Hello loyal followers!
If you've checked out my Facebook, you may have seen that I was able to take vacation in February to Florida. It was just the break I needed from the cold wet and snowy winter we got slammed with here in Oregon!
We landed in Miami on a Wednesday and left for the Keys the next day after enjoying lunch at Yuca at South Beach.
Our first night we spent in Key Largo at the most quaint cottages called The Pelican. They are affordable and perfect! We even had a bay front beach equipped with kayaks. That first night in the Keys we took in a gorgeous sunset and the next morning we woke and took a trip out in the kayaks. It was my first time kayaking and it was nothing short of amazing!
I even took my big girl camera out for some better photos to capture out first night on the Keys.
But for reals, morning kayaking is AMAZING!
The next day we drove down to Key West. I didn't realize the keys were so long! The further we drove, the more Carribean-like the water looked. I had my window down the entire way and was soaking up both the sun and the views, which were spectacular!
We checked into our new hotel, The Gates, which was spectacular. Seriously, if you ever go to Key West, stay here. They had their own burger food truck, a great bar, and a wonderful and QUIET pool area. Our room was on the first floor and was pool front. It was perfect. We were at the beginning of Key West, so far enough to be away from the noise of the party life but close enough to get to the hot spots easy and quick. We saw wild chickens wandering around as well as little lizards (geckos I think).
We didn't waste any time, we all showered and got dolled up for the whole reason we went to Florida, my aunt Sarah's wedding. Okay, let me tell you, this wedding was like nothing else! Sarah and Matt are planning to sail the seas (literally) when Sarah's daughter graduates high school. They have a sail boat and will be taking off and traveling around. I.am.jealous! What a life!! So, as an ode to their future, they chose to marry on a SAIL BOAT at sunset. After getting ready we headed to the docks to board the Schooner America 2.0, but not before having our first drink of the weekend.
Okay, so let me tell you a little something we learned about Key West...the alcohol is always flowing. There are many bars, they are open later than late, and once you buy a drink, you can wander the streets with it in hand. The main drag is DuVal Street, and it is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars. Its basically the Bourbon Street of Key West, and oh so fun!
The boat took off just before sunset, we found the perfect spot to stop, and the captain officiated. I pulled out my big girl camera for some official shots.
After we docked back on land, the whole crew headed to Captain Tony's Saloon, Key West's oldest bar. It is one cool joint! As their website says, it was one of the favorite watering holes of Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein and Jimmy Buffet! My favorite part of the night (aside from the wedding) was finding a hole in the wall bar squeezed in an alleyway, where a band was covering 90's hits such as Blink 182, Smashmouth, and more! It was heaven!!
The next morning we woke up tired and slightly hungover (it IS a party town). We decided to stay low-key that day, wandering around DuVal Street shopping, lounging by the pool, and just enjoying life. The last full day we had in Key West we decided to go kayaking again, so we headed over to Lazy Dog. This kayaking trip was much longer (4 hours versus 1 hour the previous trek). We went out to the ocean, between the mangrove trees, down a low canal, and all without me flipping the thing. I did, however, leave the kayak with more than burned legs, which never happens. Needless to say, I didn't lather up my legs with sunscreen like I thought I had. We had an amazing lunch on the pier by the kayak rental place and then went back to the hotel. We had to swap to the hotel next door, 24 North, and then spent some more time by the pool before heading back down to DuVal Street for an amazing Italian dinner at Latrattoria.
The last day we drove by Hemmingway's house, took a tour around Truman's little white house, visited the most southern point of the continental US, had lunch at the AMAZING Amigos Tortilla Bar, and then drove back up to our airport by the Miami airport. Leaving Florida was bittersweet, but I wasn't ready to go. I've been trying to figure out how to get my husband and I down for a trip to Key West ASAP. It is such an amazing place and I truly feel like I left a huge part of my heart there. Seeing my family after being gone for a week was amazing and I missed them tremendously, but Key West...ahhh...I miss you!