I cannot count the number of times that I have thought about going to visit the Florida Keys in the past. I always ended up not going as I was not sure what there was to do there and I did not look forward to the drive from Miami all the way to Key West. These are all the wrong reasons for not going somewhere!
That all changed in 2019 as Bee and I talked about it more and more and I discovered that there were a lot of good reasons for going there. We did so in January 2020. We flew to Miami and rented a car from there. Our first stop was at a Cuban Restaurant in Little Havana where we had an excellent lunch. After lunch, we drove onto Route 1 and left the mainland USA.
Our first stop for the night was at Marathon Key where we stayed at the Hampton Inn (we are frequent users of Hilton chain hotels as they always treat us really well). That evening, we had an excellent meal at The Island Fish Company, across the street from the hotel.
We had all day to go from Marathon Key to Key West so we decided to do some sightseeing on the way and stopped at the Curry Hammock State Park where we did a coastal trail on the North side of the Key. Nice trail but very much in lush greenery all the way and therefore not much to photograph. Here is an example of the typical trail we followed.
It was a very pleasant walk that only took us about 1 hour and we seemed to be the only people on the trail.
We arrived early at Key West and checked into our B&B called the Old Town Manor (details at the bottom of the post) – I would certainly recommend this B&B as it is beautiful, with very nice rooms and a great location.
The first order of business was to finalize our plans for the next day, when we were scheduled to take the Yankee Freedom to the Dry Tortugas. This is an all day trip to the very last key, one that cannot be reached by car but only air and boat – we chose the boat.
And it is coming back from the Ferry Docks that we really lucked out! In the main marina, I saw this boat which I thought was just gorgeous! This poor picture does not do it justice.
As we got closer, we noticed that it was available for local cruises – a bit more discussion and we found out that the Sunset Cruise will be leaving in 1/2 hour with only 15 passengers on board. We quickly signed up and almost ran to the B&B to get warmer clothes.
It turns out that this is “America 2.0” a replica of the yacht “America” which beat the Brits around the isle of Wight to win the very first “America’s Cup” on 22 August 1851. It is not a perfect replica as it is made in modern materials but made to look like the original yacht.
They asked for volunteers to help raise the sails – no modern conveniences, such as electric winches here – it is all done with arm, and leg muscles. I was only tailing, and trying to help a bit the person actually lifting the sail…
Here she is, almost fully rigged. The wind was just perfect for a good sail and she sailed very well.
I even got to steer her! Am I happy or what!
The two photos above with me in them are courtesy of Bee… Continue reading “The Florida Keys”