January 31, 2014

Our First Time In Key West - Day One

Day One In Key West

Friday we got up really early because our oldest son, Captain Morgan, and daughter-in-law (The Princess) told us we had to.  Key West experts themselves, having been so many times they can't even remember how many, it was their goal to get us there by lunchtime so we could squeeze in as many meals as possible during our time there.

Captain drives his fast car very fast.  We left at 7:00 a.m. and were seated at a table at Margaritaville on Duval Street by 1:00-ish.  That's pretty good considering factors such as the actual speed limit.

The La Concha has a nice off-street entrance with attentive valets.

Since the whole trip was planned in honor of Beaver's 57th birthday, he and I had reservations for a grand room at the La Concha on Duval so we could rack up some hefty Priority Club points.  The kids stayed at their favorite guest house, Marrero's, across the street.  We checked into our respective homes, met at Jimmy Buffet's restaurant, and proceeded to start our vacation by ordering silly tropical booze drinks served in plastic tumblers with a strobe light on the bottom.  It was great.  We had to turn off the lights to avoid seizures but whatever.  

Random bar on Duval Street.
En route to the next stop Beaver and I gawked and pointed and took pictures while the Princess taught us how to recognize an annoying species of Key West tourist called the Cruise Ship Passenger.  They were all hammer-drunk and drew way too much attention to themselves.  Captain looked it up on his phone and assured us that the offending contents of the Celebrity Constellation would be due back aboard ship by around 5:00 p.m.  We took refuge at The Porch, a small pub-like place that serves craft beer and at that time of day was rather quiet.  No one was on the porch (see this post's lead picture) because it just so happened we were having a cold snap.  I mean come on, it was 60 degrees!  Brrrr.  We huddled with our beer in a neat booth in the back room and talked of Key West.

The Constellation looms over a dockside restaurant.

From there we had a nice walkabout punctuated by drink refills at various bars up and down the streets of Old Town.  Around 5:00 we found ourselves near the dock where the Constellation was anchored.  Armed with fresh mojitos, it was our job to make sure her patrons were indeed walking up the gangplank.  They were, so all was well, and we decided to have a rest and then talk about dinner.  

Dinner at El Meson de Pepe.

It was really great to have seasoned Key West visitors guiding us.  The Captain and Princess knew all the good restaurants and even better, they knew exactly where they were.  When we decided we were in the mood for Cuban food the kids immediately suggested El Meson de Pepe, which just so happened to serve some of the best mojitos in town.  I had a delicious lamb shank with dark moros and plantains on the side. 

Cigar shopping.

The goal for after dinner was cigars on the porch of Marrero's.  The buying of the cigars took place and then it was time to go back to our rooms and put on more comfortable clothes.  We all met up on Captain and Princess's guest house porch, huddled up in sweatshirts and blankets, and while the kids and Beave had a nice long smoke we discussed the next day's plans and watched Key West night people start their day.

END OF DAY ONE -- Key West Day Two is here

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