Key West, Key Largo, oh baby why don’t we go. . . .Even Chris and I had never been to Key West, so we decided to get off the boat today and explore our first port of call. Today was the day that it definitely warmed up to the temps we were expecting of our Caribbean cruise. Shorts, tank tops, and tennis shoes on (let’s be real, the Taylors walk a lot), we hopped on the tram. The Disney Wonder docks at the US Naval Base there, so we were actually not allowed to walk into town. A short tram ride later, and we made it to the tourist center of town, near some chintzy souvenir shops and the Shipwreck Museum.
Without any specific plans for the day, we started our walk towards the Southernmost point. Along the way, we passed the Truman Little White House, so named because Truman conducted official business there often while President (it was his winter White House), and several others, most recently Bill Clinton, also used it for business and meetings. We continued to enjoy the warmth (not so much the humidity!), passing by some cute cafes, and shops, including one with a very friendly dog out front that said “hi” to Aly.
After about a 20 (?) minute walk or so, we made it. To the longest line ever to take a picture in front a fake buoy. Now us Taylors are not really patient line-waiters, so we took a picture with the nearby statue, and then even took a picture on the backside of so-mentioned fake buoy to “prove” we were at the Southernmost (while we looked at the actually southernmost point, which is on the Naval base and not accessible to tourists!). Picture, check.
We threw around the idea of going into the Little White House (quite expensive), the Lighthouse Museum, and the Shipwreck Museum, but what Chris and I knew Aly would really enjoy was the Hemingway House. Yes, she loves to read. No, she doesn’t read Hemingway. . . .yet. This girl loves cats, as did Hemingway, so we knew she would go gaga for all the cats on the property—59 at the moment. There were TONS of tour groups at the house, so we waited about 10 minutes to get in, and then hopped in with a guided tour group (included in the reasonable admission price). The house was quite impressive given the time period it was built, and we learned it was purchased for $8,000 by Hemingway and his wife (at the time). Which sounds like a steal, though they did buy it during the Great Depression. The tour was informative, entertaining, and the right length to (mostly) keep a 7 year old’s attention. Plus there were cats. Everywhere. We did not spot all 59, but we did see probably about 15 different cats, even some of the infamous 6-toed cats.
After we finished our tour there, we headed out to grab a bite for lunch. Chris and I are suckers for a good Margaritaville lunch, and in fact, the book that Chris brought for the trip is Jimmy Buffet’s somewhat autobiographical book (it is accurate about his life, but chronicles only a portion of it). The volcano nachos here are FABULOUS, and Aly got a light-up cup, so what more could you want? Also, this is the oldest Margaritaville still open, so it felt like one we needed to experience.
Despite our achingly full bellies, the last to-do on the checklist was a tasting tour of some key lime pie. This is one of Aly’s most favorite desserts, and Chris and I enjoy a good key lime pie as well, so we decided instead of trying just one place, why not choose 3 highly recommended places all within about 2 blocks of each other, and do a head-to-head??? The three pies we purchased were from Key West Key Lime Pie Co, Key Lime Pie Bakery, and Kermit’s Key West KeyLime Shoppe.
According to our sophisticated palates, the winner was. . . . . .drumroll. . . . . .a tie?!? We all decided that despite slightly different textures, we liked both Key Lime Pie Bakery and Kermit’s. The one from Kermit’s was a little more dense, like a cheesecake consistency, while the one from Key Lime Pie Bakery was a little creamier, but they both had the right amount of lime flavor. Aly’s absolute fave was the frozen, chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick. By then, it was time to head back to the boat and somehow figure out how we were going to manage to eat dinner after all of that!
That night on the boat, we had dinner at Tiana’s Place. The restaurant is themed to Tiana’s New Orleans restaurant, and the food leans towards Cajun-style.
We ate (some) dinner, and then went to the show, which was The Checkerboard Guy, kinda a jack of all trades type of entertainer. He had great audience participation, and everyone really enjoyed the energy and juggling acts in the show. Aly has become fast friends with one of the other children at our table, Sydney, and they sat next to each other at the show and giggled together the whole night. We found out at dinner that Sydney and her family were gifted the Disney Cruise by Good Morning America after a video of her dancing at Disney World went viral and she appeared on GMA to talk about it. How cool is that?!? As 7 and 8 year olds do, they now refer to each other as best friends. We’ll see if we can swap addresses and continue the friendship a while longer.