Friday, November 25, 2011

Key West, Days 4, 5, and 6

After my last post about Day 3 of our vacation in Key West, Internet access became spotty, then it vanished all together.  For this reason, I'm going to give you the remaining three days all at once, to finish this up.

Days 4 dawned the same way as Day 3, and Day 2 (and Day 1, for that matter) ... sunny and breezy and warm.  I could seriously get used to an island climate and lifestyle in the winter.  Our first stop was a treat for the plant geeks in our group, the Key West Botanical Garden.

The garden is well laid out, with a wonderful variety of plants and displays.  Photographing it, however, is really difficult ... it is the same difficulty I have when photographing any sort of garden.  It's hard for photos to accurately show what my eyes and mind see.  In photos, it's just a green jumble ... in person, it's a delight.

We saw wildlife, too.


Feral rooster.

The botanical garden has a very poignant exhibit of actual Cuban refugee boats.  Some of the boats were regular wooden boats, fitted with what looked like tractor engines and additional boyancy provided by tubes filled with spray foam.  One boat was made entirely from tarps, rebar, and spray foam.  I marveled at the faith (and desperation) of the Cubans who set sail across the 90 mile channel toward the US in these boats.

Food is always a large part of any vacation.  We had lunch this day at a Key West landmark, Pepe's.  

The atmosphere was wonderful ... eating outdoors on the patio under the branches of a large tree. Our server was really sweet, and the food and drinks (fish sandwich with macaroni salad and a blackberry peach Mojito) was my favorite of the whole trip.
my view looking up from my seat at Pepe's.

Our check was brought in this worn wooden tray with the mouse trap!

We made a quick stop at another historic site, Truman's Little White House.

It was neat to read the exhibits to see how President Truman and other US Presidents used this place to relax while conducting the nation's business.

Here is another graphic example of what a houseplant (for me here in Virginia) can do in its native habitat.  This Golden Pothos has wound its way up almost to the top of this huge tree!  Whenever I saw things like this, I tried not to stand there like a doofus tourist with my mouth hanging open.

The arrow shows how far the pothos is in this tree.

Early evening was all about watching the sunset at Mallory Square.  This is where the cruise ships dock in Key West.

While we were out on the pier waiting for the sun to set, we were entertained by this pelican flying back and forth diving for fish.

As you can see, the sunset was worth the wait!

Christmas lights in the tropics!  I would do this if I had palm trees.

Day 5 was a travel day.  We bid goodbye to Key West, heading an hour north to Islamorada.  Our lunch stop was Keys Fisheries, home of the Lobster Reuben ... I had lobster tacos instead ... yum.

This was the view from my seat.  Yes, everything really is THAT blue!

We stopped at World Wide Sportsman for a bit of shopping ... and some unexpected sight-seeing.  That boat in the center of the store is the sister ship to one owned by Ernest Hemingway.

I hit the clearance racks and I found a strappy dress in a beautiful tropical floral print that fit me perfectly ... and it was half price!   I also saw these sock monkey Christmas ornaments ... didn't buy one, but I sure thought they were cute.  

We checked into our hotel, The Islander.  It's a lovely older resort, with efficiency rooms that each have a screened lanai that opens onto a central courtyard.  Beach access is a short two minute walk across the resort.  

I spent the remainder of the afternoon on a beach chair in the sunshine with my book.

... and so did The Husband.

All that's missing from this photo is a Corona bottle with a lime wedge in it.

We hopped back into our rental car on the morning of Day 6, heading north to the Everglades Alligator Farm.  Before we got there, we made another stop at Robert is Here, the fabulous fruit stand I showed you on Day 1.  A news guy from Miami was there while we were, and he interviewed our friend Andy about how to keep fruits and veggies fresh longer.  The segment will air today on NBC Miami.

While we were at Robert is Here, we picked up fruit to take home with us.  My carry-on bag will be full of bananas! (and pecans, and avocados, and Key limes, etc.)  My Key Lime milkshake served as lunch.

Next stop, the alligator farm!

We had to look really closely to see if this was a real alligator or not.  I didn't realize how still they are when they're sunning themselves like this.

Even though the farm and its shows were a bit hokey and touristy, I loved it!!  We rode in an airboat, and we saw alligators and all sorts of herons and egrets.

say Cheese!

The alligator feeding show brought a huge concentration of 'gators to the fence for a snack.

The herons at home are really leery of humans.  The ones at the alligator farm appeared to be more used to our presence, and they'd stand right there and let us take their picture.

This huge tortoise had just finished his lunch.

You know I had to snap a photo or two of flowers and butterflies and bees.

After the Snake Show, we had the opportunity to hold one of the Ball Pythons.  I am not at all afraid of snakes, especially nice, cuddly ones, and this one was particularly friendly and well socialized. 

Here's the rest of him in my lap.

This was our last night in the Keys, and we splurged for dinner on the beach at the Morada Bay Beach Club.

How's this for a view from our table?

The idea was to watch the sun set and enjoy each other's company one last time before we headed for home the next morning.  Mission accomplished!

Bye bye, Florida.  We had a wonderful time!

We got home last night at around dinnertime, and Daniel and the kitties were really glad to see us!  I was glad to see them, too.

This morning in Virginia dawned chilly and frosty.  It sure is great to be home!!


  1. I really enjoyed seeing Florida from a visitors eye! Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of this state that I call home!

  2. Stunning photographs. I have really enjoyed seeing these. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Love the photos! Thanks for bringing us on vacation with you!

  4. Oh how I love Key West! Glad you two enjoyed yourselves down there. By the way, I have a sock monkey tree and would have totally grabbed one or two of those cute monkeys to come home with me.. :-)

    Jealous of your trip!

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  6. We are so happy you enjoy yourselves. We welcome you back next time to tour the ranch and the nursery!

    All the best,

  7. What fun, Connie! I couldn't agree more about spending the winters down there with your toes in the sand. I am soooo ready to do that. Thank you for taking us along with you! I needed to see those stunning photos of the ocean, sand and sunsets! :)

    xoxo laurie

  8. Wow! You took some amazing photos. What a great trip.

  9. What a great vacation you had. Such beautiful views! I love how blue the ocean is. Glad you are home and back with the furry children. hugs, Linda

  10. I missed this earlier, sorry I'm late. Those Cuban boats are scary, don't think I would want to count on one to carry me over 90 miles of water.

    That beach view below The Islander shot, looks too perfect to be real. It looks like a picture postcard. Wish our beach looked that good. The heron would make a good postcard too, as well as that sunset.

    I've have loved being able to travel with you, vicariously, on your trip. Thank you!

  11. Wow! What a collection of beautiful photographs -- so much to take in. I think I'll go back and view them again more slowly...

    Glad you made it home safely and your fur babies were happy to see you. :)

  12. You have made me miss living in south Florida! Did you go to Baby's for coffee on Duval street? Yum :) And Hog's Breath! OMG!
    Now I am homesick, Connie....

    Thanks for this. I needed it :)
    xo, misha

  13. So glad you had such a good time. Ya know, February will be a grand time to come back! Thanks for the photo vacation. It was wonderful.

  14. I loved the place you stayed at...The Islander. Looks so relaxing.
    The shops and restaurants look so quaint and fun. No malls and chain restaurants!! I love it :)

    Oh my, I shuddered seeing you hold that snake. I might touch one but I certainly wouldn't hold one. Yes, I'm a fraidy cat ;)

    I'm so glad you shared your trip with us. Thanks!

  15. It was a delight to see your pics! WE love Pepe's as well! Glorious sunsets and photos!


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