Hello thank you to TA'ers.
We flew to FLL on the 13th and rented from Enterprise-nicest people. It was a Prius-way too high tech for us.
Checked into Hibiscus - first time since 1999. In '99 it cost $99 and today $125-not bad. Had been renovated nicely. Great heated pool. Average free breakfast. Immaculate.
We like the location. You can walk or bike anywhere but you're not at the noisy end of Duval. If you too like this: check into anywhere on Simonton at United, at South, or the beach. The REACH looks very nice btw.
Ate at Blue Heaven still funky but pricier than I recall. We ate every meal- BLD - outdoors which I love. We don't do fancy tablecloth restaurants here--we live in Manhattan for goodness sake so don't need that. Love fresh fish and spice.
(Turned in the Prius by the way)
Now what is special about Key West to me is the funkiness. Precious few American cities are distinctive-think Santa Fe with fewer galleries, New Orleans with less music. Think casual. Think 80 degrees in Dec. When nonstop flights start next week - hope they last--it will be unstoppable!!!! If you like pink taxis, roosters everywhere--this is your place. A couple of hippies from the 60s and some smart homeless people-smart to winter here! Less shopping than Santa Fe-consider Petronia or Caroline. Petronia is where Blue Heaven is and there are 4 stores there.
Ok the next day we went to South St. where Ana's Cuban Cafe has excellent Cafe Con Leche (Cuban-yum) (large $3) it is a hole in the wall with a porch. Next door opening at 9 am is A & M rentals-for bikes. Ours cost $35 from Friday am to Monday am. My favorite kind- no tricky hand brakes and the town is flat. You just have to brake for those roosters or for the gaggles of herons crossing the road like ducklings. Plus there are bike paths along the beach--go to Higgs past Casa Marina and there is a gorgeous pier with the AIDS monument memorial and a pelican who thinks it is his/her job to pose for pictures. Also bike past the interesting cemetery. Mauseoleums and above ground burials.
Exploring-in 99 we did the Hemingway House and the Truman White House. Recommend both. This time, I did the Curry Mansion-not a must. HOT. Good point if you look into staying in a B&B check if it has A/C and how small the pool is. The book store on Fleming is great. There are 2-3 places on Duval for self serve fro yo. There is still sunset on Mallory with street performers.
We often got lunch from Ana's too--yum grilled fish on salad.
Once we went to Paseo for an early dinner and once for lunch. We could only take the number 3 level spice. Casual, share a table outside, only open Wed-Sunday.The bowl is recommended but we didn''t have it. The corn, the pork shoulder sandwich and the fish sandwich are good. Nearby at Margaret meets Caroline is the Cuban Coffee Queen try the iced cafe con leche large $3.50 with ice cubes made out of coffee - yum. It is strong!!!
Sunday am is a great time to bike. Sunday pm has the tourists have gone home feel but some restaurants are closed.
Look for the banyan trees which are amazing. If you have ever been to Long Beach Island, NJ in summer, this is similar but in winter. If you like lush foliage and palm trees with Christmas decorations and music-this is the place.
We went back to Blue Heaven the music is low key so you can chat. The gift shop isn't bad. Tonight we may try Pepe's or B O, or Seven Fish.
Really an idyllic spot-semi-tropical. Enjoy or ask me questions to plan your own trip. Again, thank you TA and TA'ers.