We have been coming to Sanibel since 1994. It started by just coming for 1 week at Spring Break time. And we were always joined by our son and his family or our daughter. In fact our two oldest grandkids have been coming yearly since they were infants and don't remember when they didn't come to Sanibel. After I retired in 1998, we came down for 3 months a year with our motorhome. In the fall of 2000, thanks to an inheritance from my aunt, we decided to purchase a trailer here in Periwinkle Park. One day, Mr. Snowbird was out riding his bike and happened by a place with a For Sale sign in the window. He came back and got me and we went to look at it. When we got there, the sign was gone. As we stood outside talking about it, a lady came out and said that indeed it was for sale but they had taken the sign down because the phone number was wrong. And, if we could give them an hour while they cleaned the place, we could look at it. So off we went for an hour.
When we came back, we entered the front door into the Florida Room and the lady and her mother who owned the house said they would take us out back first. OK, folks, that is all it took. I didn't even have to look at the rest of the place. I knew when I went out on the deck that this was MINE!!! It had my name on it. It was my Itty Bitty Piece of Paradise. We did, however, look at the rest of the place and found that it came fully equipped with furniture, pots and pans, dishes, towels, sheets, blankets, you name it! We told them we would think about it. Well, it took about 2 minutes of thinking and discussing and we came back and told them we wanted it!!
So now we had a motorhome on one side of the Park and a new home on the other. You can guess which one we lived in until we took the motorhome back north at Christmas. Now instead of being in Paradise for 3 months a year we could be here as long as we wanted and anytime we wanted.
We did put a lot of work into the place including a new "roof over" on both the trailer and Florida Room, a new air conditioner, new windows, and thanks to a rusted out water heater which sprung a leak new flooring in the living room. New paint and carpet came next. And just recently a whole renovation of the Florida Room (which you have read all about in my other posts.) The lady who sold the place to us would never recognize it today.
When we weren't here in the summer, we usually had CROW students staying here looking after the place. It helped us to have someone here and it helped CROW because their student housing was limited. It was lucky that one of the students was living here in August of 2004. That was when Hurricane Charley hit. We were in Scotland at the time and thanks to Jesse, he dealt with the insurance guy, put a tarp up etc. We fared better than our neighbor who had a tree through their roof but we did have a big old pine tree come down on our deck and take out a corner of the Florida Room. Thanks to insurance we got a whole new deck and repairs to the Florida Room. We were able to enlarge the deck.
We LOVE this deck. As I said at the beginning, this is what sold us on the place. It looks out on a "weir" of the Sanibel River. These are little "creeks" as I call them that were put in for mosquito control. The city owns the land across the creek so it is all grown up with trees and brush--and wildlife. We can't see any other houses from our deck-totally private. When there is water in the creek (dry now because of the drought), we have wading birds, alligators, water snakes, turtles, Blue Crabs etc right off our deck. When there isn't any water we have raccoons, armadillos, Marsh Rabbits, and all kinds of birds. Our own miniature "Ding" Darling.
And did I mention, flowers abound on my deck. I love flowers and every fall when we come down here, about the first store I hit is Home Depot's garden store and I stock up on all kinds of flowers. I also started growing orchids down here. I just let them go and grow. And poinsettias at Christmas-wow! I get HUGE ones for about $3 apiece. Up north it would cost about $20 apiece. So I load up on them and have them almost all winter.
We love it here--as does our son, daughter in law and Grandson #1 and only Granddaughter. They come down every year at Christmas and are also going to make it at Spring Break this year. That deck will get a lot of use when they are here!