Sanibel Island

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Sanibel Island, Florida- one of the most relaxing and quiet spots in the United States. This paradise which has no stop lights, and no buildings taller than a palm tree is known specifically for its shelling. The shore is covered in tiny shells, all washed up from the ocean to meet the beautiful white sandy beaches. Sanibel has been a favorite destination spot of all of ours for many years, however recently I was lucky enough to visit once again.

Arriving on the Island is like a scene out of your favorite movie, as you cross the almost 16,000 foot causeway bridge you are engulfed in tranquility and your whole mood slows down to “Island Time”.  ** Que the island music**

During this visit my boyfriend (now fiancé- we will get to that later) and I chose to stay at Sundial Beach Resort and Spa. This resort style condo features activities from biking around the island to paddle boarding and kayaking in the ocean to family movie nights by the pool. We were instantly greeted with hospitality and warm welcomes. The condo we stayed in was a quaint one bedroom, one bathroom with views that overlooked both the garden and the ocean.

2Spot on the beach 🙂

3Braden and me before dinner our first night 🙂

Our first evening on the island we chose to eat dinner at Cheeburger Cheeburger. This family favorite, with burgers, french fries, onion ring baskets, and milkshakes means you just can’t go wrong! As you anxiously await your meal they have trivia games upon each table for your family to enjoy. Braden and I both decided to make our own “burgers” (mine was veggie)- which allows you to choose from a number of free toppings, and sauces. We also shared a basket of onion rings, and fries, and topped it off with milk shakes! (Hey, we were on vacation). We were both extremely satisfied, and CheeBurger CheeBurger continues to remain the family favorite.

4We didn’t share but had to take a cute cheesy milkshake photo!

The next day we spent majority of our time being active, and enjoying the weather. We ran to the Sanibel Island Light House- which is 120 years old, and sits on a wildlife refuge. We found live Sand Dollars covering the beach, each one we threw back for it to live another day. However, we were lucky enough to find 4 dried which we brought home with us. We ended our day with paddle boarding in the ocean, and a bike ride around the island before getting ready for dinner. We ate dinner at another family favorite Lazy Flamingo. Starting with a ½ lb. of peel and eat shrimp is the only way to start a meal at Lazy Flamingo. We also both ordered the Grouper Basket which was fabulous.

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We then ended our night at Pinocchio’s- an Island Favorite for all of your ice cream needs. This small ice cream shop packs a huge punch with its array of flavors. Their “Dirty Sand Dollar” flavor is full of caramel, vanilla goodness- and a “small” is not a small on the Island- in fact a small is big enough to share however we didn’t (on vacation duh!).

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Our Third day on the Island- we were set up with a cabana by the pool for the day, complete with waters, and snacks to keep us happy. A sign marked our cabana “Welcome Everdings” which made us feel a sense of bliss. We shared strawberry daiquiris, and Pina coladas by the pool. Then made our way to the ocean to kayak on the calm water. (the water was eerily calm –reminder- shark week was this week on Discovery!) We spent the remainder of the day relaxing by the ocean- and walking the beach in search of good shells. (**reminder for next trip to bring water shoes, Braden did not enjoy walking on all of the baby shells**).

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We ended our evening by eating at Doc Fords Rum Bar and Grill. We shared the Bean Dip appetizer, and both ordered their 1/2 lb. Yucatan Shrimp (**the manager teased us for not sharing a 1 lb. however I am not one for sharing food). The Yucatan Shrimp is a ½ lb. of peel and eat shrimp bliss. This dish comes with two slices of bread to dip in the sauce afterwards- and they also share their recipe with you so you can make this dish at home. (Done, deal). We ended our evening by exploring Bowmans Beach only to be eaten by “No See Ums” (these ruthless little sandflies will ruin your romantic evenings by the water- however they are not seen during the day). For the record, Bowman Beach has one of the most breathtaking views of the Sanibel Sunset.

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Picture of the 1/2 lb shrimp yum!

Our last day, we walked the beach and found some shells to end our journey. One shell came as a blessing as it had a heart fixed whole made by the ocean. We relaxed under an umbrella by the beach until lunch time and rode our bikes across the island to go to The Island Cow for lunch. This hot spot on the Island is known for it’s breakfast, however their lunch was phenomenal. We rode back to the beach and spent a few more hours basking in the sun before saying goodbye to our spot of paradise and getting ready for dinner.

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We ate dinner on Captiva Island at the Mucky Duck which has phenomenal views of the ocean, and sunset. I chose the Grouper- while Braden had the sword fish, both were one of our favorite meals yet. We walked the beach after dinner to watch the sunset- and come to the realization that our little slice of paradise was ending.

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After dinner Braden asked if we could write in the sad to one another- so I wrote “I Love You” (I’m not too creative)- and he asked if he could surprise me by writing something to me. As I promised not to look with my back to him he began to write. As I traced the I love you in the sand with my foot waiting for him to tell me he was ready, anticipating him to have written something goofy (as that is his personality). When he told me he was ready- I turned around to see a sight more beautiful than I could have imagined.

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Braden was down on one knee, and had written “Marry Me?” In the sand. I was beyond shocked, and instantly started crying. We both hugged, and enjoyed our moment, as a family passed by to tell us they had captured the whole thing for us. We conversed and shared our moment with a family so sweet to have captured it.

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We ended our time on Sanibel and Captiva by taking a boat ride with Captiva Cruises to watch Fireworks over the ocean, getting to see dolphins and enjoy the romance of our moment. I am so incredibly blessed to have found a love as real as this. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with Braden- however for now we are enjoying our time being engaged. I will continue to share our story with you and my wedding planning as time goes on.

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Love the soon to be Mrs Everding 🙂

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