Key West 2015 – Another trip in the books

IMG_2319 We were headed back to Key West to mark our 10th time there. (You could say our 11th time since we had a short return trip last July for two days). This time was going to be extra fun because our friends were coming down for the first time. My husband and I were both very excited to show them around. Plus we were returning to one of our favorite places to stay the Gardens Hotel. You can read my review here: sign Day One – March 22nd – Rough Start Our flight was on schedule to leave at 6:00am. I had my alarm set for 3:00am and was ready. Unfortunately when my alarm went off I hit off instead of snooze. I remember barely hearing the music playing but fell back to sleep and thought to myself that it had been longer then 10 min. I wake up and look at the clock and it read 4:30am! I thought OMG, what did I just do? In a panic I woke up my husband and checked my cell phone. The driver tried calling it several times and I called him back. He said he was on his way to pick up another couple who was scheduled to get to the airport at 6:00am. The only thing left to do was to drive ourselves to Newark Airport. We grabbed all our things and we were off to the airport. While my husband was driving I called United airlines in a panic. The agent on the line was one of the nicest people I have ever dealt with for United. She told me there was a “Flat Tire” clause where you can be booked on the next available flight without a change fee. Instead of a 6:00am flight that we were scheduled for, she found a 7:40am flight that was also connecting in Ft. Lauderdale and had two first class seats available which we had previously purchased. The connection time for the other flight to Key West on Silver Airways was at 1:45pm. It was a little later than what we had but we were grateful we able to make the change and still get to Key West the same day. IMG_2280Once we reached the airport, parked the jeep and went through security, it was 6:11am. There was no way we would have made the original flight. Our flight was uneventful and made it to Ft. Lauderdale by 11:00am. We had almost 2 and 1/2 hours to wait so we went to the Presidents Club Lounge and grabbed a few snacks and waited. Around 1:15 we gathered our things and made our way to the gate. I checked the flight status screen in the lounge and it said on time. Then when we walked out to the main area in the terminal it was updated to a 2:30 delay. Great. Well we saw that there was a Chili’s and figured if we can’t start our vacation in Key West right now we’ll start it in Ft. Lauderdale. We ordered a round of drinks and waited once again. Another hour passed by and it was now 2:00pm. I checked the flight status and it changed again to 3:30pm. I was beginning to think we were never going to get there. Plus our friends who we were going down with who were on our originally scheduled flight were already down in Key West sending us photos. It was torture…. Meanwhile we started to strike up a conversation with another guy (Ryan) who was supposed to be on the flight to Key West. Ryan was a local and said it happens quite frequently with this airline and that this was his second flight attempt to get to Key West since he missed the first one. It was now 3:15pm and we had enough and walked down to the gate to see what was going on. P1010997It was just a mess. People were standing around and waiting. You can see all the scheduled Silver Airway flights to the near by Outer Islands of the Bahamas were too delayed. There was actually one customer who was waiting since the day before. We couldn’t understand what was going on and why there were so many delays. The weather was fine and there was no indication of any mechanical issues. No one could tell us anything. Ryan started to joke and said if we needed a place to stay in Delray Beach where he was from. It was now 4:00pm and we were getting very impatient. Finally someone announced over the speaker that our flight was ready for boarding. We were so relieved at this point. P1010999We got on the plane and were on our way to Key West. Unfortunately once we landed a large Delta flight just arrived prior to us so we knew we would have to wait for our luggage and for a cab. Nothing was going smoothly. P1010998P1020002 Once in the airport we had to wait again for our luggage. It took a while but we did finally get it. Meanwhile all the people from the Delta flight were ahead of us on line waiting for a cab. P1020005Before we knew it was us and about 6 other people left online and there were no more cabs. P1020004At this point it was 5:30 and all we wanted to do was get to the Gardens. Eventually a taxi van came up and took us all together. And once again we had to wait for everyone else to be dropped off before us. Our patience was wearing thin. And to top things off, there was a couple in our cab that was staying at the Southernmost Hotel and when the cab dropped them off they weren’t sure if it was the correct hotel. I know there are several hotels with the Southernmost name but you would think they would have an idea what the hotel they are staying at looked like. It was now 6:00pm when we got to the Gardens. One of the reasons I wanted to arrive on a Sunday was to catch the Jazz at the Gardens. Every time we have stayed there in the past we never got to see it since it was only on Sundays. Well this didn’t help us checking in at 6:00pm. We were able to check in quickly but had to walk through a sea of people to get to our room. P1020006We really didn’t care at this point and we wanted to just get to our room. On our way to our room we stopped by to see our friend Billy who was bartending and was also taking us out on his boat later in the week. It was good to see our friend again. We unpacked our things and freshened up. Our friends who had been enjoying Key West since 12:30 in the afternoon stopped on by. They were staying at the nearby Duval Inn so we walked to check out their place. P1020052They invited us to hang out with them for a bit but we wanted to do our annual margarita at Willie T’s. We thanked them and told them we would meet them later for a late dinner. On the way we saw the strangest thing… some guy on a bicycle with a stuffed ostrich in the back…. P1020007 It was so nice to be back in Key West. We walked down towards to Willie T’s where we saw all the familiar sites and sounds of mopeds and the conch train going by. P1020009As we approached Willie T’s we could here the music play. We were so excited to have our first drinks to start our return vacation on Key West. We wanted to catch the end of the jazz and touch base with Billy regarding our fishing trip so we walked back to the hotel. On the way back, we stopped at the Duval Inn to see if our friends were up for dinner. They were quite tired at this point and said they would pass. We said no problem and that we would meet them for breakfast at Blue Heaven in the morning. The place was still crowded but we found two spots at the one of end of the bar. P1020015Billy poured us a couple drinks and we confirmed our fishing trip for that Wednesday. The night before I had made reservations at the nearby Deuce’s Off the Hook for dinner since it is so close to the Gardens. Once the jazz ended we headed to the restaurant. The place is quite small so were lucky we had reservations.IMG_2286 For our appetizers I had the snapper ceviche and my husband had the ahi tuna ceviche. P1020026Both were delicious. Then for our main courses I had opted to try the catch of the day speckled trout. For sides, I chose the order of cheddar grits and the garlic sauteed haricot vert, while my husband had the gnocchi lobster mac and cheese. It was a great dinner after a long day. You can read my full review of the restaurant here:

Day Two – March 23rd – Marathon Bar Hopping P1020054We woke up around 8:00am which seemed to be the usual time for us throughout our stay. There was construction going on across the street so that helped us to get up and not sleep the day away. Across from the Gardens is a newly built Firehouse. P1020258The construction is complete but they are finishing up the parking area. It wasn’t too much of an inconvenience but it did prevent us from wanting to relax by the pool during the day. We met our friends and made our way through Bahama Village to Blue Heaven. Since we got there before 8:30 we were seated right away. P1020030I always love the feeling of sitting at Blue Heaven and watching the roosters and chickens run around. For breakfast I had the suzy omelet with a side of key lime hollandaise sauce. P1020035 P1020034 P1020033Our friends had the shrimp and grits and the eggs. Everyone enjoyed the breakfast. Since we were near the Hemingway House and our friends had never been there we made that be our next stop. It had been a few years for us but it was nice to return to the house. My husband used to volunteer at a cat shelter so he was eager to see the 6 toed cats once again.P1020046 P1020042We opted out of the tour so we just walked through around the property and through the house. P1020041We noticed that they did a lot to fix up the areas where the cats lived. It seemed a lot cleaner. P1020049There is a nice view of the lighthouse from the house. P1020044It was getting hot out so we walked back to rooms to relax for a little while before making our way back on to Duval. Plus I wanted to grab my Key West bar card that I purchased ahead of time. I never thought the card would be worth it, but for $20 it winds up paying itself and more if you do enjoy having a drink or two at the places listed on the card. I highly recommend purchasing one. My husband and I had a plan in our minds to show our friends different bars on our first day, but since our plans changed we wanted to be sure to show them around. We first went back to our rooms to grab some extra cash for the day before making our way for a long day of bar hopping. As we walked down Duval we noticed a lot of construction going on throughout the area. It made it a little bit of an obstacle walking down the street but we managed to get to Captain Tony’s. P1020059P1020290Captain Tony’s isn’t the most visually appealing bar, but I just love the history of it. We all ordered a drink and looked around. We wanted to keep the one drink per place limit so we can get through as many places as possible. Our next stop was to walk towards the water. P1020064So the P1020060next place we hit was the Sunset Pier at the Ocean Key Resort. We also wanted to see if Al was working. We see him every year and wanted to say hello. Unfortunately he was off that day so we would just have to come back. We took a few photos and then left for the next stop. We headed down towards the bight to walk the Harbor Walk. We walked down past Commodore’s and the Conch Republic. P1020341We showed them Jimmy Buffett’s studio and how we never realized that this white cooler looking of a building was indeed his recording studio. We also had a chance to see the Market Hotel. We didn’t walk in but from the outside it did look really nice. We walked into the Schooner Wharf Bar, another iconic place of Key West. It was pretty hot out so we grabbed a few seats in the shade. It wasn’t too crowded yet so we enjoyed a quiet spot.P1020066 Next on the list was the Top of Turtle Kraals.P1020070P1020072 It has a great view of the water from up top so we thought it would be a nice change of scenery. After a round of drinks we were all getting hungry. We felt like seafood so walked on over to the Half Shell Raw Bar.P1020074 P1020077We were surprised on how busy it was for a Monday afternoon. We ordered a few appetizers to help soak up all the drinks so far. It did help and we were feeling revived. I took a break and got a few things at their gift shop. They do have a nice selection of shirts available. Dante’s is right next to the Half Shell so we made that our next bar stop. P1020082P1020081The pool area had a lot of people but we found a couple of seats at the bar. We didn’t stay too long because it was pretty crowded. We grabbed our drinks and made our way back towards Duval. I was starting to lose count at this point as to how many places we stopped at but the next was Hog’s Breath. P1020083This was more or less a stop to check out their souvenir shop, but we did manage to grab a drink as well. Next stop on the marathon bar hopping tour was Rick’s. P1020090 The outside bar area was open so we sat down. It’s the perfect spot to watch all the people and characters walk by. P1020088 With only a few more stops to go on the tour, Smokin’ Tuna was next. Unfortunately it was before 5pm and Caffeine Carl wasn’t playing yet but we did get to see him set up. P1020095My husband is a fan and wanted a picture with him. We were all feeling quite happy at this point and made our way down towards our rooms. Along the way we passed the Greene Parrot and stopped in for another one. P1020098 My husband and our friend played darts while my friend and I had some popcorn. We were getting tired so we wanted to get back to freshen up. We had all intentions to go back to our rooms, but we as we walked by Willie T’s we heard this guy playing on the guitar. He sounded pretty good so we grabbed a table. P1020101This probably wasn’t the best idea but we had a few margaritas. I don’t know how we did it but we did. We weren’t sure if the guitarist was that good or the alcohol made him sound that good – we had a great time nevertheless. We didn’t’ have any dinner plans set but we were all hungry from the long day of drinking. Our friends wanted to grab something nearby but we decided to make reservations at the Roof Top Cafe. P1020102I figured after a shower and the long walk back to the Roof Top Cafe, it may wake us up a bit. Once we got back to the Gardens I gave them a call and they were able to get us a reservation for 8:30. We didn’t have too much down time after we freshened up before walking back down towards Duval. We were seated towards the end of the balcony which was really nice. We felt like we had the place to ourselves.IMG_2298Sometimes though you can be forgotten if you are not in the view of the servers. Our server however was very accommodating and we had great service. For starters I had the duck confit spring rolls and my husband had the lobster & gnocchi.P1020111 P1020110 I was in the mood for shrimp and grits ever since I saw our friend order it for breakfast at Blue Heaven. P1020112So I ordered their version of shrimp and grits and my husband ordered the grilled 8oz. filet. We had not been to the Roof Top Cafe in several years and was so glad that we returned. Everything was just delicious. http://www.rooftopcafekeywest.comP1020113 It was a long day and we were exhausted. After we paid the bill we noticed a few rain drops starting to fall. Luckily we made it back to the inside area of the restaurant before the downpour. We had to wait about 15 minutes or so before it finally subsided to make our way back to the Gardens. Luckily it did stop and we made it back without getting rained on.

Day Three – March 24th – The Perfect Sunset at Latitude’s P1020117 We woke up again around 8am but this time it was raining. I wasn’t expecting the rain, but I do know you can always expect a popup storm when your on the island. Lucky for us the Gardens supplies every room with umbrellas. We grabbed the umbrellas and two more near the check-in office for our friends. Since it was raining and we didn’t want to walk too far, we headed to Sarabeth’s for breakfast. I always order the “Goldie Lox”. A light and fluffy egg scramble with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Yum! We were all feeling a little bit from the day before but were hoping the breakfast and much needed coffee would give us the boost we needed. We were seated at a nice table inside. The coffee was very good and so was the breakfast. With our minds and bodies revitalized we discussed what we were going to do today. Our friends decided to relax at the Duval Inn for a bit. I wanted to do some shopping so we went back to the Gardens to grab more cash. Thankfully the rains stopped and the skies were starting to clear. We walked back down Duval to do some shopping. P1020096 P1020133 The sun was out in full force and it was hot. We walked around the shops just outside Mallory Square. P1020123P1020124P1020121There were several cruise ships in so it was a bit crowded. We made our way down towards Island Dogs and stopped in for a drink and to cool off a bit. P1020125 I was able to use the Key West bar card again so that was a plus. We realized that we had not been to the Galleon Tiki Bar yet and wanted our friends to see the view. P1020132 We ordered a round of drinks and chatted with the bartender for a bit. Another place we had not been to yet was the Sunset Pier so we made that our next stop. We always stop at the Sunset Pier every trip. Its another great place to sit look out onto the water. Plus there’s a great bartender/server that works there Al. If you have a chance, be sure to stop by and tell Al hello. We walked around the back streets towards Angela St. We came across a very impressive looking tree called the Kapok Tree. P1020142 I had made reservations ahead of time for all us at Latitude’s. Our reservation was for 6:15pm so I knew we had to be by the Westin no later then 6pm to get on the ferry. Plus Caffeine Carl was playing with Scott Kirby that night at the Smokin’ Tuna around 5pm. We figured we would head back to our rooms early to get ready and then meet back up at the Smokin’ Tuna to catch Caffeine Carl for a few before making our way towards the Westin. We walked back towards Angela St. and told our friends we would meet them for dinner. My husband and I then changed our minds and walked further down Duval. We felt like sangria so we made our way down to the Little Room Jazz Club. P1020144We sat outside and just watched the people go by. I did notice across the street there was a croissant place. When we left we walked across the street to check out the menu. It looked really good for breakfast so we figured we would try it out the next morning since we wanted some place close for breakfast before going out with Billy for the day. We got back to the Gardens to freshen up for dinner.   We managed to stop by the Gardens Bar for another refreshing drink. We wound up chatting with a nice couple from NJ who have a summer house down the shore in Lavallette where we go to every year. Small world! P1020154 When we got to the Smokin’ Tuna we noticed it was just Scott Kirby. Apparently something happened with Caffeine Carl and he didn’t make it. It was a bit of a disappointment but he was scheduled to play again the next several days so we figured we would catch him at some point. We listened to Scott Kirby sing for a little bit and noticed he does sound a lot like James Taylor. P1020156 It was time to walk to the Westin and see Jimmy (a.k.a. Mr. Mojito) before we went on the ferry boat to Sunset Key. Unfortunately when we got to the cart it was two other guys working. He was off! All well we thought we would catch him during the Mallory Square Sunset celebration the next night. P1020166 We waited for a few minutes and then all got on to the ferry and headed to Sunset Key. Its a short ride, maybe 10 minutes or so. We were seated at a nice table. P1020176The food in my opinion was just okay but the atmosphere is what you pay for. The sunset we saw that night was nearly perfect. P1020194IMG_2307IMG_2312P1020196P1020200P1020212The sun just dropped right into the water. It was just beautiful.

Day Four – March 25th – Fishing with Billy P1020214We woke up to another beautiful day. We were excited to take our friends out with us to go fishing with Billy. This was our fourth time out with him so we knew we were going to have a great time. We all met again for breakfast. This time we were going to walk down to Croissants De France for breakfast. P1020215We walked in and were seated towards the back. The coffee was very good here and so was the food. They had different variations of eggs benedict served on fresh homemade brioche bread. P1020218
Plus they also had homemade crepes. This was a great find. You can read my full review here:

After we had breakfast we walked back to the Gardens to wait for Billy. We had time to freshen up a little before our day out on the water. Billy picked us up around 10:30 and we were on our way to get on his boat. We didn’t have too much planned for the day. We just wanted to go fishing for a bit and then perhaps go over to the sandbar to relax. The water was like glass that day. This was our fourth time out with Billy and never had such calm water. I think it maybe affected the fishing however. My husband and our friend caught a few fish but not many. IMG_2322 Unfortunately my husband had a large fish on his line, but after a long struggle he got away. We weren’t sure what it was.IMG_2325 Soon it was off to the sandbar. P1020243P1020230P1020232IMG_2329Billy found a great spot where we were able to just relax and jump in the water for a bit. IMG_2326The afternoon was spent catching up and having a terrific time. It was a blast. Plus the weather was perfect. P1020225 Billy dropped us back off at the Gardens and we thanked him again. We told our friends we would meet back in an hour or so to get ready for dinner and watch the sunset at Mallory Square. We stopped at the Gardens bar for a very good rum punch made by the bartender. P1020253We also were able to say hello to the owner of the Gardens Kate. P1020254 After we showered and got ready we stopped at the Duval Inn to pick up our friends. We made our way down to Mallory Square. P1020259 P1020260Since our friends had never been there before we figured they must see the sunset celebration. My husband and I haven’t been in several years and now I remembered why. It was so crowded. P1020261I couldn’t believe how crowded it was. There was even a long line to see Jimmy at the cart. P1020267IMG_2331We waited patiently for one of his infamous green things. It was definitely worth the wait. Unfortunately the sunset was not as nice as the one as Latitude’s. The sun fell behind the clouds before reaching the horizon. P1020266 We were all quite hungry but wanted a more casual meal for dinner. We walked down towards Caroline Street and stopped at Kelly’s. We ordered the key lime margaritas but didn’t see anything on the menu we felt like. So we grabbed our drinks to go and went across the street to Grunt’s. P1020274 We walked back to find the Garbo’s Grill food cart. Apparently everyone else had found it too. P1020272We did have to wait a little bit for our food but I can see why it was so crowded. The mahi mahi tacos were delicious as well as the yum yum shrimp tacos. P1020276 P1020275 It was another fun filled day and we all were ready to get some sleep. We walked back down to Angela St. and to our rooms.

Day Five – March 26th – Pepe’s, Peppers and Smokin’ Tuna P1020352 We woke up to another hot and sunny day. We even asked some locals who mentioned the weather was about 5 degrees warmer then it normally is for this time of year. We didn’t complain after the long winter we had. We welcomed the heat and sun! Our friends wanted to check out the Maritime Museum so we decided to have breakfast on our own. We first wanted to go back to Bagatelle’s for breakfast since they have one of my favorite breakfast items huervos rancheros. P1020282As we walked down Duval we noticed a traffic light was out. Then my husband noticed that a lot of people were standing outside of the shops and all the lights were out. By the time we got to Bagatelle’s we realized they had no power. I guess we weren’t having breakfast there this time. We turned down Southard St. and headed toward’s the bight. Then I remembered that Pepe’s was nearby. I checked my iPhone and saw that we weren’t. P1020283P1020289We walked right into Pepe’s and noticed that they had a cute outdoor garden area and an inside dining area. It was packed with people so we weren’t able to sit outside. P1020285We were able to get one of the last tables available inside. The coffee was very good but a bit on the cool side. My husband ordered the eggs benedict but was a little disappointed. My omelet special however was very good. The omelet was filled with sauteed onions, ham and mushrooms and served with a garlic white cream sauce. I was a little hesitant ordering it but it was tasty. P1020287 It turned out we were real close to Peppers so we went there to do a tasting. Normally I pass on the tastings but this time I decided to give it a try. P1020291The young lady that helped us was actually from Monmouth, NJ. We thought it was such a small world. It turned out we met quite a few people both locals and visitors from NJ. We finished our tasting and selected the hot sauces we wanted shipped home. Our mouths were a little bit on fire after tasting so many hot sauces that we were in search of some place to get something to drink. We got in touch with our friends and they were at the Galleon Tiki Bar. Perfect! We walked down and had a much needed cold drink. P1020296 We walked around a bit and being it was another hot and sunny day we were in another need of a cold beverage. P1020297We were near the Ocean Key Resort so we stopped by the Sunset Pier for a cold one and say hello to Al who was working. P1020300IMG_2336Everyone was getting hungry so we went back to the Smokin’ Tuna to grab a bite. My husband and I shared the mahi mahi fish bites which were quite good. We wanted to come back later to catch Scott Kirby with Caffeine Carl so we made our way back to the Gardens and the Duval Inn. On our way back we realized we hadn’t stopped at Margaritaville yet.P1020308 P1020310Its a bit touristy but if you are in Key West…. and it also turned out that only a few days after we leave Jimmy Buffett is playing at the San Carlos Theater which is right near Margaritaville. P1020155 We were lucky enough to grab four seats at the bar. The place is always packed, mostly with cruise ship tourists. We all had to order a margarita. Pretty good. The day before I realized I didn’t back enough undergarments so I was able to get our clothes washed at the Gardens. The Gardens offers a laundry service of $16 per bag. I thought why not? Less laundry I have to do when I get back home. It actually wound up working well. I think I may pack less next time and use this service again. It only takes a day and well worth it. P1020312 So after our margaritas, we went back to our rooms. I picked up our laundry and we had a drink at the Gardens Bar to cool off. We also spotted another guest that was wondering the grounds. Before we knew it, it was time to get ready and head back out to see Scott Kirby with Caffeine Carl. P1020313Our friends wound up doing their own thing for the evening so it was just us. It was fun to see Scott Kirby and Caffeine Carl. They sounded great together. For dinner we felt like hitting a few different places and order appetizers. We left after watching almost 2 sets worth of Scott Kirby and Caffeine Carl, but not before I could get a picture with Scott Kirby. P1020317We walked down towards to Kelly’s to order a couple of key lime margaritas. P1020321 P1020097P1020325P1020326I decided to go with the ahi tuna appetizer and my husband had the fried calamari. We each shared and it hit the spot. We were still hungry so we walked down to Duval and down Applerouth Lane to 2 Cents. Its a small side street right rear Willie T’s. If you blink, you may miss it. We were at 2 Cents last July and had a great dinner there. We walked in and were able to be seated without a reservation. We thought we would start off with ordering a couple of appetizers and see how we felt. We ordered the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and the truffle fries. You can’t go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon….P1020332 It wasn’t that much food but it was quite rich that it filled us up just enough for the time being. We were getting tired and walked back to the Gardens. My husband wanted to stop at DJ’s Clam Shack for another snack. So we hit DJ’s before settling in for the night at the Garden’s.P1020333 Day Six – March 27th – Last Full Day P1020029I woke up and couldn’t believe it was our last full day already. This was our longest stay thus far in Key West and it still goes by so fast. I think a lot has to do with you are on the move and do so many things every day. Since we were leaving early the next morning and knowing that it was our last breakfast in Key West I wanted to go back to Blue Heaven. Our friends weren’t up yet so it was just the two of us. We were running a little late so by the time we got there, there was a wait. It was only 5 minutes so we sat down at the bar and my husband ordered a bloody mary.P1020335 I tasted it, but I still couldn’t drink it. I decided to order the hibiscus cocktail instead which was a mimosa with vodka added. Not bad at all. For breakfast I decided to splurge and try the lobster eggs benedict and my husband had the eggs benedict with their homemade sausage. I always find it a bit humorous with something so rich as eggs benedict that they serve a little fruit with it. I figure why not just serve home fries with it? Its already a high calorie breakfast – what’s a few more? P1020338 We met up with our friends who were having breakfast at Island Dogs. We told them that we wanted to do some more shopping so we walked towards the Schooner Wharf Bar to check out some of the shops along the way. We bought a few things and then stopped at the Schooner Wharf Bar. As usual Michael McCloud was playing and we listened to him for a bit. P1020342 Our friends still had not been to Peppers so we left the SWB and walked down to do a tasting. The same young lady was working so she helped us again. We had already purchased a bunch of hot sauces but tried more. The Peppers Asian Marinade is one of our favorites. It is really good. P1020293P1020292 After the tasting we were in search of something to drink. It was another beautiful day. P1020303I wanted to go back to the Sunset Pier to see Al one last time. We had a drink and told Al until next year! P1020349 We then walked back to Captain Tony’s because they had a shirt I wanted for my husband that was on order. When we walked in I checked to see if they had it in, but unfortunately still out of stock. All well, I will just have to order it online. We all signed and put up a $1 to add to the collection. IMG_2342I wonder if ours will still be there next time? Originally we had reservations for Louie’s Backyard that evening but we didn’t feel like a fancy dinner. We just wanted to go back to the Smokin’ Tuna to catch Caffeine Carl and have something light to eat. So we headed back to the Gardens Hotel to get freshened up for our last evening in Key West. When we got back to the Smokin’ Tuna it wasn’t Scott Kirby with Caffeine Carl but this guy named Nick Norman. P1020353He was quite good actually. To me, he sounded a little like David Gray with sometimes a southern twang. We hung out for a bit and we were having a great time.  P1020355 I was also excited when they did a cover of my favorite band Pearl Jam “Black”. Caffeine Carl wasn’t quite Mike McCready but he was very good! This time I got a picture with Nick: P1020357 Looking back we should have probably stayed there to order some food but we decided we would just walk back along Duval and find someplace to eat. However when we left, the skies opened up. It started to pour. We looked across the way and saw there was Sloppy Joe’s. P1020358Another place our friends never been to so we walked in. We found one table left and ordered a few appetizers. I was surprised how good their fish dip was. P1020360P1020359We also noticed that it is now a smoke free place. Maybe its because they get so many day tourists there with the cruise ships coming in, but was really surprised that they changed it. We wanted to show our friends the Little Jazz Bar Room because they didn’t make it with us. We walked down Duval and the skies opened up again. We ran into the Flying Monkey to get a few frozen drinks to go. I am not a fan with their drinks – to me they taste like plastic. We walked further down and the rain was not going to let up so we changed our minds and headed back to the Gardens. We had an early flight the next morning so it probably was a good call. We got back to the Gardens and finally tried their self serving wine bar. P1020363We all had a glass before heading to bed. Our friends were on a later flight so we said our good-byes and told them we would see them back home in NJ.

Day Seven – March 28th – Departure Day P1020364Because how our trip started we wanted to be sure we were getting up on time. Our flight was at 7:15am so we arranged through the Gardens to have a taxi pick us up at 5:45am. In hind sight it was probably a bit too early but we just wanted to be over cautious. We even had a wake up call set, our alarms and phones all set. Needless to say we got up on time and made it to the airport without fail. P1020365 Our flight out of Key West was uneventful to Orlando. Then our flight from Orlando to Newark was also fine and we actually landed 11 minutes early. We were anxious to get our bags and get back to our jeep. I was a little apprehensive leaving it for so long there. We got to the baggage claim and as usual in Newark Airport we had to wait a while for our luggage. When the luggage finally came out we got our one bag but never got our second bag. We waited for a long time and knew that it wasn’t coming. We had to then go to the counter to file a claim. At this point we just wanted to get home. They told us the bag was scanned in Newark but they couldn’t locate it. They reassured us that it would be delivered the next day. I was pretty upset since it had most of our clothes in the bag along with my jewelry. I never usually pack my jewelry but I was so tired in the morning that I just packed it. Never again. Lesson learned. We walked back to the jeep and it was fine. Just as we left it. Thank goodness. We got home and later that evening I contacted United again. It turned out my bag did make it to Newark but then got put back on a flight to Orlando! Eventually I did get my bag delivered the next day and everything was accounted for. It was a huge relief. Next time I think we will only do carry on. I am already thinking about our return to Key West. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to do it again and not miss our flight! Thanks for reading. P1020182 Until next time…..

2 thoughts on “Key West 2015 – Another trip in the books

  1. Lori Biancone

    Oh my geeze! Had such a great time with you guys! Looking at these pictures and starting to remember a little bit. Went by so fast it seems like a dream…a very boozy rum filled dream. Well we had a great time. Hopefully next year since we caught as you call it the ” keys disease” until then I will be dreaming about that sunset and the mahi tacos from DJ’s clam shack! Love you guys!!

  2. Dennis & Debbie Parish

    Another great trip report. My wife and I made our first trip last year and stayed at The Gardens based on reading your blogs from your earlier trips. What a great experience. We are headed back next week and will be doing a fishing trip with Billy based in part due to your recommendation. I think we may have the disease, maybe we’ll cross paths at The Gardens one day.

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