eight am to sunset every day of the year,” she says, “and you most certainly will not be bored.” For beach lovers, Lovers Key offers 2.5 miles of Gulf of Mexico beauty. The park offers recreational rentals including bicycles, paddleboards and kayaks. Boaters can take advantage of a fee-free boat ramp with direct access to Estero Bay for beautiful sightseeing or great fishing (bait shop on-site). If you want to 1

Gloria Beauchamp has served as park manager at Lovers Key for the past five years, and has



explore on foot, Lovers Key offers five miles of trails for hiking, biking or dog walking. Hungry? Yes, there are concession stands, but you can also cook your own with grills, picnic areas, shelters and playgrounds to keep the little ones occupied.

there’s even free wifi on the beach — so our kids embarked on a little geocaching.

Because inquiring minds want to know, we asked — and yes, there’s a story behind the name of the park, too. According to legend, when the beach

“Wealsooffer avarietyof programs: fishing clinics to birding photography to the history of the Calusa Indians,” she notes. “And yes, we’ve incorporated technology into our beach experience set with our own geo- caching game. What better way to get kids out into nature than by way of their smart phones?”

was only accessible by boat, the theory was that lovers would escape there to do what, well, lovers do. Gloria Beauchamp laughs. “Who’s to know? It’s a great story.” However, there’s no denying the fact that Lovers Key State Park is a popular destination for

There are few locations in Southwest Florida where undeveloped, gorgeous sugar sand shoreline stretches (in both directions) as far as you can see.

lovers who want to be married in any number of picturesque, romantic settings — from weddings on the beach to a charming gazebo overlooking the waves. “During season, we probably do 15 to 20 weddings per month, plus special events like birthdays and reunions,” she notes. “We’re quite active.” Under her guidance, Lovers Key State Park has been very active in telling its story via speaking engagements, special events and media outreach.

On a recent beautiful Sunday afternoon, this writer and his family explored firsthand what so enthuses Gloria Beauchamp about her park — and she’s right. First, there are few locations in Southwest Florida where undeveloped, gorgeous sugar sand shoreline stretches (in both directions) as far as you can see. The meandering waterways for kayaks and paddleboards that you pass en route to the beach are clear and calm, offering stunning vistas of mangrove keys and wildlife. And yes,



The park has the passionate support of a charitable organization as well — Friends of Lovers Key State

“Lovers Key State Park has it all,” Beauchamp says. “Over two miles of beach. Great kayaking, especially if you’re

Park — who help raise awareness and funds for short- and long-term improvements, from today’s electric carts that are positive for the environment and guests, to a long-term goal to create an education center on-site.

learning, with 2.5 miles of kayak trail and no boating — but a lot of manatee spotting. Stand up paddleboarding. Great birding. Great fishing and boating. Or, just park a chair and relax. Best of all, it’s just $2 per day if you enter the park walking or biking, and at most $8 for the

“Over two miles of beach. Great kayaking, especially if you’re learning, with 2.5 miles of kayak trail and no boating — but a lot of manatee spotting.”

One of the ways Friends of Lovers Key

accomplishes its mission is via events such as the upcoming Turtle Trot race on May 11. Past Trots have attracted 500 to 600 runners, who race a 5k path through the park’s trails, only to finish at the beautiful beachfront for the after-race festivities.

entire day for a carload. There’s no better bargain in Southwest Florida, and no better way to spend the day.” Lovers Key State Park { }



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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. Boating enthusiasts with an eye for the luxury Southwest Florida waterfront lifestyle, take note: your dream awaits in Sanibel Isles with this 4,500 square foot (2,500 living area) jewel. Built in 1997, this custom three bedroom, 3.5 bath home features contemporary amenities and appliances, fireplace, plus a light, bright, cheery and airy atmosphere highlighted by heated pool, screened lanai and direct canal access with private dock and 10,000 pound boat lift. Spacious windows and a third-floor exterior deck also offer panoramic views of both San Carlos Bay and your private waterway. Price: $1,190,000. Listing agent Melissa Rice, John Naumann and Associates.





When the legendary Bailey family homestead went up for sale, the Sanibel community had two choices: help preserve an important part of the sanctuary island or allow another 36 homes to take up residence. Here’s the story of how wildlife and nature were saved at the “eleventh hour.” By John Sprecher | Photography Milissa Sprecher Home Sweet Homest ad



The year was 1895. Mary Bailey was living in Kentucky with seven children when, for reasons unknown, she moved to Sanibel Island with three of her adult sons — Earnest, Francis and Harry. Originally from Virginia, they came to farm in a frost-free environment, but quickly found the small, sandy plot of land they had purchased a challenge for many crops. So, they built a small house, settled in and went about planting watermelon, peppers and tomatoes while nurturing citrus and working whatever jobs they could find. During that time, a friendly relationship developed with an Island Inn guest and in 1899, the guest granted them use of a dock at the bay’s edge of what is today Bailey Road — and the original Bailey general store was founded by 28-year-old Frank, providing seed and supplies to the island by way of mail boats that arrived three times each day.

Over the years, the Bailey businesses prospered and the family grew. When ferryboats began bringing residents and guests to the islands, their first stopwasmost often the expanding store for provisions. And back at home, Frank’s family grew too — adding bedroom after bedroom as one after another child was born (including island legends Sam and Francis, Jr.), which is why the house is 90 feet long. Then along came 1963, when the drawbridge and causeway from Punta Rassa to Sanibel opened to ground traffic and the islands changed forever. In response, Bailey’s General Store relocated to its current location three years later. But the Bailey home along Periwinkle Way remained, in fact expanding over the years to 28 acres.







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Throughout the years, Sam and Francis Bailey played the roles of the island’s “first family” naturally, gracefully and generously. But time marches on, and in June, 2010 the 86-year-old Sam died of natural causes. It was then that Francis

campaign developed. Because the property remained private, no tours could be given. Instead, SCCF took to public gatherings, private meetings and media relations to spread the important word on the value of the Bailey homestead to Sanibel’s way of life.

continued the family legacy of community first, and offered Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) right of first refusal for the Bailey home’s 28 acres. The price? An amazing $4 million for property worth tens of millions more if developed. The catch? The Foundation had one year to raise the funds.

“When we looked at a map of the island, we realized that with the purchase of this land, wildlife would literally have an open corridor along the bayside to migrate — from the Chamber of Commerce area to the eastern edge of Ding Darling National Wildlife

Refuge — with only two quiet streets to cross. It was the missing piece and our motivation. Our mission is the preservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources, and that was our push, not to mention as preserved land goes up, flood insurance goes down.” But the Bailey homestead was challenged by a variety of non-native invasive plant species — so in order to bring the property to a level both accessible

“There would have been room for 36 houses on that property,” says Kristie Anders, education director for SCCF for the past 28 years. “This would have absolutely gone public if we hadn’t raised the money.” Quickly then, under the leadership of SCCF executive director Erick Lindblad and legacy coordinator Cheryl Giattini, a true grass roots


and inhabitable by wildlife (an SCCF mandate), another $2 million was needed by the June, 2011 deadline to make the transaction complete. And it all happened at the “eleventh hour.”

habitat on Sanibel. The SCCF Native Landscape & Garden Center has also relocated here, open Monday to Saturday selling native plant species.

“We were close to not making our goal, but in the end, we did, because there were thousands of people who supported this campaign. We had gifts from $20 to $1 million.”

Although the home isn’t open for regular tour, the Bailey Homestead Preserve is open for pleasant walks and exploration six days a week and is a beautifully restored slice of Sanibel’s ecology, geography and history.

“We were close to not making our goal,” Anders recalls. “But in the end, we did, because there were thousands of people who supported this campaign. We had gifts from $20 to $1 million.”

“Each person who contributed to our campaign shares the same believe as SCCF, that preserving our wildlife habitat is vital,” Anders says. “Next year we’ll celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, and when you look at our official mission from some 50 years ago, we’re still doing what we promised we’d do.”

Unfortunately, Francis Bailey wouldn’t live to admire the restoration of his family’s homestead to its full vision, passing in 2013. But quite a restoration it is (and continues to be). The property is a mix of wetlands and uplands, and native plantings by SCCF experts are able to imitate every type of


{ Sanibel Captiva

Conservation Foundation



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. Sanibel Inn is your ideal island retreat with 93 guestrooms, suites and two-bedroom condos. Each unit provides guests with a breathtaking view of 600 feet of gorgeous Gulf of Mexico beach. You can pull up a beach chair and relax under an umbrella, lounge beside the heated pool, or choose from an array of activities included in your stay such as bikes, paddleboards, kayaks, or your sports membership at the beautiful Dunes Golf and Tennis Club. Hungry? Enjoy the poolside cabana bar and grille, or the dining room at The Dunes with views of the 18th green for lunch, the tasty Sea Star Café for dinner — or make it your way with on-site gas barbeque grills. Finally, all accommodations include flat screen, HD television, free wifi, free phone calls, plus screened porches for you to sit back, relax and take in all the beauty of a one-of-a-kind island vacation.

30 30

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What’s Happening on Your

April + May — Community Events

Wed nes- days

WORKING WATERFRONT WALKING TOUR Every Wednesday The cost of the Working Waterfront Walking tour is $15 for adults and $10 for youth. The tour starts at 9 AM, and is a three-hour guided tour that educates the public about the Marine Science Center and the commercial fishing industry. Experience shrimp boats, packing houses, net shop, ships, a seafood market and much more. Reservations are required. ECO-CRUISE TO PICNIC ISLAND April 2 The Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island is a popular attraction for voyagers of all ages! Come and “Seas the Day” during Pure Florida’s Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island on Saturday, April 2 from 8 AM – 11 AM, sailing from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers. Guests will have the opportunity to bask in the sunshine and observe wildlife native to the Caloosahatchee River and Picnic Island, including dolphins, manatee, birds and other animals and plants. April 2

Week ends

SUNSET CELEBRATION AT TIMES SQUARE Weekends Come and enjoy live music, food, and fun at Times Square at Fort Myers Beach every Friday and Saturday, 5 PM - 8 PM.

April 2

C aptiva C ruises Island Hopping • Shelling • Dolphin Watching Sunset and Sailing Cruises • Private Charters

CROW’S SOUTHERN COMFORT ON SANIBEL April 2 The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) will host “Southern 9 PM at Sanibel Community House. The event will feature a buffet of mouth-watering southern food by The Pecking Order and a complimentary Southern Comfort drink. DJ David Flory from Island Ballroom will supply the evening’s music and dance lessons. The evening highlights will include games, prizes, silent auction, raffle and more! www.Sanibel- Comfort on Sanibel” on Saturday from 6 PM –

Cayo Costa State Park # 1 shelling destination

Daily Dolphin Cruises with naturalist on board

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April 2

BIRDS OF PREY OF SW FLORIDA – FREE SPRING PROGRAM April 2 Discover which birds of prey live in Southwest Florida and their adaptations for survival on Saturday, April 2 from 11 AM – 11:30 AM. Be sure to bring water, sunscreen and insect repellent to this event at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

April 2

GATORS AND CROCS – FREE SPRING PROGRAM April 2 Learn about the varieties of the crocodilian family, such as alligators, crocodiles, gharials, and caimans. Guests of the program can learn how to identify families and local species within the ENDANGERED SPECIES – FREE SPRING PROGRAM April 3 Habitats throughout the world are disappearing, affecting species everywhere. Come discover endangered species of Southwest Florida and what you can do to help them. This event is fun for all ages at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. April 3 April 5 WATERCOLOR CLASS SERIES WITH PATTY KANE Thru April 5 The talented Patty Kane is teaching an Intermediate/Advanced watercolor class series at the Fort Myers Beach Art Association. The classes must be taken in sequence; this is not a drop-in class. The classes take place April 1 - April 5 from 9 AM – 12 PM. Each class is $20 for members and $25 for non- members. April 6 OPTIMIZE YOUR HEALTH WORKSHOP – CANCER April 6 With cancer, normal cells have developed a new habit field that does not serve our overall health. Shifting the habit field energetically opens new cellular memory to the cell. This class will work with the commander of our energies in order to rebalance our systems and enable shifts to the habit the cancer cells have created. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

April 7- 10

FORT MYERS FILM FESTIVAL April 7 - 10 The Fort Myers Film Festival will open its event with the world premiere of “Marcus Jansen—Examine & Report,” April 7, 2016. The documentary on the SWFL artist by filmmaker John Scoular features Jansen, the celebrated SWFL artist who has been exhibiting his work on an international scale for the last two decades, features art celebrities and personalities including Steve Lazarides, Lawrence Voytek, WEST Rubinstein, Brooke Lynn Mcgowan, Noah Becker, Dieter Rampl and more. The Fort Myers Film Festival will screen 70 films including other inspiring indies. Visit for show times and ticketing information.



FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR IPAD OR IPHONE April 7 Fall in Love With Your iPhone is a course designed for the beginner wanting to master the basics; it provides an easy on ramp to really love your Apple iPhone or iPad. Participants must have the updated operating system prior to the start of class. The course will cover set up, navigation, and safety use. Extensive handout will recap the course for mastery to continue at home. The course runs 9:30 AM – 12 PM.

April 7

April 16

BARK ON THE ARK April 16 Pure Florida is presenting Bark on the Ark on Saturday, April 16 from 8 AM – 11 AM. Guests will have the opportunity to bring their dogs aboard the M/V Edison Explorer, departing from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers, for a sightseeing river cruise to Picnic Island! Water, frisbees, and dog treats are included for the canines. Registration for the tour is $44 per person.

April 16

FORT MYERS BEACH CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL April 16 Join us in enjoying some delicious craft beers and eats on Saturday, April 16 from 1 PM – 4 PM! Tickets are $25 per person if purchased in advance and $30 at the door.

April 18

SPEAKER SERIES: SHARK ENCOUNTERS IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA April 18 Join Ranger Katie Moses from Lovers Key State Park to explore the sensational world of sharks. Participants will discover the incredible senses sharks use to hunt and survive; learn why sharks are essential to the oceans; break down some popular myths; learn some easy tips to keep safe from these animals; and even learn how you can help conserve these amazing creatures. This event takes place at CROW on Sanibel Monday, April 18 from 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM. 10TH ANNUAL FORT MYERS BEACH FILM FESTIVAL April 20 - 24 Filmmakers from all over the United States have begun submitting their shorts, documentaries and full-length features for award consideration by judges at the Fort Myers Film Festival, celebrating its 10th year. Submissions will be accepted until March 26. The Festival kicks off on Wednesday, April 20 at 2 PM, with the opening ceremony at the Beach Theater, 6425 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, followed by full day screenings at the theater. Films continue throughout the week with lunch and learn workshop on Friday, April 22 and Talkfest workshop with filmmakers, Saturday, April 23, 11 AM. April 20- 24

LOCAL ROOTS FARMER’S MARKETS Season Local Roots is the largest sponsor of Farmer’s Markets in Southwest Florida, with seven locations across Lee County. You’ll enjoy the freshest in fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and a lot more. Days and times vary by market location.

Sea son



April 27

Sat ur days GREENMARKET Every Saturday Saturdays from 9 AM - 1 PM, the Alliance of the Arts hosts an exclusive selection of locally grown, caught and cultivated foods, as well as a number of other products available for purchase. Live entertainment, fun activities for kids, gardening classes, and live cooking provided by local chefs. held Sunday May 1, 2016 on Old San Carlos Boulevard. Restaurants will offer samples of their signature dishes available for purchase and compete for top Taste of the Beach Award honors in the categories of Best Appetizer, Best Beef or Veal Dish, Best Seafood Dish, Best Chicken Dish, Best Dessert, Best Luncheon Specialty Dish, Best Decorated Booth, and People’s Choice. Gates open at 11 AM. Tickets will be available on site. Admission is $5 for adults and children over 12. Children under 12 are free. Food tickets will be $1 each, with a $5 average food serving price. 21ST ANNUAL TASTE OF THE BEACH May 1 Visit Fort Myers Beach to enjoy tasty samples from local area restaurants as well as great live entertainment at the Taste of the Beach! The 21st Annual Taste of the Beach will be CROWWILDLIFE WALK – April 27 Wildlife Walks are the best opportunity for visitors to get an in-depth look into the inner workings of our hospital and the treatment process. The program has two parts: an introductory presentation covering our medical and rehab methods and then a guided tour through treatment areas of the hospital, concluding on our rehabilitation grounds. Wildlife Walks are approximately an hour and a half long, and consist of a 45-minute presentation and a 45-minute tour. This program is open to all, but not recommended for children under age 13. The program is 2 PM – 3:30 PM.

May 1

Mon days

SHELL CRAFTING Every Monday Do you enjoy making new

friends and creating something beautiful while you do it? Come join the Sanibel Shell Crafters at the Community House on Sanibel every Monday from 10 AM - 12 PM. Guests will create flowers, jewelry, animals, and other beautiful pieces all from shells and sea life found along our breathtaking coasts. No experience is necessary, and instruction and assistance are available! www.Sanibel-

organic spa and hair lounge

•Organic Hair Color & Nail Services •Muscular Rehabilitation & Massage •Acupuncture •Natural Facial Rejuvenation •Open by Appointment 8am-8pm •Local Membership Rewards Program

you are loved

1700 Periwinkle Way, Suite 5 | Sanibel, Florida 33957 239-472-8464 |



OLD FORT MYERS CEMETERY TOUR Every Tuesday Stroll through the historic (and haunted?) Old Fort Myers Cemetery, stopping at the graves of some of the city’s most famous and infamous pioneers to marvel at their colorful histories. And along the way, discover how the culture of a bygone era shaped this sprawling city. Tours are Tuesdays 10:30 AM – 11:30 PM.

Tues days

April + May — On Stage

Mar 3

KATHY GRIFFIN April 1 Two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin is a towering

figure on television, on tour and in publishing. She breaks through the entertainment clutter with her universally recognized brand of pull-no-punches comedy. This year, Kathy announced her 80-city, “Like A Boss” Tour, with stops from coast to coast. Don’t miss the legendary Kathy Griffin on Friday, April 1 at 8 PM at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

April 2 + 3

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA SYMPHONY: SHAKESPEARE EXPERIENCE April 2 + 3 “If music be the food of love, play on!” The Southwest Florida Symphony and Maestro Nir Kabaretti will celebrate the literary genius of William Shakespeare in two works inspired by the plays of the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon. The program will open with one of the great tragic love stories of all time set to music, Sergei Prokofiev’s brilliant ballet score for Romeo and Juliet.

April 6

BROADWAY: THE BIG BAND YEARS April 6 Broadway: The Big Band Years is a thrilling musical adventure! The Great White Way was a magnificent platform for a staggering number of hit songs during the Big Band Era. Popularized by stars of radio and television, these standards include: “The Lady is a Tramp,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Luck Be a Lady,” “I Got Rhythm” and “I Get a Kick Out of You,” and became part of the Great American Songbook. Join Musical Director and Conductor Keith Levenson and The Curtain Up Orchestra on Wednesday, April 6 as they celebrate Broadway’s best!


Dining Guide


15951 Captiva Dr. | 239.472.5161 | Park your flip flops at the one and only Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille at the legendary ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa, where you’ll find great food, great fun, great times and great entertainment served up nightly. A TripAdvisor top-rated Captiva Island restaurant.


630 Tarpon Bay Road | 239.472.2625 | Over Easy Café is a highly popular gathering place for breakfast and lunch. Enjoy a hearty, home cooked menu of classic comfort foods — from pancakes to scrambled eggs, sandwiches to salads, tasty soups to terrific desserts. Breakfast is served all day, the outdoor seating is awesome, and gentle pets are welcome.


Aptly titled “slow-cooked fast food” and “comfort food for the soul,” The Pecking Order is a new dining delight that embraces its role to perpetuate fine Southern cookin’ — from secret-recipe broasted chicken (always fresh) — by the piece or bucket — to collard greens, black beans and rice, home-made mac and cheese, and more!

SWEET MELISSA’S CAFÉ | SANIBEL LUNCH MON-FRI 11.30 AM – 2.30 PM | DINNER MON-SAT 5 PM – CLOSE 1625 Periwinkle Way | 239.472.1956 | Consistently hailed as among the top restaurants in Southwest Florida by local, regional and national reviews and awards, Sweet Melissa’s Café is truly Sanibel’s destination dining experience. Serving both lunch and dinner, Executive Chef Melissa Talmage has fashioned an innovative cuisine, spirits and wine menu betting the praise “Best Food in Lee County.”


BECKY’S NEW CAR Thru April 6 Becky Foster is stalled. She feels stranded in a dead-end job and a marriage that’s lost its spark, and needs a jump start. Late one night, when a widowed millionaire stumbles into the car dealership where she works, Becky sees her chance and takes it. Suddenly, this ordinary housewife is living a carefree, fulfilling, and dangerous double life — that is, until it accelerates out of control! April 6 THE ILLUSIONISTS – LIVE FROM BROADWAY Thru April 10 Full of hilarious magic tricks, death-defying stunts and acts of breathtaking wonder, THE ILLUSIONISTS has shattered box office records worldwide and thrilled audiences of all ages with a mind-blowing spectacular showcasing the jaw-dropping talents of seven of the most incredible illusionists on earth! THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS Thru April 16 In this hilarious satire of musical theatre, one story of an ingénue who is threatened by her evil landlord when she can’t pay the rent becomes five delightful musicals, each presented in the distinctive style of a different master of the form, from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim. Performances at BIG ARTS Strauss Theater. Don’t miss it! Friday, April 1 – Saturday, April 16. Thru April 16 Thru April 10

GULF COAST SYMPHONY: CAROUSEL IN CONCERT April 15 + 16 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved Broadway musical presented in concert with fantastic actors, costumes, and choreography, performed as the creators intended, with full symphony orchestra! This is a collaborative project with the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall and Florida Repertory Theatre. April 15 + 16



April 26- May 1

DIRTY DANCING April 26 - May 1 Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this timeless love story features the hit songs “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart-stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.” London’s Sunday Express states, “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!” Fans of this classic story will not want to miss out on Dirty Dancing, which runs Tuesday, April 26 – Sunday, May 1 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

April 28- May 1

3RD ANNUAL PLAY LAB May 1 Join the Florida Repertory Theater for a festival of new plays and emerging writers! The 3rd Annual Play Lab is an intensive weekend that showcases the new voices in America.

GLENN PHILLIPS OF TOAD THE WET SPROCKET FEATURING THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA SYMPHONY May 6 Glenn Phillips, lead singer of the 1990s iconic indie rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket will perform the band’s greatest hits, made larger than life with arrangements commissioned by the Southwest Florida Symphony. Experience Toad’s other smash hits along with new music by Glen Phillips and classical pieces that were lauded as the rock and roll anthems of their day. May 6 Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts

THE DINGDONG May 8 Fidelity is put to the test in this masterfully- adapted classic sex farce! Follow the outrageous sexploits of three couples caught in a sordid love triangle. Jump headfirst into the misadventures of one madcap night in this new adaptation of Feydeau’s classic farce, and discover how opening the wrong door in the dark of night can lead to mayhem, laughter, and a few unlikely revelations about the secret to a happy marriage. The show runs from Tuesday, April 19 – Sunday, May 8. April 19- May 8

Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts

Coastal Cuisine - Raw Bar Gifts – Jewelry Cocktails


TRADERS HOURS Lunch 11:00-2:30 • Dinner 5:00-9:00 • Happy Hour 3:00-6:00 S top by and enjoy satisfying, unique, coastal-inspired dishes, along with one of our signature cocktails, a fine hand-picked wine, or an icy-cold draft beer from our rotating selection.

239-472-7242 1551 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island

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