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Finding Florida’s best places to eat and drink

Posted on July 10, 2017
By Michael Fitzpatrick, Manchester Evening News
Cabbage Key, Captiva, Fort Myers, Reviews, Sanibel

The burger at Cabbage Key restaurant

The burger at Cabbage Key restaurant

A tour of the American state with your appetite in mind

On a food and drink tour of Florida you might think enjoying a burger isn’t very adventurous. There are countless joints here in Manchester to get your beef-fix – but this was no ordinary burger.

Before sinking my teeth into this American classic I’d enjoyed a boat trip across the south west Florida ocean, accompanied by family of dolphins for part of the hour-long cruise, before docking at an island that despite its unassuming name, can only be described as paradise.

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Manhattan to Margaritaville

Posted on March 22, 2017
By Guest Blogger, Emily Ershowsky, NYC

As I sit inside on another cold winter day, with two-foot snow mounds lining all New York City streets, I find myself sharing my photos from last weekend with yet another coworker.

Every time I visit my parents in Southwest Florida, where I still consider “home” after all these years, I look for ways to be a tourist in my own city. A discoverer. An explorer. After hearing recommendation after rave recommendation about Cabbage Key, I knew I had to find a way to get there.

One sunny Florida day after another. Friday morning arrives, we hop in the car and head to Tarpon Lodge in Pineland. A historic, old Florida home greets us with the most gorgeous view of the Gulf. Our guide for the day is co-owner of Tarpon Lodge, Rob Wells, a friendly face and an interesting background growing up on Cabbage Key taking a boat to school every day.

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Jan & Kevin Wolf: Taking time to enjoy friends, family…and frogs

Posted on October 17, 2016
By The Cabbage Key Family, Cabbage Key, Cabbage Key Island, Florida
Cabbage Key, Guest Stories, Recreation, Reviews

One of the greatest rewards of being part of a family-owned resort community is getting to know our guests, especially those who come back time and again.

Jan and Kevin Wolf are the perfect example: kind, generous, fun people who have themselves become members of our wonderful extended Cabbage Key family. They are a fabulous couple, high school sweethearts, who have been married for more than 30 years and have four grown children. They bought a new boat a few years ago, and now that the “soccer” years are over, they have a bit more time to spend with us. We had a chance to hear from Jan recently about why she and Kevin enjoy their overnight stays at Cabbage Key, and of course, we had to share:

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Star-filled nights, sun-lit days at Cabbage Key

Posted on September 21, 2016
Cabbage Key, Cabbage Key Inn Reviews, Fishing & Boating, Fort Myers, Interviews

A conversation with Fort Myers attorney and author John D. Mills

One of our favorite things about working at a family-owned island resort is getting to know our guests, even becoming lifelong friends with many of them. Take, for example, John D. Mills, a Fort Myers attorney and author of six legal thriller novels. A fifth generation local, John has been coming to our neck of the waters since he was a toddler. The Mills family fishing shack, burnt down in 1995, is a source of John’s fondest memories and how he got to know all of us at Cabbage Key. Our island cottages remind him of those childhood days and keep him coming back to us at least four weekends per year. Plus, he participates in two of our annual fishing tournaments – so we get to see him quite often.

We sat down with John to learn more about him and what he likes best about Cabbage Key. He was generous with his time, and with his interesting stories. In his own words:

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Room to Breathe on Cabbage Key

Posted on August 27, 2016
By Janet K. Keeler, VISIT FLORIDA
Cabbage Key Inn Reviews, In The Neighborhood, Recreation, Tarpon Lodge & Restaurant Reviews

Lounging on the dock of the Cabbage Patch Cottage on Cabbage Key is what a Florida getaway is all about. Luxury yachts and weathered flats boats cruise by, osprey perch on rustic pylons, and breezes riff off of the water. Mullet jump, box turtles get amorous, and the houses of exclusive Useppa Island across the water conjure Lottery win dreams.

Ah, time to breathe deeply.


Various lunch and dinner offerings served at the Cabbage Key Inn and Restaurant include bottom clockwise: A cheeseburger, Key Lime Pie, Fresh Gulf You Peel Shrimp, and center, a Cabbage Creeper, the inn’s version of the Pina Colada drink.

In the evening, I walk a dusty lane to the Cabbage Key Island Inn Restaurant & Bar. Cuban laurels laced with twinkle lights mark the place where I sip a Cabbage Creeper cocktail, a pina colada with a coffee liqueur float. I order a plank of smoked salmon with housemade dill sauce. And then a pile of cold, peel-and-eat shrimp billed as an appetizer but plenty filling for a meal. I vow to have a cheeseburger in paradise before I start the journey home.

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Cabbage Key Featured in National Geographic: 10 Reasons to Visit Fort Myers and Sanibel, Florida

Posted on August 20, 2016
By Gillian Kendall, National Geographic
Cabbage Key Inn Reviews, Cayo Costa, Fishing & Boating, Fort Myers, Nature & Wildlife, Pine Island, Sanibel, Tarpon Lodge & Restaurant Reviews

For a beach lover, the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel are a dream destination.

Sunset at Bowman's Beach.

A man walks at sunset down Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida. PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL GOZANSKY, ALAMY

Trouble in paradise: I’m at the tollbooth on the causeway that crosses to Sanibel Island from Fort Myers, Florida. There’s a six-dollar charge, and they don’t take credit cards. After fumbling through pockets, purse, and beach bag, I come up with only four crumpled one-dollar bills. But the tan booth attendant offers an authentic smile. “If you don’t have it, it’s OK,” she says, waving me through. “Someone ahead of you just paid it forward.”

Receiving a favor from a stranger is an unexpected welcome to the islands west of Fort Myers. But it’s just one of many things that make the area unusual.

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Talk of the Town: Was Cabbage Key Truly Jimmy Buffett’s Inspiration?

Posted on July 22, 2016
By Lisa Fleming, Naples Herald
Cabbage Key Inn Reviews

Q. Did Jimmy Buffett really write his song, Cheeseburger in Paradise, based on time spent on Cabbage Key?  What can you tell me about the island? Laurie Andrews, Naples, NY

A. To find out firsthand, I spent the day on Cabbage Key. The 100-acre island is in Pine Island Sound in Lee County, not far from Captiva and Sanibel.  There are no paved roads, and is accessible only by boat or plane!

Rob Wells III and his younger brother Ken oversee the restaurant on Cabbage Key as well as the family owned Tarpon Lodge and Restaurant on Pine Island.

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Florida coast offers great food, fun on, off water

Posted on May 29, 2016
By Bryan Hendricks, Arkansas Sportsman
Cabbage Key Inn Reviews

Cabbage Key is a short ride across Pine Island Sound on the Island Girl, or you can drive your own boat. It’s an interesting place for many reasons, not the least of which are all the $1 bills tacked to the walls. There’s about $70,000 worth, Cabbage Key manager Ken Wells said.

Commercial fishermen started the $1 tradition many years ago, Wells said. Money flowed when fishing was good, but fishermen understood that fortunes could sour the next week. They wrote their names on $1 bills and tacked them to the wall so they could afford drinks when money was scarce.

Over the years, visitors added to the $1 tableau.

Cabbage Key is also known — falsely, Wells said — for inspiring Jimmy Buffett’s classic, “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” They do serve a mean cheeseburger at Cabbage Key, but Wells said the song predates Buffett’s visit to the restaurant.

The real story, Wells said, is that Buffett dedicated the song to some Cabbage Key employees that attended one of his shows.

That’s no fun. We like the myth better.

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11 Super-Remote Hotels for a Complete Escape

Posted on November 22, 2015
By USA Today

The Cabbage Key Inn is a mid-range property offering six quaint rooms and eight cottages on a beautiful, secluded island that is reachable only by boat. The 100-acre island is filled with nature trails and lush flora and fauna, plus an on-site marina. Rooms feature original wood floors and private antique-style bathrooms, and some have fireplaces (though no TVs). Cottages feature fully equipped modern kitchens, separate living rooms and multiple bedrooms, as well as exceptional water views; some have private docks and screened-in porches. Cabbage Key Inn Restaurant and Bar serves tasty American classics and is popular with guests as well as locals and boaters.

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