Englewood, Florida has everything you need for some fun in the sun: pristine beaches, fantastic fishing and amazing food. We’ve combed the community to find the must-have foods you need to try when you visit our little piece of Florida. Here is just a handful of our favorites.
KEY LIME PIE
An all-time favorite! When you’re in Florida, Key lime pie is an absolute must-have. Here’s a pro tip: a true Key lime pie should be yellow, not green. It should be a tangy, creamy treat with no hint of sweetness if it’s made right. The traditional Conch version uses egg white to make a meringue topping but it’s more commonly consumed sans meringue. On 1 July 2006, the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate both passed legislation selecting "Key lime pie" as the official pie of the state of Florida.
When you’re this close to the Gulf of Mexico, you can't resist good seafood. The bodies of stone crabs are relatively small and are rarely eaten, but the claws (chelae), which are large and strong enough to break an oyster's shell, are considered a delicacy. Florida stone crabs are legal for harvest from October 15th until May 15th and are best served chilled with mustard sauce.
Grouper is a premium fish and Southwest Florida has some of the best Grouper you can get. It has a milder flavor and moist white meat that can be enjoyed by seafood lovers and non-seafood lovers alike. Grouper can be prepared just about any way and is great as an entree, on a salad or as a sandwich with tartar sauce.
We look at shrimp the same way we look at potato chips—you can’t eat just one! That is definitely the case with these pink, sweet and plump morsels that come straight out of the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy them chilled, grilled, battered and fried with a side of cocktail sauce, if you so desire.
Despite what you may have heard, gator does not taste like chicken but it is delicious. It’s a bit chewier than most meats but when it’s battered and fried, it’s downright delicious! If you’re trying to watch the calories, you can have grilled gator and still keep all the flavor—it’s even been said that it’s low in cholesterol. No matter which way you like it, it’s one of those foods you just have to try when in Florida.
On any given day on the beaches of Manasota Key, people of all ages can be observed crouching or bending at the waist with heads down, peering into the sand in search of shark teeth. You may have heard that Venice is the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” but did you know that thousands of shark teeth are found each day on Manasota Key’s beaches? What is the source of all of these teeth and how can you find them?
A shark will shed and replace several thousand teeth in its lifetime. These teeth fall into the sediment where they sit for thousands of years. The shark teeth that are found on the shores of Weston’s wannaB inn and other beaches along Manasota Key are actually fossils.
Fossilization occurs over thousands of years. Minerals in the sands replace the elements of the teeth. When you discover a shark tooth… you are holding a fossil that is more than 10,000 years old. These fossilized teeth are black, brown or grey, depending on the minerals that have been absorbed during the fossilization process.
Although many different species of shark teeth can be found, identifying the species of a found tooth can be a bit challenging. Some species are easy to detect. The megalodon is the largest of the teeth and is a rare find. They are more often found by divers off the coast of Manasota Key, but on rare occasions they have been found in the surf.
The best time to find shark teeth is at low tide early in the morning. Look at the ribbon of black sediment that the waves leave behind. Some hunters choose to use a sifter, but no tools are necessary to find these ancient treasures. As you look closely, you will begin to discover black triangles in the sand. Most of your finds may be small, but the fun of hunting for shark teeth is that you never know what you might find.
Stay your Way: Create your own island vacation experience by selecting among our one, two and three-bedroom cottage-style units, studios, villas and nostalgic Florida “motel” accommodations along the Gulf of Mexico or Lemon Bay. Plan to experience our three Bs: beach, bay and boating.
Time Travel to Old Florida: Stay with us and you’ll step back in time to an era before high-rise towers dominated much of Florida’s coastline. Our buildings cling to their origins as fishing camps when life moved even slower than a lazy neap tide. The docks and boat ramps are still here and fishing remains a popular activity as former child guests return with their children and grandchildren.
BYOB: That’s bring your own boat. Many of our guests enjoy days on the water, exploring the mangrove islands and back waters along Lemon Bay and the wide-open water of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Beach Always in Reach: wannaB inn offers beachfront cabanas and sitting areas poised to our 900 feet of sand, sea and surf.
We put the Fun in Family Reunions: No need to rent homes scattered throughout the island and risk the chance of having to bunk with that uncle notorious for his wall-shaking snoring. wannaB offers 80 units scattered throughout five tropical acres. Psst: As the organizer for your family, class or military reunion you receive a complementary overnight stay.
Treasures from the Sea: Take a bite out of the sea by searching the shore for ancient sharks’ teeth and shells deposited daily by the surf rolling along a prehistoric sea bed just off the coast.
Animal Magnetism: A dawn or dusk beach visit increases your chances of spotting dolphins feeding and frolicking in the Gulf. Manatees, Florida’s beloved sea cows, prefer the warmer water of the bay near our docks.
Fish from our backyard: No need for a boat to catch the big one; just a Florida fishing license. A narrow swath of land, just about 500 feet wide, separates the Gulf and Lemon Bay. Fish for redfish and snook from the docks and the occasional grouper, tarpon and snapper that swim just off shore.
Fish Fries: Even if the big one got away, other resort guests are happy to share their catch of the day. There’s even a running joke that there’s always a fish fry at wannaB.
It’s always 5 O’clock: No flux capacitors or “Back to the Future” moments needed to explain Sand Dollar Circle’s whimsical clock tower and its never-changing time. Just a reminder you’re “off the clock.”
Channel your inner Gilligan: It doesn’t take long to acclimate to island time and postpone visits to the mainland. We offer sundries and such on site. Should the sea call, we’ll connect you with island-hopping excursions to nearby uninhabited keys.
Conveniences and Concierge: We have a knack for matching individuals with the perfect room. All units offer kitchens and free Wi-Fi, which sounds a little too much like work to us. But sometimes you’ve got to do it.
Groovy Googie: Our brightly colored buildings capture the mid-1900s Googie movement, best exemplified in the iconic Las Vegas welcome sign. Each room is decorated with retro-inspired furnishings that harken back to original 1950s Florida roadside motels.
Author: Nanci Theoret
Englewood-based Nanci Theoret has traveled extensively throughout Florida, writing travel, food, lifestyle and real estate articles for national, regional and local publications and websites, including Ocean Home, Visit Florida, Florida Travel + Life, Florida Weekly, Gulfshore Life,Harbor Style and Gasparilla Magazine. Her many awards include two consecutive Florida Magazine Association first-place Charlie Awards as editor and sole writer for IN Good Company and first place for in-depth reporting from the Florida Press Association for Florida Weekly. Theoret is currently among the top three finalists for the Florida Society of Professional Journalists awards to be announced in August 2015.