Hog Snorts and Potholes on Scooters: Key West, FL

So I know it's been a while since Charley and I got back from Key West, but I figure a little old school knowledge of the island is well worth the wait. If you're curious as to why I've been MIA, I just started a new job and have been bogged down with everything which that entails. I hope y'all have been doing well and enjoy learning a little bit about Key West!

We drove down on a Thursday night after work to my parents' house in Naples, FL. We ended up getting in at probably 2am because after all, Atlanta to South Florida is NOT a short drive, particularly with a Frenchie having to have a potty break every hour. The next day Charley hung out at the house reading while my mom and I went shopping. I scored a ton of work-appropriate jewelry at the Best of Everything. If you're ever in Naples, GO! They're only there and I believe Kennebunk Port, Maine. They've got everything from faux David Yurman and Longchamp bags (only $14!) to really pretty beach cover ups and serving platters. Everything there makes for a great gift! We went to dinner with my parents that night to celebrate our 1 year anniversary and had a great walk on the beach. I do miss Naples sunsets.

The following morning, Charley and I had to get up really early to make the Key West Express-a huge catamaran that cuts down the travel time to KW to about 3.5 hours. We wore our matching Hawaiian shirts from J.crew like totally cheesy tourists but we didn't care. The ride down was smooth and relaxing and allowed us to get in some reading and sun.

When we got to the docks, we walked the half a mile to our hotel, Cypress House which is a historic home they've turned into a bed and breakfast of sorts. We stayed in the original house itself whereas other rooms are in other various buildings that are newer. Our room is on the second floor where we later found out on a ghost tour, was the room that is haunted by the caretaker of the old place. Made for a great night of sleep after learning that...not. In reality, it was a really cute hotel and really fun because of the history but it was SO loud-not because of other guests but because of the lack of insulation, we could hear everyone walking outside, motorcycles, fire trucks. Not good. Outside of the noise at night, it was awesome.

After we checked in, we took a walk around the island and I showed Charley Duval Street, the Little White House, the military base, and Mallory Square. We had lunch at Hog's Breath (amazing fish tacos) and I found a new favorite cocktail, a HOG SNORT! I'm pretty sure it was coconut rum, pineapple juice, and blue curacao. So good...got so crunk off one little one. So pathetic...

We headed to dinner at the A&B that night, my favorite restaurant on the island. It's right on the water at the docks where my family used to stay when we'd go down and stay on our boat in the summers. I still remember how nice it was to arrive and be covered in salt from the trip down. Anyway, the food at A&B is absolutely incredible if not a little pricey. Make sure you make reservations or you will end up waiting for a while. Ironically, just as Charley and I were walking up, a guy yelled my name from a scooter, full name but maiden name-it caught me off guard since I don't know anybody that lives in Key West. It ended up being a friend of mine I'd lived with when I was in Spain. He too was on his one year anniversary but with his girlfriend. I saw on facebook the next day that they had gotten engaged later that night at the restaurant next door-my other favorite, The Commodore!

The next day we woke up early grabbed coffee and a chocolate croissant from this cute little place next to our hotel, Conch Plantation. I don't drink coffee but Charley said their coffee was excellent. I on the other hand loved their coconut lime soda. It was made and France and now I'm actively trying to buy cases of it for this summer! We then went to rent a scooter so that we could make the most of our time on the island-I definitely recommend it because your feet will hurt. Even though the island is only 4 square miles, the heat and sun can really take it out of you. We got our Scooter at Pirate Rentals and couldn't have been happier. They only charged us for a 1-day 24 hour rental even though we kept it for probably about 30+!

We immediately took the scooter to the Southernmost Point and took our novelty picture and also noticed the little alcove to the left which is where the first international call was ever made. We then zipped around the island, particularly the southern side where they have the really open public beach. You can take wave runner tours around the island and sign up there, rent canoes/kayaks/sale boats-it's a lot of fun if you need entertaining otherwise you can just take a good book. We headed back to the hotel, grabbed our suits, and decided to spend the rest of the day on the beach.

We had somewhat of a disappointing dinner on Duval Street before we jumped the scooter and took off to make our ghost tour on time. Unfortuntely, the address for the tour in google maps is not correct and we ended up on the other side of the island before I realized I already knew where it began-the trolley station near the docks. We got on the trolley, which having been on several ghost tours before, I have to say was much more impressive than any other I've been on. The tour guide dressed up as a dead bartender and took us to all of the historic landmarks in KW, telling us stories of hauntings and death. So fun! All of the locals play along and every time they see the trolley, they yell "YOU'RE DOOMED!" at which point we were instructed to yell, "YES! WE ARE THE DOOMED!" The tour took us to the museum on the south side of the island where we got to go in after hours! When we walked through the back gates we were greeted by another guide in a hooker costume...not like a hooker hooker but a "I fish dead bodies out of the harbor hooker." We went in the museum and saw a few things including an antique hearse and a weird doll named Robert that supposedly haunted a house of a local boy and played tricks on locals. You have to introduce yourself to Robert and ask to take his picture or he will haunt you even after you leave KW. Way too creepy for my taste, but we greeted Robert nicely nonetheless.

The next day was our last day so we woke up early, went to Pepe's (the oldest restaurant on the island) and then proceeded to scoot our way around to all of the museums on the island. After breakfast we saw a Frenchie from the scooter at which point I threw the scooter in park and ran to pet her...Yea, I'm THAT Frenchie lady.

We started by going to Ernest Hemingway's house and took the short 30 min tour. Some of the things I love about that house are the tile work, his writing studio in the separate building, the pool with the penny epoxied into the ground (he threw a penny at his wife at the time saying that she would take his last cent building that pool and she had it permanently installed on the pool deck), and the fountain for the cats. He had taken a urinal from the original Sloppy Joe's bar and brought it home to have the cats drink out of-his wife was appalled and had a large jug put on top and Spanish tiles to disguise it but if you look closely, you can tell the base of the fountain is in fact, a urinal. Another fun fact-the current Sloppy Joe's is not the original. The original is on the opposite side of the street, Captain Tony's Saloon. Supposedly there was a crazy woman that killed her whole family that was hanged from the tree that is still growing through the bar. Sloppy Joe's moved across the street for the same reason most places do-higher rent! They moved the whole bar by giving bar goers a free drink for every piece of furniture they carried over-which is not unlike how I used to bribe my friends into helping me move... 

After Hemingway's house, we went to the lighthouse museum across the street-Charley's first time in a lighthouse! I love them and have always enjoyed climbing to the top. Key West being pretty flat, this lighthouse has less than 200 steps to get to the top and the view was incredible. Also on the property is the house where the lighthouse keepers lived-kind of neat to look around that as well.

We took a break for lunch and then headed to the Mel Fisher exhibit. Mel Fisher is the guy who found the Atocha, the Spanish ship that was sunk with millions of dollars worth of treasure. He spent the large part of his life looking for this particular ship but worked doing salvage operations otherwise. His wife held the record at one point for the person who had stayed below water the longest. The whole family is in the business and since his death, his son operates everything. The museum in Key West has examples of things that have been found at other sites but also items from the actual Atocha. You can still buy original pieces if you have that kind of flow and if you're interested, can actually go dive the Atocha. 

We wrapped up our trip and headed back to Naples the next day without a sunburn or a regret about how we spent a single second of our trip. Book your tickets and don your tropical shirts, people. Key West is definitely where you want to be!


  1. Dammit...I had completely forgotten about The Best of Everything until you mentioned it. You suck...now I want to go there! Ahhhh! Love your trip to Key West! I hadn't thought about taking the Key West Express to there. Aren't you brilliant. I need to check into this! XO

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