Sunday, November 10, 2013

Discovering the Other Keys in Florida

With all the places I’ve been around the world, I’ve actually never been to the Florida Keys (with the exception of covering a tennis tournament on Key Biscayne). I’ve spent a lot of time in the Miami area, but the timing just never worked out for me to extend the visit to the keys.

I was intrigued to get an email about visiting the “other keys.” Frankly, I had no idea that Florida had “other keys,” but a little bit of research led me to discover that there were some beautiful islands on the west coast off Sarasota. The timing worked and, with summer ending here, a beach trip sounded like a great idea.

I made arrangements to fly down and meet my friend Lynn for yet another girls getaway. The itinerary had us doing everything from visiting (what has been voted) the No. 1 beach in the U.S. to touring the Opera House, but I was excited that first day to just arrive in time to catch some rays. My previous trips had been jammed packed and my time at home limited so the idea of actually laying on a lounge chair sounded like heaven.

The first resort we were staying at was the Lido Beach Resort on Lido Key. I had arrived in Florida the night before to spend some time with my mom in the Delray Beach area and then took the four hour drive there. I had made that trip once before and Alligator Alley had been a bit swamp-like with no cell phone service, but things had certainly changed and a new road (and plenty of 4G followed me the whole way).

As I crossed over the bridge from Sarasota to Lido Key I was immediately attracted to the blue waters and pristine palm trees. The resort itself was also quite impressive and I loved the idea that the garage parking was a very short (indoor) walk to our suite.

We had a suite with a fully-equipped kitchenette, large bathroom and breathtaking views of the beach.  It was a great place to call home for the next few days.

Within the hour I was changed into my bathing suit and down at the pool with Lynn with a drink in my hand, toasting to yet another adventure to come. The weather was just perfect, sunny and in the 80s, and not as humid as Florida often gets. We relaxed for a while before heading back up to the room.

The original plan was to go downtown for dinner, but we opted instead to stay in, ordering a veggie-filled pizza from room service.  They also had some of our favorite wine on the menu. A Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon and a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc showed up at our door just in time to watch the sunset and think about exploring Florida’s Western Keys.

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