The Tovsky Tribe

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Key West

I love my three boys. I love having three kids. I wish I had it in me to have more, but I don't. Yes, I love my three kids but though one baby is a lot easier than two ever were, three kids is much more hectic than two ever were. Someone always needs something, ALWAYS. Between diaper changes and bottle feedings there is whining and tears. This hecticness is exactly why we needed a vacation. So we headed to the Southermost City, as those who live there like to refer to it, of Key West.
Usually the preparation to leave the kids for several days is so involved that it attempts to spoil the thrill of a vacation. But, this time, the need to get away heavily outweighed any pre-travel stress. Despite having a three month old and feeling as though I would miss out on some monumental milestone in any of their lives I was ready to have four days with my husband.
Key West is a small town loaded with art galleries, restaurants, and bars and, as most resort towns, overloaded with vendors selling over-priced crap to souveneir happy tourists. The vibe is laid back, the dress is casual, and the minds are liberal. This was exactly the place we needed to be at the moment.
We flew into Miami and drove the three hours to Key West in the rented convertible Sebring. At first, I felt convertibles were over-rated. Even though I was still dressed for Philly's dank spring day in the heat of Miami, I was cold and needed to wear my sweatshirt most of the ride. The wind was blowing through my ears and I kept thinking we should put the windows up. Then, after we got off the highway and onto US1 I found comfort and also the thrill of cruising in a convertible. The ride was beautiful, most of it anyway, and completely mind blowing. There we were on a two lane road with nothing, NOTHING, around us but turquoise waters. You looked to the left and there was just a distant horizon. You looked to the right and it was the same thing. Todd, myself, and the vast sea. You feel like you are driving on the water!
The directions to the hotel ended this way: "make a right onto Duval Street. Stay on Duval until you get to the Gulf of Mexico. The hotel will be on your Left". When I read that I found it amusing and wondered how literal it was, only to find out there was nothing more than a pier separating the Gulf from our Key West home. The Ocean Key was wonderful, adorable in its decor, high-end in its quality. We somehow ended up with one of the best rooms though it is not sold that way. Others are larger, suites in fact, and may be a bit more private, but our fourth floor room was perfectly located so that from our balcony we had sunset straight on, view of the pool just a bit to our left and Sunset Pier bar and grill just below us. We never had to leave our room to see the sunset or watch the boats, hear the live music, or stare out at the pool. Even some good people watching was available to us for the same price.
By the pool we befreinded, as you would expect, the bartenders. You'd be left wondering if it was a coincidence that we, by which I mean Todd, were the pretty blondes' favorite customers:)
Our first night there we were like caged animals let loose, well maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but we set out on a night of imbibing that this post-partum writer hadn't experienced in some time. After a mind eraser and some pub chat with the bartender at Hogg's Breath (where I jokingly wondered if the taxidermied Pig above our head could spread the dreaded swine flu) we learned there was a Philly bar owned by no other than Pat Croce. We are still not sure why Hans, the bartender, would have had any reason to think we would be interested in, or even know of, Pat Croce but upon this mention we headed right over to the Rum Barrel where we were welcomed by Eagles jersey's and the Phillies game up on the flat screens. Philly proud, we were happy.
The following days were filled with breakfast and coffee on our balcony, pool lounging and sun soaking, massages, wave running, sunsets, dinner, and early bed.
Upon recommendation we learned there were two sushi places on the island. The debate seemed to be out on which one is better so Todd and I decided to vote for ourselves and try them both.
Ambrosia, our Thursday night dinner, was beautiful with fancy presentation and good fish. We found it to be very good but were still curious what Origami had to offer. On Saturday we went to the much more casual, much more neighborhoody "joint" that, though we loved the friendly feel, certainly lacked in luster from its rival. Though the fish was good we both preferred Ambrosia as far as meal quality went.
We also dined, between the sushi outings, at Louie's Backyard Patio. Known for its views moreso than its food, Louie's did not disappoint. Looking out onto the Atlantic, sitting in the open air, hearing tides crash into rocks, we enjoyed a very good meal in a "vacation must" setting.
Key West is a small island. We walked from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. We stopped for a picture at the large thimble shaped concrete slab marking the southernmost point of the Continental US and admired the view from the end of the earth as we stood on pier jetting into the ocean.
Key West is a boaters town. There is a Margaritaville rhythm and the pace is slow. We are not boaters, though some of the yachts we saw were crazy to look at, but its hard to deny the vibe and the sun and the goodtime this southernmost city has to offer.

For the rest of the photos from this trip, click here

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