If you are looking for the old Florida, there is probably no place better to find it than Pine Island. Located off the Southwest Gulf coast, not far from Ft. Myers, Pine Island is not as well known as Sanibel Island or Captiva Island (where the famous South Seas Plantation is located). However, if you are in the mood for a return to the old Florida, Pine Island is the place and the Tarpon Lodge is a good place to observe it first hand.
Pine Island is 17 miles long and 2 miles wide. Because of limitations on development, there are no high rises on the island. As a result, Pine Island retains a rural quality that is quite beautiful. Palm trees are everywhere on the island, particularly in the various nurseries that dot the landscape. Recently we visited the island and had lunch at the Tarpon Lodge.
The Tarpon Lodge is located at 13771 Waterfront Drive, Bokeelia, FL 33922. Built in 1926, the Lodge provides over 20 rooms in the Lodge and several other buildings. In addition, the Lodge has a fine restaurant overlooking Florida's Southwest Gulf coast. Although we have not stayed at the Lodge, we recently had lunch in the restaurant. The lunch menu provides a full complement of seafood, salads (the Caesar is not to be missed, particularly if, like me, you love anchovies), steaks and pizzas. My wife had the grilled shrimp, which were perfectly seasoned and marinated. I opted for the chicken wrap which was prepared cordon blu, with ham, cheese and dijon mustard. Served with the above mentioned small Caesar salad it was more than enough for two meals.
Nearby is a large marina, where ferries can take you to Cabbage Key and North Captiva Island. Across the road from the Tarpon Lodge are pre-Columbian, Calusa shell mounds, They are well worth a visit.
If interested in more information about the Tarpon Lodge, check out the lodge's website at www.tarponlodge.com or call 239-283-3999,