Sunday, December 16, 2007

holiday vacancy

Due to a last-minute cancellation, I find myself with a vacant condo for New Years. This is a great opportunity for someone to host a holiday gathering in a fun and spacious party spot, get happy and then crawl into the conveniently adjacent bedroom. Make me an offer -- I am ready to negotiate!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

December Deals

I have a big chunk of unoccupied days I would like to fill: Nov. 26 - Dec. 23, specifically.

Stay 2 nights - get the 3rd night FREE
Stay 5 nights - get the 6th and 7th nighs FREE!

Just mention "December Deal" in your e-mail.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Well, I made it through my 50th Birthday celebration and lived to tell the tale. Everyone in attendance agreed it was the best Sandbox party ever -- the Bongodogs had folks dancing in the sand! We will definitely be doing more music things back there - starting as early as next weekend when Raina Rose returns to the ‘Box as part of the SPI International Music Festival.

After that we are going to try a “Trunk Sale” artshow featuring South Padre Island artists. There will be music, wine and cheese and lots of unique goodies for your Christmas shopping pleasure -- in the backyard if weather permits and upstairs if it doesn’t. It all happens Nov. 15 starting around 3 PM -- I will be posting more details soon.

I recently got some new insulated curtains hung in the inn by mentioning the fact that I would be willing to do a partial trade to anyone who could help me out with that little project. It was so successful that I am going to try again. This time a solar-powered water heater tops my wishlist - found a good article on how to build one on the cheap here. Does this look like a project you would be willing to help me tackle? If so, I am ready and willing to work a deal -- let’s talk!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

September Discounts

Just because school is in session doesn't mean summer is over!
I find myself with a big chunk of vacant nights -- Sept. 17-30 -- and am ready to make a deal. I will be happy to discuss reduced rates, yes but am also willing to barter. I have need of some handyman services -- the right person could pretty much pay for a nice little family vacation in a lovely seaside rental just by helping me install curtain rods, etc.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, well then let's talk!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pirate Wedding reception held at the Sandbox Inn

There is a nice Island Breeze write up about April & Daniel's pirate wedding on the beach that also mentions the first-ever wedding reception held at the Sandbox Inn. Hope someone sends me more pictures but here are a few that I shot during the set up....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Achieving Balance

Here it is - barely the middle of July and I have already seen the first “Back to School” email slither into my spambox.This of course sends someone like me into sober reflections of time’s inevitable march forward and how do I go about making these monster mortgage payments without the wall-to-wall bookings that I have enjoyed all summer long?

The good news is that fall bookings are trickling in and I am already getting inquiries about next summer, so it appears that rentals and the associated deposit checks won’t come to a screeching halt after all. But clearly there will be nights - maybe even many nights - when the inn will be guestless. This isn’t all bad: the Saturn street Strummers like using the space for rehearsals and I love reading the paper and watching birds & butterflies from the back deck. And even cheap wine tastes better when sipped at dusk on the sunset deck - just me and Peach soaking it all in.

All the new 4-plexes springing up in my neighborhood are pretty nice I guess but I wouldn’t trade the Sandbox for all of them together because of one thing -- they don'€™t have yards! I really like being part of "€œThe Landed Gentry"€ here on SPI and as old places are torn down and rebuilt, yards like mine are going to get fewer and further between. And that is bad news for the birds and the butterflies.
Anyway. Our favorite landscaping genius - Matt Fockler - is back on the island for a limited engagement and my yard has captured his interest - lucky me! I kept my list of desired uses for this space short and sweet: art and music. I want my yard to be a great place for uke-playing and other jam sessions; house/yard concerts; sandsculpture instruction; reading/contemplation & spirited conversation, rock-stacking, sand-casting and other crafty pursuits. And someday? some sort of tree-house - outfitted with a comfy daybed and accessible from the back deck via boardwalk....
Well thatâ€'s all Matt needed to fire him up and over the past couple of weeks I have seen an amazing transformation back there -- check out this photo of the conversation/firepit that is emerging as if by magic -- and I am really excited to see what other tricks the master has up his sleeve.


Amazin' Walter is willing to give rock-balancing workshops and I hope to be his first student -- but first I need some rocks -- they don’t grow naturally here. So if you want to make a big smile cross my face next time you pay me a visit, bring me a rock! Any size, any shape. I will be ever so grateful...


Friday, May 25, 2007

Holiday Vacancy

The folks who were supposed to stay here the week of July 4th had to cancel. Let me know ASAP if you are interested... -sf

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Seasonal Musings

Some folks would say that we don’t have any seasons here on South Padre Island, or that if we do they can be simplified as Early summer, Summer, Late Summer, and Next Summer. But they couldn’t be more wrong. We have lots of seasons - - way more than four. In fact, I have identified 12 distinct if sometimes overlapping seasons, starting (more or less) with the beginning of the calendar year, and this is what I call them:

Winter Break
Spring Break/Mexican Break
Locals Break (aka “Peace-N-Quiet”)
First Wind
Turtle Days (aka “Sargassum”)
Dog Days
Back-To-School (aka “Where’d everybody go?”)
Second Wind
Peace-N-Quiet II

Right now we are at the tail end of First Wind which is segueing into Turtle Days which very soon will be overlapping with Fireworks -- which coincides with the arrival of the Summer People. I will be seeing many of you here at the Sandbox, which is almost completely booked through Fireworks, Dog Days and much of Back-To-School.

My mortgage company should be breathing a sigh of relief right about now.

So what happens after Where’d Everybody Go?

As you may imagine -- I have some ideas.

Monday, April 23, 2007

More Than Just a Room

Some - maybe even most - folks who come to South Padre Island don’t much care where they stretch out after a long day on the beach or in the water. They’ll grab a bite at Whataburger and fall asleep on a lumpy bed with the TV remote in their hand....

If that is you, please click here.

If however you are looking for a truly unique vacation experience -- please take a closer look at the SandBox Inn:

Geek Heaven: Stay connected! WiFi is in the air but I also provide a hard-wired ethernet cable for your use. VOIP phone. Plug your iPod into the Apple HiFi and be amazed at the quality of sound that comes from that cute little white box.

Unique Diversions: Browse more stations than you will ever need on the wide-screened TV; shoot a game of pool -- no quarters needed!; gather round the piano for a group sing-along; browse the ever-growing artsy-fartsy library reading selections; take a sandcastle lesson and then practice your new skills half a block away on Neptune Circle Beach. Help yourself to beach chairs, shovels, buckets and carving tools as well as the red wagon to carry it all in.

Romantic Getaway: Honeymooners delight! Quiet, private and with brand new beds (not a lumpy mattress in the bunch - try ‘em all!) you can pop strawberries into one another’s mouths in the designer kitchen. Cuddle up with a bottle of red and watch the sunset and evening parade from Suntide II to Blackbeards from the north deck. Tres romantico!

Family Time: The Sandbox sleeps eight and is spacious enough that those 8 people will still be friends at the end of the week. Perfect for two couples and a sprinkling of kiddos.

Ecotourists: Both front and back yards are planted with showy flowers and native flora that attract a wide variety of birds and butterflies. Both decks provide excellent viewing options all day long. Ask me about birding and dolphin watch cruises and thanks for helping keep the upstairs plants watered.

Tomato-Lovers: This year’s crop is the biggest ever. Someone is going to have to help me eat these things!

Last Minute Deals (mention “May Flower Discounts” when you e-me): April 29-May 3 -- $100/night -- May 6-11 -- $120/night -- May 20-24 -- $130/night

Monday, April 16, 2007

Becoming One with My Inner Innkeeper

My job as a master sand sculptor has taken me to all kinds of fabulous beach resorts where I am often assigned a room at an upscale hotel right on the beach where the views are lovely and they never stop reminding you of it with such amenities as the $16 bagel, the $10/day wifi connection and the $3 local phone call. The grounds are immaculate, the locals kept at a distance by design, and at some point every expensive beachfront resort starts feeling like every other expensive beachfront resort.

While traveling - if time and funds allow - I like to try to squeeze in an extended visit by booking a few nights at a cabin or cottage off the beaten path, a place that will really let me experience the flavor of the community and mingle with the locals and put some distance between me and the hordes of other tourists clumping at Atlantis or the Ritz Carlton. These are the places that get written up in my website travelogues, the places I remember and dream of revisiting, the places that make me feel connected with someplace different from home.

That is the kind of place I trying to create right here at the Sandbox Inn. The kind of place that I would pay to stay in.... as opposed to the kind of place someone pays me to stay in.

I am banking on the belief that there are other folks like me looking for a place like this to stay. And so far it is working out pretty well... :)

butterflies are bustin' out all over!

What's New Butterflies are bustin' out all over! Jillions of tomatoes on the vine! I have undertaken my own little "median project" and just started dabbling in topiary... how odd.

Last Minute Deals (mention “spring discounts” when you e-me):

April 29-May 12 -- $115/night
May 21-24 -- $135/night

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Parties, a New Sandbox and Discount Dates

It has only been a little over a month since I took possession of the upper floors and created the SandBox, and I am absolutely thrilled with the response. It would appear that there is in fact a need/desire for what one respondent nicely described as “not your grandma’s condo” here on South Padre Island. (Unless your grandma operates a pool hall, of course! ;-)

Which brings me to my next topic today which is -- parties! The SandBox is perfect for them, actually. It features a large open area - especially when you throw open the sliders and utilize both decks. I have already had gatherings of as many as 30 people there and I believe the place could in fact quite comfortably accommodate twice that number. Set up the bar, uncover the pool table, stick your iPod in the sound system or gather round the the piano and - with the right people, of course - we are talking serious fun. I have already booked a wedding reception in August but this is also an excellent venue for family reunions; there are lots of other rental units in the neighborhood that offer amenities that I don’t (here’s one of them) and your big group can spread out yet be close enough to share a nearby pool and eat dinner together at the SandBox.

What’s New I am really having fun landscaping the front yard. Dad Feets put in a lovely garden path, a planter (with a pretty palm) and a new sandbox a couple weeks ago. I started a “pound up” in it yesterday and hope to start carving on it today. Photos soon!

Last minute deals (mention “spring discounts” when you e-me):

April 8-16 -- $105/night or $700/week
April 27-May 12 -- $125/night or $800/week

The peak season is filling up nicely though I still have some openings. Check my availability calendar to see what’s left.

Flutterbyes and Feathered Friends (3/21 update)

Spring Break is basically over (thank goodness!) and the tomato plants on the south deck are about ready to bloom -- I am hoping for a bumper crop this year!
But the tomato plants aren’t the only things growing. While many will insist we don’t have true seasons here, I beg to differ. A lot of my plants lose all or most of their leaves in the winter so it is always a thrill when things start coming back as they are right now. I also have been planting lots of new stuff - a new rosebed in the back yard and major landscaping things happening in the front (thanks Dad Feets!) The monarchs have been turning up in abundance and I need to find a bird book quick to see what other critters are currently visiting my trees.
Having access to the big decks on both the north and south sides is way cool. One or the other is always in the sunshine/shade. The back deck gives a great view of the trumpet vines which attract many different types of butterflies, hummers and other flying critters. From the front deck you can watch the sunset over the bay and the evening parade of Suntide Twoers heading to Blackbeards for a bite. More fun than television.
But television is getting more fun, too. I had Dish installed this week and there are way more channels than any one person can possibly enjoy. Better come by and help me ;-)
April is starting to fill up nicely but I do still have some openings for the 2nd and fourth weeks of that month. May is wide open (except for Memorial Day weekend) and the rates are better than you will see all summer. Plus, the tomatoes ought to be ready to pick and eat by then and I expect I will have plenty to go around.

See your humble innkeeper's sand sculptures get blown up on the Travel Channel starting March 4, 2007 on Sand Blasters 2007: The Extreme Sand Sculpting Championship

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Vacancies Galore!

Attention Springbreakers (and other nice people who need a jumpstart on spring)!

I want YOU to come stay with ME!

I still have vacancies -- not because the place sucks (which it really and truly does not) but because I just took possession of it and have not had time to market it.

I am all booked up for Texas week but if you are heading this way the week of March 17 you can still rent this amazing place -- fully equipped (must I say it again?) with a pool table, a piano, WiFi, iPod-driven sound system, wide-screen TV, 2 big decks (for partying and sunning no matter which way the wind is blowing) and a bidet*.

I am highly motivated to rent this fabulous place this spring. Name your price! No reasonable offer will be laughed/sneered at. Seriously.

*Of what use is a bidet? you may well ask... Well, I can think of plenty of uses besides what you can read in wikipedia...

wash out your lingerie!
fill it with cubes and ice down your beer!
interesting holder for a potted fern!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Come On By and Tickle the Ivories

Look what we tossed up the stairs this week!

Every condo needs an antique white upright piano, doesn't it?
Well, all the "Beach Shack Chic" ones certainly do.
It (the piano, that is) is now located in the general vicinity of the pool table - another BSC essential.

You are looking at the "before and after" pictures. To see what happened in between, click here.

Man many many thanks to Dennis and Andrew and Sam and Stuart and Jesse and especially Amazin' and Laurie Gaudi for the best Beach Shack warming present anyone has ever given me.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bid It UP - Should I try this?

UP for bid: A spacious 2BR/2BA (sleeps eight comfortably) spring break party pad in a two-plex. Includes wide-screen TV and pool table. All new everything. See the pics if you haven't already

Well, I am thinking about trying this. This way, if I can’t get what I want - the “Buy It Now” price on the rates calendar - I will get what I can.

Offers may be entertained; deals may be struck.

We shall see. Check back tomorrow for updates.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

History (Readers Digest Version)

1983 (?) "Pave paradise, put up a duplex"
While playing volleyball at Blackbeards,I notice new construction starting up between 'Beards' and the beach. Looks like progress. Alas.
1995 "Hey mom, I have a DISHWASHER!"
After having been evicted from Isla Blanca Park (along with all the other "permanent" residents), I am eventually able to finesse my way into the homesweethomiest spot I have ever had since leaving the parental abode.
2001 "I can't afford the whole thing - can you just sell me the bottom half?"
The landlord goes for it, "SandBox Condos" is born.
2004 "I think it's a great idea!"
The new boyfriend decides to buy the landlord out. Top and bottom, much redecorating ensues.
2006 "Whose great idea was that, anyway?"
The boyfriend becomes an ex and relocates to Port Aransas.
2007 "Yikes!"
An offer. A deal. A toast.
The parental units and I have been buying, banging and scrubbing nonstop for days maybe weeks. I ordered a sign yesterday.
The welcome mat is out.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Greetings from the SandBox!

So what exactly is "Beach Shack Chic?" you may well be wondering.
At the moment it is very much a work in progress. Over the next few months I will be chronicling the experience of becoming one with my inner innkeeper.

I have managed to acquire a large, beautiful, mostly-empty space. My mission is to turn into a place that will help special people discover and enjoy South Padre Island in a totally new way.

And yes, sand castles are very much part of the business model.

Please stay tuned.