I have been so lame about keeping up with my travel blog. Sheesh! I’m wanting to post our trip to the West coast, but before I do that, I better dish on our Florida trip last fall. We’d been thinking about a trip to the Key’s for a while actually. Going all the way down to the very tip. Road trip, baby! So, that’s just what we did.
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale in late August and picked up the rental car at the airport. Marc surprised me with a convertible Mustang. Nice, eh? Our first stop was his Aunt Marie’s who lives right by the intercostal waterway. She was a gracious host and we had a lovely visit with a dinner at this awesome place that plopped a massive T- bone steak down in front of me that just dripped with melting Gorgonzola cheese. I didn’t think to take a picture until after dinner at which point she refused and questioned, ” why does everyone always want to do that AFTER dinner?” You’ re right Aunt Marie, nobody is ready for a close up after dinner. I shall remember that.
The next morning, we got an early start… after looking longingly at that leftover steak. We were headed south with the sunshine beaming and the top down! Our first stop was right outside Key Largo. Tavernier is home to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center. They have been rehabbing and releasing wild birds since the 1980’s and also providing a permanent home to those that can’t be released. Of course, bird’s aren’t fools. They will stick around if they might get a free meal now and then.
We also managed to stop at Treasure Village in Plantation Key for a couple of pictures in front of their thirty-five foot lobster. Big Betsy is something of a major tourist attraction for the Keys and once said to be the second most photographed icon. Our first night in the Keys was spent at a really nice plantation style resort recommended by a friend. With three or four pools and an additional saltwater pool, swim up bars and a free tram to take you anywhere on the property you wanted to go, it had everything. We managed to catch an hour in the pool after a long hot day and then a gorgeous sunset.
We got a somewhat early start again the next day and drove ever South on US 1. The highway is straight and interspersed between the small towns and the flat, scrub terrain, are blue, blue waters sparkling and reaching towards the horizon. We stopped for a bit of a tramp and to give ourselves time to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery at something under 55 miles an hour. Vaca Key is home to Crane Point Museum and Nature Trail. There are several beautiful walking trails, a wild bird sanctuary and also enfolds the remnants of the first black settlement in Florida. In 1890 the Adderley’s sailed from the Bahama’s to the Keys. They purchased land at Crane point and started to build their home. It’s notable for a couple of reason’s. It’s the oldest surviving home outside of Key West and it’s construction method. George made it out of tabby, which is a Bahamian technique involving burned up shells mixed with lime and sand and water to make a concrete that was then poured into molds. I tell you, it still looks solid enough to live in today. The man had some mad skills.
After we returned to our car and headed towards Key West, we could see storm clouds gathering in front of us and actual lightning and rain hitting part of the Keys. When the ground is that flat, you really can see a long way off. We debated whether to hole up somewhere close or drive on. In the end, we decided to keep going. We figured we’d miss the storm as it wasn’t truly in the way. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?
Thanks to some fancy and quick phone booking, Marc got us a room at this cool little boutique hotel/inn called NYAH. Short for Not Your Average Hotel.We pulled up just in time for happy hour and were offered wine and cheese. The room was very interesting as it could sleep six to a room or eight if everyone is really friendly. There were little cabinets with individual locks that made me think they get a lot of backpackers. They also had 3 pools on a small property ranging from coolish (hey, it’s Florida after all), to kinda warm. They would also provide a nice breakfast every morning and towels every day. Lovely!
With the happy hours, we got to meet some of the folks staying there. Very much an international clientage with a polyglot of languages heard around the pools. We made friends with three Russians traveling together. It was supposed to be four, but one of the guys had a breakup with his girlfriend shortly before they left. Something about her not wanting to go. They were traveling for 3 months and wanted us to recommend a place in New York city. Unfortunately, we couldn’t help them with that.
In our remaining time, we checked out Key West. We walked through parts of the city. We visited Ernest Hemingway’s house. That was really neat. To hear about his ways of loving and leaving the ladies, see the desk he wrote some of his stories on and meet some of the descendents of his six toed cats was awesome. Did you know they actually employ a breeding program to get more six toed cats now?
We also got in line to have a photo-op with ourselves at the southernmost point in the United States. it’s like a thing there, everyone has to do it. The line moved quickly though and everyone was really nice taking pictures for each other and talking about the best place to visit and to eat.
At night, we roamed the streets to people watch and try out a few places to eat. Of course we had to try Margaritaville. If you ever go, try the fish taco’s. They’re wonderful! They also seem to have live music every night. We had to check, the daquiri’s were really good. On our wandering around the town, we also found the smallest bar in Key West, if not the world.
As all leavings are, it was a little sad to have to leave Key west in the rear view for our drive North. We kept the top down as much as we could and rolled along with only a couple of brief stops for lunch and a small tramp to actually dip our feet in the ocean. For al the water we were surrounded by, we hadn’t really gotten in it. Beaches are fairly rare around there so when we actually saw one, we stopped. I think we both limited ourselves to wading as we were going to be sitting on an airplane in just a few hours.
So, that’s the trip. Man, just writing about it makes me want to go again! One of these days we definitely will.
Thanks for following along guys! Hope to see you again through your own blogs, or in person!