Blowing Our Own Conch Shell (Tooting Our Own Horn)!


Apart from the page here on our site where guests can leave comments, we also have profiles set up on most of the major review sites. For people who are unfamiliar with us and who may simply be doing some research, these sites and the reviews can be very valuable. While I do take the time to read and update our own guest comment page, I rarely go and check the review sites. But today, while doing some website maintenance, I clicked the links on the bottom of the pages to make sure they were working, and…

I am BLOWN AWAY at the reviews I read just on Yelp! All were 5 Star ratings and I am truly touched and very excited that people are so passionate about West Wind. We humbly do what we do, the way we always have, because of our passion for our guests. We love this place, it is home to us, and as many of you already know, you are all family. To those that don’t know, or who have never stayed with us, it is always difficult to explain the “feeling” of being here…what it is that makes it special, or sets us apart.

Well, I decided that I would post these reviews here today on the blog because they so beautifully describe that “feeling”. We are grateful for everyone who took the time to leave us a review here on our site, Yelp, and elsewhere. Knowing that West Wind brings such happiness is seriously the greatest reward of all!

Reviews From Yelp

Mia M.
My granddaughter had a week-end supervised sleep over in #1 apartment with great view of the beach and jetties and public beach where all 6 girls had a grand time especially when they walked down to participate in the drum circle.  Thank you Smetts family for making her 13th birthday celebration incredible.  MCM

Robin M.
We love this place. The apartments are clean, comfortable and accommodating. The location is convenient for shopping, fishing and relaxing. The views are fantastic! The beach is gorgeous and the shelling is abundant.  The owner, Debbie, is as nice as can be and it’s pet friendly. When we arrived last month, my husband said, “It’s like we never left”. I took it as a meaning of comfort and belonging. We’ve been customers just 2 years but know we will return.

Kathleen S.
I almost hesitate to write this review because it’s already hard to get time at this fabulous rental, but we had such a wonderful vacation that I can’t help myself. You know how pictures of rentals are so often deceiving? Well, not here. When we opened the door and looked straight through the apartment to the beach I knew we had made the right choice. The apartment is basic, but comfortable and spotless.  The kitchen is well stocked and we didn’t have any “I wish they had a….” moments and we cooked in every meal. Debbie checked in on us to make sure we had everything we needed and was available, but not intrusive in any way. We started each day with an early morning walk on the beautiful beach in front of our apartment and the afternoons exploring the other beaches. There is even a dryer that you can use to dry your suits and towels at the end of the days adventures. A truely memorable week of relaxation and fun-  we’ve already planned or next visit.

Richard N.
We found this place about a year ago. Have stayed there twice, and plan on returning. A bit of paradise.

Barbara J.
Johnson – McAllister clan have been coming to the West Wind Apartments to spend a week in June for 16 years.  We start looking forward to our visit about March and our plans grow more elaborate with each passing month!!
The Johnson family’s love of Casey Key started back in the early 70’s and continues to this day.  Since our retirement in 1985, we have spent many wonderful times at The West Wind.  It never disappoints and we are always grateful to Debbie, Bob and Bonnie for being so helpful and gracious.  We are now at 3 generations that think of The West Wind as our home away from home. or as the 2 youngest say “Our Beach House”  See you in  June 2013.

Michelle R.
What a jewel this was right smack dab in the middle of paradise, Casey Key!  Lovely, quiet, dog friendly, clean efficiency apartments that were very well equipped that sit right on the beach side of the Gulf of Mexico,  We could hear the water from our porch with a view that definitely made this place unique.  Complex is small, so you are in your own world, yet we walked to the public jetty to watch fishing and to the public beach for the drum circle, but had our own private beach.  Apartments are roomy, actually apartments, not one big room and they have thought of everything including the cork screw.  They provided great beach chairs and have lovely tables with huts to eat outside. But we enjoyed the tree swing that looks over the beach the most.  We spent most of our time at the swing!
If you bring your food on your initial trip to Casey Key, you will have no reason to leave the complex.   We even had a massage done on site!
We just returned, yet we are already planning for next year!

Barbara K.
We have come to West Wind Apartments for four years and have enjoyed every minute of our stay.  The unit has always been clean and well stocked with bedding and towels and other necessities.  Very comfortable bed, seating, lighting and modern TV with a screened porch giving  a view of the ocean.  Sunsets that you can’t resist taking a photo year after year.  Early morning walks on the beach are my favorite.  Great location for shopping and restaurants but not so close as to disturb our relaxation.  As the 5 stars indicate – WooHOO ! As good as it gets !

Bob C.
Our view of the beach and boats and the sunset from our second-floor room was spectacular. The room was clean and well equipped, and owners were very pleasant and flexible. We totally loved this quiet and beautiful setting. Very Special !!

Brooke R.
I’ve been vacationing at the West Wind Apartments on Casey Key every summer since 1973. I’m kind of conflicted about writing reviews and spreading the word about this area of the Florida Gulf Coast. Very few people know about it. Siesta Key (just to the north) gets all of the publicity and a part of me would like to keep it that way. Casey Key is quiet, undisturbed, the beaches are pristine, the fishing is great. There are probably 50 golf courses within a 30 minute drive.  But if you do want a relaxing vacation the West Wind is a place you want to be. It’s always clean and is constantly being updated. The beach is just outside your back porch. The proprietors are some of the nicest people you’ll meet. The West Wind is the only rental property south of the bridge which means you’re separated from the Nokomis public beach and the other beach rentals on Casey Key. Every single person I’ve ever referred to the West Wind keeps going back.  It all adds up to a sweet vacation spot! Shhhhhhh! Just don’t tell anybody where you heard about it!  😉

Laura D.
For approximately 25 years my family has been coming to West Wind, it has become a family tradition that I look forward to each year. The apartments are immaculate, quiet and are very comfortable. There are only six, and it is located away from the other motel/condos on Casey Key, so you feel like you are in your own special place. Each has huge sliding glass door that opens on to a big screened porch. We enjoy opening the door, hearing the ocean and feeling the breeze flow. The private beach is right out your door, my favorite is that their are plenty of beach chairs just waiting for you. My son likes collecting the huge variety of shells and sharks teeth on the beach. There is plenty to do in the area if you like to be active, or, if you are like us, it is easy to sit back, relax and enjoy doing nothing but hearing the surf and watching amazing sunset

Sue V.
West Wind Apartments equals Paradise, great location, clean beautiful apartments, great staff with a caring touch. that makes you feel like you are home.Sunsets, walks on the beach, swim in the clearest most beautiful water, great fishing. The list of wonderful things that could be told are endless.  The best vacation ever.

That’s all for now. I’m off to do a happy-dance on the beach! If you are so inclined, you can leave your own review and tell others about your experience by clicking the Yelp or Kudzu links at the bottom of the website, or by leaving a comment Here. Please know that we appreciate it more than you could ever know. We also really appreciate the fact that your reviews help others to feel more comfortable about visiting for the first time. We can’t accommodate the whole world, but we sure do enjoy meeting new folks and doing our best to give them a happy and memorable getaway!

Where Exactly Is This “Old Florida” Anyway?

Casey Key in 1970

James at West Wind in 1970. I’ve changed, but the West Wind…not so much, thank God.

Old Florida”…the very words take us to a better time from days gone by. A simpler time when family bonds were stronger and the legacy of family vacation memories were recounted and built upon each year. We feel very fortunate here at West Wind Apartments that for many of you, this place has been a family destination and a part of your family’s happiest memories for many decades. We proudly resemble what is thought of by many as the epitome of Old Florida.

But where else, if anywhere, can one still find the Florida of yesteryear, and does it even still exist? I could actually tell you how to get there…but my directions might not lead you to a place you’d want to be. You see, “Old Florida” is as much a mindset as it is any specific geographic location. What one may consider “Old Florida” might differ in very significant ways from another’s interpretation of the expression. For most, “Old Florida” must be understood in the proper context in relation to the individual.

What Old Florida Is Not

In today’s Florida, one doesn’t need to search very hard to find an abundance of $400.00+ a night luxurious high-rise resorts scattered all over the state…most overlooking a fine stretch of beach. Most are within walking distance or a short drive from every type of 5 star restaurants and recreational activity one could ever imagine. There’s never a shortage of things to do and places to see. These types of vacation destination often leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation once you return home.

How Does Old Florida Still Exist?

The preservation of the places still unassuming and charming enough to fall into the “Old Florida” category is not a simple task. Often, many years of hard won victories in battles with the likes of city hall and wealthy investors have taken place over many, many years. For example, here on Casey Key the zoning laws prohibit high-rise condominiums and resorts. What remains are a mere handful of low-rise hotels that were initially allowed before the zoning changes. Also worth noting is that in the late 1970’s, a majority of the island was declared a conservation district.

“The legislature of the State of Florida hereby finds that the hereinafter more particularly described area lying within Sarasota County and constituting the northerly part of Casey Key is an area of particular natural beauty, abundant in marine, animal and bird life. The preservation of the natural beauty, marine, animal and bird life of said area is in the best interests of the property owners of said area, the citizens of Sarasota County and of the State of Florida. It is the purpose of this act to preserve the natural beauty, marine, animal and bird life of said area.” – A beautiful portion of House Bill #5158

Nowhere has simply been forgotten in time and has accidentally lasted this long in the state one might have found it back in the first half of the 1900’s or earlier. There are many places like Ybor City, founded by cigar makers in the late 1800’s that have also fought hard to preserve their heritage. What remains of the culture and the architecture are a testament to the will of the original founders and they definitely tell a story.

In Summary

I think that for me, Old Florida is anywhere that has remained true to the heritage and history of how a city or community came to be in the first place. These magical places lend a certain flavor and atmosphere to its visitors. I think that this allows us to take it all in and then leave with the very real sense that we have left a part of ourselves there and yet somehow taken a part along with us. Vacationing in Old Florida is something that’s never really over. These places draw us back in year after year and become a part of our family’s own story. Places like this are not so over the top that we can’t even enjoy each other and the experience of simply “being there”. To me, these are the best vacations ever.

The Incredible Casey Key / Nokomis Beach Drum Circle

Casey Key Drum Circle Crowd

As a guest here at West Wind Vacation Apartments you’ll fit into one of two groups: Those who have heard the enchanting beats coming from somewhere just down the beach – or you’re one of those who have chosen to venture up to partake in one of Casey … [Continue reading]

Who Is This “Casey” That Our Island Is Named After?

Early Map Of Florida

Indian uprisings, buried treasure, and a stalwart U.S Army Captain are not the first things that come to mind when one considers our pristine white beaches and unequaled sunsets. Casey Key, at only 8 miles long and a mere 300 yards wide in many … [Continue reading]

Tropical Splendor – Casey Key Florida

West Wind Apartments Nostalgia

“Visit and enjoy the warm Gulf of Mexico” I came across something the other day and just wanted to share it with you here. This is an old West Wind Apartments brochure that we had printed up back in…well, I don’t really know when exactly. Judging … [Continue reading]