Cruise into quirky traditions, favourite dishes
Money may not grow on trees, but it sure looks like it grows on walls at the Cabbage Key Inn.
It’s estimated that visitors have taped thousands of autographed dollar bills on the walls of the restaurant and bar on the private island of Cabbage Key, located inside the chain of barrier islands that include Sanibel and Captiva. Ask for a marker and tape, and join the list of personalities — including ex-presidents and celebrities including actors Julia Roberts and Kevin Costner — who have posted signed bills.
The tradition apparently began in 1944 when a fisherman taped a dollar to the wall to open his bar tab.
Rumour also has it that the Inn’s cheeseburger was the inspiration for Jimmy Buffett’s hit song, “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” I am thinking their smoked salmon was equally worthy of a song.
You can get there through Captiva Cruises which offers one-hour scenic boat tours from Captiva Island that allow you the choice of stopping off for lunch at Cabbage Key or at nearby sister resort Tarpon Lodge, a quick boat ride away on Pine Island, to the east.
But if you find it hard to leave, you can rent one of the Cabbage Key’s remote private cottages or a room at Tarpon Lodge, built in 1926. There, you’ll find fine dining and Old Florida accommodations. Guests who bump into owner Rob Wells will learn they should enjoy an exotic cocktail — but make sure you save room for the key lime pie.
Just across the street from the Lodge you can visit the pre-Columbian Indian mounds of the ancient Calusa civilization or take advantage of the marina next door for an afternoon of shelling.
Back on Sanibel Island, a visit to the upscale Thistle Lodge is must. This historic island treasure, located at the Casa Ybel Resort, offers a feast of fresh seafood and a stunning view of the Gulf of Mexico. Knowledgeable servers can help you navigate the thoughtfully chosen wine list.
Sherri Haigh was hosted by Cabbage Key Inn and the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel.
This is an excerpt of an article by Sherri Haigh that originally appeared in The Star. Photo credit: Brian Tietz/Beaches of Fort Myers-Sanibel