Just another week in paradise. Hard to believe we’ve been in the Keys for 6 weeks already! Last week began much as the previous one ended, on the beach at Bahia Honda. Tim took advantage of another windy day to do some more kite flying, while I relaxed under the umbrella with a book.
The rest of the week we did our normal thing – work during the day followed by some afternoon exploration. Including a few sunset strolls…
and a trip up to the old Bahia Honda Bridge.
This was first a railroad bridge, but after the railroad was shut down someone had the genius idea to build a car bridge right on top. I usually find bridges more thrilling than scary, but this is one I might have hesitated to drive over. Look how narrow it is! The new bridge (to the right) was built in the mid 70s, but this one still stands as a reminder of what once was. There’s only a small section safe enough for pedestrians to walk on.
Everyday we explored a different part of the park, from the beach to the butterfly trail, and even under the US 1 bridge where someone painted a funny fishy mural.
Thursday was my dad’s birthday and we went out to dinner at the Square Grouper. This is one of those restaurants that multiple people recommended, and even though we had to wait nearly 45 minutes for a table (they don’t take reservations and are nearly alway busy), it was worth it. The food is not fancy, but very well done with a definite Keys twist. My dad and I both had tasty, innovative salads with super fresh red snapper on top, and Tim went with the chipotle pork with Cuban mac n’ cheese. We also had an appetizer of coconut shrimp that I passed on (not a shrimp fan), but it was reported to be very good.
By the way, a “Square Grouper” is not a real fish, but rather the nickname for the infamous bales of pot that were thrown overboard or out of airplanes in the 70s as they were smuggled into the U.S. The restaurant menu describes this now nearly extinct “fish” as,
One of the most commercially important and prized groupers of the Florida Keys waters. It’s not very wary and is often caught by hand and just hauled into the boat in this manner. It is a popular sport fish and often occurs in accessible waters. Consequently, the Square Grouper has declined in number and is now protected in the Florida Keys. Often identified by the common Latin names of Potus, Weedus, Dopus, Gonjus, Cannibus, Marijuanabus, this prized fish often brought up to $25,000 per square!
On Friday we moved back to my dad’s house for a few days. I finished up the new cushions for the kitchen dinette, stocked up with fresh produce at the flea market, and we got reacquainted with the Key Deer.
On Sunday Tim spent a few hours working on the boat motor so we could take the small boat out for a little spin around the islands. Perfect day to be on the water.
In the afternoon we drove an hour up the road to Long Key State Park for another week of ocean side camping.
As you can see life in paradise is pretty rough :)
Do you two make reservations at the campgrounds or wing it. I’m headed to the panhandle next week without reservations and am now getting a bit anxious about getting a site. I like the state parks. Love your site and posts. Thanks.
Some of both. Down here in the Keys you can’t get into a state park without a reservation. We were in the panhandle in November and the state parks had plenty of sites. Not sure about now. Might be worth it to go online and check.
We loved Long Key SP but got eaten alive by no-see-ums one November when we were there.
Those are some great sunset photos!
The no-see-ums haven’t been terrible this week because it’s somewhat breezy. Last week at Bahia Honda they were swarming us. Definitely the down side to paradise.
The color of the water is amazing. You are in paradise! How nice to also be near family.
I am constantly in awe of that turquoise water! It has been a treat for us to spend so much time with family. While we love traveling out west, it can be hard to be so far from all our family for so long.
Those sunsets! Those beaches! That water! You take the most gorgeous photos of paradise. I’m so happy that you enjoyed your meal at the Square Grouper — it was our favorite restaurant in the Keys.