Archive for the ‘Florida connection on Blogfinger’ Category


Gasparilla Island 2015. By Eileen Goldfinger ©

Gasparilla Island, Fla. Feb., 2015. By Eileen Goldfinger ©




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Sanibel Dairy Queen--The first fast food chain eatery allowed on Sanibel Island, Fla. Paul Goldfinger photos © 2016. Sanibel Dairy Queen–The first fast food chain eatery allowed on Sanibel Island, Fla. Paul Goldfinger photos © 2016.


Sanibel Lighthouse 2016 © Sanibel Lighthouse 2016     Paul Goldfinger photograph.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  Blogfinger.net


The Calusa Indians were the first inhabitants   (tourists who stayed) of Sanibel Island about 2,500 years ago. You can still visit a shell mound there.

In 1832, Europeans arrived, and we are left with stories of pirates and Spaniards.  More people came in 1862 after passage of the Homestead Act, but it was a small group , and they could reach the island only by ferry.

In 1883 the lighthouse was built, but the community remained small.

Everything changed when a causeway was built  in 1963,  linking the island to the mainland. After that there was “an explosion” of growth on this island paradise with amazing history, wildlife, art, beaches, shelling,  tourism, places to stay, shopping, eateries, and fishing.

The City of Sanibel was incorporated at that time, and the officials there immediately passed restrictions on development; developers challenged those ordinances, but they lost.

In 1974, the Island city established its first Land Use Plan.

As a result, there are few buildings higher than 2 stories, and there are no fast food franchise restaurants  except for the Dairy Queen which has been tastefully located there  for 40 years, owned by the same family, and Subway which is much more recent.

The DQ building was designed and landscaped to fit right in with the regional architecture, and that was allowed around the time of  that Land Use Plan. You can see that great care went into planning that DQ site.

What are not present on the island are amusement parks, honky tonk, boardwalks, bars, hotels, miniature golf, pop music venues, or high rise buildings—not one.  There is nothing there comparable to Mary’s Place or the Greek Temple on the ocean.

But there are  miles and miles of bike paths, and people rent bikes, and small processions of families and visitors pedal all over the place. Also there are  small theaters with quality shows and parking, limited free public beaches where you pay for metered parking, a fishing pier open to everyone, farmers markets, controlled commercial areas, two wonderful small book stores where you can buy foreign films and books that B&N doesn’t  carry, with clerks who actually read books and discuss them with their customers;   and guess what?  A major  piece of the island is pristine and devoted to a national wildlife refuge.  Everyone loves to visit Ding Darling.

Hunting for seashells is a favorite activity, and when people bend over to check a shell, it’s called the “Sanibel stoop.”  There is one golf course.  But there is one drawback: in season, the main drag is clogged with traffic, but it moves, and no one yells or honks their horns.

The Sanibel stoop. The Sanibel stoop.
Eileen at the annual Sanibel sea shell festival. Eileen at the annual Sanibel sea shell festival.


The Bailey Matthews Seashell Museum was established in 1995. It is a remarkable place, and there is no other like it in the US. You can find seashell museums in Thailand and China.

The Island remains popular as a community and as a tourist destination, largely because the entire Island retains its historic look and seems authentic.

Does it have drawbacks? Of course—-no place is perfect.  But the people did get pretty much of what they wanted, and the local government was on their side.

Parking is limited throughout the island, but they have hardly any events to lure crowds.   The visitors are focused on beaching, sunning, biking, and eating.  And limiting parking spacing is a force to prevent crowding—OG should take notice of that as well as the productive cooperation between residents and governance.


Someday we will all look back at our town and we will say, “Oh Look at Me Now.”   Will that be a rueful self examination, or will we be proud of our town and of our investment in it?



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This beach in Ft. Myers, Florida is named for a great American: Ralph Bunche, winner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize.   Paul Goldfinger photo. Posted on the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birthday –January 16.  Click to enlarge this image.

Ralph Bunche in 1963 at the Civil Rights March on Washington. Internet photo.

Ralph Bunche in 1963 at the Civil Rights March on Washington. Internet photo.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor Tropicanaforum.net

Ralph Bunche (1903-1971) reminds me of Paul Robeson because both were involved in the civil rights struggle for African-Americans long before the “Civil Rights Movement” actually began.

Bunche wrote books about that subject and he became the first black to win a Nobel Peace Prize–he won the award in 1950 for his work in Palestine during the ’40’s. He grew up in Los Angeles, graduated UCLA summa cum laude, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard.

During WWII he worked for the OSS (the precursor of the CIA) and he also was instrumental in the formation of the United Nations. For over 20 years he was the chairman of Political Science at Howard University.

In 1963 he marched with Martin Luther King on the occasion of the “I Have a Dream” speech. He also was on the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Ralph Bunche walked the walk and talked the talk, and society valued him greatly during his lifetime.

We remember Ralph Bunche on Blogfinger on MLK’s birthday, January 16,  for his role in racial justice, but also because he was a great man who performed  good deeds all over the world;  and I have my eye on his memory specifically for the work he did in mediating peace–an “armistice”– in 1949 between the new State of Israel and the Arab side—Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

He said,    “I have a bias in favor of both Arabs and Jews in the sense that I believe that both are good, honorable and essentially peace-loving peoples, and are therefore as capable of making peace as of waging war …” – Ralph Bunche, 1949

In Fort Myers, Florida, there is a lovely beach dedicated to the memory of Ralph Bunche. Ironically, it was the site years ago of a segregated beach for local black citizens.

SOUNDTRACK:  Silver Wings: by Garrett Hedlund:



Here is a link to our main article about Ralph Bunche:

Remembering Ralph Bunche, a civil rights leader and maker of international peace.

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Ft. Myers, Florida (southwest) Paul Goldfinger c. 2015. ©  Click to enlarge.




From the movie score of Pride and Prejudice:  “Secret Life of Daydreams.”


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Tween Waters Inn, Captiva Island, Florida. Paul Goldfinger photograph. c. February, 2006. ©

Tween Waters Inn, Captiva Island, Florida. Paul Goldfinger photograph.  February, 2006. ©  Click to see more.


Captiva was torn up badly with Hurricane Ian in 2022.





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Sanibel, Fla Causeway. March , 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo © (ps the bird is a pelican)

Sanibel, Fla.  Causeway. March , 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo © (ps the bird is a pelican)  Click to see the fisherman with the big beak.





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The Thomas Edison Estate in Fort Myers, Florida. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

The Thomas Edison Summer Estate in Fort Myers, Florida. Paul Goldfinger photo.







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Boca Grande, southwest Fla. Feb. 2014. By Paul Goldfinger ©

The Loose Caboose, Boca Grande, southwest Fla. Feb. 2014. By Paul Goldfinger ©


JAMES CHIRILLO.  “I Love you, Samantha.”  from Jazz4Lovers


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Gulf Waters Bicycle Riders Club.  Lakes Park Farmers Market.  Ft. Myers.   March 6, 2015.    Click to see who’s who’s who . Photo by Paul Goldfinger.  ©


.By Paul Goldfinger from the Tropicana Forum.


They came into the rest area single file, or close to it, slowing down as they rode around me.  “Hey, you better get out of the way,” said a man sitting at a table nearby. He was promoting the Bible, but instead of saving a soul, he was trying to save me.  I realized then that I should stop daydreaming, so instead I starting shooting photos.

The Gulf Waters Bicycle Riders are a social group from a nearby mobile home community.  “Candominium” corrected one rider referring to the metal construction of their houses which are  not far from Tropicana Park which we wrote about recently.  They didn’t seem tired, because they apparently take their time as they ride about 10 miles to get to their destination—the  Farmers Market.

They saw me taking pictures, so they requested a group shot. They assembled in about 5 seconds. It shows how fast  a group of seniors can move when they are asked to pose for a picture.  One said, “Don’t put us in Playboy.”   Another called out, “We need to show more leg.”

I call this a “Coaster shot.”  That’s when  persons stand in a horizontal row and grin at the camera.

But I did them a favor and then discovered  this was my best shot, achieving a high rate of smiles due to some ribald remarks coming from both sides of the camera.

One of the group, Artie Johnson, stepped forward and asked me to be sure to send them a photo which he would share.  He said he was from Calverton, NY and he handed me a card that identified him as an Ambassador for the USA Pickleball Association.

I didn’t  know about that, but there was a merchant at the market who sold only pickles. I went up to him and made an offer, “Will you sell me half-sours for half price?”

He replied, “I’m not going to fall for that one.”

Sometimes my jokes fall flatter than a fluke in winter at the Belmar Marina.

I mailed Uncle Artie the photo and a link to this site.


Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.


BETS MALONE    from the Marvelous Wonderettes

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Sanibel Island, Florida. Feb. 1, 2018. © Paul Goldfinger.



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