Monday, January 30, 2012

Florida Keys Vacation - It's A Wrap!

I'm going to miss Blue Plate Specials in the Florida Keys...

Like this Grilled Lobster, Black Beans & Rice, Cole Slaw and Hogfish Snapper plate that we happily stood in line to get while browsing the Key West Seafood Festival.

And, I'm going to miss all the Sea Life and Ocean Art, like this metal art at the Seafood Festival:

We became accustomed to regular trips from Big Pine Key down to Key West - and no trip was complete without lunch at the Hogfish Grille~

Where you could watch Blakely eat a pickle, her toes curled in baby bliss...

Our GPS was also locked in to the famous Mattheessen's one-half pound cookies - they are located on Duval Street, and you can click on the link to order online.  But be ready to develop an addiction...these cookies are absolutely fabulous!

During the final week, the kids arranged an afternoon family get-together and meal at Sunset Grille and Raw Bar at the base of 7 Mile Bridge in Marathon.  Another "gotta go there" if you are in Marathon - they have a swimming pool for their customers, along with a huge outdoor TV screen, picnic tables, and a sandy beach!

We spent the afternoon by the pool, lazily drinking tropical libations and talking as the kids (and some of the adults!) took the pool by storm.  

 As our trip wound down, Husband swept me away for a final treat - dinner at the very exclusive Little Palm Island Resort.  Accessible only by boat, it is a paradise of beauty and tranquility.
The boat trip to the island on their Motor Trawler was fabulous - straight into the sunset.

We were greeted at the dock with our own personal guide for the evening...

Just in time for a glass of wine, overlooking an outdoor fire pit and the best sunset ever.

Thank you, Lower Florida Keys, for a lovely month.  We are rejuvenated and ready to crank the engines and roll into 2012 with renewed energy...and a really good suntan!

But I AM going to miss those Blue Plate Specials!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life in The Fast Lane - On Cruise Control...

We have settled into a routine that will be hard to break once we leave the Keys.  I love the color of the sky just before daybreak down here, and the light show at sundown.  In between those two shows, we've settled in to our landscape and routine.  

The amazing colors of the ocean and bays now soothe instead of demanding wide eyes and a million photographs.  We're used to this now, and see things with new eyes...right about the time we have to go back to Atlanta.  This last week will probably be the best, and will be what pulls us back for another visit.

I'm starting to notice and love the small things...always a welcome sign of settling into the new place I am in.  

The problem with that is, I will miss these shapes and colors so very much when I get back to Atlanta and the cooler climate they can't grow in. I'll be looking for them to bring order to my day, and they won't be there.

Maybe that is why, after transferring my body to a new locale, it takes me days and days to get all my wheels on the ground, and pointing in the same direction.  What a travel wuss I am!

My favorite plant down here is the Sea Grape - just look at these leaves!  What's not to like?

  These were photographed at Bahia Honda State Park, and once you leave the bushes and head out to the beach, you can find even more surrealistic beauty...check this out:

Someone had decorated all the dead trees on the North end of the beach with sea shells and dried sponges, which was somehow just perfect.

 This sponge had grown jewelry of its own - pretty and totally appropriate.

Time to go put the Black Beans on...we have been gifted with an African Pompano that Brant and Barrett caught yesterday.  What could be better than Pompano, Black Beans, Saffron Rice, fresh Pico de Gallo and a crisp little wine??


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Life in The Fast Lane - Chapter 4

We are hearing that a massive cold front is moving across the Nation, and Mike Seidel at The Weather Channel is reporting "from the field".   It is looking quite Wintery, with snow blowing around him.  Time to go to the beach.

Husband steered us to a Park down the road, and we fell in love with it - Bahia Honda State Park.   If you ever come to the Florida Keys, plan to spend some time here...

If you click on the link above, you can see all the amenities and the History of this beautiful place...they even have cabins for rent on the Bay Side, and plenty of camping sites and RV parks too.  With friendly Park Rangers to help you out during your visit.  No worries here, and we feel sorry for Mike, shivering and bundled up with that camera in his face...

Later in the afternoon, the clouds began to roll in, and it started to rain.  Just before sunset, the rain stopped and we got a gorgeous Keys Sunset cloud show!

This one looks like a Barracuda, about to eat a Bait Fish.
Getting dark, time to move inside...

It is starting to rain again, so there is only one thing left to do - and Sis-In-Law knows just how to do it!

Umbrella Drinks!!

Ta Ta for now...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life in The Fast Lane - Chapter 3

So, we moseyed on back down the deserted road that slices through No Name Key, crossed back over the gravel-strewn bridge, and pulled into the only restaurant we've seen out here.

  And nearly threw our jaws out of joint when we walked up on the porch.  This is what you see through the doorway:

Are you believing this???  This is only the entryway.  Just the front door.  Not even the dining area, were dollar bills hang down as thick as shag carpet.  The waitress who zoomed over to take our order said they estimate there are between 60,000 and 70,000 dollar bills stuck on the walls and ceiling.  

It takes several minutes and half a bottle of ice cold Corona to be able to get your head around sitting in the middle of about $65,000.00 in raw cash.  But don't even think about clearing those walls...every bill is identified with someone's name, some artwork, or other "I Was At No Name Bar" mark.  You wouldn't even get to first base.

We finally focused on the menu, and here it is in a nutshell:

Home-Made Smoked Yellow Fin Tuna Dip - the best I've EVER had.  Period.
Enormous Hand-Patted Angus Beef Cheeseburgers
Amazing Pizzas, loaded with ingredients and drooling with cheese on a crunchy crust.
Crisp garden salads.  Gigantic Grouper Sandwiches.
Fabulous little "Half Dollar" Yukon Gold French Fries...and more.

As Husband would say, "Worth the Price of Admission!"

We waddled back to the cottage for a siesta.  It was only Tuesday.

So yesterday, emboldened by our exploration and uncovering the $65,000.00 Bar, we ventured farther from home base.  This time, we went out to Hwy. 1 
and turned south to see what we could find.  
Crossing over the bridge to Little Torch Key, we saw a  waterfront restaurant.

Looked like a promising spot, so we pulled in to the parking lot.  And were greeted by this:

This IS the Keys, but are you Kidding Me???

Not kidding.  There IS a Big Pecker Wine!  And, it is a good little Chardonnay.  That, coming from a Chardonnay snob!!

At the Bar-you gotta check out their MENU.

And that was just for starters.  This restaurant is a surprising find for such a quiet area - so good that we prevailed upon Husband to take us back there last night for dinner.  

After a lovely Conch Chowder (Red Based) with fresh aromatics and laced with sherry, we had an amazing 3 cheese Mac and Cheese for our entree, topped off with Lobster Chunks, passed under the broiler to brown the top just a tad.  Served in a pretty, deep glass bowl.  Fabulous.

With lots of Big Pecker Wine.

Home made Key Lime pie topped off the meal, and then once more, we waddled home.

Tomorrow, we rest.

Because right now, we feel like this:

Nothing a little rest and relaxation won't fix...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life in The Fast Lane - Chapter Two

Today we saw a government sign saying that feeding a Key Deer out of your hand is a criminal offense. Criminal! Yikers!  Does that mean we are all going to jail??? 

We have learned that this little toothless Key Deer is known as "Grandma", and is beloved and pampered by all the residents. The neighbor down the street says that her favorite snack is whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, smashed up in his palm, which she licks cleans every morning. Along with puréed carrots, which his wife faithfully prepares every morning while the coffee percolates. 

 Of course, this means that when she arrives at our cottage around 10:30, she's going for brunch, and leading into lunch.

Other than tending to Grandma, we have been exploring our little island in bits and spurts...

This is the channel out to the Back Bay, which leads you to the Atlantic or the Gulf, depending on which way you turn when you get to the end.

These are the guys and gals who check your credentials at the end of the channel - you can see from their "aromatic" perch that they are permanent fixtures.

We headed out to explore the deserted island next to ours, and Husband did a little focusing exercise so that he could be "in the moment" during our discovery tour:

Now thoroughly in the moment, we started roaming down faint paths through the brush.

  Lots of pretty Red Mangroves:

Love this Palm Group - a perfect place to hang a hammock!

Evidence that we were not in a Primeval Jungle - almost reassuring, since there wasn't a sound except for our foot-falls, the wind and the birds muttering out on the rocks.

Rather artistic, don't you think??

Right down the path, we ran into Swamp City...

Surreal, but beautiful in its own way.  And the end of the road!

Time to go look for a cold beer!  I'll show you the amazing little bar we found in Chapter 3...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Life in The Fast Lane

I can hardly believe that it is January 2012 already, and here we are for our long-planned vacation in the Florida Keys.  This was the view from the porch this morning as the sun came up.  We are trying VERY HARD to slow down for a month and "smell the roses", but man, this is tough.  

First thing in the morning, we have to explain to this little Key Deer with what looks like a dislocated jaw why we can't feed her.  Not supposed to feed her.  Then, she looks at you with this face...

So, okay.  Upstairs to chop up some Papaya skin into very small bites so that she can get it past those old gums...

Took her a long time to get this down, but she ate every bite, then disappeared into the Mangroves to sleep it off.

See what I mean?  On Vaca and already on a mission.  

See all those little dimples in the gravel?  Those are the imprints of all the tiny little hooves of the Key Deer who nose around at night while we are trying to sleep...CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH, all night long.  But we are only greeted with Miz Crooked Jaw in the mornings.  Thank heavens.  That's a lot of little toes, there!

Tomorrow, I have to travel out to the highway to the Winn Dixie for more shredded carrots. She loves shredded carrots.

Life in the Fast Lane.  Chapter One.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...