We have visited Sanibel, Florida many times over the years—my daughter even visited before she was born!—and for about 98% of the time we have stayed at one resort. Five years ago, we decided to locate a different dwelling to rent for our week-long vacation: a cottage with a dock to fish as often as my husband wanted. Enter The Lazy Hideaway, situated at Blind Pass with the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Wulfert Channel to the east.
When I recently archived some of the photos on my computer, I had to smile when I opened pictures that were taken during this “perfect” holiday. An online search for rental information—mostly to satisfy my curiosity that this special getaway was alive and well, but also because I have always fantasized that we would one day return—revealed a surprising void. No such cottage existed—no photos, no information, nothing (well, except for a few comments on Tripadvisor). I messaged the vacation rental company that we had used before, and a quick reply informed me that the cottage had been sold and the owner did not rent it out, hence the dearth of online info. C’est la vie!
Our stay at The Lazy Hideaway (our forever moniker) was without a doubt the best time I ever had on Sanibel/Captiva. I loved sipping coffee in the enclosed screen porch while gazing past the water at the first light of the day, and at dusk I would sit at the picnic table and watch hundreds of sand crabs congregate along the short sea wall next to the Castaways Bait Shop, much to the delight of the resident great blue heron.
Not only did we have our own dock, but our adorable blue cottage came complete with its own beach! I spent hours searching for shells along the tiny stretch of sand, and I was rewarded with countless olives. Unfortunately, the channel floor is rocky and silty, and even if my daughter missed stepping on something hard, she would sink into the mushy bottom. Any thoughts of wading were soon abandoned.
The resort we normally visited was close to Periwinkle Way, the main road that offers abundant shops, boutiques and cafés. In comparison, The Lazy Hideaway seemed like we were stationed at the ends of the earth, so we carefully planned our trips away from our “utopia.” After 25 years of making use of all the island offers, it seemed like little remained to be explored. But when my daughter pointed out that we had never visited the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village (how was it possible?), we made sure to take the tour and were glad we did. Another tour we enjoyed was of the Botanical Gardens at Sanibel Moorings, and the beautifully landscaped collection of native and other tropical species is exquisite. Together with the gardener’s expansive knowledge of landscaping, this walkabout was a fabulous use of a couple of hours.
The three of us agree that our holiday at the magical blue cottage was ideal, and once again I have nothing but memories (and a few photos) to mollify my need to look back and make sense of time’s nimble narratives. I celebrate my ability to capture the week into a few paragraphs, but I know that this triumph over time is fleeting, and I will once again yearn to revisit the past (the pleasant parts, anyway). Until then, I’ll always have The Lazy Hideaway.