Exploring the Village of Islands
We started the day with a freshly cooked breakfast in the Casa Thorn lobby. Freshly made quiche, bacon, waffles, muffins, fresh fruit and preserves were great and very tasty however the coffee was awful which made our first port of call when we got on the road a decent coffee shop.
We spent the morning driving up and down highway one visiting shops and stopping to take photographs. We had a great Key Lime ice cream at a roadside shop which sold just about everything imaginable in Key Lime flavour, we stopped in the disappointingly named Shell World, which was more of a tourist trap selling t-shirts and more Key Lime flavoured and scented wares than anything to do with shells. The rather eccentric Rain Barrel, which the sign outside proudly proclaims is a village of artists was an interesting stop. Once you’ve made your way past the giant red lobster which welcomes passers-by in you walk through a myriad of little shops and stalls selling all manner of artsy tat. Lots of decorated buoys, handmade fridge magnets and t-shirts and Key West inspired art. It made for an interesting hour wandering and having a drink.
From the Rain Barrel, it was time to head south of Islamorada and visit the John Pennekamp Coral Reef. Established in 1963, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first undersea park in the United States and contains a wide variety of tropical vegetation, shorebirds and marine life along with mangrove swamps, tropical hammocks and unique coral formations.
Although we were there only to wander plenty of visitors were hiring canoes or going snorkelling and had we had the time we would have taken a glass-bottomed boat out to see the reefs. We did, however, see lots of odd birds and lizards and a few iguanas who were basking in the 35-degree heat. It was a nice wander in the afternoon sun but I think you really have to be a water person to get the best out of whats on offer.
The late afternoon was spent relaxing in the pool and then back to the Marker 88 restaurant to listen to live music, eat more Key Lime Pie and sample the local alcohol followed by an early night drinking wine sitting by the Casa Thorn pool and watching Family feud!