Sunday, August 6, 2017

Vacation to Islamorada: Part 2

Today I'm sharing part two of our trip to Islamorada (part one of our Islamorada vacation), and now that we are in full swing with school and activities all I can think is, "TAKE ME BACK!"



In all seriousness, it was an amazing little spot and will definitely keep on the radar for a re-visit hopefully in the near future. ;)

Day 2: 

Day two we hit the ground running bright and early. My eyes hadn't seen 5a.m. in a long time, but this day was the whole reason (for Mr. Cute) for the trip - our deep sea Mahi fishing trip. 


We woke up and grabbed our sandwiches and drinks at a local deli/store that everyone raved about. We ordered them the night before and everything was ready for in the morning. It was easy and a huge hit for those going out on trips. We even ran into our captain there!


We set sail by 6:15a.m. This was the prime of Mahi season so everyone on the dock was super excited. Now I'm not a big fishing person, but I could tell it was a big deal. This was also the week leading up to the short season for lobster diving so tons of people we getting excited about their big catch and yummy dinner ahead. 


Even though I'm not a big fishing person, I've been on quite a few deep sea fishing excursions. Mr. Cute likes to bring me along as official photographer, and with the hope that they "passion" will eventually rub off on me. Seventeen years in and he's still waiting. 


The day before was a busy day in the Mahi fishing world. This day...not so much. My view didn't change for the first few hours. Four down, six and a half to go. 


Then it looked like luck was going to change because Mr. Cute caught one! 


And then two hours later it was back to this. 


I alternated between hanging my feet over the edge of the boat to catch some splash and cool off, and read my Kindle app on my phone. 

(Remember during book club I was able to read some many books? This trip can be thanked for that.) 

And thankfully the captain and mate didn't tell me about all the sharks they were spotting on their equipment until after the fact... 


We still had fun though and even though we spent more than 10 1/2 hours on the water, Mr. Cute was still pumped about his Mahi. The captain was so nice and felt bad we didn't get more of a catch. He told us to come back for swordfish season and he would have a more entertaining boat ride for us. 


After all that hard work we settled in for a ocean side happy hour at our hotel.


Once we were nice and relaxed we showered and made our way to dinner. Some fellow guests at our hotel suggested Pierre's a few blocks down, and we were so impressed when we walked up. 


The restaurant is styled after a large plantation with African accents. It's been the site for a ton of photo shoots and currently the filming location for a few Amazon television shows. 


The front was impressive and when you walked in you were amazed. The bottom floor is a large lounge and cigar bar. A large oversized curved wood stair case brings you to the restaurant upstairs that overlooks the water. 


I forgot to take pictures of our meal, but so so good! And I think we found the winner of the Key Lime Pie contest. 


After dinner we lounged outside a bit on their porch overlooking the water and then sat in the adirondack chairs on the beach for a bit. It was a great way to end the day, and I can't say enough good things about the spot. 

Next door is another restaurant owned by the same company and it has a little more family friendly atmosphere. It was called the Morada Bay Beach Cafe and next trip we are definitely going to make a stop there. 

Day 4:

This was our last full day of our trip, but we made sure to make the most of it!


After our morning pastries (yum!) Mr. Cute suggested going for a kayak trip around the coast off our hotel. Our hotel had kayaks and paddle boards that you could take whenever you liked so it was an easy activity. 


We went for maybe a mile or two and saw tons of wildlife, some amazing homes and boats, and lots and lots of mangroves. 



It was a fun, but hot, little journey. So we jumped in the first chance we could back by the hotel.


By this time it was already time to eat again. We made way for another suggested restaurant and headed towards Hog Heaven Sports Bar. Talk about a 180 from our previous restaurants in atmosphere, but it was delicious!


We sat on the back porch and loved the view! 


We asked the waiter to surprise us when it came to the food. Everything sounded so good, be didn't know what to choose. I got a BBQ sandwich, and Mr. Cute got fish tacos, and then we had a sample of wings to share. 


I'm not sure what they put in their sauces but it seriously was some of the best BBQ I've ever had. Each sauce was different and each was so good! During the day the place was tame, but at night it had the look like it could get a little crazy. It had a large bar and tons of pool tables and games to play. 


On our way back from lunch I coerced Mr. Cute into checking out Theater of the Sea with me. I had seen where you can sign up to swim with animals - dolphins, sharks, and sea lions - and wanted to give it a try. 


Sadly, everything was already booked, but they informed us we could still see the shows and walk the grounds. 


Everything runs on kind of a two hour loop and we arrived right when the dolphin show was beginning. 


It was entertaining, and super cute for kids. The show was kind of a mix of education and entertainment rolled into one. 


We left the show a little early and walked the grounds a bit before the next show. Loved all the garden paths and tropical flowers everywhere. 


The sea lion show was next and it was the same as the dolphin show. A few tricks weaved in with some great education and history of the animals. We kept saying out kids would have loved it. 


After the sea lion show we decided to leave all the other shows behind and just give ourselves a self-guided tour. 


There were a wide variety of marine wildlife and animals on site. Most of them have been rehabilitated for various reasons. 


Overall our verdict was it was a great family adventure - entertaining, educational, and it never felt too crowded. If you are on a couple's trip I would say skip it.


We arrived back at our hotel to soak up a little more sun/beach/pool time...and of course happy hour. 

And we weren't the only ones who wanted to enjoy a yummy drink...


We were so excited to see this little manatee family swim right up to the dock of our hotel for a drink of water. Mr. Cute was quick to point out that we didn't need to visit a tourist attraction to swim with the local wildlife. The manatee were so sweet and several guests jumped in the water to pet them and swim along side them, and not once did the manatee flinch. They just kept drinking and swimming in the little lagoon. It was such an amazing site to see. 


After we enjoyed our own private manatee show we headed out for dinner back to Lazy Days. We had heard if you bring your catch they will cook it for you. Mr. Cute decided this was a better option than traveling with his Mahi home the next day. 



There was a long wait for dinner so we took in the sights, and then decided to give the bar a try. The bar had a spot open and the same food so we gave it a go. 


The appetizer was warm banana bread instead of rolls. Um, yes please! It was so yummy and that could have been my dinner. I had to stop myself from eating it all. 

Mr. Cute handed over his fish and told the waiter to surprise him. He came back with this...


YUM! 

And once we rolled ourselves out of our dinner we made it home just in time to attempt fitting in our pj pants and a little open air snooze in our room. 

Day 5: 

Our flight was scheduled for early afternoon, but due to our drive back to the airport we only had time for a little bit of ocean side lounging before we needed to pack up to go. 


It was so hard to leave that view! 


We skipped our morning pastries to check out a local breakfast place that was highly recommended to us. Bobs Bunz is infamous on the island and we knew we had to try it. 


We ordered breakfast, but quickly learned that the draw is clearly the pastries and the famous cinnamon buns. 


So we gave one a try and OMG best cinnamon ever! We should have skipped the breakfast and just ordered one each of these. Definitely worth a try or two. 

After this we packed up and said goodbye to Islamorada. But not forever! 

Jen

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