Friday, November 16, 2012


Oyster Flats

Our focus today was a day trip to Apalachicola, Florida….about two hours east of PCB.  We took the scenic route and enjoyed view after view of the Gulf shores.  Lots of large herons, pastel houses and palm trees all along the way.

The town of Apalachicola sits on the shore of the Apalachicola Bay.  This is where 90% of Florida’s oysters come from.  This bay has ideal conditions for oyster growth, brackish water, shelter from barrier islands and incoming winds that help “salt up” the oysters.  Here, the oysters are still harvested the same way they've been harvesting them since 1800, by tonging them off of oyster bars in the bay.

Oyster Shells
It’s easy to see that oysters are the primary business here.  There are oyster boats everywhere and oyster processing plants all along the bay.  Each plant has a huge pile of oyster shells beside it…waiting to be returned to the bay to help provide anchoring for new oysters.

Oyster Boat Coming In
We stopped at the Up the Creek Oyster Bar where they proudly serve local oysters and lots of alligator dishes.  Between the four of us we tried about 1/3 of the menu including alligator chili, conch cakes and sweet potato donut holes.  Wonderful food with a great view of the oyster boats coming in with their catches.  Without a doubt, this is one of our favorite places to eat in this area…along with Hunt’s and Dusty’s. 

Apalachicola Old Cemetery
After lunch we went by some of the historical homes in the city.  The population of Apalachicola is about 2400, yet there are over 900 homes in the National Historic Register!  We finished up our visit with a stop to geocache at the old cemetery.  Graves there date back to the early 1800s and include the graves of 7 Confederate Civil War Veterans.  And yes, they are accorded the term “veterans” and their graves are marked with a bronze plaque as are Union vets.

We all love saying “Apalachicola”….it’s just a fun word to say.  Try it!  We've probably said it 50 or 60 times today.  I think I’ll say it few more times just for fun!  Apalachicola!  Apalachicola!  Apalachicola!

Florida Days

The Truman House

On Tuesday morning we headed about twenty miles west on Route 30A to visit the little town of Seaside, Florida.  This little community was built in the early 80s and was designed to look like an old-fashioned beach village.  Each house is a different color and they are built in different styles: Victorian, Neo-Classical, Modern, etc., and each house is named.   Everything looks so perfect it kind of reminds you of a movie set.  In fact, Seaside was the prime filming location for the movie, “The Truman Show”. 

Seaside has lots of little unique shops and restaurants, including several Airstream Trailers set up as food trucks.  We ate at one: Meltdown on 30A.  This truck focuses on grilled-cheese sandwiches (cheese toasties for my Decatur readers) and boy…these are some of the best grilled-cheese sandwiches we’ve ever had!  Yum!

This day turned out to be a day of seeing wildlife.  Deer along the road.  Four foot long manta rays.  Pelicans and egrets.  And, finally….alligators!  Saw the alligators in St. Andrews state park.  A five-footer was only a few feet off the trail and seemed be posing just for us. 

A cold front moved in last night so the temperature never hit 70 today.  Brrrr!  It’s not going to hit 70 again till Friday so we’ll just have to tough it out till then.

Our dollar on Dusty's ceiling
Wednesday morning was misty and chilly.  Kind of chilled out in the condo watching Jeff Dunham till lunch time, then headed for Dusty's for oysters.  A dozen oysters on the half shell were $6.95 and they were delicious!  Shrimp and oyster Po Boy's rounded out the meal....great little place!

Our next stop was to be an air boat ride.  We got there and waited for the rain to stop....never happened.  Postponed the ride till Thursday.

Headed back to the resort for a wine social at the club house.  Wine and cheese were provided and we met new friends from Ohio and Indiana.  Love these events!

We started our Thursday with a long walk through the resort property and then out on a pier at the nearby Wyndham Resort.  Saw lots of sea birds and hermit crabs, but no dolphins.

Geared up and ready to go!
Afterwards, we headed back to Dusty's for lunch and then to the airboat.  This time it wasn't raining so we boarded and headed west on the intercoastal waterway.

Did you know...  The intercoastal waterway was started in 1824 and stretches from Maine to the Mexican border in Texas...almost 3000 miles of safe waterways!  Safe, that is, from attacks: British attacks on American shipping are what started the whole intercoastal idea.  The waterway also provides protection against Altantic and Gulf storms, thus there is a lot of barge traffic here.  (Amazing what we learned from our airboat captain...a small slip of a girl who has been driving airboats for seven years!)

Best seat on the boat!
This ride was c..c..c..cold!  But, lots of fun!  We skimmed across the water at 30 miles an hour and learned that you stop an airboat either by hitting a tree or by doing a tight 360 degree turn.  We stopped lots of times, but without hitting a tree!  We turned into a creek where normally there are 10 foot and 12 foot alligators, but none today.  Too cold!
Sculpture in St. Andrews (Panama City)

Panama City was next on our itinerary.  We visited their small historical district and then had a drink at Uncle Ernies...watching in vain for the sunset.  We finally figured out that you can't have a sunset without a sun.  Duh!!!

Hunt's was our dinner location.  It's just a little hole-in-the-wall spot, but wow, great food!!!!  Thanks Shannon and April for the tip!

Made it back to the Marriott and to 30 Degree Blue to listen to karaoke...yep, just listen.  No singers in our group!  They had some really great singers, reminding us of our favorite haunt in Palm Desert.  Best was Summer who sang Adele's "Someone Like You".  Simply awesome!

Fun day in spite of the cold...but we are really hoping for some Friday sunshine!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

That 70s Show

Monte was born on November 12th, 1942…thus, November 12th, 2012 was his 70th birthday.  Being the birthday boy, he got to choose the activities for the day…..within reason….not my reason, nor Monte's, Aleta and Mona’s reason...of course.

The day started with cake, candles and cards on the balcony. Not long after, we headed to the Pier Park which is a huge (80+ shops) outdoor mall with an amusement park, Cineplex and 25 restaurants.  After hitting a few stores we headed for Margaritaville where we had a quick lunch and a rita or two.

Next up was “Skyfall” at the IMAX.  Bond did his best to impress Monte and succeeded.  Great movie!

Gator...or rabbit???
Earlier in the morning, Monte had read on the Internet about an Irish Pub called “Matty’s”…lots of great food and Art was to be found there.  Accordingly, that was our next stop.  Unfortunately, we found that not everything on the Internet is true and in fact, Matty’s is a heavy duty biker dive.  Monte decided he didn't want to get the Matty’s tat so we had a drink outside, watched pelicans flights and then sidled our way out. 

Birthday Creme Brulee
Back to the condo for wine, fire watching, and rabbit watching…Yep, rabbit watching.  There are several large wild rabbits near the firepit.  

Soon it was time for dinner at Firefly.  This is an amazing place (thanks to the Masons for the recommendation) and is a must-do for PCB visitors.  Word of caution…the she-crab soup is awesome…but don’t order anything else.  The soup i  so rich and filling that anything else is just too much!!!

Now back to the condo to crash and refresh.  Happy 70th Monte!  Thanks for sharing your birthday with us!

Monday, November 12, 2012


Grand Lagoon Boardwalk
Our hotel is located on a peninsula on the Grand Lagoon of St. Andrew’s Bay…not quite the same beach feel as you get directly on the Gulf.  We wanted that "Gulf Beach feel" so our first destination of the day was the beach.  We stopped at a city park and headed for the water.  PCB’s (Panama City Beach) beaches are pure white sand…almost looks like snow…and powdery soft.  It’s a beautiful contrast to the blues and aquas of the warm waves washing upon the shore.
Shelling on PCB

I suppose you’re wondering where all that white sand came from, aren’t you?  Yeh,  I knew it because I wondered, too.  Turns out that it is quartz crystals washed down from the Appalachians and ground down into fine powder over millions of years by the Gulf's waves.  Now.  You.  Know!

Next stop was the City Pier, jutting over a quarter of a mile into the gulf.  We got lots of great views of the crashing waves and the great shoreline of PCB.  We also saw huge manta rays and some jelly fish the size of softballs…glad we were on the pier!  But our best sighting was three dolphins headed straight for the pier.  Mona spotted them way out and the four of us watched as they got closer and closer.  Just as they got close enough for a good photo they disappeared.  Camera shy, I guess.

See them?!?!
One of the mandatory activities in PCB is souvenir shopping, so off we went hunting for the perfect memento.  Luckily, there are virtually hundreds of shops and mega-souvenir stores to choose from and some of them have bonus attractions like live shark feeding, alligators or even hermit crab racing.  Can it get any better than this?!?!?  (Actually, it can…there are ALL sorts of souvenir shops, catering to your every whim!  You’ll just have to visit PCB on your own to see what they offer.)

Got the shopping done so it was time to do some Veteran’s Day Wine Tasting.  (What vet doesn't like wine?!?!)  We started out with the Sea Breeze Winery which specializes in wines made from the local muscadine grape.  Lots of fun wines here!  Then, off to the Panama City Beach Winery.  This winery offers about 25 different wines, all designed by a chemical engineer and all made from fruit.  Wow, what incredible flavors…mangos, grapefruits, tomatoes and on and on.  They even have an orange based wine that has a perfect coffee finish.  These wines are amazing!!!  They even serve cheese ball samples that are paired with the wine.  Talk about a do-over place!

All that shopping and wine tasting wore us out so it was back to the condo for relaxing by the fire.  This is a great place for just chilling….at least till it was time for dinner.

Mona has been on a grits crusade this entire trip.  She’s had grits every time they’re offered.  Grits and butter, cheese grits, smoked cheese grits….you name it and she’s tried it.  This evening’s meal was no exception…triple cheese grits paired with fried shrimp.  Best grits so far!

First day in PCB is done…and what fun!  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings….what surprises will come...what kind of animals or Art will we see...what kind of grits will Mona have next?!?!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Florida Bound!

Mona's Third Sunrise!

Monte’s 70th birthday is this week and he decided he wanted to celebrate it somewhere warm.  To meet that goal we set out early morning on Friday, headed to Panama City Beach, Florida.   In fact, we were so early that Mona got to see her third sunrise of the year!  In fact, I think it’s also her third sunrise of this century!  Of course, she was all aglow with delight….NOT!   It’s times like these that I think maybe she might have some of Bill and Eric’s blood in her!

Cotton Bales
We had never driven through the south at this time of year (M&A have, but we have not) and so it was our first time seeing the cotton harvest.  As like corn and beans, they use combines (they call them “pickers”) for harvest, but they only pick six rows at a time.  The picker ends up leaving huge ten-ton bales of cotton on the ground waiting to be hauled to the cotton gin.  Couldn't begin to count how many bales we saw….very impressive!

We spent the night at a Harrah’s hotel in Tunica, Mississippi.  This is the third-largest gambling area of the United States, behind Vegas and Atlantic City, and hosts ten casinos scattered along a ten mile strip of the Mississippi.  Like Vegas, the casinos look like neon palaces, but these are like the casinos in St. Louis; meaning that they are actually huge floating barges.  (Yet another archaic law…don’t get me started.)

One area has three casinos within walking distance so we visited each of them to try to donate to the local economy.  We finished up around 5:30 (not very hardcore gamblers, are we?) and headed to our car.  Much to our surprise, there were about 15 hot air balloons in the parking lot.  There were none when we went in!  It was the Balloon Glow for the First Annual Tunica Hot Air Balloon Fest.  We've always managed to miss the STL balloon glow and here we just stumbled onto this one!  They had a great band playing country rock and every few minutes the balloons would be fired up, glowing in the night sky.  Too cool! 

Saturday morning, Mona got to see her fourth sunrise of the century.  Somehow, I’m thinking this might be enough for her until the next century.  She said that from now on she wants to concentrate on sunsets.

We stopped for breakfast in central Mississippi.  This was M&A’s first Waffle House so Aleta decided that she must of course have a waffle.  Our food came…minus the waffle.  The three of us ate…still no waffle.  Flagged down the waitress…no waffle.  F…i…n…a…l…l…y the waffle!  I guess they wanted her first waffle to be absolutely perfect so they discarded twenty or thirty of them before they found the perfect first-timer waffle!

After about ten hours of driving we made it to our hotel, Marriott Legends Edge in Panama City Beach, Florida.  We were tired and hungry so after dumping our bags in our condo we walked over to get our first meal in Florida.  Seafood and martinis for all!  That’s the way to start a Florida vacation!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Farewell to Florida

Lots of Art!

Saturday morning the humidity let up a bit and we ventured to downtown Ft. Lauderdale.  It’s a very quaint area with lots of little shops and restaurants.  Saturday marked the first day of the Las Olas Art Festival, where they block off the street and have a juried art fair.  It was amazing to see so many high-end and unique artists here.  So much temptation, but we resisted!

After dinner music
For dinner we walked down to Coconuts…a waterside restaurant that specializes in seafood.  There we tried Stone Crab claws for the first time.  Mmmmm….soooo good!  I can see why they have a limited harvest season…they’re just too delicious for their own good!

Sunday morning was our day to begin the trek back to Decatur.  We weren’t really ready to go but the hotel said we had to leave by ten.  We took Route 1 up through the cities north of Ft. Lauderdale.  Mostly we saw mile after mile of strip malls and auto dealerships.  However, Boca Raton was a little more upscale…must be because Seinfeld’s parents live there?

Got a little excited when we saw the Palm Springs sign…thought we must have made a heck of a wrong turn (not to mention time warp) at Delray Beach.  No…it’s not Palm Springs, CA…..found out today that Florida has a Palm Springs of its own.  We found a cache there and then headed north to Palm Beach Gardens.

There we met up with Bob, a friend of mine since my EIU days.  He’s lived here in Florida for quite some time but this is the first time I’ve made it down to visit.  Good to see him after so long!  I can’t believe I forgot to get a pic of him and his Harley.  Duh!
Gators are well camo'ed!

Onward to the Florida Turnpike and northward bound.  I kept checking out each ditch and waterway along the interstate hoping to catch a glimpse of an alligator.  NONE!  We saw absolutely no gators on this trip even though we visited the Everglades National Park and hiked a trail there.  Now, I’ll never get to teach Mona how to throw a rock at an alligator!  (Whew!)

We also did not see a single dolphin this trip.  Can you believe it?!?!?!  All that time in KeyWest and on the beach and not a single dolphin!  We saw minimal wildlife this trip….well, lots of egrets, cranes, and herons….and many kinds of gulls….and pelicans, my favorite….well, I guess I should say we didn’t see the big critters…dolphins, alligators, crocodiles and panthers.  Guess we’ll have to come back and track them down.

Things are little weird right now....Mona is the one lifting and carrying our bags.  I can't due to doctor's restrictions.  I might just get used to this!  (Update....Mona said I won't!)

Ended up in Valdosta, Georgia.  Had time to eat too much BBQ and are now watching what some might call a “baseball game.”  Doesn’t seem like much of one yet.  Go Cards!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ft. Lauderdale and Beyond

Doctor’s orders limited us a little this past week, so we concentrated on just chilling…beach walks, shopping, a couple of movies, Art and light geocaching.  Not a bad gig when you’re in Ft. Lauderdale!

No, we didn't get up there!
We drove down to Miami’s South Beach on Wednesday evening.  Wow, what a totally different vibe than Ft. Lauderdale!  Art Deco buildings throughout and heavy Cuban influence evidenced by Cuban food stands and markets.  Then comes the “vibe” of South Beach…heavy, pulsing, sexy….Yep, that’s here!  We hit a couple of clubs (still following doctor’s orders by not dancing, but enjoying anyway) and dined at one of the many restaurants that line Ocean Drive.  So many great restaurants to choose from, but we ended up at Lario’s on the Beach.  This is Gloria Estefan’s restaurant and features top notch Cuban food.  We dined outside, enjoying excellent food and fantastic views.

South Beach Streetside Dining
Speaking of views….one of the most surprising things we learned about South Beach was that none of the restaurants have a beach view.  Somehow, we both had the impression that when dining on South Beach you had these great views of the beach.  Not.  Instead, there is a little park across the street and then the beach is on the other side of sand dunes lining the beach.  Darn, no beach view!  So we were stuck with watching the people from all over the world showing their stuff, walking up and down Ocean Drive.  Darn!

Driving back to Miami from South Beach is beautiful!  Miami has a beautiful skyline and at night many of the buildings are lit up in purples or reds or whatever other shade of neon that can be imagined!  Highly recommend this drive!  (Keep in mind the following drive from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale on I 95 is a thrilling joy ride all by itself!)
Next morning, Mona wanted breakfast so we walked to a little Italian restaurant a couple of blocks away.  If you follow us on Facebook, you know that Mona wanted poached eggs, so she chose a menu item that said, “Eggs any style.”  She said, “I want my bacon extra crisp, white toast and poached eggs.”    The obviously-just-arrived-from-Italy waiter said, “Si, scrambled.”  Mona said, “No…..poached.”  “Si, scrambled!”  Then Mona tried it a little more slowly, “P..o..a..c..h..e..d.” “Si scrambled.” Was his quick and smiling response.
Me, I had scrambled.

At this point it’s obvious Mona is not happy, which means that shortly I’m not going to be happy, so I jump in to clear this up.  “Sir”, I said while pointing to the pertinent part of the menu.  “See, here where it says “Eggs, any style”?”  “Si”, he replied.  Progress!  “She wants hers poached…kind of like boiled out of the shell.”  He nods his head and I’m sure I’ve got this nailed.  Then he smiled and said, “Scrambled.”  Mona had a cheese omelet.

Friday was my follow-up appointment with the doctor.  Got a good report…still restrictions for two weeks, but did get the okay for the Water Taxi.  Yay!  We headed home to change clothes and to walk the half block to the nearest Water Taxi stop.

The Water Taxi plies the channels in Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood in small yellow boats, with about 17 stopping points at key tourist spots and shopping areas.  You buy an all-day pass allowing you to hop on and off as much as you like.  The water taxi lets you see what Ft. Lauderdale is all about...water and yachts. There are 300 miles of canals throughout the city; compared that to Venice's 26 miles of canals.  Those canals are a big reason Ft. Lauderdale is called The Yacht Capital of the world, with over 50,000 yachts calling this city home.  

Our first destination was Hollywood Beach.  On the way there we passed by the Bahia Mar Yachting Center where the International  Boat Show will be held next week.  (We wonder if Phil misses this?) The docks there are being rebuilt to host the $3,000,000,000 worth of yachts that will be there next week.  So cool to finally see from the water.  We had already seen much of the marina while geocaching.  (We would have seen more had we not been kicked out by a security guard.)  This is the world’s largest boat show and brings in more money to the area than a superbowl.

Interesting note: You cannot buy a yacht here.  You decide which one you want, negotiate the price, and then off you go in a boat to about 3 three miles from shore.  There you complete the sale, thus avoiding Ft. Lauderdale sales tax.  Always a loophole, isn't there!?

Obstructed View
Price lowered to $18.5 million
We continued to ply the intercoastal waterway in our little yellow taxi boat (they only hold about 40 people) and marvel at the beautiful homes and yachts all around us.  Over there is Barbara Mandrell’s house.  Over there is where Miami Vice was shot. Over there is the house of the lady who founded the Sunglass Huts you see in every mall.  Her house is 32,000 square feet and only two people live in it.  Unfortunately, you couldn’t see the whole house because their new 165 foot yacht was parked in front!  Did you know she started out by selling sunglasses on the beach from a converted hot dog cart?

Our route took us through Port Everglades where our tiny boat was dwarfed by huge cruise ships and giant cargo carriers.  Port Everglades is the second largest cruise ship port in the world, second only to Miami.  Ships and boats are going everywhere in this port but we chugged on, even through a torrential thunderstorm with lighting strikes all around us!

Hollywood Beach is very different from Ft. Lauderdale Beach.  It’s much more laid back and has a wider variety of shops and restaurants.  As we strolled the Broadwalk we spotted a Turkish restaurant.  We had just seen “Taken 2” yesterday and were yearning for some meatballs.  We ordered the kebaps and were happy to see it served just like we remember it from Istanbul.  Yum!

More strolling, more wading in the surf…then it was time to take the Water Taxi home to freshen up.  Then back on board to our downtown restaurant.  On the way, we watched a beautiful sunset and saw home after beautiful home situated on the canals with their yachts moored just steps away from the front door.  We had no idea anything like this existed in the United States! 

Drizzle, Drazzle
Drizzle, Drone
Water Taxi
Take us Home!
Dinner was at the dockside Pirate Republic Bar which had been recommended to us by our Water Taxi guide.  Yeh, the motif was kitschy with its pirate mannequins and live parrots, but wow, the food was awesome!  Great food, great nighttime views of the city and great service all add up to a wonderful dining experience.  Loved it!

Our evening ended with a nighttime cruise back through the canals and intercoastal waterway to our hotel.  About another hundred yachts had arrived while we dined, including the beautiful, $130,000,000 Kismet.  This yacht is more than twice as long as our yard!

It wasn’t long before our little water taxi dropped us off at our hotel.  We've seen a lot today, but now it's time for sleep!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


We began our day with breakfast overlooking the beach.  Sunshine, palms trees, gentle sea breeze….and dollar Bud Lights!  We passed on the Buds, but it’s not often we get offered them for breakfast.

About this time our trip took a little detour.  Back in Key West, while carrying luggage up to our room, I bumped my head pretty hard.  Soon after, I started seeing flashes of light in my right eye, then big floaters, then lots of tiny bubbles in my eye.  Called my STL eye doctor and he told me to get to a retinal specialist.  Found one here in Ft. Lauderdale and we spent six hours at his clinic.  I had a torn and partially detached retina and had laser surgery to fix it.  Activities are a bit limited now…no Bahamas, no boat rides and no bungee jumping.
No matter, we are still in Ft. Lauderdale…the Venice of America.  Ft. Lauderdale has over 300 miles of navigable canals which are sailed by over 50,000 locally-owned yachts.  The canals are part of the inter-coastal waterway and stretch from the Atlantic to the Everglades.  Our balcony overlooks some of the canals and we have an eagle eye view of some of the incredible homes and their private docks.  I had no idea this was here!

On the other side of this hotel is the Atlantic and the Ft. Lauderdale Riverwalk.  A1A is between the hotel and the beach.  On this side of A1A are shops, restaurants and clubs….plenty of places to relax and enjoy.  On the other side of A1A is the beach.  22 miles of beautiful sand and sea! 

We ended our day with watching the sunset from the balcony (Well, actually only Mona watched the sunset…I sat inside with dark glasses on…pretending to be Elwood.)  and then walked down the street to enjoy dinner under the stars.  Gotta love this city!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday Drive

The Inn's Back Door
Breakfast was outside on the inn’s patio framed by bamboo and palms and kissed with a gentle sea breeze. Mona keeps telling me not to get used to this. As if!
Remember the Maine!

After breakfast, we strolled a few blocks to the Key West Cemetery. This cemetery has about 100,000 residents compared to Key West’s current population of 30,000. Space is very limited here so many of the graves are in above-ground vaults; sometimes stacked three high. There are a wide variety of residents….lots of Cubans, slaves, ship captains, rich, poor…the cemetery really reflects Key West’s jumble of cultures and peoples. Most interesting to me was the section dedicated to the U.S.S. Maine. Remember that ship? Back in 1898 it was sitting in the Havana Harbor when it exploded, killing almost 300 American soldiers and propelling us into the Spanish American War. Here, in this cemetery, are the remains of 20 of those soldiers, along with a statue dedicated to all of those who lost their lives in that explosion.

Sadly, it was time to leave Key West. We really had a great time here and plan to come back. Thanks to MNM (not us, the other MNM) and JH for all your tips on what to see and do. They really helped!
Luckily, no damage to Red!
There's an Ahinga in there!

The Everglades National Park was our next stop. We didn't spend much time here because of the weather and our desire to get to Ft. Lauderdale before dark. We did take a hike on the Anhinga Trail. We didn’t see any alligators, but we did see an Anhinga. The 3 foot tall bird swims underwater to catch its prey. It looked so strange to see this bird swimming! Later, we saw him perched on a tree with his wings spread, drying them off.  He looked pretty proud of himself!
South Beach

Mona was driving and decided to forego the interstates and drive Route 1 and A1A all the way to our hotel. This route took us through South Beach with all the Art Deco hotels and provided lots of Artsy opportunities as we drove by. This drive is amazing….unbelievable how many cool hotels, condos and yachts line this route! Mile after mile after mile…

We made it to our hotel a little after seven. We’re staying at the Marriott Beachtower right on A1A and the beach. High rise luxury….just a little different from the B&Bs we’ve been staying at recently. We had dinner at a Cajun restaurant adjacent to the hotel and then watched the Cards game. Yes, this condo has a TV!!! (And locks on the doors!!!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More Key West

Breakfast here at the Popular Inn requires guest participation, particularly if you want orange juice.   Mona “manned” the juicer for us and then we went outside to enjoyed our fresh squeezed Florida orange juice along with banana bread and fresh fruit.  Great way to start the day!

Afterwards, we walked to the eastern end of the key.  (One of us had already been there this morning to enjoy the sunrise…any guesses as to who?)  There, we visited the southernmost point of the continental U.S., only ninety miles from Cuba.  At that point you stand closer to Havana than to Miami. 

Used a Makita to Drill the hole
All that walking made Mona hungry for her second breakfast, so we stopped at the Six-Toed CafĂ© where all the tables are in the shape of cats’ paws with six toes.   There we had Key Lime Pie which Mona declared was the best Key Lime Pie she ever had…and that’s saying a lot because Mona is a key lime pie expert!

Our next major milestone was truly a milestone….or rather a milepost.  Milepost 0 for U.S. Route 1.  Route 1 begins in Fort Kent, Maine, at the Canadian border and travels almost 2400 miles to this point.  All that distance, just to get here!

Duval Street is just a couple of blocks from Milepost 0 and Mona has been itching to shop…so off we went!  First stop, Crazy Shirts!  Second stop, another Crazy Shirts down the street.  Third stop….you guessed it…back to the first Crazy Shirts.  Is this crazy or what?!?!

Sunrise on Key West
The rest of the day we walked, shopped, ate seafood and then repeated the cycle.  It was a day of sacrifice…all those oysters, conch and shrimp who were sacrificed to satisfy our seafood cravings!  So many seafood restaurants here and so little time!

At 6:00 we headed back to Mallory Square for the sunset.  Again it was a carnival atmosphere but with lots more people than last night.  But no super sunset tonight…too many clouds.  So glad we got the great sunset last night!

Finished the night visiting The Garden of Eden….who knew it was here!?!?  Then a late night dinner at Forgarty’s.  (seafood of course!) 

We love Key West.  This is a new favorite place for us and we plan to come back.  However, we have decided that when we return we will need supervision.  Serious supervision!