The Art of Doing Nothing

By: Lisa Codianne Fowler

If your idea of a vacation involves more relaxation than recreation, then head out to Sanibel and Captiva Islands for a sunny, sandy getaway.

Relax \ri-laks\ vb 1: to make less tense 2: to cast off social restraint 3: to seek rest or recreation

Relaxing can be difficult. If you are a Type A personality, like I am, it's merely a dream. But dreams can come true on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

My husband and I came across this compelling poem during our wonderfully lazy stay:

"How to live on an island: dance on edges ... listen in on shells ... put living things back ... practice simplicity ... sugar yourself with sand ... ride rusty bikes ... go with the wind ... leave no wake ... tune up your senses ... build castles and leave them for the moon to find ... discover treasure ... remember yourself ... thank." - Gingras

We followed it to the letter and recommend you do, too.

Practice Simplicity

I should have gleaned this when I called ahead to the Captiva Island Inn to inquire about irons in the rooms. "You'll be on an island," was the reply, "Why do you need an iron?" Nonetheless, irons are provided, for those, I now realize, who just don't get it.

While dining venues on both islands range from casual beachside eats to award-winning gourmet restaurants, dress codes for all are mostly "come as you are." The Island Cow is a fun family restaurant unusually decorated in both bovine and marine life themes. Lunch here was an appropriate intro to the area, with guests from all over the world and a menu as diverse.

A short drive led us to - well everything, actually, but our immediate destination was the Captiva Island Inn bed & breakfast. Set amid flowering plants in a rainbow of colors, the inn is within walking distance of shops, galleries, restaurants and the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. Our second-floor suite overlooked the pool and gazebo, and opened to a state-of-the-art kitchen and cozy living room.

We rode rented bikes straight to the beach. This area is world-renowned for seashells, and we scooped up plenty. A cold beverage at The Mucky Duck, a beachside British-style pub, shored us up for building sandcastles and napping under the sun's soothing rays.

Tune Up Your Senses

For dinner, we traded gulf views for bay vistas at the Green Flash Waterfront Restaurant. Our table overlooked bobbing boats and seabirds plunging for dinner, except for one... a friendly, snowy egret who preferred to be hand-fed by staff and guests, including us. The sky became a canvas of pastel stripes as a perfect rainbow appeared and shimmered on the black bay waters.

Back at the beach, the colors turned vibrant. We arrived in time to witness a glorious sunset, expecting this to be the last of the day's delights. But live guitar strumming lured us to the Keylime Bistro for martinis, music and conversation into the night.

Unlike most B&Bs, Captiva Island Inn offers a complimentary full breakfast of choice, at either RC Otter's or Keylime Bistro, both steps from the property. Adjacent shops and galleries present everything from kitschy Florida to designer chic. 

We walked off lunch at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which features forested footpaths, winding canoe trails and a four-mile scenic drive. Tarpon Bay Explorers provides a variety of tours for sightings of birds, dolphins, manatees, alligators and other amazing wildlife.

We will fondly remember the people and places that imparted important life lessons. And lest we forget, they warmly await our return.

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