Friday, January 3, 2014

'Twas the week before Christmas........

This year Jim and I decided that we would take all the kids to the Florida Keys for Christmas.
We rented Heron's Roost on Cudjoe Key, which is 20 minutes from Key West. I guess, technically, it wasn't for Christmas.......'twas the week before Christmas.
Here are some photos of the beach house.
Front view of Heron's Roost
Down by the dock
Part of the dock area
Ping pong table under the house
Can you say, "Relaxing?"
Dining area
Living room

 It is a long drive from Tampa, but we made it in good time.  It is always a pretty drive down through the Keys.
We unpacked, swam and had bangers and mash for dinner.  No frozen custard was available, so we had to settle for ice-cream for dessert!

The next morning, the big kids headed in to Key West to explore.  Jim, Jessie, Sam and I went in a bit later.  We walked around for a bit hoping to find Josh and Courtney, but alas, they were on a trolley tour, so it wasn't to be.
 Samuel always wants to ride the Conch, we did!  Sam also gets bored before it is finished, so we always get off on the last stop before it ends.  Jim and I love seeing all the beautiful houses along the tour route.

 It was starting to rain a bit, so we decided to call it a day and head back to the house.
As usual, by the time we got back to the house.......beautiful and sunny again.  That is just how it goes, but it allowed us to spend the rest of the day swimming!!!
Monday night found us back on a Conch Train.
I keep telling Jessica that one day the wind will change while she is sticking her tongue out at me for a photo and her face will be stuck like least that is what my Mum always said!
We went on a Christmas light tour of Key West.
These photos do not do the displays justice.
It is hard to get a good shot when you are whizzing past in a Conch Train.
 It was also very windy.
A lot of fun if you are ever down Key West way the week before Christmas.

 We passed a lot of trolleys doing the same tour.
They seemed a bit more sedate than the Conch Train crew.
 Apparently, we have been banned from some streets.
 Not sure if that is true, but we did get a bit rowdy rambunctious loud enthusiastic when we passed other Conch Trains or citizens wearing outlandish hats came out to greet us
 It was fun.
 I made Smothered Chicken for dinner.  I really don't intend to say what we had for dinner every single night, but Smothered Chicken is a dish that we always have on the first night of our vacation.  On this vacation we had it on the 3rd  night, but it has become a tradition over the years.

On one of our day trips we went to Theater of the Sea.
 We had passed by in on all our trips to the Keys, but we had never checked it out.
 I was trying to remember what this was......can you guess?  A turtle!!
 One of the many parrots.
 Can you see what is in the tree?
Trying to get a better shot......
 They had a small lagoon to swim in.  At first Samuel would only go this far in.  In was more because of my fears than his!
 A posing pelican.
 There's another one....and another....and another......
 Sam finally just went on in.
 Dad checking it out.
 Cue the Jaws music.......
 Nearly had a great action shot here, but Jim regained his balance!
 Not sharks, but a school of beautiful blue parrot fish came up to say hello to Sam.
  I liked the Parrot Fish much better than the Iguanas that kept dive bombing out of the trees into the water!!!!!
Loved the usual!!
 We went on a boat ride and the dolphins swam along side.....
and up in the middle of the boat!!
 They had a parrot show.
Theater of the Sea is a dog friendly place, people are able to bring their four legged friends with them.
 Except to the parrot show.
As you enter, there is a sign saying that dogs a forbidden at the parrot sho.
 I suspect there may have been problems in the past.
 Darn trouble making parrots.......
Sam's favorite place was swimming in the lagoon with Parrot Fish and 100lb orange Iguanas.
We did get to hold some trouble making parrots.
 They behaved just fine for us!!!

This picture is of a lot of Tarpon trying to get their teeth around hunks of fish being dropped in the water for them.
 On the way back to the cottage, we stopped at Robbie's to feed the Tarpon.
 Some one in the above pictures had their finger bitten by a sneaky pelican.
Hint - it wasn't Samuel
 We went to Bahia Honda Park twice.
A fun place to spend a day.

"Once there was a sandman, sandman, sandman. 
Once there was a sandman, tall, tall, tall."

 Who is this toweled person??
 Looking at the old railway bridge.
 Sam, Courtney, Joshua and Jessica
   When we go away on vacation, we don't eat out at restaurants all that much.  Seems weird I know, but is just more relaxed for us this way.
When we go to the Keys, we always make sure that we eat at one particular place.  It is my favorite and I always get the same thing to eat!!
 It is heavenly!!!
Blue Heaven. 
 We have always had excellent food and excellent service.
I always buy a loaf of their banana bread and a bag of their granola to take home with me.
We took everyone there for dinner one night.
But, Jim and I went back by ourselves Friday morning for a breakfast date.
 I had lobster eggs Benedict......I would drive back just to have this.
 Jim had eggs Benedict BLT (Bacon, Lobster and Tomato)
Guess what I want for breakfast tomorrow???
 A crab found its way into our pool!!!  Jim rescued it, but did not perform mouth to mouth.
 We will miss our morning views.
 We had only driving home for about 15 minutes and Sam was already asking if we were going back to Florida Keys in 2014.  Ask him what his favorite part was and he will say, "Key West."  That always surprises us.  You would think that would not be a fun place for Sam.  Yes there is fun stuff there, but there is also the unsavory element.  Parts of Duval Street smells bad.  It can be noisy and crowded.  There is one escalator, and on this trip it was broken!!  But, Sam loves it.
The other day I asked him where he would like to go in 2014 for vacation.  Utah?  South Dakota?  Sam said neither.  Why?  "Because Key West isn't there Mum."
Silly me......


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