Well, it’s official … Polly’s pregnant!
So, to celebrate, and to take our last vacation before the little one arrives, C. and I headed down to Key West after Christmas for a few days relaxing in the sun.
We stayed at the lovely (but not conveniently located) Marriott Beachside Resort. Note: there is technically a beach at this hotel and it is technically in Key West…BUT the beach is VERY small and the downtown of Key West is only accessible from the hotel via a 15 minute hotel shuttle ride. Other than those two minor setbacks, the place is really nice.
On our first night in Key West we took the hotel shuttle into town and after walking on Duval Street for awhile (what a tourist trap!), we detoured to a side street and had dinner at Blue Heaven. Although the wait for a table was really long, we had heard such great things about the restaurant, that we were determined to stick it out. And, it was well worth it. We had amazing fish dinners (shrimp for me! yum!) and ended our meal with the best slice of key lime pie I’ve ever had. Even C. who usually veers away from meringue, almost licked the plate clean.
The next morning, the sun was shining (although it was a bit chilly outside for the Florida keys) so we headed back into town to do some exploring. Our first stop was B & O’s Fish Wagon for some conch fritters, fried fish sandwiches, and lots of limeade…yum-o! Conch fritters at B & O…yum! They were so good that we had lunch at B&Os two days in a row. Probably not good for our cholesterol…but oh well…we were on vacation.
That afternoon, we joined the other tourists and visited Hemingway’s house. As an English teacher who often teaches Hemingway’s texts, I felt obligated to check out his digs. And, like the fish wagon’s conch fritters, Ernie’s house didn’t disappoint.
And, best of all, we got to see Hemingway’s writing studio. Heck, if I had a studio like this…in Key West, no less…I could write for a living, too. Could I churn out heroes a la Ernie? Probably not. But I could definitely write.
We continued our tour of the side streets of Key West, but at this time, during the day, and stumbled upon this adorable house with some amazing winter foliage. I loved the lush greenery and flowers especially since it is December, and knowing full well that we had just suffered through a blizzard in NJ two days before.
Instead of renting any old car, C. wanted to make our babymoon extra special so he rented a convertible (see above). It was so much fun to ride through the Keys with the top down. We felt like we were in a movie.
Later on in our second day we went back to our hotel to do some reading by the pool. Then, in the late afternoon, we headed back downtown to do some exploring. We came upon the newly opened Key West Pretzel Company and had to buy one. So we headed to a dock, let our feet dangle off of the side, and ate our pretzel with really funky dipping sauces (pesto or curry mustard, anyone?)
As the sun went down, we did our last tourist-y thing and took a photo of us in front of the last Route 1 mile marker. Route 1, an interstate highway which runs through our hometown in NJ, ends in Key West.
The next day, after lounging around our hotel for awhile, we stopped for our last Key West meal at the highly recommended Louie’s Backyard. The lunch was excellent. I had a light salad and C. had the fish tacos, which we munched on while sitting on the deck overlooking the ocean. The weather was perfect; we didn’t want to leave.
This is as far as either of us got into the water. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so warm for our first two days in Key West so we spent most of the time exploring the town or reading by the pool. C. snapped this photo while we were on our drive back to Miami.
We also just had to stop at this place right off the road in Key Largo for some authentic NJ pizza. The owners are all from NJ, and were so nice. They even had a photo of the Belmar boardwalk inside the restaurant.
And our final pit-stop before meeting up with friends in Miami to celebrate New Year’s eve, was at a fantastic side-of-the-road shack called Alabama Jack’s. We ordered the requisite conch fritters…which definitely did not disappoint. If you’re ever driving from Miami to the Keys, you must take a detour on Card Sound Road and stop at this place.
While we waited for our conch fritters and key lime pie to arrive, C. took this photo of a boat heading out for a sunset fishing trip. The photo encapsulates our whole babymoon…peaceful and relaxing—which is exactly what we wanted it to be.