A Whole Lot of Fun & Sun in Key West – March 31st – April 7th, 2018

IMG_2314Once again we were making our way back to Key West. On our way to the airport I had to think back to myself how many times have we been to Key West since 2006? I couldn’t believe it when I counted 18 times! And this time we were lucky enough to spend a Saturday to Saturday stay in Key West. After getting the chance to visit Key West 3 times last year, I thought that I wouldn’t be as excited to return. However, that wasn’t the case. It seems as though every time we come down to visit, it gets harder and harder to leave.

Saturday, March 31st – Arrival Day

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We woke up to a clear morning which was a relief since we have been hit with a lot of late snow storms for the month of March. We got to Newark airport and being that we have TSA Pre now check in through security was a breeze. My husband and I did notice though there are a lot of people that have it now so the lines were long but they moved through security very quickly as compared to the regular line. Our direct flight on United wasn’t scheduled to leave until 8:55am so we had some time to check into the lounge. I was starting to get more and more excited just knowing we were leaving cold NJ behind and headed to one of the places I truly love, Key West.

Soon it was time to get to the gate and board our flight. Unfortunately we had to wait a while before we took off since there was so much traffic at the airport. IMG_1956Eventually we departed and we actually made up some time in the air. It seemed like forever to me, but then I finally started to see Key West come into sight once again. IMG_1957I was just so happy! I was also thinking how a great friend of mine, Zack Seemiller, who I have been doing graphic design work for several years now, had not idea we were coming down for the week. I wanted to surprise him like I have done in the past. IMG_1960Once we landed and got off the plane, it felt so amazing to feel the warm sunshine beaming down on us. My husband and I had carry-on luggage so we were able to get off the plane right away and grab one of the first taxis available. I always love the ride along A1A towards old town. I don’t mind it so much on the way back to the airport, but the way there brings a smile to face. Not before long, I saw the yellow wall that surrounds the Gardens Hotel. We have been staying there every time we come to Key West. As an added bonus I redid their logo a couple years ago and now you can see it everywhere throughout the hotel which is so gratifying. https://tinyurl.com/yc2354mjIMG_2311Surprisingly our room was ready and we were able to unpack all our things. IMG_1961We immediately got out of our winter clothes and changed into our warm weather clothes which is one of the best feelings. We left the hotel and walked down towards to Duval Street. My husband and I always joke about how we look forward to that first step onto Duval and turning right. IMG_1966We used to always to stop at Willie T’s for our first drink, but it was a bit too crowded. So we continued our way down to Duval and just took in all the sights again. It was good to be back “home”. As we were walking we realized that one our friends Al was working at Sunset Pier that day. Since it was such a beautiful day I thought it was the perfect spot to grab our first drink and look at the water. We walked in and saw Al and said hello. He welcomed us back and brought us out a couple of mojitos for us. Finally the reality of being back to Key West was settling in. It was a great feeling. IMG_1969We had more people to see, so we didn’t stay too long. IMG_1972Our next stop was Captain Tony’s to see our friend Gabriel Wright play. We walked in and he gave us his usual nod hello. It was a bit crowded, but we were able to find a couple of bar seats. IMG_1974We each ordered a couple of beers and listened to Gabriel play for a bit. Time was passing by kind of quickly and I noticed it was nearing 3pm and I knew Zack was only playing at Rick’s until 4. My husband paid the tab and we walked back onto Duval. As we walked into Rick’s, Zack immediately recognized my husband and not me. He blew the surprise! I was a bit disappointed, but it was all good – it was great to see him again! IMG_1977He had another show after Rick’s, so once he was done playing he couldn’t stay long. He did mentioned that he was going to be working on his house the next day and to swing by. IMG_1980When we left Rick’s we noticed that the old Lazy Gecko is now called Duval Central. The outside facade looks the same, but we wanted to see what they did with the inside. Once we walked in, the layout was similar as far as the bar being in the same location, but it is completely different as far as the look and feel. It was nice, but it could have been a place anywhere. The Lazy Gecko had that old Key West feel. We did sit down and had a drink and noticed that it is now smoke free which may be ideal for people getting away from the cigarette smoke at the other bars. IMG_1986We didn’t have dinner reservations at Deuce’s Off the Hook until 7pm, so we had a chance to have a cocktail at the Garden’s bar. IMG_1984Jim, the general manager was there so it gave us a chance to talk to him for a few. It was then time to get freshened up for our dinner reservation. Deuce’s is literally right behind the Gardens Hotel so it doesn’t take much time to get there, which makes it an ideal place to have dinner on our first night. IMG_1988

We walked on over and didn’t have to wait too long to be seated. They gave us a table right next to the window. It was a nice table, but unfortunately right outside the window is where they have their menu displayed. So from time to time, people would walk by and then stare right into the restaurant. It was a bit awkward, but the food made up for it. I ordered a dozen oysters while my husband ordered the grouper ceviche. Then for dinner I had the hogfish special and my husband had a burger. As usual, everything at Deuce’s was delicious. https://tinyurl.com/y7xymfsq

We were getting tired, but I knew that Caffeine Carl was playing at the Smokin’ Tuna that night and wanted to pop in for a quick listen before calling it a night. We walked back down Duval and being it was indeed a Saturday night, it was packed. After maneuvering our way down the street, we walked into the Tuna. Our favorite seats were taken on the one side of the bar, but were able to find a couple of seats on the other side. The first act was finishing up, so we stayed a bit longer then intended, waiting for Carl to come. It also gave us a chance to say hello to Erin, Carl’s wife who bar tends there. She always takes great care of us. Eventually Carl came on and it was a lot of fun! IMG_2005We finally made it back to the Gardens and it was time for much needed sleep.

Sunday, April 1st – Easter Sunday IMG_2071
We woke up to a beautiful day. I was so happy that the weather was cooperating because I made reservations to have Easter Brunch at Latitude’s. We had not been to Latitude’s for several years and I wanted to go back. I didn’t want to spend the money for dinner, so I thought having brunch was a better alternative. IMG_2011Our morning routine was after freshening up was to grab a couple of coffees at Cuban Coffee Queen. IMG_2014I love their coffee there – especially their Cuban American blend. I love it so much that I order it online and have it shipped home. IMG_2015 We walked over the location right off Duval and saw a familiar face, Joe! We met Joe a couple years ago at the Galleon. It was nice to see him. We sat down and talked to him before we had to make our way to the Margaritaville Resort (formerly the Westin) to catch the ferry to Sunset Key.

IMG_2016We walked down to where the ferry was docked. IMG_2019The majority of people sat on the outside part of the boat, but we opted to sit in the cool air conditioned part. Even though it is a small boat, the ride over is reminiscent (to me) of taking the ferry from St. Thomas to St. John. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to cross over to Sunset Key. Once we were docked, we walked over to be seated. I did request a table outside on the sand and we were seated at the perfect location. IMG_2024It was just so beautiful to sit out there and enjoy the view. It again, reminds me of being on a Caribbean island somewhere. IMG_2037IMG_2030My husband and I both ordered the lobster benedict. It was a little on the pricey side, but being it was Easter and on vacation why not? I am glad we did, because it was delicious. IMG_2029We also took a few pictures, thanks to our very nice server. IMG_2026It was a nice way to spend Easter brunch. IMG_2041

We took the ferry back and walked back down Duval Street to stop by and see our friend Miguel at Rick’s. As soon as we neared Rick’s, we saw his big smile. We ordered a couple of drinks while we caught up since the last time we were there back in late October/Early November of last year. It was fun to see him again. IMG_2043Then I remembered that Zack was working on his house and we told him we would stop by. So we finished our drinks and told Miguel that we would stop by and see him the next day. We made a quick stop at the Garden’s before walking down towards Zack’s house. It wasn’t that far of a walk. IMG_2059We walked in and also saw that Zack’s son, Kai was there and his friend Tim. It was fun to see them again. IMG_2053They showed us around and what they were working on. It looked like a lot of work, but I am sure once it is complete it will look great. IMG_2055We didn’t want to stay to long so that they could get back to work. Kai was playing sunset that night so I told him we would see him later. IMG_2062We left the house and started to make our way towards the Bight, at least that is what we thought. We wound walking all the way to Palm Ave. and realized we made a wrong turn. Eventually we found Eaton St. and we were able to get back on track. We were both pretty hot and thirsty at this point so we stopped at the Galleon Sunset Tiki Bar. http://www.galleonresort.com/sunset-tiki-bar-pirates-cove/IMG_2068We noticed that they did fix the pier and walk way that was damaged from Hurricane Irma since the last time we were there. It is such a great place to sit and have a cold drink with the view of the water. IMG_2067I am always surprised not more people know about it. I think people don’t realize it is open to the public. IMG_2069

It was getting later in the afternoon and I wanted to freshen up before we went to see Kai at sunset. IMG_2070We walked back to the Gardens and decided to have a light dinner at the Smokin’ Tuna before heading towards Mallory Square. We stopped in and our two favorite seats were available. We ordered a bunch of appetizers to share. I always enjoy their tuna fish dip. IMG_2074There was a singer there Kristen McNamara and she had a great voice – its another reason why we always enjoy stopping at the Smokin’ Tuna – always good music. https://www.smokintunasaloon.comIMG_2078

We walked down to Mallory Square and stopped by to see Jimmy. IMG_2079We also noticed that the bridge between Margaritaville and Mallory Square was also fixed. Luckily Mallory Square wasn’t too crowded (maybe because it was Easter), so we didn’t have to wait on line to order a couple of green things. IMG_2081We found where Kai was playing and listened to him while the sun was setting. IMG_2084It was a beautiful sunset even though it was partially going behind Sunset Key. IMG_2090We stayed for a bit before heading back to the Gardens Hotel. IMG_2100IMG_2102

While we were walking back I remembered seeing online that this band we saw back near our hometown a couple years ago, at a Crawfish Festival that happens every year, called Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. http://www.crawfishfest.com We walked into the Green Parrot and noticed it wasn’t too crowded. IMG_2104Unfortunately they went on earlier and were done for the night. Just as well, it was time to pack it in for the night.

Monday, April 2nd – Blue Heaven, Captain Tony’s, Hogsbreath and back to the Tuna IMG_2112We woke up to another picture perfect day. We even caught Misha, who teaches a yoga class at the Gardens in the morning 3 times a week.  IMG_2113

I wanted to go back to Blue Heaven for breakfast. Usually our first morning in Key West we go there, but being the previous day was Easter we had to wait an extra day. However, our first stop was Cuban Coffee Queen. We saw Joe again and chatted for a few. He said that he wasn’t working that day and maybe we would hook up later. IMG_2115
We walked down through the Bahama Village to Blue Heaven. It was a Monday morning before 9am so I thought it wouldn’t be too crowded. When we walked in most of the tables were already filled. I was surprised, but we still made it in time where we didn’t have to wait for a table. IMG_2116Our server was very attentive so we didn’t weight long for our breakfast. My husband had the sausage benedict and I had a couple eggs with bacon and their multi grain bread. The breakfast was very good as always and even noticed that my husband’s eggs for the benedict were cooked perfectly. We have had previous experiences where the eggs tend to be underdone to both our liking, but this time everything was cooked spot on. IMG_2117

We walked back to the Gardens to relax for a bit. It was another beautiful day in Key West. Once we regrouped, we walked along towards the bight. We did not make it to the Schooner Wharf for a couple of our past visits, so we agreed to give it a try. IMG_2119We sat at the bar and I ordered a painkiller made with Cruzan rum which I prefer over Pusser’s. Disappointingly, it was not the right call. It was just too sweet and I couldn’t drink it. My husband had a beer and I realized that is what I should had ordered – all well. It was still nice to check out the Schooner Wharf and see the locals come and go and talk about what they did for Easter.

Once my husband finished his beer, we walked around a bit before checking out First Flight again, the old Kelly’s restaurant. IMG_2128I was curious to try their Key Lime Margarita. I noticed that the size of the drink was still on the smaller side as compared to how they used to be and the price was $12. IMG_2129I tried it and it was awful. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was but it just wasn’t right. At that price I persevered and finished the drink. It was a struggle but I managed to do it. At this point I was determined to stick with beer wherever the next place took us. Then I finally realized after the fact, there was NO lime/key lime juice in it! IMG_2130

Turned out the next place we went to was Captain Tony’s to see Gabriel Wright again. We sat down at a couple of the bar stools. I ordered a corona light and that seemed to be just the ticket. He played a couple of our requests which is always fun and talked to him for a few when he went on break. IMG_2134While we were hanging out, a familiar face walked in, it was Joe! We thought it was funny that we actually did run into him.

I knew that Zack was playing at Hog’s Breath, so I wanted to be sure to see him play again. We told Joe where we were headed and he wound up going with us to Hog’s Breath. Gabriel mentioned he was playing there as well the following day, so we made sure would stop by then to see him again. IMG_2151

We walked in and  a couple seats opened up. We sat down and ordered a few beers. I then saw to the side of me Zack’s friend Tim from the day before. I didn’t realize he was there but he moved over and we talked for a bit. Zack’s son Kai was also playing with him as well. IMG_2142It was a fun afternoon listening to them play and hanging out with everyone. IMG_2139Hog’s Breath never used to be one of my favorite places to go to, but with great music and friends – it is a lot of fun. After Zack and Kai finished their show, I had to get the obligatory photos with them before they left. IMG_2138And another… IMG_2137I mentioned to Zack and Tim that maybe we could meet up the next morning for breakfast. I remembered that there is this new restaurant called the Breakfast Club Too that used to be at the old Chicago’s location that maybe we could check out. So we made tentative plans and headed out. IMG_2158

We had every intention to go back to the Gardens hotel to freshen up for dinner, but then we saw Miguel once again at Rick’s. We had to stop by and see him again. IMG_2165

It was getting later and we knew we had make our move back, otherwise we would most likely not make it back out. IMG_2161So we left Rick’s and finally made it to the Gardens. IMG_2171I checked the Smokin’ Tuna schedule and saw that Caffeine Carl was playing again. IMG_2175Due to the fact that the Tuna is one of our favorite places, we didn’t hesitate to go back again for some food and music. IMG_2178We probably should have just stayed at the Gardens and/or found a quiet place to grab something to eat, but we stayed because we were having a lot of fun and even Kai stopped by to say hello. IMG_2185I think we overstayed my window, because I was getting really tired. We said our goodbyes and walked down Charles St. to Duval and my husband suggested that we should take a cab back. It was a good idea because I couldn’t see myself trying to dodge all the people on Duval to get to the hotel.

Tuesday, April 2nd – The Breakfast Club Too, No Sunset Sail and Berlin’s IMG_2186

Once again we woke up to another beautiful day in Key West. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were so far with the weather. We have been visiting for years and would always get at least one day with overcast, showers and/or just cold and breezy. So far each day was perfect. IMG_2114

We freshened up and did our usual stop at Cuban Coffee Queen. We thought we would run into Joe, but not that morning. After we got our two cuban americans we walked down towards the Bight, since we had some time to kill before meeting up with Zack, Tim and Kai for breakfast. IMG_2190I love just walking around the Bight and seeing all the boats getting ready to out for the day. IMG_2064We were on schedule to go out with our friend Billy for sunset. I reached out to him and he reassured me that we were good to go, but that a friend of his was borrowing his boat for the day, but would have it back in time for our trip. He said he would pick us up at the hotel around 5pm, which was perfect for us. IMG_2194We then walked over to The Breakfast Club Too. It looked really inviting from the outside. We walked in and we were the first to arrive. IMG_2195We told the hostess that we would just grab a seat at the bar and wait for them. The atmosphere of the restaurant is impressive. I never was in it when it was Chicagos but it is a decent size place. Once everyone else arrived we were seated at a table near the outside part of the restaurant. It was a fun morning just hanging out and eating a good breakfast. IMG_2196Everyone enjoyed what they ordered. I would definitely recommend checking out this place. https://tinyurl.com/ybjb8y4d

Tim was leaving Key West later on that day, so we said goodbye to him, but Zack and Kai were playing at Willie T’s later and told them that we would see them both later on. We thanked Zack for breakfast and walked around for a bit. IMG_2206On a side note: I recently just got a FitBit and could see how far we would walk each day. We would probably average between 5 and 6 miles a day, sometimes more. IMG_2204Feeling the sun coming down, we were both getting thirsty. We remembered that Al was working again at the Sunset Pier so we stopped down there to see him. It was perfect early afternoon to sit and enjoy the views from Sunset Pier.

Our next stop took us back to Hog’s Breath to see Gabriel once again. He was just getting setup so we were able to find a couple of seats. IMG_2209While we were listening to him, I noticed a couple sat down next to my husband. They started talking and noticed it was getting later in the afternoon. That’s what happens in Key West, you meet people and before you know it time just passes by. I wanted to catch Zack and Kai again at Willie T’s before it got to late. Again we got there later then I wanted to. IMG_2210Well we said good bye to my husband’s new found friends and walked down to Willie T’s. We were able to find a couple seats so I was happy. It is always fun listening to Zack and play and its a real treat to catch him with his son, Kai. Not before long we turned around and the couple that we saw at Hog’s Breath showed up. IMG_2212I am not sure if they followed us or it just happened – nevertheless we all wound hanging out again. IMG_2219I was looking at the time and noticed it was getting close to 4 o’clock and we were supposed to meet our friend Billy for the sunset trip.

A few minutes later, I noticed on my phone I got a text message from Billy. It turned out his friend somehow lost the anchor for the boat. I told Billy we could reschedule for later on in the week so it was fine with us. So with that news, we stayed for the rest of Zack’s show. It was a great time. IMG_2218

We needed to get back to the Gardens and freshen up for dinner. IMG_2228We were both pretty hungry and I didn’t have any plans for dinner. The following night I made dinner reservations for Cafe Sole, one of my favorite restaurants, but I figured that my husband should pick where to eat.

Last year we discovered Berlin’s Cigar Lounge above Alonso’s. We had no idea it ever existed and my husband liked the atmosphere in there and as an added feature, it is the same menu as the A&B Lobster House. IMG_2231
I felt so much better after we freshened up and made it to Berlin’s. IMG_2232Even the stairs leading up to it feel like you are entering an entire different experience. IMG_2234We walked into the dark lit bar and sat down. It was still a bit early so we didn’t have any trouble at all finding seats. IMG_2235For dinner I had their delicious oysters rockefeller, while my husband had the escargot special. Last time we were there, I made the mistake of ordering the lobster thermidor, which was delicious, but having very rich meals back to back doesn’t sit well with me. Our entrees consisted on the filet mignon (my husband) and the snapper (for myself). All the dishes were delicious. https://tinyurl.com/y82qpeyn

The prices are on the high side, but if are looking for a difference experience, I would check out Berlin’s (however do be aware it is a cigar lounge and smoking is allowed). IMG_2237

 

Since we were close to Dante’s, I remembered that another musician we like to see Nick Norman was playing there. IMG_2244We walked over and the place was pretty quiet. We sat down at one of the bars and then I turned around and saw in the back there was a large stage area where Nick was playing. We brought our drinks over and sat down. Unfortunately he was nearing the end of his show, but at least we were able to catch him for a song or two. IMG_2246It was a long day and we were pretty tired. We thought about stopping somewhere else, but made the better decision and just go back to the hotel and call it a night.

Wednesday, April 4th – Kermit’s, Blue Macaw, Rick’s, More Willie T’s and Cafe Sole

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Another beautiful day was in store for us. We did our usual stop at Cuban Coffee Queen and chatted with Joe again before walking to Kermit’s. I love getting up early in Key West and walking down Duval when there isn’t really anyone on the street. IMG_2253It is just so peaceful in a way. We made it to Kermit’s and ordered breakfast. There was actually a line of people this time so we had to wait for a bit, thankfully we already had our coffees in hand. IMG_2254Once we ordered our breakfast we sat back by the koi pond. IMG_2193It is such a pretty little spot. We didn’t wait long before our breakfast was served delicious and hot. https://tinyurl.com/ycc75t2xIMG_2256

After a delicious breakfast we began our walk again. We contemplating going into Peppers for a tasting, but I realized that we still have a bunch of hot sauces still at home from our previous trip. IMG_2257So we decided to just go back to the Gardens for a bit to relax. IMG_2259

Time seemed to pass by a little quicker then the previous days. I notice in the beginning of your trip, you feel like each day goes by at a comfortable pace, but as the trip nears its end, days go by faster and faster. Eventually we motivated ourselves to get back out and walk around. Our first stop was the Blue Macaw. IMG_2263It has a nice atmosphere and if you can find a couple of seats at the bar, it isn’t a bad place to have your first cocktail of choice. We walked in and it was more crowded then I thought, due to the lunch crowd. We noticed another musician we have seen in previous trips who is fun as well, John LaMere was playing. I thought what a nice surprise. We found a couple of seats after a large party left and just enjoyed listening to him play. We stayed until his set was over and said hello to him. He thanked us for stopping by.

We walked down to the Mile 0 Marker to get more photos. Luckily there were several people there, so we were finally able to get a picture of both of us at the sign. IMG_2270I wanted to go back to Willie T’s to see Zack play, but we made a stop at Rick’s for a drink and to see Miguel. IMG_2272We didn’t realize it was his last day working until the weekend so it was our last time we would be seeing him for this visit. When it was time to leave we said our goodbyes and thanked him for always being good to us. IMG_2274

We made it back down to Willie T’s to see Zack and Kai play. I did have to watch the time though, since we had dinner reservations at Cafe Sole at 5:45. We still had time to hear them play a few songs. IMG_2275It was hard not to stay but I didn’t want to miss our dinner reservations. IMG_2283

After we freshened up at the Gardens, we walked down Simonton St. and made the turn onto Southard St., which takes you right to Cafe Sole. As usual, we were seated at a nice table outside in the covered area. IMG_2287For starters I had the escargot and my husband had the conch carpacchio. Unfortunately I have discovered that I am allergic to conch and cannot eat it. It is such anomaly to me – I can eat every other type of seafood under the sun, but not conch. I guess it will always remain a mystery. Obviously we had to order their hogfish again for our main course. It was tasty as it usually is. It was a beautiful evening and a great dinner.

We walked back towards the Gardens hotel contemplating what to do next and then I remembered that Caffeine Carl usually plays at Rick’s on Wednesdays. IMG_2291So we made a quick stop at the hotel to regroup for a little before going back out. IMG_2293I was happy when we got to Rick’s that the outside seats at the bar were available. We sat down and Big Ed was working. IMG_2305It was nice to see him again. He began pouring us those grapefruit and club cocktails for us – one after the other.

We were having a great time, but probably should not have had that many. After a while I got to the point where I just had to leave. Thankfully my husband was able to get a cab back to the hotel because I might not would have made it back. Once we got back to the hotel I felt better. It was time to get some sleep.

Thursday, April 5th – Yes It IS a Small World

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I may sound redundant, but yes we woke up to another beautiful day in Key West. As each day passed, I could not believe how nice it was – no rain, no drop in temperatures, no high winds, etc.

Usually a couple weeks before we go to Key West I do go on TripAdvisor and do some research to see restaurant reviews and what not. A restaurant I have heard of in the past that tends to get good reviews is Azur. I looked at their breakfast menu and it intrigued me. The items they had for breakfast were different. I thought it was far from the Gardens, but once I mapped it on my phone it wasn’t that far.

IMG_2308We freshened up and made our walk towards Grinnell St. where the restaurant is located. When we got to the restaurant I was really impressed with the outside. It was nicely landscaped, but we had a bit of an issue finding the entrance. We did eventually find it and walked inside. The hostess asked if we preferred to sit inside or outside, and I picked outside. I try to sit outside everywhere I can unless it is extremely hot. I decided to stay classic and order a couple of eggs with breakfast potatoes and bacon. IMG_2309My husband had one of their frittata for breakfast. We were both very happy with our choices, it was very good. I was glad that we tried a new place – actually now that I think about it, we tried several new places for breakfast. I love going out for breakfast and it is always fun that there are so many options in Key West. https://tinyurl.com/y7nn5njv

Usually in the fall my husband and I make it back to our other favorite place, St. John in the Virgin Islands. Ironically, back in 2016 when we stayed at the villa Caribbean Palm Villa, the villa owners actually live in Key West. I contacted her a couple days ago and wanted to meet her in person. She mentioned to me that her and husband would be working on rehabbing a house that day and we could stop by. IMG_2310So after breakfast we walked down to Whitehead St. where the house was located. Denise came out and we chatted for a bit. She was telling us about St. John and how it is improving and that we should not have any hesitation to return. It was nice talking to her, but didn’t want to keep her away for too long since she was in the middle of working on the house. We thanked her for her time and walked down Whitehead St. IMG_2313We walked by the lighthouse and the Hemingway House. If the Hemingway House wasn’t so crowded we probably would have stopped by. We have toured the house several times, but we always enjoy seeing the cats. IMG_2266

Soon we saw the Green Parrot come into sight. My husband mentioned that maybe we should stop in and have a beer. I thought why not? It was pretty empty but nice in cool inside. There was just one other couple seated at the bar. We ordered a couple of drinks from the bartender and then my husband mentioned to me that he thinks he recognizes the one guy at the bar. He then asked him his name and sure enough he went to high school with him and his wife. I went to a different high school then my husband so I didn’t know who they were, but I couldn’t believe it. What were the odds? They started catching up on things and we all starting talking. We were going to stay longer, however they were meeting friends and going down to Fort Zachary State Park. My husband told them that we could meet up later at some point. IMG_2321The next stop took us to El Meson De Pepe for a couple of mojitos. IMG_2324Their mojitos are always very good, but I still can’t understand why they are so expensive for such a small drink. Regardless it was a nice stop to look at the huge cruise ship that was in port and look at Mallory Square. IMG_2322We only stayed for one and figured that we could have another drink somewhere before going back to Willie T’s and catch the end of Zack’s show. IMG_2325We went back to the Sunset Tiki Bar at the Galleon. Comparable to the Ocean Key Sunset Pier, I think this place has an amazing view. IMG_2327While we were sitting at the bar, we noticed one of the staff was bringing in new chairs for the bar area. Apparently they were getting rid of all the wood chairs and replacing them with black wicker type of chairs. We stayed long enough where we had to get off our chairs and try out the new ones. They were definitely more comfortable but a bit shorter then the previous ones. We had a fun time chatting with the bartender Grubby too.

It was getting to be that time to get back on to Duval and to Willie T’s. We got there just in time where we could catch Zack and his son Kai sing before their show was over. IMG_2344Meanwhile, my husband heard from his high school friends that they wanted to meet up later so we headed out after the show to get ready at the Gardens. We stayed until the end of their show and told Zack we would see him the next day at Rick’s. IMG_2341

I wanted to go back to the Half Shell Raw Bar for dinner so my husband reached out to his friends again and told them to meet us at the Schooner Wharf Bar since it is nearby.IMG_2351 When we all met up there for a drink, my husband told them about Berlin’s. I thought that they wouldn’t want to go, but they seemed really excited about going. I was a bit disappointed because we were just there and we only had 2 more nights left for dinner. I was outnumbered so we walked over to Berlin’s. It wasn’t such a bad option, the food there is that good. I ordered the oysters rockefeller again and then decided to try their paella. IMG_2357I was craving rice and thought that it would be a good choice. Regrettably it wasn’t the right decision. The paella had no flavor – especially the rice. I couldn’t taste any saffron. Thankfully everyone else enjoyed their dishes.

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At this point we probably should have said our goodbyes and just see them again the following day. My husband suggested that we should go to the Smokin’ Tuna to see Caffeine Carl play since they never saw him before. We made it to the Tuna and it was quite crowded. We all ordered drinks and not before long, a table opened up at the side of the bar. We watched Caffeine Carl for a while and my husband’s friends thought he was great. IMG_2373

We finally left with every intention of going straight back to each other’s hotels, but then my husband’s friend wanted to ride the bull at Cowboy Bills. I personally didn’t think the place was even still open. Then before I realized it, we were walking into Cowboy Bills. Thank goodness the bull was out of commission so we all left, but not before the guys did a shot of Jameson – no way I was going there.

We made it back to the Gardens and showed them the grounds. Then we realized it was 2am and needed to call it a night. Finally!

Friday, April 6th – Last Full Day IMG_2381
Why is it so hard to enjoy your last full day of vacation? You do have an entire day to enjoy yourself, but I consistently think about the next day – the flight, packing everything back up, the unpacking, etc. To make things a little easier we woke up again to another glorious day. I did reach out again to our friend Billy, about going out on his boat, but he had family in town so I told him that the next time we are in town we would go out. I was a bit disappointed, if I had known the boat trip wasn’t going to happen, I would have made other plans to get out on the water. It was a shame not being able to do it this trip.

Neither one of us had a breakfast place that we wanted to go to so after going to Cuban Coffee Queen we wound up going the opposite way down Duval St. towards the Southernmost Point. In the back of my mind I wanted to go to the Banana Cafe since we had not been there in quite some time. We passed a few options for breakfast but kept on walking. Eventually we made it to the Banana Cafe, however it was packed and there was a line of people waiting outside. IMG_2383On our way to the Banana Cafe, we passed by La Te Da and it looked very inviting from the outside and not too crowded. We walked in and my husband wanted to sit at the bar, which was fine, but for breakfast I prefer a table. It wasn’t too bad though since it was fairly empty. Feeling the night before we both decided to order a pick me up. My husband had a bloody mary while I had a mimosa. IMG_2385It did help – only for a little while. I ordered the breakfast special omelet and my husband ordered the traditional egg breakfast. It took a while to get our order, but once we did get it, it was very good. I am not sure if their service is normally that slow, if it isn’t I would definitely go back. The atmosphere and people watching was great. IMG_2386

The feeling from the night before was returning, so we headed back to the Gardens. We both sat outside on our porch/balcony to relax. My husband read while I just tried to relax. I then took the time to start packing up some of our clothes and making sure everything was in order and checked in for our flight, printed out our boarding passes for the next day. IMG_2390

After a bit, we picked ourselves off of our porch chairs and made it down to Rick’s to see Zack’s last show before we left. It was hard not to be sad, but it was fun to see him again. IMG_2389

While he was nearing the end of his show, my husband’s friends from high school showed up. They were feeling the night before as well. We were having a great time just talking about the night before. Then I noticed someone walk by and then it was another friend of ours that we knew. It was pretty funny.

After Zack’s show was done, we agreed to meet up for breakfast the next morning before we had to leave and before he left I had to get another photo! IMG_2396

We wound up hanging out a bit longer then we intended, but that’s why you never plan anything in Key West. Things just happen. IMG_2405Everyone was getting hungry so we were all going freshen up and meet up somewhere. Then we all realized why don’t we just go out like we are? It’s Key West! You don’t have to dress up. So I suggested that we go to the Rooftop Cafe. So if we had time we could catch the sunset at Mallory Square after. IMG_2408

We walked down to the Rooftop Cafe and the sky was beautiful. IMG_2409

Everyone wanted to sit at the bar so we didn’t have to wait for a table. IMG_2410The sun was setting behind as we had another delicious dinner at the Rooftop Cafe. IMG_2413By the time we finished dinner it was too late to see sunset. IMG_2416

Since it was our last night, big surprise, we wound up going back to the Smokin’ Tuna to see Carl one last time. He put on another great show.

We even saw Big Ed there!

We were all getting tired and there was no way we were going to make the same mistake twice. So I made sure I said goodbye to Carl’s wife Erin and thanked her again for always taking care of us. IMG_2423.jpgWe then went up to Carl and told him goodbye. It was sad but I didn’t get too upset otherwise I would never hear the end of it. Everyone made their separate ways and called it a night.

Saturday, April 7th – Back Home

IMG_2433
Were we really leaving already? It felt like we just got there, but yes it was time to leave. It was another pretty morning that made it even more difficult knowing we were going back to cold temperatures that were still hanging around in NJ. We freshened up and made sure all our things were ready to go. IMG_2436

We met Zack and Kai for breakfast at Havana’s Cafe which is located right on Duval very close to the Gardens. http://www.havana-keywest.net/havana-key-west-restaurant.html

Last year we had breakfast there and it was very good. I find it a bit odd though it doesn’t open until 9am. We had a later flight so waiting until 9am wasn’t an issue. IMG_2438

It was a nice way to spend the morning before we left. All the food we ordered was very good, especially the bacon. IMG_2434I was getting really sad about leaving Key West and our friends so I wasn’t too hungry. Then it was time to say our goodbyes – which I always hate.IMG_2443

Our flight was at 12:55pm so we had the cab pick us up at 11:30am which gave us enough time. We didn’t have to wait too long to board our flight and again it was direct. The flight was only 2 and 1/2 hours. We wound up landing about a 1/2 hour earlier then expected. Before we knew it, it was 5:30pm and we were back home in cold NJ. IMG_2446

Another Key West trip is in the books. Again, we had an amazing time seeing our great friends in Key West and meeting new ones. As I noted earlier, it gets harder to leave the more times we come to visit. Key West holds a special place in my heart. It is truly a magical island, not just because it is so beautiful, but because of all the terrific people that make up this wonderful place. IMG_2202

Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog. Until next time!

 

3 thoughts on “A Whole Lot of Fun & Sun in Key West – March 31st – April 7th, 2018

  1. Hey! My name is Ashley. I’m new to blogging but particularly love travel blogging and find the ones of others so great! I really loved this piece on your trip to the keys! We’ve always wanted to go! Anyhow – great read! 🙏🏻❤️

  2. Jess

    Awesome trio report. Would luv more info on where u stay at in St. John and if u know if he same people have rentals in kw”

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