Friday, March 20, 2009

Key West!

It had been almost 6 years since Nick and I had any substantial length of time together sans children, and our recent weekend trip to Key West was an unbelievable remedy for that. We left at 5AM, Friday, March 6th, and returned about 11PM on Sunday, March 8th. I don't know about Nick, but it took about a day before I felt like I wasn't missing a body part - my boys are nearly always with me (except for work, of course), so to be without them felt so odd. But gloriously liberating :-)

Nick and I chose to get around Key West with bikes. We love to ride, and the mild weather, relatively small distances to travel, and ease of accessibility to everything we wanted to see and do made it the best choice for us. And really, at the end of our trip, we concluded there's no better way to truly experience Key West - riding through ocean breezes in quiet, charming neighborhoods off the beaten tourist path really was so calming and gave us an appreciation for island living.

Nick called the rental company while we were still on the runway, and they met us with two bikes in the airport parking lot shortly thereafter. Here's Nick riding along Highway 1 en route to our hotel.

We arrived at our hotel, The Casa Marina, and immediately headed to the beach. The hotel is beautiful (see next post), and the view stunning. Here we are, getting a burn.

It was too early to check-in, so we left our bags (2 backpacks - HA!) with the concierge, and took off on our bikes. We went to the Mallory Square/Duval Street area to explore and enjoy the beautiful weather.

90 miles from Cuba! ;-)

Back on the beach at the hotel.

That night, we ate dinner a short distance from our hotel at a little restaurant outside on the beach. Afterwards, we rode in the dark with our little lcd lights on our bikes down to a huge pier...way out into the darkness, over the black water. It was breathtaking that this place that was bustling with activity during daylight hours, was so quiet and dark. The stars were bright, and the water lapping at the pier was music to our ears. Such a nice way to end the evening.

The next morning, we had breakfast at an awesome cafe in a courtyard that was very untouristy (which is sort of a tough find there, to be honest). It was delicious, and there was also free entertainment - a curious, hungry pigeon flew here to there, waiting for us to drop something. The best was his repeated attempted to land on a ceiling fan (not operating at the time. ;-) He made me smile, and I snapped a few shots, so I would remember him (see next post).

After breakfast, we were off for more exploring and sightseeing on our bikes. The neighborhoods are so picturesque.

The gorgeous beach at Zachary Taylor State Park:

Key West's Marine Ecocenter dedicated to preservation of the natural coral reefs and marine life.

Visiting an old Navy pier.

Saturday night, we went on a Ghost Tour. It was nothing short of fabulous - eerie, creepy, and humorous entertainment rolled into a 2 hour walking tour through old town Key West. At the risk of everyone who reads this believing I'm completely nutso, I will tell you that I believe I caught some ghosts on camera. If people comment and want to see photos, I'll post them here -- but only if you ask! ;-) The tour started in the (by legend) very haunted La Concha hotel on Duval street. Here we are, waiting in the lobby for the start of our little adventure:

Our last morning at the hotel we spent on the beach, drinking coffee and taking in the cool ocean air.

We ate lunch at the famous Sloppy Joes bar (where I ate, hands down, the best sloppy joe I've ever had) and just soaked up as much island culture and sights as we could. I had to take advantage of the opportunity to do something silly while on vacation, and I got a henna tattoo of the boys initials on my ankle. For some reason, I thought it would be a more involved process, but it literally took about a minute and a half, and consisted of having a puffy paint-like substance squeezed into the letters. Its fading, but I still have traces of it left...its been a nice reminder of our time together.

And alas, our short, yet totally blissful holiday had come to an end. We took our time riding to the airport, and thankfully, our ride was lined by beaches and water nearly the entire way. We stopped off at the beach, waiting until the last minute to head back bravely into reality...

I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we had - its so easy to get caught up in everyday routine and lose yourself to a rather mundane existance ;-) This is exactly what we needed, at the end of a very long and cold Ohio winter to lift our spirits and focus on us for a change. Pure joy, I tell you. Pure joy. :-)

1 comment:

Trent said...

What a fun trip. We are jealous!!! Love the beach pictures especially that night one with the Palm trees. I bet you catch yourselves daydreaming of being back there. I am so glad you guys went and had such a great time. The weather looked perfect! Great Pictures!!!