Wednesday noontime found Chad and I at Lazy Dog Kayaking for a two-hour kayak tour among the mangroves with our brainy guide, Brian. Our guide stopped at least eight times to show us many cool things and explain each thing's role in the ecosystem. We saw a sea cucumber, a seahare (like a huge inside out snail - eww, but cool), queen conch (I swear I heard it say "don't eat conch fritters" in a tiny voice.), jellyfish, a nurse shark (!!!), mangrove trees, tree crabs (yes, little grey crabs that live in trees), anemone, a sea star (a.k.a. starfish), sponges and a few other things I can't recall. I also didn't recall to reapply sunscreen during our two-hour outing. Chad and I both got weird sunburn lines on the fronts of our bodies. Despite the sunburn, our kayaking eco-tour was a close second place to snorkeling for my favorite activity in Key West.
Back at the Almond Tree Inn, after much-needed showers, we sat on the lovely covered porch that had ceiling fans (almost like air-conditioning) for a lunch of leftovers from Blue Heaven and Blackfin Bistro. I love it when hotel rooms have mini fridges, especially when they aren't stocked with expensive mini-bar items. I need somewhere to keep leftovers.
We were pretty tired (and sunburned) from kayaking. We rested and read books until dinner time. Back to Blue Heaven for dinner! Why mess with a good thing when you find it? I had a salad with a side of that amazing cornbread and an Arnold Palmer. Chad had some fish dish that he really liked and a Bloody Goose drink. (He eats and drinks weird things. Gross. But he seems to like them.) We watched the resident chickens of Blue Heaven ascend to the treetops for their nighttime roosting. It was a slow trip that involved a lot of walking and hopping. Chickens are not graceful fliers. After the chicken show, we had the key lime pie with crazy high meringue top for dessert. So good!
We retired early to our hotel room on our last night in Key West. Party, party, party - that's us.
Thursday morning we took our time packing, left our suitcases at the hotel front desk and walked to Blackfin Bistro again for awesome brunch and good people-watching out the big front window. I had the BEST french toast I've ever had in the form of their Overnight Caramel French Toast. The toast had a caramelized crunch to it almost like the top of a creme brulee. Chad had Eggs Benedict Florentine. And some of my french toast. How does he keep that tiny waist? (Lots of time at the gym.) We skipped the mimosas this time, because no one wants a hangover on an airplane.
Back to the tiny Key West airport, which for outbound travelers offers one more chance to get sand in your shoes at the Last Call Beach Bar. It's a small tiki hut looking bar with some sand and a palm tree in an outdoor courtyard right by the departure gates. No thanks. Our flight home (via Atlanta) departed Key West midday Thursday. We made it home safely, and only an hour late.
Travel tip: bring your empty reusable water bottles in your carry-on bag. Empty reusable plastic bottles are fine to get through airport security. Austin and Atlanta airports have bottle filling stations near the regular water fountains.
Our trip to Key West was the right balance of fun, relaxing and interesting. I really enjoyed it. It's not a place that I'll lobby to go to again and again (That honor goes to Hood River, Oregon.), but I'm so glad we went. My sunburn is still peeling, but the laundry is all done!
Hotel was awesome: Almond Tree Inn
Favorite restaurants: Blackfin Bistro & Blue Heaven
Favorite activities: Fury Water Adventures Snorkeling & Lazy Dog Kayaking
Favorite lookie places: Hemingway House & Key West Eco Discovery Center
Pub crawl was a little sad
Favorite street walk: Whitehead Street for beautiful houses & banyan trees
Silliest photo-opp: the 0 mile marker