Sunday, January 03, 2010

Dreaming of Warm Blue Waters....

So SGG and I have been planning a vacation. We had an idea over the summer about going somewhere while the kids were with their respective biological parents over the Christmas break. We picked the Florida Keys. We have both been here before but we haven't really been able to see and do the things we really wanted to do. This time we did. While some other fantastic blogs were talking about vacations with kids...we were looking forward to some serious adventures without kids.

12/28/09 Monday
We had a 5:45 am flight. I'm not saying we barely got there in time, but we weren't early. We almost didn't have a seat in our connecting flight in Atlanta but that worked out fine. Either way we weren't too stressed. We were happy just to be in route.

When we got to Ft. Lauderdale, things went smoothly getting our luggage (A giant duffel bag and a giant backpack), and getting the car. I asked for economy/small, but figured I would get a four dour import. They gave us a Mustang. I really didn't like it. Pretty to look at, but a pain to see out of to drive. I hooked up my Droid, and said "Navigate to Bahia Honda Key, Florida", and drove out of the garage.

We didn't even have a place to stay. We were just going to look around and call some campgrounds on the way. When we got down there we found out that this is considered the busy week of their year! We did find a campground with an opening for the week at Fiesta Key Resort. It is a nice campground at mile marker 70. The facilities were good, but we were only there to sleep and in that regard it was great. Everyone around us was very friendly and fun to talk to.

We had some differing opinions on getting the air matress blown up, and all we had was a pump that hooked to a car outlet. After two false starts we compromised, picked up the tent with the mattress in it, brought it to the car, and then carried it back. The tent doesn't weight but 2 pounds so that was easy.

We really tied the tent down good, and good thing because the wind came that evening and really tried to blow everything away. That is another way of saying that it also got really cold (well, mid 50's). The tent both kept us warm and sheltered from the wind. Backpacking classes back in the spring really paid off. :-)

We walked around the campground, and settled in to watch the sunset, which was gorgeous.

The only thing left to do for the evening was go find a place to eat. SGG looked through her guides and we decided on the Barracuda Grill on Marathon Key. It was a great choice. The food and service were magnificent. They also confirmed two things for us. It was their busiest week, and the temps were going to be a bit cooler than normal.

12/28/09 Tuesday
In the morning we began our adventure in earnest. We went to breakfast at Little Italy on Long Key. The service and the food was good here and it was a good start to the day. We then looked up and did a geocache on Long Key. There is a very well hidden local trail that will take you through the mangroves and buttonwoods, explaining exactly what these are along the way. After that we headed to Bahia Honda Key State Park.

On the way there we picked up a few more supplies at the local K-mart. We found a nice double action hand pump for air mattresses and some other necessities.

We spent a big part of the day at Bahia Honda. We booked a snorkel trip out of here for Looe Key the next day, and then proceeded to explore the park. We went walking through the water along the beach, we found some iguanas here and there, and lots of coral and plants washed up along the shore. Bahia Honda is a beautiful spot with some sheltered coves that are good for swimming, snorkeling, and sun bathing. We did a geocache on Bahia Honda (with the Droid), and then headed back to the campground.

After getting cleaned up, we headed back out for dinner. When I was looking up geocaches in the morning, I found this one called the Hungry Tarpon. They mention the marina and the restaurant in the cache description. As it was dinner, we didn't look for the cache, but I will tell you that you will have a hard time finding better food anywhere on this planet. Chef Joseph at the restaurant 'The Hungry Tarpon' at Robbie's Marina is AMAZING. He is a French Chef that has been cooking in the Caribbean for a long time. He came to The Hungry Tarpon April 2009. SGG and I both agree that you can't get better food in the Keys, or maybe anywhere. We had Conch Fritters to start, then SGG got the special shrimp and goat cheese pizza, while I got 'Buck Starks Native Recipe' (Snapper). We had no room for dessert but we weren't worried. We knew we would be back, and with bigger appetites. I have often thought that my dream vacation would be to go to Italy or France and eat, but I now I'll just dream about going back to Matecumbe Key and eating at the Hungry Tarpon. Seriously, I am not kidding.

Have to finish the next couple of days tomorrow. Here are some pictures and the slide shows from these days though....

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