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A Florida Gulf Coast View at Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island

Posted on January 24, 2018
By Tim Leffel, Hotel Scoop
Tarpon Lodge Reviews

As this review goes live, many people in the USA and Canada are probably wishing they could be staying at a place like Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island, Florida. Far away from wintry gusts, ice storms, and snow, the grounds here are shaded by palm trees and the orange sun sets each night over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

This cozy lodge with the charm of old Florida is north of Fort Myers, on a large island that’s mostly residential. To get here you head west from I-75 toward the Gulf and cross onto the island through the colorful town of Matlacha, where it’s worth stopping for a bite to eat or at least some ice cream. After a meandering drive on roads that are seldom crowded, you get to the two-story collection of buildings making up Tarpon Lodge, next to a marina filled with pleasure fishing boats. You can charter one for some fishing, maybe snagging a big namesake tarpon, or explore the islands nearby that extend north from Sanibel and Captiva. (The lodge here shares ownership with the long-established Cabbage Key Inn and restaurant—the only place to stay on that small island with no roads.)

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Vacation for an Evening

Posted on January 12, 2018
By Dorothea Hunter Sönne, Gulfshore Life
Dining, Wine Tasting

The Lodge sits at the edge of Pine Island Sound, and the restaurant’s screened porch overlooks the gentle lapping waves.

A retreat to Tarpon Lodge Restaurant is a dose of the unexpected, especially during a Global Wine Dinner

A trip to Pine Island itself, just 20 minutes from parts of Cape Coral but a world away, is an escape.

From passing through the funky, brightly hued fishing village Matlacha to driving by mango grove after mango grove, there’s a frozen-in-time quality that’s hard to get anywhere these days. For food lovers, the experience is worth the trek even more, for a trip to old-time fishing retreat Tarpon Lodge, whose restaurant has cultivated a reputation for so much more than coconut shrimp.

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Magical moments at Tarpon Lodge: A storm clears, the lights shine, and Paul & Amber say “I Do”

Posted on September 20, 2017
By The Wells Family
Pineland FL, Tarpon Lodge, Weddings

We sometimes say “we’ve seen it all” in the decades that our family has owned and operated Tarpon Lodge. But in all the years, our community has only very rarely experienced a storm of such strength and magnitude as Hurricane Irma, a category 4 that reached our shores on September 10. Needless to say, we were worried about our staff, we worried about our guests, and we worried about our loved ones. When we realized everyone was safe and the damage to our properties was only minimal, we felt relief for a minute – until we learned that not everyone in our region was so fortunate. And yet, we knew how important it was for all of us to move forward. For us, the best way to do that is to regroup, rally our amazing team, and continue to work.

What better way to begin the road to recovery than with a wedding? At Tarpon Lodge, planning and creating a couple’s new beginning are among our favorite things. We love engaging with the wonderful people who celebrate the most special occasion of their lives with us. As with Amber and Paul, during the year or so of wedding planning we establish friendships that often last way beyond the wedding day, and we treasure those relationships. So even in light of these challenging circumstances, we knew we had to do everything we could to make sure that Paul and Amber’s wedding was all that we had worked for, and all that we had promised. Amber’s touching words follow, and we so appreciate that this new bride took the time to share her story.

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Inn-to-Inn: Around Pine Island, Florida

Posted on August 3, 2017
By Lisa Ballard, DIY Fishing / Photos by Jack & Lisa Ballard
Fishing, Kayaking, Pine Island, Tarpon Lodge

Silhouetted Lisa Ballard casts her fishing line from her kayak into Pine Island Sound at sunset.

MY HUSBAND, JACK, desperately wanted to hook a big snook, which was the motivation behind our three-night DIY kayak-fishing trip around Pine Island, the largest landmass in the archipelago which includes southwest Florida’s seaside resorts of Sanibel and Captiva. There was only one problem, as far as we knew an inn-to-inn paddle-trip in that area had never been done before. It wasn’t exactly a heroic off-the-grid adventure. During the day we’d weave in and out of mangroves and across shallow bays, then come ashore at dinnertime, check in to a waterfront lodge, then paddle and fish again the next day.

“I think it’ll work,” Jack said, after researching some nautical charts and regional websites. “We’ll need to paddle about eight miles each day, which should leave us plenty of time to fish.”

Eight miles in the ocean? What if we got lost? What if the sun scorched our pale northern hides? But we might catch snook! A month later, we launched our boats at Tarpon Lodge on the west side of Pine Island.

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Tarpon Tales Newsletter Summer 2017

Posted on July 27, 2017
By The Wells Family
Cabbage Key, Dining, Events, Fishing, Newsletter, Weddings, Wine Tasting

Tarpon Tales is a Newsletter from your friends at Cabbage Key & Tarpon Lodge in Pineland, Florida.

Warm Gulf breezes, spectacular sunsets and starlit nights are making our summer bright and happy here at Tarpon Lodge and Cabbage Key. If you haven’t spent time with us over the summer months, we invite you to experience the nuances of a different season in our special corner of the world.

We are also thinking ahead to fall happenings and events, and our staff has much in store for your next visit. In the meantime, please send us your favorite photos and stories from the time you have spent with us – we may include them in our newsletter or post on our blog or social media pages.
Thank you for being part of our Tarpon Lodge & Cabbage Key family!

All the best,
The Wells Family

What’s Biting?

Catch a local fishing report from Captain Erik Flett, Native Attitude Charters

Tarpon season has been great these past few months, but the big numbers are starting to dwindle. Right now, snook abound in and around the passes on live bait. And you can always find trout up on the grass flats, catchable with live or artificial bait. And some more good news…there have been quite a few snappers around.

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Made in Florida: Flavors of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island

Posted on May 16, 2017
By Wendy Pramik, Special for USA TODAY
Dining, Fort Myers, Pineland FL, Restaurant Reviews, Sanibel

Sample southwest Florida’s trademark tastes

Dining at Tarpon Lodge, on Pine Island Sound, often centers on the great view – and the well-loved crab chowder. Other popular plates include, clockwise from bottom: the shrimp appetizer with a balsamic glaze, served over fresh strawberries and feta cheese; mahi mahi with roasted tomato artichoke hearts with lemon sauce and broccolini; a chicken sandwich with heirloom tomato, roasted onion and roasted pepper; a Cuban sandwich; and a salad with burrata cheese, shrimp, avocado and tomato.

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Tarpon Tales Newsletter

Posted on April 26, 2017
By The Wells Family
Cabbage Key, Dining, Newsletter, Tarpon Lodge, Weddings

Tarpon Tales is a Newsletter from your friends at Cabbage Key & Tarpon Lodge in Pineland, Florida.

Welcome to longer sun-filled days, and balmy twilit nights. Spring has arrived at Tarpon Lodge and Cabbage Key. It has been a fun and busy season, and we are excited to share our latest news with you, keeping you up to date on our sister resorts. Please feel free to send us your favorite photos and stories from your visits – we may include them in our newsletter or post on our blog or social media pages.

Thank you for being part of our Tarpon Lodge & Cabbage Key family!

All the best,
The Wells Family

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Picture Perfect Wedding: Magical moments sparkle at Melissa and Michael’s Wedding

Posted on January 21, 2017
Pineland FL, Tarpon Lodge, Weddings

At Tarpon Lodge, we can’t say enough about the wonderful people who celebrate the most special occasion of their lives with us. During the year or so of wedding planning, we feel like we really get to know each couple and their families – in most cases, we establish friendships that last way beyond the wedding day, and we treasure those relationships.

One example is Melissa (Rodriguez) and Michael Meehan. Married at Tarpon Lodge on January 25, 2014, Melissa now teaches kindergarten and is working on her Ph.D. in education. Michael, a U.S. Marine, teaches special needs students and is also a soccer coach. They also both volunteer in the community to help abandoned and neglected dogs find their forever homes. Michael and Melissa are two of the most wonderful people we know!

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Wedding with a Water View: Friends, Family & Fun highlight Noelle & John’s Wedding Reception

Posted on December 14, 2016
By The Wells Family
Pineland FL, Tarpon Lodge, Weddings

tl-weddings-john-noelle
We love weddings at Tarpon Lodge. Our family and our staff get to know each wedding couple and their families, and over the year or so of planning, they become like family to us as well. And while each wedding has its own special and unique flavor, there is something about the fresh breezes, sparkling Gulf waters and romantic moonlight that create a most magical and memorable experience for all our couples and their guests.

One especially beautiful wedding reception took place on May 5, 2012 when Noelle and John Montgomery brought 115 of their closest friends and relatives to Tarpon Lodge. We recently talked with Noelle and John and they shared their experience with us. Here’s what they had to say:

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Captain Chuck Koucky: Perfecting the Art of Smooth Sailing

Posted on October 30, 2016
By The Wells Family, Tarpon Lodge, Pineland, Florida
Boating, Pine Island, Recreation, Sailing

At our dock at Tarpon Lodge, amid an array of motorboats small and large, guests will notice the sleek outline and billowing sails of the Alondra, a fine, museum-quality 47-foot classic wooden sailboat designed by renowned naval architect L. Francis Herreshoff. One look at this beauty, and you know there’s a good story here.

The classically elegant Alondra designed by renowned naval architect L. Francis Herreshoff

The classically elegant Alondra designed by renowned naval architect L. Francis Herreshoff

The story begins with Captain Charles (Chuck) Koucky a well-known area artist and a captain for more than 30 years. With three sailboats in his fleet, Chuck has a special place in his heart for the Alondra, a meticulously-crafted vessel launched in Michigan in 1985, and purchased by Chuck about five years ago.

Sailing since the age of 10, Chuck spends the winter months taking clients out for sightseeing or sunset tours, plus offering sailing instruction. During the summer, he sails on the Alondra with the Boy Scouts of America high adventure tours out of Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

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