Can’t Get Enough of Key West

Last year we spent two weeks in the Florida Keys. This year it’s been six weeks, and we still have so much to see and do. For two weeks we based ourselves at the luxurious Blue Water Key RV Resort. We stayed here last year and it’s a real treat. We had our own tiki, complete with a kitchen and living area, which allowed us to spread out and breathe. 

The highlight of our time here was a visit from our dear friends Tom and Nancy. We share a wall with these two in Prescott and have been friends for many years. To be able to share Key West with them was a treat!

Together with Mia and Bob we took a fabulous sunset sail on the Argo Navis. Besides the incredible views, this ship, which we also took on Christmas Day, offers premium cocktails and appetizers. If you’re ever in Key West, we highly recommend this excursion!

And, you can’t miss the cuban dinner at El Meson de Pepe on Mallory Square. What a fun evening!

Blue Heaven is one of Key West’s most popular restaurants and, in the past, the site of cockfights and Hemingway’s notorious boxing matches. We enjoyed brunch one afternoon, and yes, the Key Lime Pie is that big!!

Sunset at Mallory Square is a must when you’re in Key West and we all enjoyed a lovely evening watching the day come to an end. Having Tom and Nancy join us was very special, and we were happy to share a little of this paradise with them.

Also in our final week in the Keys we cashed in on a tour we won a few weeks ago and went parasailing. This was the first time in all of our travels that we’d strapped ourselves into a parachute to get pulled by a boat, and it was incredible! Check out the videos!

Watch us take off!!!

Believe it or not, up there above the water, it’s very peaceful and relaxing—until they splashed us down into the water.  What an experience!

Taking a dip

We also paid a visit to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, another gem in Key West. The park, which contains a large civil war-era fort and expansive beach, is popular with tourists and locals alike. We toured the fort and enjoyed learning about the history of the military presence in Key West, which dates back before the War of 1812. Next time we’ll spend more time at the beach.

It’s now time for us to move along from this paradise but we’re leaving with gratitude for the opportunity to spend time here and looking forward to our next visit. But there’s more fun ahead!

Happy New Year from the Florida Keys

Happy New Year! We’ve been continuing to bask in the warmth of the southern Florida winter weather. Here in the Keys we’ve enjoyed temperatures in the 70s and 80s while thinking about our friends and family in the Midwest and in Prescott who are enduring typical winter weather.

We know we are so lucky to be here, especially since finding an RV site is so difficult in the Keys. We had to work to piece together our reservations this time of year. Thus, we’ve jumped around a few times over the last few weeks.

We were able to book four nights at the newest KOA around. The Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA was severely damaged in Hurricane Irma in 2017 and has been under renovation ever since. The newly opened, completely reconstructed campground features a beautiful pool, a pub, full service marina, and all new facilities.

We kayaked right from the resort, and Steve got in some good fishing in the channel next to camp. We also took advantage of the easy-to-access Overseas Heritage Trail to get in some good runs and bike rides along the water. The dogs enjoyed the sunshine too!

New Years Eve took us to nearby Mangrove Mama’s for a drink and then back to the KOA to enjoy a local band. As usual, we didn’t make it to midnight but it was still a fun evening with lots of festivities to enjoy.

After our time at the KOA we drove about 20 minutes north along the Overseas Highway to one of Florida’s premier state parks. Getting a campsite at Bahia Honda is like winning the lottery and we scored four nights. With some of the few beaches in the Keys and breathtaking views, this is the kind of place you never want to leave. 

A highlight of the park is the broken bridge, a remnant of the park’s beginnings when Henry Flagler’s railway arrived on the key in 1908 en route to Key West. The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane swept a train off the tracks, destroyed miles of rail lines, and seriously damaged the bridge. The railroad never ran again. The bridge found new life when they laid a concrete slab on top and opened it to cars. Now it’s a picturesque viewpoint from which to watch the sunset and a silhouette that makes for great photos.

Like at the KOA, we never left Bahia Honda while we were there, except to run the trail and to kayak the bay. Steve did some good fishing under the bridge pylons. If we can get reservations here again, we’ll jump on them!

We headed back towards Key West after this incredible stay and will report on that time in the next post. Spoiler alert: it includes appearances from our friends Tom and Nancy and a few more spectacular sunsets.

Taking our Time in Key West

We know, and remind ourselves daily, how lucky we are to spend so much time in the Florida Keys. We’ve been stationed at Boyd’s Campground on Stock Island for almost two weeks.

The campground is an easy bike ride from all the action in Key West and close to everything. Since our time here spanned the Christmas holiday, there was a lot going on. We had to pace ourselves!

Some days we hung out and enjoyed the 80 degree days and sunshine and other days we explored area attractions. One day we visited the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. One of the area’s top rated attractions, it was a nice way to spend a little time. The butterfly pavilion was filled with colorful, flying objects, along with some other fun creatures. 

On another day we took a tour of Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery at the Hemingway Rum Company. Through our visits to Pamplona, Havana, and now Key West, we seem to be retracing Ernest Hemingway’s life. The distillery is not really his operation, but proceeds go to the Hemingway Foundation. And the rum was pretty good, too.  We bought a bottle of the blonde.

Every Friday evening at the campground there is a raffle for excursions with a local tour company. We were the big winners one night and won a trip on the Dolphin and Snorkel Cruise,  as well as a parasail ride.

The Dolphin Cruise was a fun afternoon. We followed a pod of dolphins for about 30 minutes and then found a local reef to explore. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon, though the snorkeling was not as good as what we found in Key Largo. We’ll go parasailing for the first time in our lives in the coming weeks, so watch for our report on that adventure in the next blog.

On Christmas day we splurged on a special brunch cruise aboard the Argo Navis catamaran. Billed as the only luxury catamaran in Key West, it didn’t disappoint. Along with about 40 other passengers we were treated to gourmet food, premium cocktails (including the most amazing bloody mary we’ve ever had), and some of the best service we’ve encountered recently.

Steve volunteered to help raise the sails, for which he was rewarded with the first drink served on the trip. We enjoyed it so much that we booked a sunset sail for next month to share with our friends Nancy and Tom.

We’re taking our time each day, taking advantage of the weather to get in some good exercise. Daily runs, bike rides, and paddles take up much of our days. We’re also enjoying the Cuban coffee and fresh seafood. There’s always something interesting going on in Key West!

With almost three weeks left here in the Keys there are more adventures ahead of us. We’ll be bouncing between three different campgrounds, so the variety will offer some new views and experiences. More to come!