A little background: I am 37 from Long Island, NY. My best friend Dawn is 39 from outside Philly. This was my 6th trip to Key West, 5 of them with her, generally every February the past few years, and once in September 1 year.
The blizzard: I started panicking a few days before I was supposed to leave, which was saturday the 9th.. My flight was 7:05 am Saturday the 9th, out of Islip, Long Island. On the Wednesday before, the forecast for the upcoming blizzard was getting worse and worse, saying it was going to start on Friday. Southwest still didn’t have an advisory up, which meant that if I wanted to change my flight, I would be responsible for paying the difference. I called to find out what was available. Unfortunately, which I knew, there was only 1 flight out of Tampa (where I was to catch my connecting flight) a day. Both Thursday and Friday were sold out for that 1 flight. They basically had nothing available to me. I didn’t know what to do. She said to check online, as they sometimes have web only fares available that she was unable to see. I did, and although the flight from TPA to EYW was sold out, there was 1 flight from Orlando to EYW, so I snatched it up. It was an additional $230 for the difference in price, bringing my total for the flight to $600. Yikes! But, I was determined to get my butt out of NY before the blizzard, so I didn’t care at all.
Now to find a B&B for the extra day, as my B&B (Old Town Manor) didn’t have any rooms available for Friday night. Days inn had a room for $225, which I was not happy about, but I booked it in case I couldn’t find something else. Someone on here told me about L’Habitation that they so kindly checked out for me, and said there was 1 room left for Friday! I booked it immediately, for $169. I was ecstatic, especially since it was literally on the same street (eaton) as Old Town Manor, but on the other side of Duval, literally a 3 minute walk from each other. Things were starting to look better for me!
Dawn was leaving out of Philly on Saturday at 8 am. She said they weren’t expecting as much as we were, so she was going to keep her flight, since she had a 3 hour layover in Tampa and if she was running late, that would help. So I had the entire 24 hours to myself! I couldn’t have been happier with that thought. We have a GREAT time together, but I know that town inside and out and was very excited at the thought of experiencing it by myself for a little bit.
The next day, Thursday, Southwest put the advisory up. I called them to see if they could credit me the $230 I paid, and they said to call back once my flight was completed and they would see what they could do.
Friday morning came-I live literally 4 minutes from the airport so I was there for 5:45 am for my 7:05 flight. Lucky me, the flight to Orlando was FULL of high school cheerleaders, going down for the Nationals at Disney. The pilot was trying so hard to get everyone seated and get them to put their phones away so we could take off. It had just started sleeting… I was getting nervous. Get me out of NY, fast! Ha. We took off and I breathed a sigh of relief. Vacation, here I come!
The rest of my flights went fine, arrived at Key West airport at 12. My friend Matt offered to pick me up. As I was waiting for my luggage, he showed up with a mojito for me, from the airport bar! What a welcome! I was smiling from ear to ear, I couldn’t have been happier to be in my happy place, where it was 75 degrees and SUNNY!
L’Habitation was really cute, and perfect for the day. Once I got settled, I called Southwest to see what they could do about the $230. They said no problem, and credited my credit card the $230! I was thrilled, to say the least. I then changed and headed out to Old Town Manor to pick up the pool key they were nice enough to let me use for the day, even though I wasn’t staying there yet! I had lunch at Fogarty’s- shrimp po’ boy and a rum runner from Flying monkeys-perfect first meal.
After lunch, went to the pool at Rose Lane Villas-the sister property of Old Town Manor. It’s right down the small side street next to Fat Tuesday’s. The pool was heavenly! Heated and just perfect. I met an older woman who was in town for 2 weeks from Pittsburgh, and reminded me a lot of my mom. We talked a lot throughout the afternoon. Always so nice to meet new people on vacation.
After showering, I headed to Lazy Gecko where my friend matt who I mentioned earlier was playing from 4-8. That’s Matty Q, for anyone who may have seen him before. :) He plays there and at Sloppy Joe’s. He had a great set, good to hear him sing again and of course I had a few drinks. He’s originally from Jersey and Dawn’s friend for many years from when he lived there. He’s the reason we started coming down to Key West back in 2010. After his set, I walked Duval a bit and decided to grab dinner at Caroline’s at the bar overlooking Duval. I had chicken quesadilla, which was really good. I have never eaten at Caroline’s before, despite passing it many times. Definitely glad to have finally tried it, finally.
I got back to the B&B around 9:30 and hung out outside on the front porch for a bit, catching up with my mom back on Long Island. Wow. I got out JUST in time! It was already a mess there, but the worst was yet to come overnight.
The next day, Saturday the 9th, I woke up early (I’m an early riser, was up around 7) decided to take a walk around Duval and Whitehead…such a pretty day! Afterwards, I headed to Amigo’s for breakfast. Sat at the bar overlooking Greene. The streets were still empty, so it was nice and peaceful. I had a mimosa, which was perfect. For breakfast, scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon and toast. Delish! Another place I can cross off my list that I tried, although I definitely need to get back there to try the tacos.
I checked out of the B&B at 11 and walked the very short distance to Old Town Manor, not expecting to be able to get into my room yet, since it was so early. It was my lucky day! Actually, I was saying how incredibly lucky I was the entire trip! The people before me checked out way early for their flight so my room was free. I got into my room and called my mom again. I saw so many crazy pictures of the storm through Facebook and just couldn’t believe it. She said we got 3 feet of snow, and so many cars were stranded all over our usually very busy roads. Such chaos. I was SO happy to not be there, but also was concerned for my loved ones. Luckily, everyone I knew was safe.
Dawn arrived at 2, but not without a bit of worrying on both our parts. She sat on the plane for 2 hours, while they de-iced. Luckily, she had that 3 hour layover, and come to find out, she was taking the same plane down to Key West, so she just had to get off and then get back on again. Matt picked her up with a drink as well, and she was at the B&B by 2:45. Time to get the party started!
We headed to Rum Barrel for lunch. We love that place. Sat up top on the Quarter Deck, I had a French dip and a mojito (of course! My Key West drink) We returned to the room after lunch, took quick naps and then it was time to head back out again for the evening. We went to Conch Republic for happy hour drinks, and then to Irish Kevin’s to catch NY Pauly, our favorite there. Matt used to play after him on Saturdays back in 2010/11, so that’s how we came to like NY Pauly. And of course because he’s from NY and a Yankee fan, like me. ;) We had some drinks and stayed till his set was over at 11. We were hungry and decided to wander around to see where we could eat. Unfortunately, a lot of the restaurants were done serving food for the night. (really?) So we decided to go to Hard Rock and sat outside overlooking Duval. I had the turkey club, which was good, nothing overly exciting but decent! We then headed back to the room for the night. We’re not huge partyers. We prefer day drinking and having a constant buzz, to getting sloppy drunk. ;)
Sunday 2/10- Woke up at 7:45, with a bit of a hangover, but some fresh air and the thought of Sarabeth’s for breakfast helped! Sarabeth’s is our Sunday morning staple. There are a few in new York city, but I haven’t been and I just don’t think I want to. I know I would compare it to the Key West location, and well, as you know, nothing can compare, especially when we get to sit outside. In the past, I’ve had the key west pink shrimp omelet, but this time, I decided to try the Farmer’s omelet, and I always get the 3 pepper potatoes and whole grain bread with it. Always amazing!
Afterwards, we did some shopping at the stores on Duval. I bought a cute sun dress for $20 which I wore later on in the vacation. We then changed and headed out to the pool. It was another gorgeous day. We got so lucky on this trip. The 5 days I was there, no rain, just sunshine and 78-80 degrees every day! Past years, we had a day or 2 of low 60’s and/or a full day of rain. Nothing this time, just absolute paradise. ;)
After the pool, we got ready and headed out to dinner. We went to Caroline’s and I had the shrimp club. Another great meal. I will definitely be getting that again on my next trip! Matt was playing at Lazy Gecko 7-11 so we got there for 7 and got seats at the bar. Unfortunately, there was this annoying older couple that could NOT keep their hands and their mouths off of each other, right in the middle of the bar. And for hours. It was ridiculous. And me being from NY, I had to say something. Ha. I was nice about it, but just said that it was distracting. I’m definitely far from being offended by anything, but they were literally right next to me, and constantly bumping into me. I couldn’t enjoy my night. We finally had had enough and left and went next door to Sloppy Joe’s for an hour. We later peeked in and noticed they were gone, so we went back to LG. ;) Later on, Matt had said how he saw them too, and saw how obnoxious they were. Thankfully we didn’t see them the rest of the trip.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling so great. Not sure what brought it on, but felt a bit nauseous. I had a nice buzz, but wasn’t drunk by any means. I decided to head back to the room, while she finished up Matt’s set. I felt better after I ate (a crappy chicken sandwich from wendy’s-I just needed something quick)
Monday 2/11- Woke up around 7:30. Took a walk down Duval for a bit, to catch some morning sunshine. Had a screwdriver at the B&B, they serve screwdrivers and bloodys for $5 during breakfast.:) For breakfast, we went to Two Friends, which we usually try to get to once a trip for breakfast. Never tried any other meal there, but breakfast is good! I had French toast this time. We then took a walk to Simonton beach. Luckily, no bums hanging around this time. Just took a few pictures of the water and then headed back to the room to change for the pool. We got rum runners at Fat Tuesday’s before hand, with the extra shot of rum to enjoy at the pool. Another day in paradise! We said that a lot. ;) Afterwards, we showered and headed to Fogarty’s for lunch. I had been craving a burger ever since we arrived, as it always smells so good, walking past Fogarty’s. And it did not disappoint! Hit the spot. Switched to my other summer drink, Sweet tea vodka and lemonade. Had a few of those throughout the day, there and at Caroline’s while sitting at the bar ledge overlooking Duval, people watching. People watching is always fun!
We decided to go to Sunset Pier to catch the sunset…sat at a bench overlooking the water, and you guessed it, ordered a mojito! Beautiful sunset, as usual! Afterwards, we went to Irish Kevin’s to catch some of NY Pauly’s show, had a few drinks and then decided to grab a bite at Old Town Mexican café. I had been there once, my 1st trip to key west back in 2006, with my now ex boyfriend. Wasn’t thrilled about it then and still not now. LOL I am very picky about salsa, and I just didn’t like theirs. Not sure why we didn’t go to Salsa Loca like we usually do. I had chicken quesadillas which were just ok. We headed back to the room around 10.
Tuesday 2/12-our last full day; Woke up at 7:30. I took a walk to Walgreen’s to get a few things, and then we had breakfast at our B&B at our little table outside our room. They have a decent breakfast- different kinds of breads, homemade pastries, fruit, cereals, fresh squeezed orange juice etc.
After we ate, we took a cab to Higgs Beach. We were there for the 1st time last February, and we liked it, although we know it’s not a “fabulous” beach but good for Key West. We stayed for a few hours, rented lounge chairs, declined the umbrella because we wanted the sun! Had to make our Northeast friends jealous of our tans! Haha. We then took a cab to Kelly’s for a late lunch, where I had yet another mojito and their blackened chicken, which was pretty good, although I probably wouldn’t get it again.
We headed back to the room to shower and then to Fat Tuesday’s for Fat Tuesday beads and a special cup for that day.-I had a hurricane, of course! They had great music playing, but we only stayed for 20 minutes as we needed to get to Lazy Gecko for Matt’s set. This time, no annoying couple and we got a table right near him. Had quite a few drinks, and some chips and salsa. His set was over at 11 and we all went to Hogs Breath after to meet up with some of his friends. Had a few drinks there, then went to Rumors for another drink, and we ended our night at tattoos and scars (LOVE that name!) We were back at the room around 2 am.
2/13: Woke up at 7:45 with a slight headache, but overall not too bad, considering I drank the most the night before. We had breakfast at the B&B and did our packing (booooo) And Dawn was first to leave. Matt picked her up at 10:45 am and I decided to head to the pool for another hour or so of tanning. Grabbed 2 Hurricanes from Fat Tuesday’s and enjoyed the last bit of 80 degree weather that I’ll see for a while. I headed back to the B&B to change in their bathroom super quick and I was off to the airport with a tan and a buzz, the only way to leave Key West!
My flight was at 2, and I had a 4 (!!) hour layover in Orlando. As I said earlier, there is only 1 flight into and out of Key West from Orlando/Tampa on Southwest, and because they fly out of Islip, which is 4 minutes from me, I opted to do it, even though the layovers were long. But my flight was $371 which was a lot cheaper than flying in/out of JFK/LGA. I planned ahead. I have a friend who lives an hour away from Orlando so she met me outside the airport and we went to Miller’s Ale house for a few hours, had some drinks and lunch and caught up. Great way to pass the time! However, security at Orlando is ridiculous. SUCH long lines and took 45 minutes. Luckily, I left enough time. I came across quite a few people on my flight from Orlando to Islip that were supposed to fly back home on Sunday, but due to the storm and the cancelling of flights, they couldn’t get a flight back till Wednesday! Crazy.
I arrived at Islip at 9:50 pm. Grabbed my luggage and it was time to see all this snow in person…granted, 5 days after. I got to my car and was happy to see the snow had melted off of it, but had to dig the tires out of the snow to be able to get out. But, that was the gist of what I had to deal with, with this blizzard, and THAT made me very happy! It was yet another fabulous trip to my happy place. We have already booked our return trip for October 16-19th for her 40th birthday! Counting down the days…