homepage logo

Shell Shocked: Oh, Sanibel, My Sanibel!

By Staff | May 23, 2018

Art Stevens

Do you think it’s easy being a snowbird? As I write this it’s Sunday, May 13th (Happy Mother’s Day) and it’s 52 degrees and raining in my northern outpost.

My Sanibel friends are urging me to live full-time in Sanibel instead of trudging back and forth to New Jersey. My recurring response to them is that I like the variety of being in two different worlds each year. I’m beginning to think that this response is getting tired and wearisome.

I’ve had a home in Sanibel for more than 30 years. I’m in Sanibel for at least six months every year. I’m a resident of Florida, have a Florida driver’s license and vote in Florida. And yet I still travel back to New Jersey. I’m beginning to think about the ties I have to New Jersey. Not as many as in Sanibel.

I’ve made such good friends in Sanibel and Lee County these many years. I have a full social life when I’m there. I love the restaurants, the beach, the golf courses, the blackened fish, BIG ARTS, the Barbara Mann, the Pilates training and the sunsets.

I love my house, swimming pool, big TV set, occasional two-putting, the Rec Center and “Ding” Darling. I have nothing comparable in New Jersey.

I’m not knocking New Jersey, mind you. It has a lot going for it. Dinners are less expensive because most restaurants don’t have liquor licenses. You bring your own wine and have it opened and chilled for you at no cost.

New Jersey has a law against self-service at gas stations so your gas tank is always filled by a gas station attendant. Not that filling your own gas tank is a major achievement, but New Jersey keeps the “z” in lazy.

I’m beginning to think of all the fun things I could do if I lived in Sanibel all year-round. I could become a tour guide at “Ding” Darling or CROW. I could lecture at BIG ARTS. I could try out for local amateur theatrical productions. I could eat more blackened food. I could take packages to the Sanibel post office and be greeted by warm, caring human beings who work there.

I could catch up on the number of sunsets I’m able to watch on the beach near my house. I could continue the long walks on the beach I revel in. I could indulge in one of my favorite soups more often – the homemade gazpacho sold at Bailey’s.

But my northern friends who are trying to dissuade me from considering staying in Sanibel full-time ask me how I could abide the tropical weather in summertime Florida. My response to them is why they make it a point to stay away from New Jersey during the summer months as much as they can.

It gets pretty hot and tropical in New Jersey during the summer months. There’s not that much difference between Florida and New Jersey from June through September. I spend two weeks every year in Sanibel during August and I always look forward to that trip. I never seem to mind the heat. Quite often it’s hotter in New Jersey during the time I’m in Sanibel in August.

So what am I waiting for? Old habits die hard. I’ve got a routine going and I’m reluctant to break it for now. But one of these days, I’m going to begin the process of thinking long and hard about being in Sanibel all the time.