Thursday, August 3, 2017

Vacation to Islamorada: Part 1

Today I am going to share the first part of our vacay to Islamorada, and just be forewarned now - pic overload! It was so pretty, and if I could go back right now I would.

But first, a little back story. We were at dinner one night during our family vacation earlier in the summer, and Mr. Cute asked if I wanted to take a trip just he and I somewhere before the summer ended. (Because the best time to plan your next vacation is while you are already on one.) It took me about point two seconds to answer him - yes! We've done our fair share of traveling over the years, but for some reason we've never taken a trip just the two of us since Cute was born. To do the math for you that was about seven years ago. Yikes!

He tossed around a few destinations, but ultimately landed a five day trip to Islamorada, Florida. I had never even heard of it, but it is the sport fishing capital of the world located in the middle of the Florida Keys. All I had to hear was beach and I was in.



The Hotel

Because we booked this trip somewhat last minute we were limited on resort options. Several hotels were full due to the upcoming short season for lobster diving. We had a few different ones on our list and Casa Morada luckily was available for the time frame we needed.


Casa Morada is a boutique hotel featuring 16 unique suites. We booked a garden suite and when we arrived we were instantly transported into a little tropical heaven.


The reception area was darling and after a quick little tour of the gorgeous private grounds we realized how private everything felt.


It almost made you feel like you were on your own private island.



I love love loved the pool and beach areas.


They are surrounded by lagoons, and have a ton of hammocks around.


I could not get over how amazing the view was from this hammock!


There is tons of seating around the pool and a few covered areas the get some shade and lie down in.


The main bar area has tons of seating and had magazines, games, and books out for guests to use.



Our room was so much fun. Each room is different so I can't comment on the other suites, but ours was perfection. We were in the Moon suite. 


It had a separate living room with a cozy daybed as a couch.


An ironworks artist owned the hotel prior to the current owners and several of his pieces are sprinkled throughout the resort. One of those was our cozy bed.


The suite had an open air feel with lots of large windows and a large porch.


The porch also contained a private jacuzzi tub.


And some of the little touches around the room were fun too.


I loved this look book nook next to our bed.



I was super excited about the whole thing...and maybe at the prospect of getting more than five hours of uninterrupted sleep at night followed up by actual lounging at the pool.



Day 1: 

We arrived at the hotel later in the day, so once we got settled we headed out for a bite to eat. We were given a few recommendations for some yummy dinner spots, and we chose a little casual waterside restaurant, Island Grill.


We had traveled and snacked all day, so eating a real meal felt so good.



And then we decided to splurge a little and have dessert. When in the Keys you have to have a piece of Key Lime Pie, right?


The storms rolled in while we were enjoying dinner, but they rolled out just in time for us to enjoy the sunset from our new favorite spot - the hammock.


Day 2: 

Trained by the kids, we woke up nice and early on our first full day. Which was nice because we were the first ones to make our way to the breakfast bar.


Everything was so yummy. I felt it my duty to give you an honest review of the resorts boasted "homemade pastries and croissants". Not even kidding when I say they might be the best pastries I've ever had. The chocolate one - yum!


After breakfast we decided to burn off a few of those pastry calories with a competitive game of bocci ball. It's a good thing everything is super private otherwise our fellow guests might not have appreciated our competitiveness at 7:30a.m. 

Once we determined a clear winner we headed to beat the heat at the pool and beach. We relaxed and it felt oh so good.


There is so much wildlife right in the waters surrounding the resort and we were ecstatic when a family of dolphins literally swam right up to us. If I wasn't five feet off the water I was close enough to reach out and touch them. So cute!


After we did a good bit of lounging, reading, and relaxing on repeat we headed to replenish ourselves at Lazy Days.


The food was yummy, their key lime pie was definitely a contender (By now we have now determined that we need to try everyone's to see who has the best. It's our journalistic duty. Or something like that. #excuses), and the view was so much fun.


We were able to walk next door to Bud & Mary's marina. We did a little shopping for our fishing trip scheduled and then we toured the marina.



We spotted the "Feed the Tarpon" sign and just couldn't resist.


These tarpon were HUGE. Like as large as me huge.


Mr. Cute dared to get close to them to feed them and he barely got the fish down before a hundred pounds of tarpon was lunging out of the water at him.


Needless to say when it was my turn I was a little nervous. I opted for the stand up, drop bait, keep all my fingers position.


Once all limbs were accounted for we decided to do a little driving to explore some of the other Keys. The view was gorgeous!


We did a little more shopping once we arrived back on Islamorada at some of the popular outdoor stores.


Mr. Cute can't resist the lure of an outdoor store.


We made it back to the hotel for happy hour and did a little more ocean side lounging before we made way to dinner. 


The Sunset Punch was quite tasty. 


I broke out some oldies, but goodies from my Lilly collection. And this might be the only day I actually did my hair, but after this the humidity was no match for me.


We were recommended Chef Michael's for dinner by several people, and let me just say it lived up to the hype. It wasn't waterside, but it had such a neat atmosphere and great food it didn't matter. 


From appetizers to dinner everything was delicious! It might be our favorite dinner the entire trip (and that is saying a lot because everywhere we ate was so yummy!). 


Several locals were there and when they heard us order the key lime pie for dessert (now we are just all in), they laughed and told us that everyone comes here for the carrot cake. One man even told us, "I'm a diabetic, and it's worth risking death for. If I go, I'll die a happy man." Well who are we to turn down a good recommendation by those who know...even willing to risk their life for it. Or cancel our original order? 

Verdict: Both out of this world yummy and both worth ruining any sort of exercise you might have done for the entire month. Or year.  


To burn off our calories we headed to Cheeca Lodge across the street from our resort. This was the original resort we tried to book and it was full one of the nights we needed. It is beautiful, and I would definitely check it out if you are planning to bring a family. 


The views are gorgeous, and it has a large beach and separate pool area, as well as a swimming lagoon. 


It also has it's own pier that you can pull your boat up to or fish from. 


After checking out the property we headed toward the shops on site. 


I mean, I wouldn't even have to pack a bag. :)

I just had to do a little shopping. I bought a fun new dress, and a cute pair of shorts


The sun was going down so we decided to head back to our hotel to enjoy the sunset from our favorite spot. 


Ahh... 

That hammock and I are now officially BFFs. 

More on the rest of our trip this weekend!

Jen

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