If there’s one thing our family is good at, it’s spontaneity. In fact, we are much more likely to do something when asked last minute than to put it on our schedule months in advance because long term commitments scare us. When my dad asked me a few weeks ago if the kids and I wanted to come to Key West with him, I said it probably wouldn’t work out. But then he asked me again two days before he left, sweetening the deal with “I asked your sister, and she just got a ticket–she’s flying down tomorrow morning,” and the spontaneity thrilled me. So I made a few calls, arranged to bring some school work with us and then I pulled the kids out of school for three days to give the Internet Debbies something to talk about over coffee. I’m nice like that.
Key West is a five hour drive, and once the I-75 part is complete, it’s actually quite pleasant–a simple highway connected by numerous bridges and little beach towns sprinkled with old school motels, charming restaurants and tourist signs that lure passersby into shell shops and scuba dive bookings and dolphin excursions. The road ends at Mile 0…Key West.
We haven’t been to Key West in years–since Nella was a baby–so it was fun to come back and see how it’s changed. Really, when we return to these kind of places, we’re seeing how we’ve changed though.
Bikes have replaced strollers.
My dad loaded up six bikes and a bike trailer in his minivan, and I wouldn’t do Key West again without a bike. We biked along the ocean, through town, four miles to breakfast, four miles back, to the playground…and this one did it all, without complaint, on this itty bitty bike with training wheels.
Key West Favorites include…
Blue Heaven. Always Blue Heaven. We spent an entire morning there, playing ping pong, drinking mimosas, searching for cats and chickens…
This cat was a meanie. It’s all cute and fun until the cat scratches your eyes out.
Nella stayed glued to my sister to the point I had to ask my sister if she needed a break (she didn’t). I love how kids know their family–even if they don’t see them a lot.
And why yes, that is a small dog in a baby sling.
In other news, I finally found a donut to rival the best one I’ve ever eaten at Dough in Tampa…Glazed Donuts on Eaton Street, sweet Lord in heaven.
We balanced our few Go, Do, See! adventures with a lot downtime which was just what we needed.
…and managed to squeeze in one sunset at Mallory Square.
A people-watching dinner at Amigo’s…
I’ll never forget these decisions to pick up and go, to make the memories, to swap classroom math for life math.
And for anyone who doesn’t want to drive as far as Key West, Islamorada is closer and so full of charm. We stopped on our way home, and I tucked it away as the next place we want to explore. Until next time…