The Lighthouse Café sits back from the road at the eastern tip of the island, along Periwinkle Road. Beyond that, Sanibel Lighthouse is surrounded by Lighthouse Park, a small area of mangrove and wet vegetation just back from the beach that’s good for some instant birding, close-up views of dolphins and, of course, shelling. What makes the area so special, though, is the famous breakfast served in the café. Almost anything is available; the ubiquitous eggs Benedict to French toast to hamburger but, for us, it’s the pancakes. They make a stack of wholemeal pancakes that is second to none. Light, wholesome, tasty and resplendent in blueberry syrup. They don’t make you feel too full and it’s an experience not to be missed.
The café also holds the record for the fastest cup of coffee served in history; when we first visited our coffee was on the table in 15 seconds. Things have fallen away seriously since then, perhaps because of its increasing popularity, but it took 90 seconds before we were smiling at the familiarity of what America does best. The pancakes were, as always, simply excellent.
One thing I’ve never been used to in the States is the way that everyone wants to eat at the same time and is prepared to wait to do so. Having walked the 4km along the beach and through the park to the café we were pretty ravenous. On the benches outside were an interesting variety of retired people, all pleasant and friendly, waiting for the call, ‘Party of four for Zyblinewski!’ We duly registered our interest in breakfast, were told our turn would come around in about 20 minutes and went outside to join the chatting and friendly throng. It’s a pleasant atmosphere; a bit like a doctor’s waiting room although this time everyone was exchanging stories about the weather. It has been bad in Connecticut and Massachusetts and poor old Manitoba has been ‘hammered’ by all counts so we shouldn’t feel hard done by in Europe. We watched two parties raise themselves unsteadily to their feet from the bench and slowly head for their tables [it seemed to me that every group had someone who was overweight or someone who needed a walking stick but that may be prejudicial memory] and then it was our turn; ‘Party for two for Anna!’ They really are great pancakes.
The sun was back today and the wind less strong so the walk in both directions on the beach was pleasant if a little crowded. A group of Snowy Plovers, a local speciality, was the highlight. The change in the weather did allow us the first real al fresco sundowner of the trip so we sat in a couple of beach chairs with a bottle of Woodbridge Merlot [always a safe bet away from home] and watched the sun disappear behind distant crowds as the Stoopers headed-off to queue for their dinner. And, yes, that guy does have gloves on. We waited for the green flash but didn’t see it today.