Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bay Cove Motel - Key Largo

Bay Cove Motel shot from the complimentary kayak
Life has been challenging lately and a weekend getaway was desperately needed. Where can you escape from Miami and be in a whole new world in about an hour and a half. The Florida Keys of course. Time and money were going to be a consideration on this trip so Key Largo seemed the perfect place. Now for a hotel. I didn't really want a big name place and I didn't really want to tent camp. I wanted something very quaint and quiet. A lot of Internet searching and I came across the Bay Cove Motel. After a very pleasant conversation with Margot, I settled on a cottage at a very good rate.

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.

As you may know if you follow my blog, I'm a big kayak fan. The Bay Cove Motel has a few you can borrow for no charge. I was at the front desk at 9:00 am asking for a paddle and didn't get back till noon. This was mostly an open water trek but I pulled up mid way into the mangroves at the North end of the bay for a little snack, a little shade, and a huge gulp of water.  Upon my return, I was understandably starving and the best way to cure that was walk next door to 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.


  1. Oh man, now I'm hungry for fish dip & crab salad!

  2. Ok so now why again didn't I get an invite?!

  3. Wow! That sounds like a wonderful getaway!! The only thing I know about the Florida keys is what I've seen on CSI Miami (how embarrassing)!! Now I know it's not all high rise and glitz!!

    Glad you liked the Aussie chickens (emus)!!! Thanx for dropping by!!

  4. @ Betty - Best crab salad I think I ever had. The location might have been a factor @ Marleen - The more the merrier. @ Red Nomad OZ - Hilarious. I had a friend that came over from Eastern Europe to live in Miami because of Miami Vice. Not sure why. I stay out of Miami as much as possible. The Florida Keys are the complete opposite. You could not get more laid back if you tried.

  5. A couple of people asked. The room was cheap but the taxes are steep. Came out to $95.00 a night. Great deal for the Keys.

  6. Short holidays are great as a restorative. I still have a kayak but never get a chance to use it these days. I like what I see on your blog and it is a nice way for me to experience Florida since in this lifetime I wont get to be there in person.

    Thank you for following my blog, I hope you enjoy what I have to offer.

  7. How funny. I say the same thing about Australia and now I'm following two blogs from down under and trying to figure out a way to get there. I have two more postings I'm working on from the keys trip coming up Then some local stuff and alligators. Keep on coming back. I love having followers.

  8. Stayed at Bay Cove some years ago. Rented an 18ft center console at Tavernier and they let us have it overnight. Kept the boat at the motel for the weekend. It was nice to have the boat to explore. There is so much more to see offshore, as well as, enjoy the beautiful location

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