The Florida Keys: Key West
Earlier this summer I took a little (and by little I mean seriously amazing so much so I really didn’t want to come home) trip to The Florida Keys. This is part TWO of that amazing trip. The first two days of the trip were spent bouncing around the idealistic ISLAMORADA . We packed up ours bags and headed further South to Key West for the final 2 days of our trip.
Key West was as vibrant and delicious as I imagined it would be. Trying to compare these two places would be like trying to compare apples to oranges. I adored them both. Clearly I didn’t want to come home.
We packed up in our party van and stopped off at the SUPER SWANK Little Palm Island. Now when I say swank I mean it. You can only get to this little private island paradise by boat or by sea plane. The food is worth the trip alone.
Executive Chef Roly Cruz-Taura dazzled us with his eyes, I mean food. And by food he served up so many courses for lunch we couldn’t even finish them all. That was a first for me. We did however practically lick our plates with his Key Lime Pie.
It was my favorite Key Lime Pie of the entire trip. After ALL that amazing food and a few of their signature island cocktail – GUMBY SLUMBERS I would have loved nothing better than to curl up on a lounger by the water or swing away in hammocks that are tucked away in little spots throughout the island.
LITTLE PALM ISLAND RESORT & SPA
28500 Overseas Highway, MM 28.5, Little Torch Key, FL 33042, 305-872-2524
Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the luxurious Little Palm Island resort lies on a private island off the Lower Keys coastline. Led by Executive Chef Roly Cruz-Taura and his culinary team, Little Palm has been recently recognized for the best hotel dining in Florida and was named number three in the U.S. by Zaggat.
No time to rest, we were off to check into the fresh and funky IBIS BAY BEACH RESORT. This resort is everything I thought Key West would be. And that VIEW. That’s the view from my back door. Stunning right?
You get a hammock, she gets a hammock, he gets a hammock EVERYBODY gets a hammock. You couldn’t be there and not smile. It made me want to put on a straw hat, grab a margarita and kick back.
We were treated to a snorkeling and spearfishing boating excursion that took off right from THE STONED CRAB which is on the property. We brought our hog fish back to the resort and they cooked it up for our lunch. It’s a cook the catch experience. How’s that for fresh?
IBIS BAY BEACH RESORT
3101 N. Roosevelt Boulevard, Key West, FL 33040, 305-296-1043
This historic 1956 beachfront resort communicates Key West’s famous artistic flair and Cuban influence. The property is surrounded by wildlife, so guests might run into some iguanas, pelicans, herons, and tortoises while roaming the property.
We were fortunate to be in Key West during Hemingway Days. If you’re a fan of Ernest Hemingway this is A MUST festival to put on your list.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY HOME & MUSEUM
907 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040, 305-294-1575
Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West for nearly 10 years, finding solace and great physical challenge in the turquoise waters that surround this tiny island. At the Whitehead street property, guests can step back in time and visit the rooms and gardens where the Nobel Prize winner spent the most prolific period of his writing career.
If you love chocolate and wine (and who doesn’t) A trip to Lush Bar should also be on your list. The staff is super knowledgeable and you’ll walk away with a new appreciation for the cocoa bean and the wines they pair with.
1130 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040, 1-855-its-lush
Lush Key West offers a variety of products including coffees, chocolates, wines, and cheeses from around the world. They offer organic wine and cheese tastings, wine and chocolate tastings, and even beer tastings. All products are certified organic.
A dinner at Turtle Kraals had us enjoying seafood and scenery right off a post card. Get the ceviche. You won’t be disappointed.
231 Margaret Street, Key West, FL 33040, 305-294-2640
Key West’s colorful mix of food and culture is influenced by generations of settlers from the nearby Caribbean islands. Turtle Kraals Bar & Restaurant celebrates this culinary blend of the tropics by delivering authentic Key West dining and cocktails on the waterfront in a unique and historic location.
A trip to Key West has to include a drink (or two or three) at Sloppy Joe’s Bar. It’s an institution. It was also the location of the Hemingway Look alike Contest. There were more Hemingway Look Alikes than you could shake a stick at.
Including Paula Deen’s husband y’all. I snapped a photo in case you didn’t believe me. Clearly he totally caught me taking his photo.
I have to tell you, they are SERIOUS about this contest. The contestants had their crews encouraging people (and by encouraging I mean passing out swag: think pencils, fans, t-shirts) I told you they were serious.
It was all in good fun and I have to say it was a great time. I didn’t stop smiling the entire time. It might have had something to do with the punch but I can’t be certain.
SLOPPY JOE’S BAR
201 Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040, 305-294-5717
On our final night in Key West we dined and drank at Latitudes. It was the perfect way to enjoy our last dinner in town.
LATITUDES AT SUNSET KEY GUEST COTTAGES
245 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040, 305-292-5300
Executive Chef Todd Holdener takes full advantage of his tropical surroundings at Sunset Key’s Latitudes. His ever evolving menu incorporates ingredients such as locally sourced fish and tropical fruits, with dishes prepared using classical techniques.
On our last morning in town we stopped by Blue Heaven. It’s eclectic easy going and is easily be one of the best breakfast places I’ve ever eaten at. Fun fact: Kenny Chesney filmed a video here, he sadly wasn’t there during our breakfast but the crab omelet and the key lime pie quickly made me forget. That and the chickens that were wandering around. I wonder if that’s where they get their fresh eggs?
729 Thomas Street, Key West, FL 33040, 305-296-8666
Home to the most “heavenly” breakfast in Key West, this shuttered blue building has a century-old history of entertaining islanders on Petronia Street in the historic Bahama Village neighborhood. Through the years the property has hosted cock fighting, gambling and Friday night boxing matches referred by Ernest Hemingway.
Want to visit The Florida Keys? Of course you do! I know I’ll be going back and hopefully sooner rather than later! I’ve got my suitcase ready …
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Disclaimer: I was hosted by the Florida Keys Tourism Board, though received no compensation for my post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.