The Florida Keys are definitely “laid back”. We began our journey after breakfast with my dear friend, Shagg, in Melbourne Beach. It always gives you a great feeling to connect with friends you haven’t seen in ages. The A1 is the road in and out of the Keys. It is one long two way highway with lots of bridges including the famous seven mile bridge, particularly when it is raining.
We arrived at Blue Water Lake RV Resort to find a stunning site with our own palapa, outdoor furniture, refrigerator and TV. We had a view of the beautiful blue water bay. It was the most expensive place we have stayed, but worth it for our one week in the Keys. We were just ten miles from Key West and the southernmost tip of the US. That evening we took a quick trip into town to scout out the area and had a cup of Cuban coffee on the wharf. We were buzzing all night after that delicious concoction. It helped us walk about three miles to take a photo at the southernmost buoy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a sunset that day, but hey we were there! Couldn’t miss a photo op.
A lot of the restaurants in Key West with patios are dog friendly, so we took the girls with us to have lunch at the Schooner Bar and Grill and listen to Michael McCloud. He was recommended by new friends we met in the RV Park. Wayne and Brenda and Roy and Becky, all from Jacksonville, Florida.
We have met a lot of great people along our journey and the four of them were some of the best and wildest. With their suggestions and letting us tag along on some of their adventures, it made our trip. That night we met them on Duval Street at Sloppy Joe’s to see the Doerfel Family Band. They were a terrific and very talented family group.
The next day we toured the island and I got to visit Ernest Hemmingway’s home. He lived in the home for almost ten years and wrote the majority of his books there. The home and his studio were filled with art, books, paintings, furniture and photographs collected by him and his first wife, Pauline. There were also about 40 cats, some of which were six toed cats, descendants of Hemingway’s cats when he resided there. It is a beautiful home and I could just picture him writing in his studio on the second floor of the studio annex with the breeze blowing through the windows. He wrote there religiously every morning from 6 AM to noon, after which he often partook of the restaurants and bars in town, particularly Sloppy Joe’s.
That night we joined our friends at LaTeDa for a female impersonator show with Randy Roberts. Of course they arranged for him to pick on Lennard.
Nancy and Craig, from Marathon Key, met us at the Square Grouper Restaurant one evening and we resumed our friendship from Hilton Head where we met them. It was a lovely dinner and great conversation. We found out that square grouper refers to the bales of marijuana found in the ocean, dropped by smugglers. Never a dull moment in the Keys.
Key West was built on the resurrection of ships which sank off the shores. Mel Fisher is probably the most famous of the treasure hunters. After brunch at Hogfish, we walked down the marina to his two boats and had a chat with one of the divers. It was really interesting. They have investors who get a share IF, and I mean IF, they find any treasure. This year they found a 450 year old ring with a black diamond. Then we visited Truman’s Little White House where several presidents have stayed, Zachary Park and Fort, and the famous Mallory Square for the sunset show. We watched fire jugglers, balancing acts and a tightrope walker before taking in the breathtaking sunset. Red and orange skies silhouetted sail boats across the ocean. From there we joined our wild friends back at LaTeDa for the Christopher Peterson show. He was terrific too. We ended up at Irish Kelly’s bar for late night entertainment.
Great food and laid back atmosphere is the signature for Mango Mama’s, where we had brunch the next morning. Did I mention, I haven’t cooked at all? Yea. Then we had an early happy hour for appetizers at The Boat House, and a sunset cruise on a Seabago catamaran. There wasn’t much of a sunset, but the cruise was fun. A little wind, a little rain and a little champagne. We headed back to Irish Kelly’s after the cruise. Lennard pooped out on us, and after leaving, he had a bratwurst at Pete’s Meats’ street cart. The rest of the group stayed on for the show.
On our last day in the Keys we went with the wild ones for lunch at Geiger Key Fish Camp and then spent the afternoon at our beautiful site watching Roy watch Alabama beat Tennessee. He never sits down. Wayne just puts up with him. He swears if he sits down the team will lose. He stood the whole game and Alabama won. Wayne and Brenda’s beautiful puppy, Misa, joined us. Dinner was a combined effort of the ladies and we so much enjoyed our conversation beside the river, watching the moon rise over the ocean with fabulous food and new friends.
We headed to the Naples area the next day and knew we would be missing them and the beautiful Keys.