The building at the entrance to Sanibel on Periwinkle Way undergoing a total transformation.
The official holiday season on Sanibel Island commences with the widely popular and celebratory â€śLuminary Festival of the Islandsâ€ť.Â It is always hard to find any event on the islands that competes with our fantastic, sandy and shell-lined beaches and the tranquil lifestyle that beach-goers love, but for one night only, Periwinkle Way prevails!
For 3 hours and 3 miles only, our â€śno street lightâ€ť community is ablaze with tiny lanterns or luminarias set along each side of the street lighting the way for trail walkers and bicycle riders who make stops along the way to make merry with old friends, new acquaintances, dressed up celebrity Santa Clauses, shopkeepers and restauranteurs.
With only an hour and a half to make my procession before starting my volunteer stint as a trolley stop cop at the Hungry Heron restaurant (ample samples of key lime pie available for all), I started my trek from â€śBank of the Islandsâ€ť, one of the most well lit, beautifully landscaped businesses on Sanibel and my favorite place to park!
With an appetite spared all day, I sprinted to â€śSanibel Island Book Shopâ€ť, one of my memorable food stops from last year.Â It has a charming feel with great books and gifts and friendly service from Holly and mom, Deb Smith.Â A quick sip of wine, homemade chips and guacamole and Iâ€™m off across the street to Sanibel Home Furnishings where I see a crowd gathering at each of their three entrances.Â I sniff out the homemade edibles, not wanting to waste any time at Costco cuisine stops.Â This first class â€śislandyâ€ť furniture store is a treat any time of yearâ€”colorful lime green chairs with coral-orange accent trimmings â€“entices you through theirÂ showrooms.Â But back to the foodâ€”hand mixed spinach dip with crunchy, raw orange and green vegetables.Â Globs and globs of this chunky dip felt so fine.Â Of course, biscotti, wine and soft drinks also soothed.
But the show stopper for the most scrumptious buffet and Sanibel hospitality was an upset!Â Congratulations and thank you to Stroemer and Co., a Sanibel CPA and consulting firm.Â John and fellow staffers set up a tail gate with edible fare catered from Biddles Restaurant and Piano Bar, Ft. Myers.Â This was the stop worth waiting in line for!Â Huge bowls of 5â€ť fresh shrimp and horseradish cocktail sauce; platters of eggplant bruschetta, portobello flatbread and sashimi tuna; and homemade nutty, dark chocolate chip, butter flavored hand sized cookies.Â The scent of strong flavors must have aroused all of Andyâ€™s good friends who had agreed to meet later but rather convened at this site prematurely.
With a satisfied full stomach, I led the way to Jerryâ€™s Food Market to have my picture taken with Santa.Â Free photos with Santa are popular with me because my friends in Indiana are so jealous to see me tanned and in a tee shirt sitting in Santaâ€™s lap with white snow and palm trees in the frame.Â Jerryâ€™s graciously welcomes island grocery shoppers with its annual, elaborate display of oversized snowmen, Santas, elves and reindeer. A recent recipient of one of the top thirty-two grocery stores across the country, they also deliver groceries for the guests at Oceanâ€™s Reach!
One more stop only before my volunteer assignment.Â I lead the growing pack to the Sanibel Community Church.Â Along with several musical groups and choirs caroling: a compound electrifying the night with multi color lights on palms, church tops and native plantings: a live nativity; petting zoo; homemade craft bazaar; snacks and refreshments; this yearâ€™s church event was topped off with a new â€śWalk through Old Bethlehemâ€ť.Â A twenty minute line had already formed and only twelve at a time could be quickly oriented and then dramatically interact with live, costumed biblical characters within historically accurate surroundings from the Bibleâ€™s â€śNight Before Christmasâ€ť.Â It was a wonderful presentation that took all of our breaths away and was the perfect way to end my eveningâ€™s procession.
Stay tuned for part two of my luminary trail experience.Â Before I sign off, let me thank the event planner, Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, for an amazing evening that is well worth spending a few extra days on Sanibel for.Â And just imagine waking up the next morning on those fabulous, to-die-for Sanibel beaches.
Dru Anne DoyleÂ Â Â see the pictures here…