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Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

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Kittery, Maine
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Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Two weeks for a roadtrip vacation from Southernmost coastal Maine to the center of the Conch Republic and then home again seemed like such a long time but here it is past the midpoint. Here's some of what we've done:

Kittery, Maine
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1. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Part 1: Days 1 - 5

What a wonderful trip we’ve been having – we’re in the backstretch now and here are some of our highlights so far:

The drive down was exactly 2000 miles when we pulled into KW last Thurs evening. We managed to just avoid the tornado in NC by driving through the night. We stopped, exhausted in Savannah, Ga to recuperate and enjoy that genteel city of cobblestone streets, colonial homes and graceful town squares. Feeling refreshed the next day we continued into Fla and made overnight stops to visit friends and family along the way down through The Villages and Tampa area and on to old Florida style Nokomis Beach just above Venus Beach – what a beautiful and peaceful spot to spend another night with a glorious sunset to boot.

Heading into the Everglades, we stopped to take the boat ride through the 10,000 islands out of Everglades City - such an enjoyable and educational tour and with the sunny weather and upper 80s temps it was a perfect day for it. The drive across Tamiani Trail was not what I expected. The lack of rain has dried up most of what you see along the Trail. The long grass is there but many patches of sand and the only 2 gators we spotted roadside were vulture food. Sad. I’ve been very careful with water use here in KW – wanting to help conserve as I can. Overnight was at the Florida City Travelodge which has received wonderful reviews and will be getting another. Reserve in advance – you’ll be glad you did! That night was sooo restful and of course exciting since our trip into the Keys would begin in the morning.

Kittery, Maine
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2. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Part 2: Days 6 – 10 Key West

A leisurely drive through the Keys was just how we wanted to arrive into Key West. Stops along the way at Robbie’s where those monster tarpon are hand fed was fun and it’s always a pleasure to take a swim at Sombrero Beach in Marathon. We found the Hogfish restaurant on Stock Island and I was fortunate to get the last serving of hogfish that afternoon – a delicious white fish! From there we drove into KW and checked into Mango Tree Inn, our Southernmost home away from home. This is our 4th stay here and we love it. A mojito was in order and El Meson de Pepe is where I always go to get it when I arrive. Their caipirinha is also outstanding and that came a few days later.

We saw the Conch Republic flag waving high over Ft Zachery Taylor on Friday and watched the drag races on Saturday – what a hoot to see those drag queens racing up and down Duval St! The conch blowing contest was Friday night and on Sunday the music festival was excellent. We also caught half of The Gardens jazz venue that day and enjoyed meeting local musician Peter Diamond and his lovely wife Holly who I understand is a wonderful dancer. Another Key West friendship made. A big part of our trips these days is catching up with the many wonderful freinds we've made here in the past few years.

Lots of morning walkabouts for me as well as bike tours through the side streets and alleys of Old Town kept me on the move but lolling and floating in the Inn’s beautifully landscaped pool was sooo relaxing afterwards. Listening to Scott Kirby in the evenings at Pier House has been a real treat. If you haven't caught his music yet - you owe it to yourself to look him up.

We don’t spend a lot of money on food or drink while we’re here – but Salsa Loca is always on our list both for the reasonably priced and delicious food as well as our friendship with Nancy the proprietor whom we’ve come to love as family. Peel n Eat shrimp at Sunset Bar in the Ocean Key resort were absolutely delicious as is the Key West Sunset Ale there.

Starting at mm 0 Tues morning, we head back towards Melbourne Beach Fl for a few days and eventually home to Maine but not before breakfast at Lattitudes on Sunset Key. It’s insanely expensive for dinner there but this is a nice alternative for a special place on a budget.

Orlando, Florida
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for Key West
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3. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

What a lovely trip you've had! Salsa Loca is always on our list as well. Thanks for sharing your fun with us. :)

columbus, in
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4. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

I am glad you had a wonderful trip and wish you a safe trip home.Thanks for sharing your experience with us as we wait for our own. Glad you made it to Latitudes, a beautiful place at any time of the day.

Western...
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5. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Thanks for the report Mojitoland, I love to walk the streets of KW in the morning, glad you are having a nice trip and thanks for the text updates.

PJ

Syracuse NY
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6. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

What a wonderful trip you are having! I empathize with your sense that the 2 weeks is going by too quickly. There are always more things to do than time to do them in Key West. That said, you sure have done a lot of fun things.

Thanks for the report and have a safe trip home!

Athens, Tennessee
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7. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Thanks for the report! Safe travels north!

Kittery, Maine
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8. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Day 11 - 15:

I'm on the long trek home now after the final stage of our trip. We had a wonderful time heading out of the Keys on Tuesday - starting with that wonderful breakfast at Lattitudes - had the place to ourselves for most of the time there and it just beautiful. My eggs benedict neptune ( with yellow snapper) was just delicious. Easy way to afford a special spot.

On the way out of town we stopped for the afternoon at Bahia Honda and just relaxed, swimming, sunning, walking the bridge. What a wonderful state park! Driving the 7 mile bridge is always a thrill - but less so on the way out of KW than heading in for a few days. By the time we crossed the bridge in Key Largo the sun was setting and it was 9 p.m. when we checked into our hotel.

That was in Boca Raton and yes the hotel was excellent - Marriott Towne Place suites. But as for that location - I'm in no hurry to return. Early Wed morning I drove down to the beach and their reportedly beautiful Spanish Gardens park along the intracoastal but found it's closed Tues - Thurs and there are only 25 parking spaces for beach goers - either resident or non resident. I got the message loud and clear that tourists like me are NOT welcome there. I shook the sand off my sandals and left town.

The rest of the week was wonderful - good time with friends who live on the coast - first in Hypoluxo then Melbourne Beach. That latter location has sooo many parks - fed, state and county. Sebastian Inlet is wonderful as is Pelican Island national wildlife refuge. Just kick back and enjoy natural habitat and uncommercialized beaches and fishing. Now that's my style!

The drive home is going well. 24 hours of driving will do it and I'm halfway back. Time to catch some Zzzzzzzs now for the 2nd leg tomorrow. Hopefully sweet dreams of all the wonderful things we've done in the past 2 weeks. It was a wondeful vacation!

Lockport, IL
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9. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Thank you for the recommendation for breakfast at Latitudes. We can't afford the dinner there, but I'd love to see it. Their breakfast menu looks wonderful. We will have to try!

It sounds like your trip was perfect. I've never been able to catch Scott Kirby down there, but I love his music.

In the Country, NY
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for Surf City
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10. Re: Trip Report MM 1720 to MM 0

Thanks for sharing, we are still in town and NOT ready to leave.