Key West, Florida is a family favorite locale. My parents and sister have been there more frequently than Eric and I – we have only been twice now. I know, the shame! Poor Greta has yet to experience Key West. I have been daydreaming of spring break trips this year, as we are not likely to have one with the process of packing, selling a house, and moving on our radar this spring. So, on this nice and sunny, 60 degree day in Greensboro, I dream of Key West. Read on to find some highlights of our last trip to Key West in April of 2010 plus an easy side, a Key West inspired recipe – Lemon Garlic Roasted Carrots.
My family always stays in the same place – the Eden House. This place is heaven. This is the elaborate system of walkways with privacy fences between the pool and one of the houses that has been converted to suites. We stayed on the second floor of one such suite. There are a variety of rooms, suites, and even condo-like setups.
The front porch of the Eden House – I could spend an entire day sitting here watching Key West amble by.
This is our post wake-up and pre-breakfast meet-up. This particular trip included myself, Eric, Brady (brother-in-law), Caroline (sister), my dad and my mom.
Our suite had a porch off the back with chairs and a swing. We spent most of our evenings out here watching the tour buses and people go by.
Eric and I love to take our Diana camera along on vacations – it takes lovely dreamy photos. Analog film is still better than Instagram, if you ask me. I was working on a watercolor painting of Eric sitting in the swing.
The Southernmost Point is a fun place to visit. Be prepared to wait in line for your turn to take a photo, though.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is a great place to ride your bike to. They always have interesting sculptures set up along the walkways. This year was no exception – this one made from twigs framed the water beautifully.
Bring water along – the ride is warmer and sunnier than you think, but there are concessions to purchase at the park.
You can also swim, rent chairs,
wade in the water, and enjoy a walk on their paths.
We ride our rental bikes everywhere on the island. The island is flat and the roads easy enough to ride on – cars are well-versed in tourists on bicycles. We enjoy riding around the entire edge of the island at least once. This trip always takes us out to the pier. Everyone smiles in Key West – how could you not with this backdrop?
Usually we see pelicans on the pier.
The wide path behind Eric is what we ride on for a good length along the beaches. I can almost feel the ocean breeze now. Sigh.
We always make time for the Ernest Hemingway home
. This beautiful home was built in 1851 and became the famous author’s home in 1931. I love the two-story porches and green shutters.
The furniture inside the home was used by Hemingway and his family.
The different shades of green are fitting for a Key West home. I love the painted floors!
The home and gardens are filled with cats. There are about 40-50 poly dactyl cats around the house and grounds – all descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s 6-toed cat named Snowball. This particular marmalade enjoys its place on the bed.
There are signs of the cats everywhere – footprints in the concrete around the house and pool.
The cats are sleeping on furniture, in the gardens, and in the house.
There is even a little cat graveyard in the garden, complete with a cat house for the living.
This last trip, we headed over to the Martello Tower, which is now the Key West Garden Club. This is a free destination in Key West and was once a fort during the Civil war, but now home to a lush garden full of interesting plants.
These white angel trumpet flowers formed a shady canopy overhead.
The colors were just a riot.
The lizards are everywhere.
This spiny tree was my favorite.
Eric even found a coconut.
The inside of the Key West Garden Club still looks very much like a military fort, except for the motorized wooden chair mounted on the wall. This was another one of the artworks that can be found all over the island.
is our favorite breakfast place in Key West. This pretty calico was sunning herself on the porch at the entrance of this interesting place.
The walkway into the restaurant’s courtyard is paved in brick and lined in lush foliage.
Once inside the courtyard, you are in, well Blue Heaven. The stage hosts live music, the bar is stocked for breakfast or drinks, and the ground is sand and usually teeming with chickens.
We watched this hen and rooster scratch around while enjoying some of the best banana bread on earth.
Another fun place to eat is Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery. This is in the former headquarters of Pan American Airlines and boasts themselves as the southern most brewery. It has a wonderful second floor deck/patio we like to sit at while we enjoy its very own beer. I enjoyed the coconut shrimp and Havana Red Ale.
A great place to eat with a killer view is Turtle Kraals
. We found ourselves at here after a day of wandering around the island, before heading to Mallory Square for the evening entertainment
The rooftop views of the boats and the marina can’t be beat. This is a lovely place to enjoy drinks while the sun sets.
I ordered an amazing meal of mango crab cakes with coconut rice and a creamy, tropical coleslaw. Heaven on a plate!
Just down the street from the Eden House, is the Help Yourself Cafe & Market
. The menu here is everything healthy – smoothies, salads, wraps, noodle dishes, raw food dishes, and amazing breakfasts. I highly recommend you check this place out, if you get the chance. If only it were down the street from me now…
But I will have to make do with Lemon Garlic Roasted Carrots in the meantime.
This recipe is so easy – it takes only the above ingredients, and after slicing my carrots, I prepared the rest with only one arm, due to a Greta Monster. These are a delicious side to any meal, are fast, easy, and cheap!
Lemon Garlic Roasted Carrots
1. Slice 4 to 6 carrots in half, lengthwise and again in half, vertically. Arrange carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, dried garlic flakes, and lemon juice.
2. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until softened and sauce is bubbly.