This weekend was Philip’s surprise get-away weekend. It was beautiful and a huge success. We went to Cabbage Key…check it out at

Philip did not know where we were going and the only time he totally dropped his excitement was when I said we had to take a flashlight. He keeps saying he likes camping but when he thought we were going camping he got a little leery. I think it’s a safe bet that I will NEVER book a camping trip…that is without an RV.

So off we went around 10 a.m. Friday and pulled into Pineland Marina about 2:00 – we were early.

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Holding area waiting for taxi

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Donning his adorable new hat

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Still he has no idea where we are going and even after I told the charter guy that we were headed to Cabbage Key it really didn’t tell him much. We made a couple stops on North Captiva and then got to our island “home” about 4:00. The taxi dropped us off right in front of our cottage. We forgot money for tips and he assumed he would get cash out at the resort – we both would have assumed that. HA! Not THIS resort. So the water taxi people were very happy with their $20 tip.

We rented the Dollhouse Cottage. Here’s the cottage..right on the water..with our own private dock. We walked right into the cottage, doors unlocked, and made ourselves at home. Then had to figure out how to check in. There are no signs, and no way to know what to do next. We just headed to the biggest building (not the private home beside us) and that was the answer!

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The Dollhouse…our home away from home for the weekend

The weekend was filled with absolutely nothing. There is nothing on this island other than a walking trail, a water tower to climb up, a restaurant and a marina. There are no “resort” amenities. (and no ATM for sure) You’re even supposed to bring your own water as the tap water is well water and does taste pretty nasty. We needed the flashlight to get from the restaurant back to our cabin. There are no lights between places. There are no cars on the Island (obviously) – it’s only 100 acres. There are a couple of golf carts and there are residents on the island. There is the owner with a lovely house right beside our Dollhouse cottage and then a random person who has a beautiful house, (for sale now for 1.7 million) at the tip of the island. Also the staff lives on the island, imagine that?

The Island was originally purchased by the family of the author Mary Roberts Rinehart for their winter vacation home. The Dollhouse was originally built in the early 1930’s for the Rinehart children as a playhouse. It’s two rooms (with a powder room bath in one room and a shower and sink in the hallway) with a great front porch and the dock.  We had a TV in the bedroom. It got about 3 channels. It was great! The walls had seashells and driftwood and coconuts all around with people who left their names and little sayings on each. We added our coconut.

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The bar/restaurant is known for it’s “Bill Bar”. The walls and ceilings are lined with dollar bills. They estimate $70,000 to be on the walls. It started back in the day when a fisherman taped a dollar bill on the wall and said he knew he would be able to eat there again if he ever came back. So it’s progressed to this:

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Our dollar is up there – sort of hidden – 2nd from top. Says P+L – Go Steelers!

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MMMM Steak, no seafood for me this time

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Ever hear of that Bimini ring game? I did it!!!

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They say approximately $10,000 falls off every year which they donate to charity.

Other “claim to fame” type stuff is that Jimmy Buffett wrote his song Cheeseburger in Paradise at this bar. I also read somewhere that it’s not uncommon to see famous people here as it’s certainly a place to get away from it all for sure. There are no phones on the island but cell phones work. I also read how the owners’ son grew up there and took a boat to the mainland every day for school. Now he lives on the mainland and comes by boat to the island everyday to work at the “resort” ..I mean really you have to use the word “resort” loosely. It’s not like a resort-resort.

So here’s what we did on our day off. Sat on the dock and watched boats come in. And there were some big boats. When we went to dinner Friday night there was about 10 people at dinner. At Breakfast, there was 4 of us. So when Debbi (our waitress) told us they were expecting about 600 for lunch I’m thinking, yea right, but the parade of boats in and out of there all day was spectacular. I mean it entertained us all day. We had rented a skiff for the day but it was too windy in the morning and we said we’d come back around noon. At noon the dock guy said it was too busy and he couldn’t get to us so we were content to just sit and watch the boats go by. Everyone waved. We felt like the welcoming committee.

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Our new boat friends Jerry and Lynn Williams and their new boat. They were only in for the night and slept on the boat.

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It looks empty now but it filled up with boats. Some people were turned away

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Our perch for the day

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Afternoon snack…still the hostess

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they came in droves..

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Like what do you have to do to afford one of these?

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Or this? I was waiting for Jackie Onassis to disembark, but remembered she’s deceased. Surely these are their heirs.

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That big blue boat made this one look small.

We also went for a walk, we climbed the tower and watched the sunset, we played backgammon (he won) we played 500 rummy (I won), we went to meals. I mean…just LOVELY.

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The only water tower in the area to have survived several hurricanes. Something to do with being made out of wood and not steel.

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View from atop the water tower

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on our walk we found trees with seashells on them. We asked if it meant anything and they said “no” – but we thought it neat and put our seashells on the tree too.

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water tower

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how beautiful was this to see? One red cardinal. It also flew over to the cabin on Saturday morning and sang to us.

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cool tree

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Three of these big tortoises on the island. Apparently they like hibiscus blooms.

After the winds died down it got so quiet Saturday night.  Check out these photos:

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And then sunset from the water tower:

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it was just beautiful. My camera doesn’t do it justice.

Sunday morning, after I snapped out of my depression of it being over tooo soon, I sat out on the dock and soaked in the quiet. I mean QUIET. With no cars, traffic, nothing to make noise it was beautifully quiet. The water on Sunday was like glass, so smooth and quiet.  I heard this blowing sound and opened my eyes to see a dolphin swimming close by. Also an Egret flew down and kept me company on the dock (didn’t get his picture though)

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Then we got on the water taxi to leave, kicking and screaming.

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back out into the open sea

We stopped at this great place called Matlachia, Florida on the way home. It’s soo colorful with all these little shops – everything is painted bright bright colors – I mean BRIGHT. So we stopped and shopped. Each place was unique with different artists and different art styles.  You’re not really supposed to take pictures, but I got these in before I saw all the “NO PHOTO” signs.

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Here’s what we bought.


a painted coconut. Something everyone needs


Oh yea, they sold shoes too! 🙂



We stopped in for lunch at the Blue Dog where I had the best coconut shrimp wrap EVER.  I mean EVER:

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Our waitress Julie, not Juliene..Sooo Florida

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It was a beautiful, hot day. A perfect way to end the perfect get-away weekend. We had a lovely time getting reacquainted with civilization in Matlachia, and then headed home. I didn’t cry too much. I have a busy week this week getting ready for the boys to visit over the weekend. I’ll just focus on that.

After our cold snap last week it seems like we’re on an even keel for warm weather now so I think I will put the UGGS away. When we were going over to the Island on Friday it was REALLY cold, especially on the water. Friday night was cold too. Saturday morning was cold but by noon beautiful.

Cabbage Key is the kind of spot that when I start my book I’ll go and stay a month or so. I mean how kismet is that? Writing a book on an island where Mary Roberts Rinehart wintered…and she was born in Pittsburgh AND lived in Sewickley!!! Holy Moly..It’s meant to be.

She’s famous for starting a book with “had I but known”…and also for the colloquialism “the butler did it”… I think that’s how I’ll start my book…

If only I knew that the butler was going to do it…???

Until mañana



7 Thoughts on “Da plane boss Da plane

  1. Ellen Morton on February 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm said:

    Can you plan my next ‘surprise’ getaway? Rumor has it that Mary Roberts Reinhart wrote a book called The Circular Staircase that used the house that was previously on our Camp Meeting Road property as a setting. Small world!

  2. scott monahan on February 23, 2015 at 4:12 pm said:

    I am extremely jealous…that’s a first. happy for you guys! and oh yes! the remember the ‘Green’ connection, forgot who the writer was….oooohhhhh!!

  3. Debbie Monahan on February 26, 2015 at 1:48 pm said:

    This looked awesome! I’m jealous. Glad you had a wonderful time. Can’t wait to hear about the next surprise weekend!

  4. Jennifer Nugent on February 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm said:

    Wow, just wow!

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