Strangely beautiful animals

Strangely beautiful animals

This morning I had an interview on Captiva with Matt, a Florida Gulf Coast University grad student working on a grant challenge about American pen shells. We sat under an umbrella near the water during our interview, which provided such a laid back relaxing atmosphere. The interview was fascinating.

After learning about pen shells and the beautiful pearls they produce, he asked if I wanted to see his home, a sailboat out in the bay near Jensen’s Marina. Before we made it to the end of the dock, we stopped and watched a family of manatees swim around and come up for air. Matt said about seven manatees hang out at the marina, which included a few young manatees. A smile was plastered on my face the entire time. I just could not help it . . . they made me happy as I watched their every move.

I was mesmerized by these strangely beautiful creatures that were so docile. Today was the first time I have been so up-close and personal with these giant animals. It was hard to walk away because they kept drawing me in, which resulted in a slew of photographs.

This was definitely the highlight of my day.

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“We are a romance destination”

Lovers Key Resort: A serene retreat on the south end of the island 

Published in South Fort Myers Community Lifestyles October/November issue

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A hidden gem frequented by couples for a romantic getaway is tucked away on the south tip of Fort Myers Beach, providing breathtaking views, an award-winning restaurant and lagoon-style pool to really escape.

“We are a romance destination for anniversaries, honeymoons and special occasions, like Valentine’s Day,” Lovers Key Resort general manager Jeff Bullock said of the property that is catered toward couples. “We have some custom packages for a couple’s getaway destination.”

He said the boutique property opened in 2000 with picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico and Estero Bay from the suites, many of the rooms receiving upgrades and remodels in 2013.

The suites are spacious with a king-sized bedroom and queen-sized sleeper sofa, as well as a full-service kitchen and private balconies overlooking either the Gulf of Mexico or Estero Bay. The units also include a dining room with a table and chairs for four people.

Lovers Key Resort suites offer full-sized kitchen galleys with updated stove, microwave, refrigerator, large sink and spacious granite counter tops.

Lovers Key Resort suites offer full-sized kitchen galleys with updated stove,
microwave, refrigerator, large sink and spacious granite counter tops.

“Many of the units have full floor-to-ceiling windows,” he said. “You
can see all of Lovers Key, as well as the gulf and Fort Myers Beach.”

Several units also include a Jacuzzi tub and separate showers in the full-sized spacious bathrooms.

Bullock said what makes the resort unique is guests see a lot of natural Florida habitat, such as native birds, manatees and dolphins, when staying on the property.

 

The resort has a lagoon-style pool with a waterfall that sits right on the bay and a 24-hour fitness center that is assessable for all guests. It also public, as well.

Flippers photo

Flippers on the Bay, a restaurant sitting on top of Estero Bay, changed to the current management company in 2011 with new Executive Chef Juan Cruz, originally from El Salvador.

“He came from California to us about three years ago,” Bullock said.

The restaurant was also renovated and remodeled in 2011. The casual, yet elegant atmosphere of Flippers on the Bay is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, primarily serving seafood cuisine.

Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 11 a.m. offering such favorites as the
Ultimate Lobster Egg Benedict and Lovers Key Breakfast Burrito.

Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

The Benedict is comprised of two English muffins, two poached eggs,
fresh succulent lobster meat finished with house-made key lime hollandaise and house-made breakfast potatoes. The burrito is made of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, peppers and cheddar cheese, topped with house-made enchilada sauce, sour cream and house-made breakfast potatoes.

From May through January, the resort offers a room package that
automatically comes with a warm continental breakfast.

The lunch menu is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of the popular
appetizers include Tuna Ceviche and Campechana.

Bohemian Grouper

Bohemian Grouper

The ceviche is fresh yellow fin tuna with pickled ginger, diced cucumbers and avocado relish tossed with sesame seeds, lemon juice, house-made cusabi and Asian garlic sauce. The Campechana is a Spanish-style shrimp cocktail with seasoned shrimp, lump crab meat, avocado, red onion, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno and clamato juice on warm tortilla chips.

Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Some of the favorite menu items include Chilean Sea Bass, Coconut Shrimp and Bohemian Grouper.

The sea bass is pan-seared and served with a citrus miso sauce and
steamed rice. The grouper is seared and served over ripe mashed plantain with roasted seasonal vegetables and topped with a citrus mango relo fish and citron buerre blanc.

Taste of the Bay

Taste of the Bay

Taste of the Bay, fettuccine pasta with succulent lobster meat, shrimp and sea scallops, is another popular dinner item.

The location of the resort also offers many opportunities for guests to take full advantage of the water within walking distance.

Bullock said Lovers Key State Park and many local vendors offer private tours for kayaking, paddle boarding and water sports.

“When they stay here they can access the state park or the local vendors within a mile,” he said of the resort. “Some of them will meet the guests here and access the bay from the resort property.”

LKR photo

Guests can also take a short walk across the street to Fort Myers Beach or travel a mile down the road to Lovers Key State Park.

Lovers Key Resort has a very high rating on Trip Advisor and was voted the Best of the Beach Waterfront Restaurant and Best Place for Lunch on the Water by the Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach’s local entertainment newspaper.

 

Lovers Key Resort is located at 8771 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.

For more information, call 239-765-1040 or visit LoversKey.com. For
more information about Flippers on the Bay, visit FlippersOTB.com or call 239-765-1025.

Lovers Key