A primer on visits to two Florida islands
Mondays at 2 p.m., The Washington Post’s travel writers and editors discuss your travel stories, questions, gripes and more at live.washingtonpost.com. Here are some edited excerpts from a recent discussion:
My husband and I want to spend a week on Sanibel or Captiva Island (in Florida) this summer. Any recs on places to stay, things to do and eat?
I have visited both places, but haven’t stayed overnight. I have heard good things about Island Inn and Waterside Inn on Sanibel. On Captiva, Tween Waters Inn has good rep. As for food, I did not do any fine dining there, but quite liked the Island Cow. As for what to do, ride bikes and visit the Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve.
— Andrea Sachs
I read a very positive article that suggested Vantage River Cruises for solo travelers. Do you have any information about Vantage?
Are there any other rivercruise companies that you would recommend with solo cabins or no single supplement fee?
Vantage Deluxe World Travel has been around for about 35 years and works directly with its passengers. It doesn’t have a PR team and last I heard, it does not work with travel agents. I’m not sure where you heard the issues you’ve cited in your question, so can’t comment on that. Most river-cruise companies offer occasional deals geared toward solo travelers including Premier, Tauck, AmaWaterways, Avalon and Viking. I do not know of any that have dedicated single cabins.
— Carol Sottili
I need to stay somewhere inexpensive outside NYC, probably in New Jersey. Can anyone recommend a basic hotel near transportation into the city?
I would check hotels in Jersey City and Newark, though you will still pay around $150. I would not go any less, for fear of the unknown.
(I have had some seedy experiences.) Also, check Brooklyn. On Hotels.com, Hotel Le Jolie is $134; Red Lion Inn is $136. In the city, the Jane has good rates if you don’t mind a shared bath.
Is there anywhere, within an hour-or-so drive of Washington, that’s great for birdwatching?
My life list in the Washington area has more than 160, so the birds are definitely out there! Sign up for the bird walks offered by Audubon Naturalist Society and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia: They are often free and led by experts who know the terrain. Some of my favorite spots in and close to the District include Huntley Meadows, south of Alexandria; Dyke Marsh, also near Alexandria; the C&O Canal Towpath; Theodore Roosevelt Island; and Monticello Park in Alexandria. Farther afield, check with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.