Home exchanging is a popular concept that allows homeowners to swap homes with other homeowners for their vacation. Recently we noticed our wildlife neighbors were switching their homes located at Ocean’s Reach.
Our osprey enjoys a change of venue from his osprey platform to the woodpecker’s birdhouse! The change of location also includes a new outlook from the perspective of the woodpecker!
We couldn’t resist capturing this phenomena and sharing it with our guests at Ocean’s Reach.
Everyone will have the opportunity to witness the first preview of the Sanibel Community House in action as local family chefs share their signature recipe, family history during the second annual Cooking with the Island Stars.
“It’s a good way to show off the new features and raise money for the Culinary Education Center of Sanibel to stock the pantry and buy things for the kitchen,” Marge Meek, Cooking with the Island Stars event chair, said. “We need to raise money to build a garden and nurture trees that are planted. We need to raise more money to get us going and move the center forward.”
Sanibel’s reality cooking show will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, featuring Michael Billheimer, congenial owner and host of the Lighthouse Cafe; Realtors Mary and Fred Bondurant; Calli Johnson, of Bailey’s General Store and Sharon Schulyer.
Johnson will prepare sustainable lionfish tacos, Schuyler’s dish is Jewish Apple cake, Billheimer will prepare a yucca and gorgonzola crusted fresh fish over a salad and Fred will prepare a bird nest recipe.
Before the chefs take the stage, attendees will have the opportunity to sample gourmet offerings from eight local restaurant chefs.
The master of ceremony is the Rev. John Danner, who was one of the home chefs last year who broke out into song during his cooking.
This year’s judges include Community House Resident Chef Jarred Harris, Loretta Paganini and Mark Blust of Prawnbroker Restaurant Group.
The awards are a trip to Fort Lauderdale for an epicurean adventure. Although the winner of the Judge’s Award is determined by the celebrity judges for the best dish, the People’s Choice is determined by the amount of money the community donates for their favorite chef.
The chefs have held their own fundraising parties over the last few weeks to raise money to go towards winning the People’s Choice Award, which all benefits the Culinary Education Center.
Tickets for the event are $100 for assigned seating and $200 for priority seating, which allows attendees with the opportunity to sample the dishes the family chefs are cooking while sitting in the front row. To purchase tickets, call 239-472-2155 1-239-472-2155, or visit www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net.
The $3 million renovation project, which began last year included many upgrades to the house, which will all be featured in the first large fundraising event next weekend.
Meek said in addition to the new system having the opportunity to spotlight the chefs as they are cooking and create mood lighting, the Cooking with the Island Stars will also feature live video of the chefs preparing their dishes for everyone in the audience to see. She said there will be two televisions and a big screen projection on the stage.
“There will be three TVs in other rooms showing the stars,” she said during the event.
The acoustics, Meek explained to be a huge upgrade from the previous system. She said people will now be able to hear one another talk, as well as the chefs on the stage.
In addition to the event, the chefs will have the opportunity to prepare their dishes in the new state-of-the-art kitchen.
Once the event concludes, Meek said they will open up all of the rooms to allow attendees to view the renovations of the Community House.
The Culinary Education Center, a new endeavor of the Community House, is about “building community by joining education, health awareness and social activity through food.”
Some of its features will include culinary instruction, including professional chef instruction and demos, local guest instructors, hands-on in the kitchen instruction and healthy eating farm to fork.
Another program, Cooking with the Kids in the Kitchen, will feature such classes as using tools and developing kitchen skills; growing, harvesting and cooking local foods; fun snacks; manners and dinning etiquette and meals in a minute.
The heritage and family cooking will feature various kinds of cooking, couples in the kitchen, cooking for one and helping area food producers grow and prosper.
“The center is about sharing things we have learned from our parents,” Meek said, adding that the center has “hit a nerve that hasn’t been touched.”
The center will utilize the many fruit baring trees that have been planted on the property, which includes such varieties as lychee, soursop, fig, barbados cherry, blackberry and carambola.
Meek said everything on Sanibel revolves around food, so what better way to highlight that than offer the Culinary Education Center at the Community House.
Thanks to our friends at the Island Reporter for the update!
We love that so many of our guests and residents care about our coastline.
Case in point, many teamed up recently with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and Keep Lee County Beautiful to help with the 30th annual International Coastal Cleanup.
While we don’t have this year’s numbers in yet, more than 2,050 volunteers helped out across Lee County last year. Together, they removed 5,000 pound of litter and debris from our beaches.
Worldwide, the numbers are even more staggering. Ocean Conservancy, the host of the global event, notes that nearly 800,000 volunteers collected more than 18 million pounds of trash from around the world during the International Coastal Cleanup last year.
In Florida last year, 22,777 people took part, gathering 285,112 pounds of trash over 861 miles of coastline. The trash included nearly 229,000 cigarette butts, approximately 30,000 plastic bottles and just under 20,000 plastic bags.
Plastic is now the top concern for those who work at Ocean Conservancy. A new study shows that upwards of 12 million tons of plastics enter the ocean each year from land-based sources. Fish, birds and turtles can get entangled in plastic debris, or mistake plastic trash for food, leading to eventual starvation.
The majority of the items collected on Sanibel’s beaches last year were cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps, straws, plastic bags, glass beverage bottles, metal bottle caps and plastic lids.
For more information, or to find out how you can help, visit Ocean Conservancy.
On Sanibel, we get giddy about our native plants. Planting native is good for backyards and front yards, wildlife, people and healthy waterways. So when the SCCF nursery opened last week, Sanibel went on a shopping spree! The new SCCF Native Landscapes & Garden Center is located at 1300 Periwinkle Way and offers landscaping services, demonstration gardens and native plants for sale.
Below is all of the pertinent information direct from C.R.O.W.
“CROW is a non-profit organization that relies on donations from individuals and companies, grants, sponsorships, educational programs and visitor center admittance to care for southwest Florida’s sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. We do not get any federal/government funding. Our patients do not come to us with any sort of health insurance. By symbolically adopting a species, you will help with the costs of caring for these animals.
For $25, (plus shipping), you will receive an official “adoption” certificate and photo together in a holder along with a Species Card that explains about the animal.
For $55, (plus shipping), you will receive the above, plus a plush stuffed animal and CROW rescue box.
Current sponsorships available are:
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Contact the gift shop at 239-472-3644 ext. 229, email email@example.com or stop in to help support CROW in this way.”
The owl photo above is from the C.R.O.W. Historical Photo Gallery.
Photo Credit: Margie Bodas, Winner of 2014 Ocean’s Reach Photo Contest!
We’re once again inviting guests to share favorite vacation photos with us, so that we can then share them with others who enjoy all that our little corner of the world offers. We look forward to seeing your most-loved images of the year, whether they’re fun family pics, gorgeous nature shots or dazzling sunset photos.
In addition to selecting some to include on our website and daily blog, Photo Contest winners will be featured on our beautiful 2016 Ocean’s Reach Guest Calendar, scheduled to go on sale later this fall.
Submit your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is September 25, 2015. Photos should be high-resolution if possible (3MBs or higher). Please note that, upon submission, we reserve the right to utilize your photos on our website, social media, and other marketing communications programs designed to promote Ocean’s Reach.
There’s nothing as special as seeing our island through “your” eyes. We look forward to receiving your submissions soon!
Two valued team members, Carl and John, celebrated turning a combined 140 years young this month. How could we resist hosting a joint birthday party with refreshments and musical accompaniment in the newly remodeled Guest Welcome Center? These handsome men were not only born 70 years ago but just a day apart from each other!
Sue provided the Ocean’s Reach beach-themed cake from Bailey’s Bakery. Andy brought the ice cream. And Adolfo contributed the Happy Birthday sing along. A good time was had by staff, guests and on-site vendors.
So who is the older of the two? Looking at these pictures, it is a hard call. But it’s Carl!
ps. You, too, can celebrate your birthday on Sanibel with your Ocean’s Reach friends and family and the yummy chocolate cake from Bailey’s!