It seems that the first quarter let-down has hit some of my friends pretty hard. Now that I’m not stuck in a cubicle or traffic for 10-11 hours a day, I’ve taken advantage of talking with my friends more often. And sadly, it seems a lot of them had a rough start to this year.
Since I’m a transplant in a largely transient city, I often lament that all my friends have moved. (Yes, I know I’m being melodramatic in these moments). But I do still have people here. So in my texts, chats, etc. with one of my friends, I came up with an idea. Why not take a vacation day from work, drop the kids at school and then head to Miami with me? The ultimate goal: Islamorada. Since I can’t drink for awhile, I volunteered to be designated.
It didn’t take a lot of persuasion.
So a few weeks ago, two of my friends and I hopped in my car and headed south. We picked up some Cuban coffee and pastelitos for some fuel and then headed straight down toOverseas Highway.
If you’ve never driven through the Florida Keys before, I highly recommend it. As you are passing through narrow strips of road, with endless blue water on either side of your car, it’s virtually impossible to retain any level of stress. It’s often ranked as one of the most scenic drives in America and there’s truly nothing like it.
I’m pregnant so that means I am hungry and thirsty all the time. Our first stop? The Key Largo Conch House. All I have to say is Conch Fritters. Get them. While this place isn’t on the water, it is tucked away so you aren’t right on the highway. It’s in a quintassential Florida Keys house and you can sit inside or outside on the porch. We grabbed an outside table and split a bunch of food. Service was great and the food was on point.
After that, we headed south. The girls wanted to stop at Tiki Bar so we made a pit stop for rum drinks and water. Since we couldn’t hang on the beach, we headed off to the marina dock, where we dragged chairs in to the sun. As we lazily sipped our drinks we watched boats coming in and going out to the Sandbar. Admittedly I’m not a huge fan of this place because it’s a little too “Spring Break” for me, but it was a good first spot for some sun.
After we got too hot, we hopped back in the car to cool off with some A/C and headed to our next spot: Anne’s Beach. This beach is one of the more popular beaches in the middle keys – partially because there are not many public beaches in Islamorada but mainly because it’s beautiful. But parking is minimal so if you go on the weekend you have to get there early… even on weekdays it can be tough – we got lucky with a spot in the second lot. We found a cozy little nook of beach where we spread out our towels and immediately waded in to the ocean. The water can still be a little cool (by Floridian standards) but because it’s so shallow the temperature was perfect.
We took selfies, laid out for some much-needed sun and chatted to our hearts’ content. And Instagrammed it all for our people to admire from their cubes and offices.
Once again, it got a bit toasty so we hopped back in to the car to head to the bar at the Islander. I love this place and El Hombre and I will often stop to get food and drinks at the bar on our various trips to the Keys. It’s beautiful, laid back, great service and a pretty view. It’s also a great place to stay because unlike Tiki Bar it’s not full of annoying Spring Breakers.
The girls sipped on more rum drinks while I drank my soda and we all dried out. One of my friends started surfing Islamorada Real Estate listings for investment properties while my other friend and I split a dessert (it’s for the babies.)
As the day came to a close, we decided to go for dinner before getting on the road. I originally wanted to go to the Lorelei, but it was packed with no parking. So we ended up at the Green Turtle Inn. Again, amazing food. My favorite? Lobster Mac & Cheese. I ended up with a salad for my main course, while the girls split a bunch of plates that I nibbled off of. While a tad pricy, this restaurant is worth every penny.
After we finished dinner, we had one last stop. The Blond Giraffe in Tavernier. Normally El Hombre and I never stop at these places because he’s not a key lime kind of guy. But one of the girls wanted to pick up some treats for her family. While she picked those out, my other friend and I split a piece of pie. All I can say is, “Yes”. Have you ever taken a bite of something so good that you half close your eyes in sheer bliss? That was me at that moment. It was also the sugar burst that got me home.
All in all, it was a good day trip. When life starts to give you lemons, it’s time to gather your girls (or guys) and head out for a day of beach hopping and good food.