Cape Coral and Southwest Florida Feature Stories

Doug Alderson Weaves a Sanibel Tale

Doug Alderson

October has swept onto Sanibel Island, bringing with it the first cold front of the year and the promise of another tropical Halloween.

Here on the islands, it can be tough to get in the autumnal mood.  Our weather loses some of its humidity, but temperatures stay in the mid-eighties.  The leaves on our trees don't change color and fall.  Tourists and returning snowbirds crowd the stores in flip flops and sweaters and long pants here. 

We've got an autumn of a different kind, one that requires a little effort on our behalf.  Our autumn isn't delivered to us, we need to get out and find it.  Late night scary movies.  Trips to the grocery stores to see the festive produce displays.  Pumpkins and gourds strategically placed around the house.  Or, how about watching the autumn sun go down over the Gulf of Mexico while reading ghost stories among family and friends?

Florida author, Doug Alderson, has put together a collection of short stories guaranteed to put you in the spirit of the season...and one of them is set on our very own Sanibel Island.

The Ghostly Ghost Tour of St. Augustine...and Other Tales from Florida's Coast takes you on a bone chilling journey beginning in Amelia Island, traveling down the east coast of Florida to the Keys, then back up the west coast making several stops until we reach the final story set on the Florida Panhandle at Little St. George Island.  Seventeen family-friendly, campfire-style ghost stories weave their way through sea serpents, shipwrecks, pirates, haunted lighthouses, and time-bending twists of twilight zone proportions.  At the end of each chapter are author's notes describing where the inspiration for the story came from, along with historical information about the particular community the story was set in.  Many of these spooky tales also have a refreshing environmentally and/or socially conscious bent.  Haunting, terrifying, conservation, kindness, entertainment and education all in one fell swoop.

Alderson's story, The Hermit of Sanibel Captiva, brings us back to the late 1800's on Sanibel Island.  The island is characterized by a few homesteaders and a trickle of tourists visiting the island's lone resort, The Sisters (the original incarnation of Casa Ybel Resort).   A character named Rusty lives a rustic life on the sparsely populated island.  I don't want to give any spoilers here, but if you've ever questioned the official story as to how the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge came to exist -- then you may want to read this story.

Also of local note, are stories based in the Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands.

Alderson is on firm footing while telling stories about the Florida coastline.  This is territory he knows well.  Alderson recently finished a three year project scouting the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, a 1500 mile sea kayaking trail around the entire state.  Alderson has authored several books about Florida, including Waters Less Traveled: Exploring Florida's Big Bend Coast and New Dawn for the Kissimmee River.  He has also worked as a lobbyist for several environmental groups and as a naturalist for the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science.

To learn more, or order a copy of The Ghostly Ghost Tour of St. Augustine...and Other Tales from Florida's Coast, visit the author online at


--writing by Eric Taubert

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