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Trip Report A mini almost-staycation in Key West

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DH and I usually go to a hotel on Ft. Lauderdale beach for our anniversary. A couple of weeks ago our local paper had an article in the travel section on the Florida Keys. Hey, we haven't been to Key West in a number of years, let's go!

ACCOMMODATIONS


I checked many B&Bs; many were full or required 3 nights, and we only wanted to stay for 2,. Our choice was the Knowles House, the Italian Room. It is a circa 1860 Conch style house, owned for about 15 years by Les and Paul. It is certainly nothing fancy, but good location, nice room, and extremely helpful and personable hosts. Breakfast was basic, cereal, hard boiled eggs, juice, fresh fruit, bagels, etc. The patio is small but nice. Tall bamboo gives a secluded feeling. There is a hot tub and a very small pool, more like a plunge pool. There is also a sun deck. Our room had a queen bed, nice closet, mini fridge, lost of storage and a very large bathroom with jetted tub and separate shower. There is central air and an additional wall unit for extra comfort.

http://knowleshouse.com/italian.html

ACTIVITIES:

Sunset cruise on the Schooner Western Union. About a 90 minute sail on a very still night. Lovely sunset. The crew was fun. We got a sample of a delish spicy conch chowder, plus beer, wine, etc. Not a Party Cruise by any means. Just a lovely old ship and lots of fun people

http://schoonerwesternunion.org/tours/sunset-sail/

We weren't planning on doing this, but the heat and humidity got to us (OK, to me) and we went on the hop on hop off trolley. The usual type naration, but with a little personality. Made it very comfortable to get from point a to point b.

http://www.trolleytours.com/key-west/

I have just finished reading The Paris Wife, and started re-reading A Farewell to Arms, so the Hemmingway House was a real treat. He and second wife Pauline (the one who booted out the Paris Wife) moved here in the early '30s. Our guide was a very well read guy who answered every question put to him. Especially enjoyed the story about the swimming pool. It seems Pauline was put out when she learned Earnest had gone overseas to report on a story with a woman reporter. She did what E told her he did not want done: she replaced his beloved boxing ring with the largest in ground pool in the Keys at a cost of $20,000. When he got home and saw it, and heard how much it had cost, he flung the only change he had in his pocket, a single penny, onto the deck. It remains there today. When he left Pauline for another woman (see a theme here?), she would tell her friends that she had his last cent. Highly recommend it. Even DH, who has never read Hemmingway, enjoyed it.

http://www.hemingwayhome.com/legend/

We also toured Truman's Little White House. Also recommend this. It is a piece of American History. If you don't know, Truman left the presidency in debt, having taken out two loans during his time in office. It took him years to be convinced to write his memoirs to be able to pay off his debts and to buy his mother in law's home, where he and Bess were living. We could use a man like that again!

http://www.hemingwayhome.com/legend/

In addition, we did all the usual Duval street window shopping, etc.

FOOD

Stooped at the Hungry Tarpon in Islamorada on the way down. I had fish tacos which were outstanding. The tomatoes, you could tell, were just picked from somebody's garden. We ate inside, but there is a nice shaded patio out back. It was fun to watch the kids (of all ages) feed the tarpons off the patio. Great service, friendly waitress. When she heard it was our anniversary, she brought us a slice of mango key lime pie. OMG.

http://www.hungrytarpon.com/

Breakfast one morning at Sarabeths. Very pleasant interior, and a nice patio. My omlet was good, the pumpkin muffin outstanding, and there is a 4 juice smoothie which was also good. DH had pumpkin pancakes which disappeared very quickly.

http://www.sarabethskeywest.com/

We had a snack at DHL Big Ten Bar, or something similar, to watch the Heat game. Nothing special.

Best, best best meal was at Pisces. Not your usual Key West place: white tablecloths, candlelight, $$$ menu. The server was outstanding, very well versed on the menu, able to make wine paring suggestions, and very attentive. The single best thing we had was a lobster bisque. Wait, not creamy with cream, but a broth based with pernod and other stuff. Big chunks of lobster. One of the best things I have ever had. I had the Mango Tango, which was lobster medalions in a mango sauce. Quite good.

http://www.pisceskeywest.com/about_blue.php

In summation, a nice couple of days away from the same old same old. It was very hot and humid, and being out in the middle of the day really got to me. We walked almost everywhere, driving just a couple of times. We found parking fairly easily, even if it was expensive,

Almost forgot! We were recommended a tequila bar and it turned out to be a highlight. I had a muddled lemon/basil drink that was out of this world. Agave 308.

Home now, happy that we are together and able to celebrate #44.

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