|Bay Cove Motel shot from the complimentary kayak|
I could feel the tension lifting as soon as I was South of Miami. I had no real idea what to expect when I arrived at my destination but for me, that's part of the fun. I checked in with Pat and I instantly felt like I was staying with relatives. The property is a quirky mix of one and two story cottages and a few big travel trailers thrown in for good measure. Everything is sand, rock, and large, old trees. The cottages are more or less squeezed in around the nature. An enormous departure from the straight line concrete jungle I just left a few hours ago. The room was exactly as I had pictured it. Perfect for this adventure. Five minutes after dumping the bags I was back at the office asking Pat about a place for dinner. With some simple directions and a $5.00 coupon, I was off to the Pilot House.
What a great place. So typical of the Keys with the friendly staff and great food that you would expect. I got myself a nice high top table on the rail and watched a school of fish in the crystal clear water swim right up to me and then under the big glass plate in the floor under my feet. How I didn't notice I was sitting on glass I don't know but it was fantastic.
I made it back to my weekend home base just in time to watch the most beautiful sunset. The Bay Cove Motel has a little dock giving me a front row seat. A little later in the evening I returned to the dock to listen to the quiet. The water was on fire with little green lights. A swarm of bioluminescent sea worms were lighting the water as far as I could see. In an hour they were gone. I've lived in Florida a long time and that is the first time I've seen that.
Mrs. Mac's Kitchen.
From the road, or even from 10 feet away walking up to Mrs. Mac's Kitchen, you would think it was a road side hot dog stand. Things are not always what they seem in the magical world of the Florida Keys. The place is huge inside and it feels like you are in someones house. The perfect companion to the place I was staying. The menu was as large and varied as the restaurant itself and the staff was very friendly and attentive. I had the smoked fish dip and crab salad Pita. Delicious! I'm starting to notice a theme with dining in Key Largo.
The rest of the day was taken up with walking, shopping, and resting. Right up the road I found the African Queen from the 1951 movie starting Humphrey Bogart. Seemed like a crazy place for a movie prop. Time passed quickly and what do you know. I needed a dinner place. Just a short walk from my cottage and I was at the Bayside Grille. The bar is downstairs and the restaurant is upstairs. I had a window seat with the most incredible view of the bay and I'm not sure which was better, the view or the food or if they just complimented each other. Even with the sun setting in the distance it was a tough call. My luck with food continued to my final morning even if it was just coffee I made in the room and muffins I brought with me. My cottage was only 30 feet from the bay where I settled into a beach chair. It didn't even seem like much of a chore to refill my cup at the room and return to the waters edge.
This was exactly the relax-a-cation I was looking for. Not my typical high energy vacation but it wasn't supposed to be.