March 2015 Archives

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Off the Florida Keys
There's a place called Kokomo
That's where you wanna go

Ok, so it wasn't Kokomo, but I did just get back from an awesome trip to the Florida Keys. A week spent in the tropical goodness that is mid-80s with a gentle breeze was just what the doctor ordered to help cure these wintertime blues.

Some friends invited me to stay at a rental house with them in the Florida Keys, on the island of "Islamorada." Islamorada is located about 90-miles west of Miami and about 45-miles east of Key West. It's a sleepy little town, known primarily for sport fishing, but even though I didn't fish, it was quite enjoyable.

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The house was nice - it was situated at the end of a cul de sac, and featured 3-bedrooms, 2-bathrooms, and a really nice wrap-around deck that overlooked the channels. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it was around 2000-square feet in size. I'm not sure what it cost to rent, but a quick peek of local real estate prices showed that most of the houses in the area were around $800k or so in price.

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Prior to my arrival at the house, my friends had chartered a fishing boat and went out on the ocean for the day. They managed to score quite a haul - nearly 80-pounds of fresh, yellow tail snapper. The charter took care of cleaning the fish for them, and once back to the house, we spent a few hours vacuum sealing it and preparing it for storage and transportation.

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I mentioned transportation because one of the cool things about Islamorada is that most of the restaurants will allow you to carry-in your own fresh catch and will then prepare it for you at the restaurant. It was interesting to pack a cooler full of ice and fill it with fish prior to going out for lunch. Most evenings were spent at the house, where we'd cook that same fish along with a bunch of fresh veggies and whatnot. I have to admit that I definitely ate really well on the trip.

Here's an example of some of their fresh-caught snapper as prepared by a local restaurant called "Lazy Days":

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And here's an example of some of what we prepared while back at the house:

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So, with all of the eating and drinking that was taking place, a daily run was all but required so as to keep my waistline from expanding more than it already has. Thankfully there were a series of awesome trails and pathways to run on. Most followed along the ocean shores, which made for really enjoyable runs. It also helped that there were quirky things like self-serve coconut stands and beautiful views.

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We managed to take a few small excursions during the trip, including a quick visit to a State Park. The State Park was pretty cool - the campsites were elevated on wooden decks:

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I'm guessing they were raised for a number of reasons: (a) you're literally at sea-level, and I could imagine the tide rising and making things rather damp, and (b) there were tons of little critters running around everywhere, including these sand crabs (look very closely in the center of the picture):

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There were also a ton of lizards and chiggers... which we discovered the hard way. We returned from the park and woke-up the next morning to find millions of itchy, bright-red welts on our legs the next day. Fun...

We also ventured over to Key West, which I must say was probably the highlight of the trip for me. I really enjoyed that area. It was noticeably nicer down there in terms of weather, and there was a lot more fun and interesting stuff to do.

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Key West really was a blast. We spent about 5 hours or so there; I could've spent 5 days in the area. Maybe next time.

Back on Islamorada, we found a few other fun things to do, like feeding Tarpon. Tarpon are these massive fish - they're about 4-5 feet long and weigh about 150-pounds. There was a restaurant/bar/observatory place where you could grab a bite and a drink and then go feed the Tarpon.

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The final evening was a beautiful one. We decided to stop-in to one of our more favorite hangouts so that we could enjoy the sunset and the nice weather while sipping on a few brews. It was absolutely gorgeous.

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So, if you ever get the opportunity to visit the Keys, I'd say "Go. Go now." But I'd strongly encourage you to stay in the Key West area. Islamorada was nice, as were the other keys (we stopped on several along the way), but Key West was really superb.

Many thanks to my co-hosts for their hospitality and generosity. I really enjoyed the trip and enjoyed getting to know everyone better. Thanks!!

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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