Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Art Fair on Sanibel Provides Great Day of Viewing, Chatting

We have been staying at our vacation rental home, Toucan House, for the past 5 weeks with 4 more to go.

This has been an unusal experience as we are generally rented for November and December and have never spent this much time on the Island or in the house.

Being here has confirmed our belief that Sanibel is indeed a unique vacation destination. And, having glorious weather for these last few weeks has enhanced our pleasure with the house and with the Island.

The crowning glory this past week was the Sanibel Masters Art Festival held this past week-end. The new space for the show is more visible than the old location and there is more room to roam and look at the beautiful work.

We were dazzled and entertained for a couple of hours, viewing the paintings, sculpture and jewelry presented.
Our biggest joy was meeting a Brazilian-American nature photographer who had a spectacular display of shots he took locally as well as some stunning pictures he has taken in Brazil.

We chatted with him a while learning of the scarlet Ibis in one of his photographs, a bird more commonly seen in South America. But he had spotted and shot it right here in SW Florida.
It's quite a beautiful photograph, as were the egrets and other Sanibel birds he had for sale, but our favorite was a little Toucanet.

Needless to say, we purchased it and are looking for the right spot in Toucan House to hang it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to be a Perfect House Guest on Sanibel

We have been at our Toucan House on the Island for nearly 4 weeks.

In all the years we have owned
Toucan House, this is the longest period we have stayed in the home.
Being here for this stretch gives us a better understanding of the Sanibel, our neighborhood and the nuances of being a house guest as we have had several in this last month.

We have enjoyed our time with all, showing them around Sanibel and discovering the Island in ways we have not done before.
Every guest has been a good guest, some better than others.

But observing them, I think I have some suggestions for others who may own or rent a home and have visitors come for any period of time.

So here are my recommendations for being a perfect house guest, tongue in cheek to some degree:

  • Realize that Sanibel is a small, casual, tropical island and you really need not pack up your jewels from home to bring them here. The wildlife of the Island will not be impressed. In fact, do yourself a favor and pack as little as you can. It will make your life much easier.
  • While not a must, it's always better for you to ring the door bell with your old saying in my family which translates into "better to arrive with a house gift" than empty handed. Even a small token of a consumable (candle, bath soaps, bottle of wine, etc.) goes a long way in saying hello with a smile.,
  • Observe the flow of the house hold and either a. follow it or b. ask your home owner if it's cool to get up at noon when every one else rises at 7. Your host will probably say it is fine what ever you choose, and then leave you to your own schedule.
  • What ever time you arise, please come to breakfast fully dressed with hair combed. You may love the just got out of bed look, but more than likely your home owner will not. If your hosts are people who arrive at the table in what they will wear for the day, your PJ's are not appropriate breakfast attire.
  • If there is something you would really like to do and your house partners ask, do tell them. It may be suggested that you all do them together or you may be directed in seeking out your activities on your own, but either way it gives you all a starting point on how to plan the day.
  • Know a little about the Island before you arrive. Sanibel is garden of pleasures and treasures for those who value being near the sea and close to nature. If your expectation and/or need is a wild night life, you will probably be disappointed.
  • Have a great time. That is the best gift you can give yourself and your hosts. And, when you get home and get settled, regardless of your level or your hosts level of technology, send a thank you note. Yes, a snail mail, old fashioned, hand written hard copy card to tell your host that you had a nice time. Thank you never gets to be a boring word if it is sincere.