Hello, Twenty Fourteen

By Melanie Pagan

At the start of any new year, thoughts of how to make the next 365 days better than the last flood through countless minds.

But while everyone is stuck trying to master changing threes to fours when writing out dates, we at TOTI are continuing to plan stories as far out in advance as November/December. Producing bimonthly magazines requires us to work so far ahead that we can easily forget about the now.

So, this is us reflecting on 2013, and looking forward to the future.

In the last year, we have worked with a number of innovators, expanded our team, grown our loyal fan-base, created a stronger internet presence, attended marvelous events and have done our best to capture special sides of the area we call home.

Like anyone else, we have experienced some bumps in the road, but it’s the mountains and valleys of life that keep the journey exciting. Through trial and error, we’ve managed to keep a consistent mindset: work diligently to give readers a high-quality magazine to indulge in.

Even in an increasingly digital world, nothing beats the feeling of curling up with a magazine in hand, and flipping through glossy pages with dazzling photographs and stories highlighting Southwest Florida’s most fascinating people and places.

We are continuing to implement changes in our 2014 issues to keep this sentiment alive within our readers. With all of the new technology out there, we are easily exposed to hundreds of news outlets, and the shift from just timely articles to in-depth features can be a refreshing break.

So for 2014, our New Year’s resolution is to continue being your source of enlightenment for our beautiful coast. Join us by picking up our January/February issue, kicking back in this gorgeous weather, and reading in the company of Mother Nature. Because everyone needs to unplug now and then, and we promise dozens of great stories for you to get lost in.

Melanie Pagan is the editorial assistant and social media representative for TOTI Media, Inc.


Play Here, Stay Here

by Melanie Pagan

Each morning that I drive over the Sanibel Causeway for work, I fall in love all over again. Even after all the years of frequenting the island in my youth, the feeling of serenity I get when I see Sanibel’s endless horizon from the top of the bridge never subsides. The sight of blue skies and waves as they glisten in the sun, quietly breaking and fading into white sand; the sound of swaying palm trees and pelicans diving for fish in the ocean… it is truly a slice of paradise.

I imagine that our seasonal island guests get a similar feeling when crossing over. Visitors arriving at any of Sanibel’s numerous luxury beachfront destinations will be treated to a front-row view of the water, and they can experience that peace daily.

I recently met with Waterside Inn owner Bert Jenks and toured rooms tailor-made for guests who yearn for that kind of experience. Waterside Inn is one of the many hotels that grant visitors secluded beach access just a few steps from their rooms.

But island tranquility is not just attainable out in the open. Beach-inspired color schemes linger throughout the cottages at the inn, and rooms bear just the right amount of sea-themed accents. Private balconies in units and front porches in suites allow guests to hear calming ocean sounds while enjoying the shade.

As I drove away from Waterside Inn, a maintenance man named John waved me goodbye. Just then I realized: guests may have high expectations for their stay on Sanibel based on the beautiful drive over, but those expectations must be met when they stay at one of our fine hotels—and they are! Not only are views from the rooms captivating, but hospitality services are genuine. Perhaps this is because Sanibel employees are truly happy to work where they do. After all, we do get to be at the beach all year long, and we are able to revisit that introduction to paradise each time we drive over the causeway.

San-Cap vacationers: what is your favorite place to stay on the islands and why? To Fort Myers locals: have you ever taken a “staycation” on the island? If so, where did you choose to rest your head? The beaches of Sanibel and Captiva have been ranked as some of the best in the world, so let’s recognize the establishments that make visits here more enjoyable.

Times of the Islands is the only sophisticated lifestyle magazine for the Lee island coast. Find out where to go to the get the most out of your vacation, or what is happening on the island you call home, by flipping through any of our issues.

Melanie Pagan is the editorial assistant for TOTI Media, Inc.

Sights from the Waterside Inn at  3033 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957 (239-472-1345):
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