key west part ii

There are so many things to do and places to see while on vacation in Key West!  I shared a few of those yesterday, and I have a few more suggestions if you are ever visiting the southernmost point of the continental USA…

A great brunch place on the weekends is Blue Heaven!

key west | polka dots and picket fencesIt has a casual al fresco dining atmosphere.  There is always a long wait, but the wait is half the fun!  Rooster and chicken watching, ping pong playing, listening to live local musicians, enjoying a mimosa or Bloody Mary (the bartender says he mixes over 800 Bloodies on any given Sunday), and browsing the gift shop items make the time pass rather quickly.

key west | polka dots and picket fences        key west | polka dots and picket fences

key west | polka dots and picket fences

The food is amazing!  It was so hard to decide, so my mom and I ordered a lobster omelet and banana pancakes to share.  No need to eat again for the day!

key west | polka dots and picket fences              key west | polka dots and picket fences

Time to walk off some of that food!  We visited the Key West Artisan Market.  This outdoor market featuring local crafts, produce, food, and flowers is held the first Sunday of every month.  This was my first experience, and I was so impressed with it!  I purchased rosemary sea salt and a kitchen towel from SALT island provisions, sampled sea salt scrubs, browsed the local jewelry, watched Claire enjoy a red velvet mini cupcake, and tasted some locally made lemongrass dark chocolate.

key west | polka dots and picket fences               key west | polka dots and picket fences   key west | polka dots and picket fences      key west | polka dots and picket fences

On our final day, we visited The Turtle Hospital in Marathon (about an hour north of Key West).  This was my first time to visit the hospital.  It didn’t start out as a hospital, though…it was once a motel and the owner housed fish in the pool.  It was the age of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the young people staying at the motel wanted to see turtles!  The Turtle Hospital opened its doors in 1986 with its mission of “rescue, rehab, and release” those sea turtles in need of help.

key west | polka dots and picket fences          key west | polka dots and picket fences

We scheduled our 90 minute tour in advance.  It began with a short information session about the seven species of sea turtles.  Then we saw the hospital and lab where surgeries and tests are performed on the sea turtles.  Of course, the interesting part was seeing and hearing about the current residents (68 on that day) of the hospital.  Each turtle is given a name upon being rescued, and their individual stories were shared as well as their plan of treatment so they can be released back into the water.

key west | polka dots and picket fences

We made a personal connection with one of the sea turtles when we were told that Tink is being transported to the new aquarium at The Toledo Zoo this coming Friday. We are excited to visit Tink this spring in her new location!  I think we will be able to identify her…she loves to splash water with her flippers!  It was a great afternoon learning about sea turtles and protecting our waters so they live healthy lives.

What a great visit to the Florida keys…always fun to return to my favorite spots and explore some new ones!

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