Captiva Island Vacation

by ‎03-18-2016 02:51 PM - edited ‎03-18-2016 03:48 PM

My family and I just got back from a wonderful vacation to Captiva Island, Florida. In the days following Beth’s funeral we, as a family, decided that we needed to go somewhere warm to relax and recuperate from a very difficult year. The Zika virus was in the news, so we decided not to leave the country.


Beth used to tell me about a wonderful vacation she went on as a teenager to Captiva and Sanibel islands in Florida. So, as I thought about an alternative to the Caribbean, I thought maybe we were supposed to go there, because it was special to her. After doing some research, I found a place called, 'The South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island'. Amy Stran, a fellow QVC host and friend, told me she vacationed there before, and once she gave it rave reviews, I booked it.


Kelsey and I flew into Fort Myers airport on Monday, March 7 on an 8a.m. flight (which meant we had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the Philly airport by 6a.m.) We had a smooth flight and met Kirstyn, Jeff, Cole and Gavin outside of the baggage-claim area. Cole started running for me as soon as he saw me and Gavin was right behind him. I grabbed them both in my arms and we were off for an awesome four days.




There are three pools at the resort and one of them has two waterslides. I spent a lot of time trying to keep up with Cole climbing three flights of stairs to go down those waterslides dozens of times each day. There was another pool that was more like a huge hot tub. It had to be at least ninety degrees in that pool and it felt pretty good on my sore quadricep muscles from climbing the steps for the waterslides. Gavin especially liked that pool and enjoyed pushing Papa into it every time I tried to climb up the ladder.




I’ll do anything just to hear his delightful laugh and see that heart-melting smile. We liked dining in the restaurants at the resort that first day. We enjoyed pizza and ice cream at a cute little pizza, ice cream and candy shop.






Monday evening there was a stargazing event down at Sunset Beach. A local astronomer came and set up a huge, powerful telescope. The stars were so clear I felt like I could reach out and touch them. We learned lots of facts from the astronomer as he talked about the various constellations and the billions of stars and clusters containing over 100,000 stars. Cole raised his hand and announced, “I went down the waterslide 122 times today!” The crowd of about 50 people erupted in laughter as Cole totally stole the show! 




Our days were filled with mornings at the beach, afternoons at the pools and evenings of wonderful dinners. I arranged for us all to take a Dolphin watching cruise on Thursday afternoon. The Dolphins came out in full force and greeted us as soon as we left the marina. They put on a show for us swimming along the boat and jumping out of the water in unison. They are beautiful, intelligent creatures and a sight to behold. We also saw a manatee one day swimming in the marina.




One of our favorite places on the beach is called “The Mucky Duck.” We went there two nights in a row and enjoyed appetizers and live music, but we could never wait long enough to have dinner there because it was a two hour wait both evenings. So, we ended up dining at 'The Bubble Room' and 'The Key lime Bistro.'




Cole and I discovered a new fun past time called “Tiki Toss.” This is a big beach activity there and it involves a long cord with a big “O Ring” on it and a hook on a post. You stand about ten feet away from the hook and try to swing the “O Ring” and land it on the hook. Cole was the undisputed Tiki Toss Champion. 






We came back Friday, March 11th and that evening Kirstyn, Kelsey and I attended a fundraiser for team CMMD which is a running group that Kirstyn belongs to. Their sole purpose is to raise money for cancer research. Kirstyn was asked to speak about her mom. She was emotional but did an amazing job and she delivered a wonderful tribute.


I started back to work the next night and as I wrote this, I felt so relaxed. I remember one night Gavin looked up at the stars, waved and said, “Hi Gam! I see my Gam!”

Turns out, Beth was on vacation with us after all.




God bless!


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on ‎03-18-2016 03:08 PM

How wonderful, delightful, amazing, and heartwarming!!!! I saw enjoy reading your stories and your family adventures, look forward to the next one!! 



on ‎03-18-2016 03:13 PM

Beautiful family on a beautiful vacation. Looks like fun was had and shared. God bless.


on ‎03-18-2016 03:14 PM
Sanibel is my favorite spot to go relax. It's only about 15 minutes from our house to Sanibel. You are welcome back anytime. We grouse about the traffic during "season" but we like the financial influx that keeps our taxes low.
on ‎03-18-2016 03:56 PM

You always write such lovely pieces ~

on ‎03-18-2016 04:16 PM

Hi, Dan. I'm so glad that you and your family took this vacation. I know how much all of you needed it. I still have goose bumps over the end of your blog. Be well.

on ‎03-18-2016 04:23 PM

Dan, your blogs are always interesting and heartfelt.  Wow--Cole is growing so tall !  The joy your family has for life and each other is obvious.  It is wonderful that y'all had that foundation on which to draw support during your transition, and to keep building your bonds.  I'm glad y'all had a great time.   May God continue to strengthen and bless you all.  

on ‎03-18-2016 05:02 PM

Oh my gosh. I so enjoyed reading this, and then the ending just blew me away. Completely. Children have an amazing gift.

For sure Beth was with you. 💞

on ‎03-18-2016 05:04 PM

Dan...thank you for sharing your happy times with your family. So nice to see all the smiles. Relaxation is the best for mind and soul.  Blessings to you all from Michigan.

on ‎03-18-2016 05:28 PM

What a beautiful family on a wonderful vacation.  So glad to hear you recognized you needed some down time after everything you've been thru.  Sounds like the boys had a great time with their Grandpa.

on ‎03-18-2016 06:48 PM

Thank you Dan for sharing your wonderful trip with all of us! Sounds like you had a fun time, and I so love hearing about your adorable grandsons and family. Your Beth was with you, indeed. Blessings to you all.

on ‎03-18-2016 08:23 PM

What a wonderful gift to your family.  Sanibel/Captiva is my favorite R&R spot - none better.

on ‎03-18-2016 08:47 PM


you are such an inspiration to me.  I believe you do not realize all the people you touch.  Thank you Dan for sharing your journey and showing that you have chosen the path of love.

on ‎03-18-2016 10:50 PM

Hi Dan, Such a wonderful family vacation. I know you have a broken heart, and I can tell you have a lot of faith. I have been following your life story since this past October. 


God Bless you Dan, and I believe you are going to be okay. 

on ‎03-19-2016 08:09 PM

Hi Dan,I really enjoyed your vacation pictures.  You have a beautiful family.  God Bless.

on ‎03-20-2016 10:02 AM

Dan, your blogs are so touching & many times they bring tears to my eyes or goosebumps on my arms.  One can tell how you loved your Beth.  God loves you that much & more & I'm so glad that you know Him as your personal Savior.  One day you & Beth will be walking the streets of gold together & be with the Master that created the stars & universe.  Oh what a glorious day that will be!


on ‎03-20-2016 12:08 PM

It looks like a beautiful place.  And how nice to take the whole family.  I don't think I'd like the enclosed waterslide though - too small and I'd be claustrophobic!  

on ‎03-20-2016 02:03 PM

I love Captiva.  My Husband and I vacationed there a lot plus Sanibel Island.  The Mucky Duck was always one of my favorites. The sunsets were beautiful whike eating dinner.  Also The Bubble room and there delicious food and there excellent red velvet cake.   I miss going since the passing of my husband, but I have all the best memories from there.


on ‎03-21-2016 08:23 PM


Thank you for sharing this with's good to know that you all got together and got to spend some fun family time together...Beth would want you all to enjoy each other and laugh and smile.  Your daughters are beautiful reminders of your sweet wife, and your grandsons are adorable...they must bring you so much joy!  The end where your grandson mentioned his grandma brought tears to my eyes, but at the same time, was a reassurance that she was there looking down on you all.  "What the heart once held, it shall never lose"!!!!

Blessings to you all, and how lucky that you have one another!


‎03-22-2016 02:20 PM - edited ‎03-22-2016 02:23 PM

God bless you and your family, Dan.  Just beautiful.  Thanks for sharing.

on ‎03-22-2016 05:32 PM

My family and I have been to Captiva many many times and I too find it to be so relaxing and calming. In fact, I always say that it's my favorite place on earth. I love everything about it. You feel like you're on a tropical island while still being some how connected to the mainland. We stayed at South Seas last summer but this year we chose to rent a home right near the Bubble Room. So happy you had a wonderful time with your family. Nothing beats family time. While we don't have grandchildren, we so look forward to enjoying Captiva through their eyes one day. God bless you and your family Dan.

on ‎03-25-2016 08:10 PM

Dan, I read all of your blogs, about Beth. You are truly so awesome and loved the Lady you called Cakies. Loved all of Beth's journeys, and the love you have for your family. You are a man of God. Blessings to you.

on ‎03-29-2016 12:43 PM

Dear Dan, Love your posts. This one was especially interesting since my husband and I spent

every Feb. and March in Ft. Myers from 1968 to 2001. Spent many days over on Captiva. My

favorite place. My husband passed in 2006.

on ‎05-29-2016 05:45 PM

Dear Dan~I just happened to be poking along at QVC site & hit upon your heartfelt stories. I never went into the blogs all these years & I felt it was meant to be for me today as it gives me strength to deal now also. You are a very special person & I so loved reading your strong of you....God Bless!

Such a brave beautiful lady & what a really lovely family-yes it also takes a very special dad!. I was so inspired by all your writings & sharing so openely. Thank you~

The vacation seemed like a perfect thing- you all needed at that time & she is smiling down & grateful you are doing these things now with all the family. 

Ever so happy to hear you are awaiting a new wee one in the fall too. Yes He does close one door & opens another.

What an exciting time to see your precious new one too.

You & yours will be in my prayers. Again thanks for sharing.