Photo by John Riegert
Biking enthusiasts will notice a brand new addition to the beautiful bike path system that winds around Sanibel Island.
A new rest stop has been built at the corner of Casa Ybel Road and Middle Gulf Drive — just around the corner and up the street from Ocean’s Reach. It features two benches, a bike rack, a water fountain, and a map of the islands, all in a wonderfully shaded spot where you can relax and catch your breath.
The rest stop has been dedicated to Dale Armstrong, founding member and former president of the Sanibel Bike Club.
During the recent ribbon cutting ceremony, Dale Armstrong’s son, Brad, regaled the crowd with stories of the inception of the Sanibel Bike Club while standing behind the ribbon with an old pair of hedge trimmers in tow.
“Twenty-three years ago, very similar to the bike rides you have today on Saturday mornings, my father would go along on those rides. But, he had something strapped to the back of his bike, and that was his hedge trimmers. The city always knew when Dale was riding because they would always find little piles of brush along the road.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Sanibel Bike Club, please visit www.sanibelbicycleclub.org.
You think you’ve seen everything?
Chances are you haven’t seen a post office like the one in Ochopee, a fun little day trip about an hour and a half away from Ocean’s Reach.
This 61-square foot facility measures 8′ 4″ X 7′ 3″ and is officially the smallest post office in the country. The tiny building used to serve as a storage shed for irrigation pipes for a nearby tomato farm, but was pressed into service as a post office after the Ochopee general store and post office were destroyed in a fire in 1953.
And it’s been hunkering down ever since. Even Hurricane Irma was no match for this unlikely tourist attraction, as the building managed to escape any significant damage when the powerful storm swept by last fall.
Thousands of visitors now stop by every year just to get a postmark! The post office is located at 3800 Tamiami Trail East, close to the Big Cypress National Preserve.
#77: Gaze at Grand Architecture While Attending An Event
Excerpt from “100 Things to do in Fort Myers & Sanibel Before You Die” by Nancy Hamilton:
When you see a building of Neoclassical Revival architecture with massive columns in south Florida, you know there has to be an interesting history to match the grandeur. The site upon which the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center stands in the downtown River District was originally a Native American Calusa settlement. It later housed soldiers in Fort Myers during the Civil War. In 1933, it became a United States Post Office and later a federal courthouse. When the government built a new courthouse, the abandoned building fell into disrepair. In 2003 a project to bring back the old splendor created a modern arts facility. The center hosts art exhibits, lecture series, a film festival, a fashion show, education festivals, concerts and other special events year-round.
Insider’s Tip: When touring the building, head upstairs to see handprints from its 1933 construction. No one knows why, but each hand has six fingers!
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street in downtown Fort Myers. More information can be found at sbdac.com or by calling 239-333-1933.
Southwest Florida is well known for many things, perhaps the most infamous is the folklore that we were home base for the renegade pirate Jose Gaspar, the “Last of the Buccaneers” also known by his nickname Gasparilla.
Legend has it that Gaspar once made his home in Pine Island Sound, reportedly establishing headquarters on Sanibel Island, holding his female prisoners captive on Captiva Island, burying his booty on Gasparilla Island, and imprisoning his beloved Mexican Princess Joseffa on Useppa Island.
Rather than be taken prisoner by the U.S. Navy in 1821 when his capture was inevitable, the scoundrel is said to have drowned himself by wrapping an anchor chain around his waist and dramatically leaping from the bow of his ship, the Floridablanca.
For a more extensive and entertaining overview of “The Legend of Gasparilla,” click here!
You could while away an entire rainy afternoon poking around the islands’ supreme craft store, Three Crafty Ladies.
This amazing think-tank of a craft store is perfect for finding a project for you or the kids. They have a treasure-trove of items that can be decorated with seashells — from boxes to mirrors to frames — and all the accouterments to put your island object d’art together.
No matter what you’re thinking of, chances are the ladies have it! The store features an amazing array of supplies for pretty much any type of project you’re considering. From paint and fabrics to beads and buttons, Three Crafty Ladies can help you add a little art to your day!
Located at 1628 Periwinkle Way. For more information, give them a call at 239-472-2893.
Yesterday we updated you on the success of the Save The Manatee program in which a huge wave of support has made a real difference for these cherished marine mammals.
Today, we wanted to let you know about the Adopt-a-Manatee program where you can further help manatee rescue, rehabilitation, and research efforts, along with manatee education and public awareness projects.
Unlike other animal adoption programs, the manatees in this program are real, living manatees with known histories. Currently, you can choose from Annie, Doc, Floyd, Merlin or any of the other 32 manatees up for adoption.
Click here, select the “Choose a Manatee” box and meet all of the amazing animals in the program. Read about their personalities and backgrounds and match them up with special people in your life. Whichever manatee you choose, adopting one helps them all!
The Florida Manatee is a native species found in many of Florida’s waterways.
In 1975, Florida’s school children helped designate the endangered Florida manatee as Florida’ state marine mammal. Since then, various research, management and educational efforts have helped bring back a species that many people thought was on the verge of extinction.
The Florida manatee population has grown to more than 6,600 animals today. Last year, the manatee was reclassified from an endangered to a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Today, manatees are considered one of Florida’s keystone species whose behavior can alert researchers to the environmental and habitat changes that may otherwise go unnoticed in Florida’s waterways for extended periods of time.
For more information, visit savethemanatee.org.