After our exciting honeymoon to Italy last year, Mr. Stavely and I decided that 2014 will be the year of a lot of travel around the US. There is so much to see right here in the states and I hope to share it with you here. We kicked off our year of travel with a trip down to Florida. We wanted to visit my sister in Miami and then road trip down to Key West for the first time.
We started our trip with some coffee on her amazing balcony in South Beach under the palm trees. I wish I could do this every morning.
Then we rented bikes and peddled down to The Big Pink in SoFi to have brunch. It was my first steak n eggs experience and I am sad that nothing else will ever compare.
After walking on the beach for a bit, we hopped in the car and headed to the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. It is known for all of its murals and street art, which is right up my alley.
We grabbed an iced coffee at the Panther Coffee shop, admiring their patio centered around a big tree and then off we wandered. We went through Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Doors, basically an outdoor museum of murals, complete with it’s own café and gallery.
After exploring the neighborhood for a bit, we were in need of another beverage and decided to go find Wynwood Brewing Co. I had looked it up beforehand, but after walking a few blocks from a funky part of the neighborhood to a starting to be sketchy part of the neighborhood, my husband and sister started questioning my sense of direction. Shame on them, we were there in no time and began sampling beer flights.
We grabbed a growler to go and ended our day with dinner at Havana 1957 on Lincoln Road. I had previously been to their location on Espanola Way. Great authentic Cuban food! The next day, we woke up early (in South Beach terms) to head down to Key West. We rented a convertible, which of course meant that it rained for the first part of the trip. We stopped at Hariette’s in Key Largo, a great mom and pop diner at mile marker 95.7. Besides the rain, the route is a must on the list of great American road trips. Amazing views and it cleared up in time to put the top down to cruise into Key West. My sister has gotten a little too used to the Florida heat and thought 75 was too chilly. Poor girl.
We were a little early to check into our room, so naturally my sister and husband had us at Flamingo Crossing, an ice cream shop, within a few minutes of being in town. Sitting on the porch eating a refreshing ice cream cone on a Friday morning, I was in officially in heaven. Soon there after, our room was ready. We checked into The Douglas House, which was around the corner from Duval Street on Amelia Street. I mainly picked it for the picturesque porches and secret garden like courtyard and pool.
We relaxed for a bit on the porch, soaking in the sun, watching roosters meander the streets and then headed out for drinks. We headed to a bar with a 2nd level balcony called the Bull and the Whistle to partake in some people watching, careful about wandering up to the 3rd floor 😉 unless of course, you are meaning to. We continued on, enjoying some frozen beverages, eating appetizers and then headed to Sunset Pier to watch the sunset.
After enjoying the entertainment in Mallory Square, we headed to The Porch, one of the more laid back drinking establishments off Duval Street. As you can tell, I have a thing for porches. After a few delicious beers from their great beer list, we wanted to check out dinner at Two Cents, but the wait was much too long for our hungry (and now tipsy) stomachs so we headed to Caroline’s and capped off the night with drinks at Vinos on Duval. The next day, we HAD to check out Blue Heaven. The wait was as expected (over an hour), the bloody mary’s had a good kick, and the atmosphere was better than imagined. I hope one day to have a backyard as awesome as that, complete with roosters and their addicting pancakes.
After a few bloodys and a life changing breakfast, I was in need of seeing some cats, the Hemingway cats to be specific. We took a tour of his house and I took a picture of every cat I saw, per usual.
Before leaving Key West and crying a little on the inside, I dragged the husband and the sister over to see the famous mile marker signs. When in Rome… err… Key West. We found Ocean City, MD. Even found one of where we got married, Ohiopyle, PA.
Back into the convertible and on the road again. One more stop for a sunset and dinner of course. I would highly recommend Morada Bay Beach Café, it is like a little slice of paradise. Wait, it is a little slice of paradise.
On our last day in Florida, my sister took us kayaking. We paddled in and out of the huge homes on the water in South Beach and then retired to her pool until our flight. It is a rough life, but someone has got to do it. It was a great warm escape from the winter weather here.
I had a blast visiting my sister in Miami and fell in love with Key West. I’m ready to start planning our trip back! Next time, I want to check out a few more things on my list. In Miami, 3rd Street Beach Yoga (donation based at sunrise and sunset), Oliver’s Bistro for breakfast, Yardbird, Buck 15, The Broken Shaker and Lou’s Beer Garden. In the Keys, Lazy Days, Robbie’s to feed some tarpon, Juan Loves Lucy (for “the best cuban sandwich ever”), and the very touristy but necessary Southernmost point.