A five-minute stroll takes you to Sanibel's famous shelling beach, just across the street from our condo unit. Recently completely redecorated in ''Sanibel style,'' the unit is beautifully appointed with original art, tile floors, high-end furnishings, and a completely renovated master bath. (New 'high end'' kitchen in May 2011) The Sandpebble complex is quiet, intimate, and non-commercial -- just 23 units, most of which are owner occupied. The garden-like grounds run along the Sanibel river, with deck and eating/barbeque areas overlooking the Beachview golf course, across the water. The large pool area has ample lounge chairs and tables. There is a tennis court on the property as well. We have an on-island rental agent who can address any questions or problems with a local phone call.
The unit is on the top (4th) floor, with the best view and no noises from units above. Our newly appointed lanai has comfortable chairs for relaxation and an attractive dining area.
While we aren't directly on the beach, there is a ''peek-a-view'' of the Gulf of Mexico (see photo to the left) through the palm trees across the street. From the other side of the condo, you'll see the bird and animal life along the river (including resident alligators!) and the golfers moving down the fairway. The kitchen is fully stocked with all the utensils a guest might need to whip up anything from microwave popcorn to a gourmet meal. The spacious living room has flat screen TV with DVD, stereo with MP3 connection, WiFi (and a wired high-speed internet connection), and a small library of cookbooks and books on local activities and the flora and fauna of Sanibel. There are television sets in both bedrooms.
Sandpebble is centrally located on Sanibel's network of bike paths -- a short ride to the shops along Periwinke Way, a longer peddle to the wildlife at Ding Darling National Wildlife Center, or the new Sanibel Recreation Center, with its Olympic swimming pool, gym and weight rooms, lighted tennis courts, and childrens' water play area. Whether it's the beaches, parks and wildlife, shopping, or great dining alternatives, you'll find everything Sanibel has to offer close at hand.
Tom and Carolyn Church are innkeepers during the summer and fall, at Coveside Bed & Breakfast on another beautiful island -- Georgetown Island, on the coast of Maine. Tom is a retired college teacher (political science at the State University of New York in Albany). Carolyn was a travel agent and pastry chef. As innkeepers and frequent travelers (during our off-season), we have a good idea what vacation guests are looking for in a rental property, and have tried to provide this in our Sanibel condo.
Sanibel Island is unique and very special. More than 60 percent of the island is in conservation land that will never be developed. Most of the island roads pass through unspoilt island ecosystems. Development on the island is concentrated along the beaches (though with ample beach access all along the coast); no structures are more than four stories high and the condominium complexes are tasteful, most with substantial green space. Thus, much of the overdevelopment common to the Florida coast has been avoided by careful planning. We were looking for a property on Sanibel that could be upgraded to a high standard (which we have done over the past several years), that was close to the beach, but that wasn't in a busy, "resort-style" property. Most of the units at Sandpebble are occupied by owners for the winter season, and the complex is quiet and friendly.