When we last wrote, it was right before the NFC championship game Seahawks vs. the Packers. That night was clearly crazy for us Hawks fans, and one we will all not soon forget. Traci and I celebrated with horns honking from the MoHo and hugs from our neighbors, we might have been having too much fun, but who would have thought we could pull out that game. Way to go Hawks!!
We spent that next week in anticipation of visitors, our great friends Sunny and Mitch! We drove up to Fort Lauderdale to pick them up on a Friday night, and sat through the 3 hour return (normally 1.5 hour drive) but it was all good as we had plenty to talk about on the road trip home. That night Mitch and I enjoyed a feast of Stone Crab; I had picked up 3 lbs. from some guy in a parking lot restaurant we were eating at a day before, all for $25. (Normally the local stores sell it for $26 per lb.) Afterwards, we set up the MoHo for our weary travelers to get some rest, and got some sleep.
Saturday we woke and ate breakfast in, and then it was off to another local event, this time the Stone Crab and Seafood Festival of Key Largo. The venue was the same as the Beer Fest a few weeks prior, so we knew right where to go, but this time we got to take our guests. The event was much more crowded, lots more vendors and food booths, and the weather was a bit cooler, with plenty of wind. The weather did not dampen our spirits, the beverages started to flow, and we had a blast. We found a couple of trinkets that we could not live without; including what Mitch called “the greatest life changing purchase ever!” The Bevfridge, a mini beer/wine/pick your poison cooler that holds ice around your beverage, and guarantees that your last sip will be colder than your first, and it was so true according to MD. The Bevfridge traveled with us all week, and was put to a lot of good use; I might have to get one myself. We left the festival and headed to the Big Chill, one of my favorite places here for dinner. The wings in this place are second to only the Carolina Ale House in the SE, and we had a great view from our table in the cold wind that night. We returned to the MoHo, and played Dominoes, what a fun first full day!
Sunday brought McMiller’s for breakfast, and then we made our way to the pool that afternoon. The weather had turned a bit cooler, highs down to the upper 60’s, but also a lot less humidity. After getting our dose of vitamin D for a few hours, we returned to the MoHo and loaded the cooler for an evening cruise on the water. We neglected to mention in our last post that we had rented a pontoon boat for 5 weeks of our stay, wanting to surprise our guests. The evening was calm, and I took them out to where I had been fishing, even catching a Sea Trout for the group to witness. We then made our way out to the middle of the bay for what we all would agree was one of the best sunsets ever, a truly remarkable sight!
Monday Mitch and I were scheduled to go backcountry sight fishing with a local guide, but we decided the night before with the high wind forecast to postpone the trip till later in the week when it would hopefully improve. So, instead, we made the best of a cold windy day and showed our guests many of our local watering holes. We started at the Island Grill on the ocean side and enjoyed the views and spotty sunshine, and introduced them to Key West Ale, one of our new local favorite beverages. We then made our way up to the Pilot House, with the glass bottom bar, and had a few appetizers, again while enjoying the views of the marina there. Our last stop of the afternoon was to Shipwrecks, the same place I had bought the Stone Crab we enjoyed a few nights before, and had a few more appetizers and beers. We hurried home to catch the sunset, not nearly as spectacular as the night before, and another evening of dominoes and laughter.
Tuesday we hit the road and made our way to Key West. We had made a reservation to stay down there for a night, as it is about 100 miles away, but takes about 2.5-3 hours due to all the traffic and slow speed limits in the Keys. We checked into our hotel, and made it quickly out for lunch on Duvall Street. Full of food, we showed our friends the town, including the “Smallest Bar in Key West,” Sloppy Joes, and capped it all off with a wonderful sunset near Mallory Square at Sunset Pier. We then made our way back toward the hotel, and stopped off at a wine bar for a bottle, then on to dinner at a nice little Italian place close to the hotel. After a great meal, Mitch and I headed home, while Sunny and Traci stayed out for a couple more beverages, before making their way home. Another awesome day with great friends.
Wednesday we checked out of the hotel and went to breakfast/brunch at the Banana Café, a neat little old place that had great food, and most important, open seats for us. We then drove up to the north side of town, stopped for a beer over the marina, before making our way towards home. A quick trip to Key West, but plenty of great memories for sure. On the way home, we made a stop at Robbie’s, a place Traci and I had been before. Here is where people can “Feed the Tarpons.” We went out to the dock, and there were dozens of the massive fish in port. With a bait bucket in hand, we fed these giants, while watching others doing the same. We then made our way around the village with all the vendors, and then returned to the car for the remaining drive home. We got the cooler loaded up and headed out to the bay again for the sunset, not going out too far as the boat was not sounding very strong. We had a nice evening on the water, and returned to order some really bad pizza from a local joint, an early night to bed, as Mitch and I were going fishing in the morning on our rescheduled trip.
MD and I woke early, out of the MoHo at 7:00AM to meet our guide at the marina by 7:30AM. We got there and met Captain Barry Hoffman as scheduled. After a few minutes of talking, it was agreed by all that the trip should be canceled. The water temps in the area where we were going to try to fish were in the high 50’s and many of the fish do not liven up till the water temps are around 70 degrees. We thanked Captain Barry for his honesty, saving us and costing him money, but in the end the smart decision was made. We returned to the MoHo, and joined our wives back in bed and slept for a few more hours. The winds kicked up as predicted, so we made our own party in the tent outside the MoHo, playing more dominoes, and just enjoying each other’s company. (We probably would have tried to hit the pool at some point, but it was closed for a “massive leak”; no idea when it will get repaired, remember we are in the Keys and nothing gets done quickly around here.) Nearing the late afternoon, and all of us hungry, we headed out on the boat to a couple restaurants a few miles away, the Bayside and then on to Snook’s for dinner. Fortunately it was a partial moon and not too cloudy so I could navigate us home in the dark, and we finished our dominos tournament and off to bed.
Friday brought the end of Sunny and Mitch’s visit, but not before one last trip out in the boat. The day was perfect, almost no wind, and very clear skies, so we made our way out to the “blue water” beyond the local mangrove islands. We turned off the engine and just floated for an hour or so, before having to make our way back to the MoHo to head to the airport. It was a great finish to a fantastic visit with awesome friends. We are so glad they came down to stay with us for a week, and enjoy our lifestyle with us on this journey. Thanks Burn and Mitchell D. – love you guys, Baby G and E!