This was our 6th trip to Key West in the last half dozen years, so we had seen much of what interests us; this plus the fact that we are of an age where many activities are no longer in our comfort zone means that this report will not contain much that is exciting. We flew into Fort Lauderdale on Southwest, picked up a car from Enterprise (they have a good policy on tolls) and drove to Coconut Grove where we spent 4 nights. As this is on the Key West board, I will just say that we used this as an excuse to eat at 2 favorite restaurants, Villa Havana (Cuban) and Maroosh (middle-eastern) and finally a good Indian restaurant in Bombay Darbar. Also visited Vizcaya, and spent the one rainy day of the entire trip at the Lowe Art Museum (University of Florida)– quite good, especially the glass exhibit, if you are into museums.
Stopped on the drive to the Keys at Robert Is Here, which we had heard a lot about but had not visited before. They had mameys – if you haven’t tried one, do. We bought a couple for Key West, and had to stop on our way back to Lauderdale for more for an evening snack and breakfast next morning before our flight home. Otherwise, the drive was routine. Many love the scenery. It was great the first time, but by the 6th trip much of it is pretty boring – but not all! Our Key West hotel was Southernmost on the Beach – excellent as usual. Evidently the property is for sale, so hope it doesn’t get changed too much by new owners.
We spent most of our time reading, walking on Duval or at the Bight, went to a few bars (we keep our alcohol intake low) and spent a couple of afternoons at Schooner Wharf listening to Michael McCloud and Raven Cooper, and a couple of days strolling at Higgs Beach and the White Street pier. Finally found the Key West Nature Center – two short trails that don’t offer very much, but a good thought by the Key West Garden Club. One of the reasons we like to have a car is so that we can take off any time, and we made little trips such as to the Bat Tower on Lower Sugar Loaf Key (this permits you to puzzle your friends by telling them that you visited a Bat Tower) and a walk on the old Seven-Mile Bridge (now that must have been fun to drive!). Also drove up to the Square Grouper on Cudjoe Key for a good lunch.
Our one major activity was a trip to the Dry Tortugas via seaplane (Key West Seaplane Adventures). This we highly recommend. It is probably not a good idea to leave it until late in your trip, as we initially booked for a Monday, were postponed until Wednesday for mechanical problems, then postponed again to Friday for the same reason. They were very good about notifying us. Anyhow, the flights out and back are fun and Fort Jefferson is immense and fascinating. It shows that even in those days the military could spend large amounts of government money on big projects that proved to be of little value. (Perhaps someone can enlighten me. The rationale for building this fort was to control shipping in the Gulf. What I don’t get is how you can control shipping from a land-based fort when hostile ships can simply sail around it out of gun range.) The other big interest in this trip is snorkeling, which we did not do, but those who did said it was good.
Restaurants are an obligatory topic but, while I can usually remember where I ate, I can rarely remember when or what. We tend to repeat favorites, and simply giving a list isn’t very interesting, so I will only mention a couple. For dinner, Grunts was new, and one we can thoroughly recommend. Small, with outdoor seating. Ana’s Cuban Café was good for breakfasts, as was the Six Toed Cat for both breakfast and lunch. Lunch service at Salute was interesting, varying between very attentive to “have they forgotten us?” but a beer at the bar in the afternoon was a good experience with an exceptionally friendly bartender. Long-time favorites remain Seven Fish (make reservations!) and Hogfish (on Stock Island) and El Ciboney; we also thought The Boathouse was very good.
We expect to be back next year for an exciting time of doing nothing in a fun place.