This is a bit late because we spent the following week in Miami and have been busy since returning, but since I enjoy other’s reports I thought I should reciprocate with a few comments. We drove down from Fort Lauderdale – our second trip. The drive down the Keys is worth doing once, but I can’t say this second was very exciting – maybe because we got a late start and didn’t take time to appreciate it. We were early enough to find No-Name pub for a beer before we got to Key West.
We stayed at the Best Western Hibiscus on the basis of reports on this board, and were not disappointed. At check-in, they were very apologetic that the pool was out of service because of needed repair, and offered to help us find an alternative hotel if we wished. Since this was not a major concern, we stayed. Nice room and good service. The complementary breakfast had the basics and was quite adequate, but was unchanging and did not have a large variety; if you are there for several days (or are a “hearty” breakfast eater), you might want to try some other places, as we did. The location allowed us to walk to some of the restaurants and other places we went to, but was a little far for the other end of Duval, so we drove and parked in either the Mallory Square lot or the parking garage at the end of Simonton. Traffic on the streets seemed very light, although street parking was of course next to impossible.
As for food, we ate at El Ciboney for the first time, and for anyone who likes homestyle Cuban food, this is the place. We also went to El Maison de Pepe which was as good as we remembered, or perhaps better when my wife found out that the boiled fish is actually a very tasty Bahamian fish stew. Another new find was Old Town Mexican Café – also very good. Our other two dinners were at Seven Fish – my wife’s favorite from our previous visit. We also had the obligatory breakfast at Blue Heaven after a 30 minute wait, and while it was good, I think that a similar breakfast at Flamingo Café was better. Lunches were generally pretty light except for one late lunch at the Duval Beach Club, for which service was atrociously slow (kitchen not waiter, problem). In spite of this we went back for breakfast prior to spending the morning on the beach, and got both good food and service. Just shows that one experience is not definitive. The only other true lunch was at No-Name Pub, where we went on the way to some time at Bahia Honda.
As for main activities, we took in the Shipwreck Museum, and although the beginning was a bit hokey, after we were left on our own to look at the exhibits it was very interesting. Also the Mel Fisher museum was worth the visit. The East Martello tower museum also was interesting in its way. We also visited the lighthouse museum (not much unless you are a real lighthouse buff) and climbed the lighthouse, which for people our age was an accomplishment. Didn’t do much else formally. Fort Zachary Taylor has the potential to be interesting if it were in better condition, and the beach is fine for sunning. Bahia Honda has much better beaches, and some nice trails, but the day we were there was without a breeze and very hot. Mostly we just did low key things, but a fun time and Key West is certainly on our list for another visit.