Vacation 2015

Destination - Key West!!!

While not the official start of our Summer Vacation, we did get a chance to spend a few hours in Savannah Georgia today.   The weather had predicted an 80% chance of rain, but we took our chances anyway.  It wasn't long after finding a spot to park the Jeep and head down River Street that it started to rain on us.  We ducked in and out of a few shops along the street to see if anything caught our eye for souvenirs, and get a little bereavement from the slow drizzle outside.

After a block or so, we headed up to Bay Street and took cover under the large oak trees.  We love seeing all the trees, with their complement of Spanish moss covering their branches.

After making it back to the Jeep somewhat damp, drove up and down a few streets checking out all the squares, parks, and historic houses the downtown area has.  We then headed back to our hotel for a quick refresh and then it was off to meet friends and coworkers for an all you can eat Low Country Boil!!!!

Tomorrow we head south towards Florida and the official start of our vacation.

May 8th, 2015

We were able to stop back in Savannah Georgia for a few hours this morning to catch a few more sights that the rain drove us away from yesterday.  We couldn't have asked for better weather as we headed out to Lafayette Park.

While visiting the park, we ran into one of the Savannah natives.  I have to share this mans story...

His name is Allen, originally from Rhode Island.  He was recently released from the Savannah hospital, recovering from a broken hip.    He made his way down to the Savannah area by hitching a ride on a train car (not the passenger type).  When arriving in Savannah, he broke his hip while jumping off the train.  I am not sure how much of the story is true, but he looks like a creditable man :-).  He actually requested that I take his picture, because someday he would be famous - maybe this is his first of many photo-shoots!

After Savannah, we headed south to Woodbine, Georgia to stop and say hello to some long time friends and after a brief visit were off again. Sorry, we should have taken a photo :-(

Once into Florida, we headed down on the A1A Highway and went through Yulee, Fernandina Beach, and Fort George Island.  At Fort George Inlet, we drove out onto the beach, and stopped to dip our feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

Afterwards, we headed down to board the St. John's River Ferry and cross over to Mayport.  From there, more A1A down to Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Rattle Snake Island, and then into Daytona.

 May 9th 2015

Today we spent the day in the Jeep making good time towards Miami.  We made it all the way to Homestead Florida where we stayed the night.

May 10th 2105

Today was spent driving through the Keys to our destination, Key West! For those that no little about the Keys, here are some fun facts.
  • There are 42 bridges that connect the Keys to mainland Florida.
  • The third largest coral reef in the world is off the coast of Key West.
  • All of the sand on the beaches of Key West were shipped in from the Caribbean.
  • Because it can be accessed by land Key West is known as the Southernmost city in the country.
  • It is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami.
  • It is the only city in the country that never gets frost.
  • The original name for Key West was Cayo Hueso meaning: Island of Bones.
  • In 1889, Key West was the biggest city in Florida.
  • During the 80’s, the Florida Keys briefly declared independence from the US as a protest over a US border patrol blockade.

Yes, we made it to Duval street on our first night in Key West.  We had some fabulous seafood at the Conch Republic and then walked Duval Street.  We also hit Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration, which is a nightly arts festival. The participants of this attraction consist of arts and crafts exhibitors, street performers, food carts, psychics and of course the thousands of other tourists from around the world who visit Key West. 

May 11, 2015

Today was a long day.   We started out this morning at 6 A.M. to catch the sunrise and some of the points of interest before it got too crowded.  After the sunrise, it was off to the Southern Most Point of the U.S., Higgs Beach pier, and White Street pier.  Then it was off to brunch at Pepe's Cafe.

Remnants of the old pier at Higgs Beach.

Pepe's Cafe has been a staple of Key West since 1909. It was recommended by a friend of mine, and glad we ate there.

Another tidbit about Key West are the chickens!  The feral fowl that frequent the streets and alleys are the perfect metaphor for Key West -– historic, colorful, sort of wild, a little noisy and occasionally annoying.  You hear them crowing and see them strutting everywhere. The colorful roosters and the mother hens followed by lines of tiny chicks weave in and out of traffic and through outdoor cafes all over town. Key West residents call them gypsy chickens.

 After our morning excursion, it was back to our room for a little R&R.  We decided to spend some time at the pool and had some unexpected guest join us.  We had seen the signs about iguanas and not feeding them, but had not seen anything really bigger than your typical garden lizard.  Well, we had one come flying out of nowhere and land in the pool with us! Everyone scattered at first and then settled into taking pictures of him. After the first one showed up, we had about three more, the biggest one being about three feet in length!

 After our excitement at the hotel, it was time to head back into town to take in more of the Key West nightlife. We headed to Duval Street, to walk, shop and eat.  Key West has over 150 restaurants, so choosing one is difficult.   After passing at least ten, we decided on Caroline's Cafe.  I have to say our choice was right on.   Afterwards, we walked more of the streets, and then headed to Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration.

The Sunset tonight was Awesome!

Duval Street at night.

May 12th, 2015

Today was another busy day for us.   We started out the morning with a 3 hour snorkeling trip to Sand Key Lighthouse, and Eastern Dry Rock which are six miles off the coast of Key West in the Atlantic Ocean.  Our ship for the trip was the Reef Express and took us and about 30 other people out.  At each location, the water was average depth of 20ft, and crystal clear.  There were plenty of fish, but not exactly what I would call "advertisement" material.  We did see a few small Barracuda, but no sharks, turtles, eels, or any other exotic fish.

Upon our return there were some amazing cloud formations overhead. We headed back to the hotel to regroup and refresh and then it was back into town for dinner and the Sunset Celebration.  We had dinner at Fogerty's and then walked more of Duval street, then headed to Mallory Square to join the crowd witness another beautiful sunset, and our last at Key West (at least on this trip).

May 13th, 2015

Today we leave the paradise of Key West and start our trek north. Our first stop was to fill up on breakfast at the Sounthernmost Cafe which was right on the beach.  Then one last drive down Duval street - a big difference between the day and night activities on that street.

Our next stop was Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key.  The waters there were crystal clear and the beach goers, snorkelers, and swimmers were there to take advantage.

After Big Pine Key, it was time to head across the Seven Mile Bridge to Marathon Key.

Afterwards, we headed up to cut across Florida along Highway 41, which cuts through the Everglades.  We had seen one or two alligators along the side of the road, but could not get decent photographs.  We decided to stop at the Big Cypress National Preserve, Oasis Visitor Center along the way and were greeted with about 40 or so alligators!

Our last stop of the day was by the Post Office.  This U.S. Post Office is the smallest in the country. It's the Ochopee Post Office designated in 1953.

Until tomorrow....

I will try to post as I can, so check back often.

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