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Times of the Islands Magazine

'Innsiders' Provide History, Unique Perspective to Popular Southwest Florida Gem

Jan 18, 2018 05:31PM ● By Kevin

Buzz and Dorothy Price, and Capt. Stran, with a huge fish being hung. Photo courtesy of 'Tween Waters Inn.

With so much to enjoy at 'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa, there became a need for some local experts to share secrets, tips and trends with the community and outside travelers alike in order to make for the best beach trips in Southwest Florida.

The group, known as "Innsiders," is comprised of four Southwest Florida enthusiasts, who write informative stories about the resort's history, happenings and things to come. As a matter of fact, one just wrote a blurb on the resort's beginnings, just before the new year.

"Step back 80-plus years to the days of rumble seats and airplanes landing on the beach — without having to leave the grounds of ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island," Chelle Koster Walton wrote. "Begin your day steeped in history with breakfast at the Old Captiva House restaurant, which dates back to the resort’s origins in the 1930s. Read the historic plaque outside for your first history lesson."

The plaque to which she refers is an iconic image for those familiar with the area, and explains the rich history of the spot.

In short, it explains that ‘Tween Waters Inn was established by F. Bowman and Grace B. Price in 1931 — starting the Inn with a single building and expanded it over the next 30 years with more cottages and other buildings. They built the remote tourist facility with its small cottages and restaurant into a social center and favorite winter resort of wealthy northerners. The resort has been welcoming guests ever since — celebrating more than 85 years of guests at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Other historic landmarks within the resort include the “Old Captiva House” — the fine dining restaurant first built as a one-room school for children of Captiva’s pioneer settlers. The Old Captiva House you visit today reflects much of its original charm — from picturesque walls of white French doors, to hardwood floors, to the Gulf of Mexico sunset that streams through our western windows. ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

"Step inside, then, and admire the cartoons of Jay Norwood 'Ding' Darling, namesake of today’s J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel," Koster Walton's narrative continues. "You can see a collection of his Pulitzer Prize Award-winning political cartoons from the Des Moines Register. The resort also displays some of his original work, including a triptych piece called “The Big Parade,” depicting Captiva beachgoers back in the day."

Darling spent many winters at 'Tween Waters, where he had both a cottage with his wife and a studio for himself. The narrative explains that both cottages have been restored for guest accommodations, along with 17 others, at present day.

"Most of them, along with the Old Captiva House building, are on the National Register of Historic Places. Four are named for other historic figures who have visited Captiva through the years: pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh, who is said to have landed his plane on the beach; his wife, author Anne Morrow Lindbergh; President Teddy Roosevelt; and ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson."

According to 'Tween Waters' website, Koster Walton is an experienced travel writer, having written for hundreds of travel markets including over a dozen guidebooks on Florida and the Caribbean. "An active 'empty nester,' Chelle shares with you her 'carefree couples' adventures and indulgences at the resort."

Additional Innsiders include: Jill Martin, former family correspondent with VISIT FLORIDA, and current travel writer for Fodor's; Lyle Fitzsimmons, CBS Interactive and The Sports Network writer; and Emily Pryzbylo, Florida transplant and 'Tween Waters Inn enthusiast.

The resort is known to have inspired artists, authors and countless others with its beach-to-bay exposure and award- winning sunsets. It features modern facilities, plus the aforementioned, historically preserved, but luxurious and contemporary cottages, named after some of its famous guests. In addition to Darling, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, also drew inspiration for her best-selling book Gift from the Sea (1955) during her time on Captiva.

‘Tween Waters is involved in philanthropic endeavors, as well. The resort is most active in its support and donations with United Way and Habitat for Humanity. This Christmas, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts sponsored its fourth home and made someone’s Christmas very happy, according to Emily Kettner, senior vice president of NOISE, Inc. Kettner spoke to the resort's community service.

For United Way, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has donated more than $150,000 through it’s Captiva Crab Race donations, as well as additional support with Tony Lapi, CEO, serving on the board.

There are plenty of events happening at 'Tween Waters, many of which appear in our events calendar! Coming up on Feb. 3, the next Songwriter Saturdays is set to occur. This time, artist Hugh Mitchell performs.

"We fly these songwriters in from Nashville, for a casual live music experience right at our pool, every first Saturday of the month," Kettner explained.

Born in California and raised in Alabama, Mitchell has developed a style that bridges a lot of gaps, according to his website. American Songwriter Magazine refers to him as “...the golden-throated troubadour...”

He attributes growing up in Birmingham with his wide array of influences and interests, the website says. He released his self-produced EP, Heartbreak Radio, in 2010, and just recorded his next record with former Wilco drummer, Ken Coomer.

For more information about the resort, visit the website, Like them on Facebook, or call 1-800-223-5865.

All photos provided by 'Tween Waters Inn.