Inspiring Inns We Love…Cabbage Key Hide-away Inn.
I am revealing one of my secret places in Florida, named Cabbage Key. I return in the hot and humid off-season of September after school begins. Cabbage Key is still busy with locals, fishermen, and a few informed visitors from Captiva, Sanibel, and Pine Islands.
Cabbage Key Hide-Away Inn and Restaurant is a tropical island watering hole reached only by boat or seaplane. We sail or motor to Cabbage key from Captiva, Charlotte Harbor or Ft. Myers.
This island escape is also a charming old inn with a few cottages. I happen to love an inn that inspires me to return and stay for a night and wish it were at least a week. This is the kind of place to linger longer. Cabbage Key was named over 70 years ago for the shady cabbage palm trees that grace the property.
As a day trip, here is our typical routine. We sail out early to mile marker 60 on the intercoasral. We enjoy a few, actually many, icy beers at the bar before the mouth-watering aroma of cheeseburgers in paradise compels us to order. When we are not sailing our own boat, we indulge in the Cabbage Creeper, a rummy and pineapply pina colada that creeps up on us in a delicious way.
The other temptation which no one should resist is the no bake (except for the flaky crust) real key lime pie.
I love exploring the converted old home. It was built in 1938 by novelist Mary Roberts Reinhart. The walls are papered with over 23,000 dollar bills-at last count. I hope it never burns down with my Canadian and American dollars as part of the expensive and colorful wallpaper.
There is a rumor that Jimmy Buffet’s cheeseburger song was inspired here. Not true, although it is a Jimmy Buffet kind of place. They play his songs all day long. I keep expecting him to fly in any minute. My son, Matt, and I watched him fly in and then boat in from Eluthera (Eluthera means “free’ – no wonder I love this island) in the Bahamas to Harbour Island for the real inspiration for the song. (See archives for the Ma Ruby, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and Jimmy Buffet article on Where and What in the World)
Back to Cabbage Key. For some reason this is one of the best burgers anywhere. Is it the salty air, freshly ground beef, special sauce, or the great cooks? Mine is served hot and juicy, medium rare with melted cheese on a toasted bun with onions. I can taste it now and it is only 6 AM. Be sure to order the fries too. After one more cold one and the unique key lime pie, you will wish you booked a room at the inn.
Here is how to find it, but please keep this hidden treasure to yourself.
Cabbage Key Hide-Away Inn
For reservations ask for Macy. They now have 6 rooms in the inn, and 7 cottages. For more information ask for Ken. I once met his Dad, Robert. Another son, Rob, manages their sister property on Pine Island, The Tarpan Lodge.
For boat info:
In Capitiva –
In Ft. Myers
in Charlotte Harbour