On November 3rd, 2017 we celebrated 30 years of marriage. We had determined that a short road trip was our only option as we were on a tight schedule in the middle of the school year. My plans for the trip began as soon as we returned from our summer road trip through Washington and Oregon. But as the saying goes “the best laid plans”- certainly need to be flexible when you travel!
Hurricane Irma with all its force hit the Keys in September; we all saw the utter devastation that was left in its wake. After little debate we decided to continue with our plans given the fact our tourist dollars could do more good there than any place else we might choose.
It was a good decision. Our 4 day road trip was incredible. Yes, we saw unbelievable beauty juxtaposed with unthinkable damage but wherever we went we were welcomed and thanked and we witnessed true resilience and strength. Conch strength!
Overnight in Hollywood Beach
We stayed a block from the boardwalk so although we arrived at 9:00pm we were still able to walk on the boardwalk and have dinner and drinks watching the waves. The next morning we were up for an early start but we first took a walk on the boardwalk. I fell in love with this beach and the boardwalk. No doubt it was the time of year but the weather was beautiful and the beach quiet. Locals were out and about bike riding or walking dogs’. Although our time there was very short I loved it and would love to really explore the area another time but for now the Keys were calling us.
The plan for the day was to head to the Keys, check in at our AirBnB and then continue on to Key West as I had booked us a sunset tour to celebrate our anniversary. Initially I assumed the 182 mile drive would be a breeze as driving that distance in Texas is no distance at all but I learned that US-1 is a slow highway to drive. The speed limits bounce between 45mph and 55mph. This was probably our slowest roadtrip ever !
Although the devastation along the road was truly tragic we focused on the beauty that remained.
Key West- Home of The Sunset
Time for a few photo ops before heading to the catamaran for our sunset tour.
Because we were celebrating 30th years of marriage and because we were in Key West we simply had to indulge in a Champagne Sunset Tour. I chose one from Viator and we were not disappointed. We took a 69 foot catamaran, 2 hour sail out to watch an amazing sunset and then be stunned with a full moon rising. The service on the boat was excellent and, the food and drinks first rate. What made it even more special was the fact there was a wedding party with the bride and groom celebrating their wedding day- somehow this made our day even more special as we thought back thirty years to our wedding day.
One of our favorite finds was the Sunset Grille at Seven Mile Bridge. This place was perfect for brunch and offered a fabulous "Bloody Mary Build your own Bar, omelets were delicious and, the view outstanding. Why wouldn’t you stop here?
Crane Point Museum and Nature Trail
We just happened upon this hidden gem as it was close to where we were staying. Tucked away right on the highway in Marathon is this remarkable nature preserve. Crane Hammock is 63 acres of trails which include a large thatch palm hammock, a hardwood hammock, a mangrove forest, tidal lagoons, wetland ponds and the fauna that is associated with these various ecosystems. There is plenty to explore and guided tours are available. The people who work here are dedicated volunteers who are friendly and very informed. We loved out few hours exploring the natural beauty of the hammock.
If You Can- Eat Stone Crab!!
Out and About on the Keys.............
The Keys represents many things, beauty, strength, relaxation, resilience and so much more. One thing that is guaranteed are stunning sunsets beautiful water, amazing seafood and, fabulous fishing. If you can go and embrace all that the Keys has to offer.
The best part of any road trip is the stops. This was my favorite stop as we headed to Key Largo from Marathon. We planned one more night in the Keys in Key Largo but before we headed to our next Key we stopped at Robbie’s for some fun feeding the huge tarpon- Great Stop for all ages !!
On The Road Again #nextstopkeylargo
Next we headed to our final stop in the keys. This hotel will be spotlighted in Places To Stay as it turned out to be one of our all-time favorite hotel's. Part II of the Keys Road Trip will document our last day on the Keys and then our road stops in Miami and the Everglades........yes, we packed a lot in but that is what a road trip is all about!
Full time educator- wanna be travel blogger. Exploring our world one trip at a time.