We’ve already been home two weeks and the time has just flown by.  It was probably not a good idea to schedule a vacation right before my book deadline, but I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly about that.  Since I have been home, I have finished quilting and binding 7 quilts, finished writing the book, and have 9 out of 11 of the quilts photographed.  So, I am almost finished.  Yeah!!!  I do my own photography and I don’t have a studio with proper lighting, so I take all my shots outside.  Right now it’s too sunny to finish up those last two photographs, so while I am waiting for a few clouds to roll in, I had a chance to get my Florida pictures uploaded.

I will warn you ahead of time that there are quite a few photographs.  I find if I don’t do a journal like this of what we did everyday, I forget what we did when and the names of the places we visited.  It would help if we didn’t try to squeeze so many locations into one trip, but having to go sit on one beach for an entire week bores me to tears!

Day 1 – We flew into Miami.  We arrived at about 6 pm, so that gave us time to quick drive over to Miami Beach, then make our way down to South Beach.  By the time we arrived, the beach was cleared out.

The huge beaches were so beautiful and I love the sound of the crashing waves coming in.  I liked that much better than the thumping music coming out of all the clubs on Ocean Drive – which was packed with people.  We drove through the area, taking in Little Havana, the Art Deco buildings and all the fancy people.  We were going to eat supper here, but went for a walk on the beach instead.  All the fancy people and loud clubs just makes me crave my quiet life at home, so we decided to move on. 

Day 2 – We traveled down to Key Largo with the intention of doing some snorkeling at Pennekamp State Park.  Unfortunately, 5-6 foot seas canceled all snorkeling or glass bottom boat trips to the reef.  Instead we laid by the beach, read books and knit.

Later that day, we drove down past Key Largo to Islamorada.  We found a beach to do a little snorkeling just off shore.  We also enjoyed a beautiful sunset.  We didn’t see much snorkeling, but at least it was calm enough on the gulf side to get into the water.

Joel snapped a picture of the bump at this beach – Proof that our little boy got to visit the Keys!  (at 28 1/2 weeks)

Day 2 – We traveled further south.  We stopped at Sombrero Beach, a suggestion from one of my blog readers.  It was quiet, beautiful and off the beaten path.   We would never have found it without the good advice!

The further south we got, the more bridges we got to drive over, including the famous 7 Mile Bridge.

 Next, we came to Bahia Honda State Park.  Several of my blog readers suggested this park and it was probably my favorite spot in the Keys.  We did some hiking to take in the views ~

Unfortunately, the winds again canceled all snorkeling in the park, but we still did some swimming.  I never lasted that long with the swimming – I thought the extra baby weight would make me more buoyant, therefore swimming would be a good thing.  But, in reality, all the waves just bounced me all over and it was even more awkward than being on land.  We had a few good laughs over my struggles and Joel compared me to a turtle stuck on my back.  It was a pretty good comparison! 

(BTW – We stopped at the park again on our way back through and the winds were down enough for us to swim on the Atlantic side.  There were several places were we could walk way out into the water on sand bars.  It was really beautiful . . ).

That night, we made it to Key West.  We were advised to skip booking a night at a hotel and try a B & B instead.   At the last-minute, we found a spot at the Tropical Inn.

It was a cute little place, with a tropical garden and pool just outside those french doors.  It was nice and quiet, considering all the activity just outside on Duval Street. 

We did a few of the other things that everyone says you have to do in Key West –

We tried the Key Lime Pie.  Of course I had mine dipped in chocolate and we agreed it was much better than plain version.

We ventured down to Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration.

There were lots of street performers

And lots of people enjoying the sunset.

The next day we continued our check list of Key West places to visit –

The Southernmost Point (where the lady taking our picture made me turn sideways for the full effect)

We visited the Hemingway House.

I got to take pictures of the 6 toed cats.  Check out those paws!

This cat posed very nicely for me so I could get another shot of the paws.  (There are 40 cats still living at the house)

We also just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful, cottage style houses.  The Old Town neighborhood was pretty interesting.  You have quiet little houses like this just down the road from clubs where clothing is optional.  Guess which one I preferred?

My favorite was this butter-yellow house with the mint shutters. 

When we got tired of all the sight-seeing, we went to the beach at Zachary Taylor Park.  (There was a little snorkeling right off shore, but yet again the waves were pretty big and I got tired of playing turtle.)


We also stopped at Smathers Beach on our way out of town.  They Keys aren’t known for their beaches, but as you have seen, we found quite a few.  (It just isn’t like the other places we’ve been to in Caribbean – miles of sandy beaches, calm waters, and great snorkeling)

We drove the rest of the way up the Keys that night, and when we couldn’t find a hotel room anywhere, we drove all the way to Fort Meyers.  We arrived at Joel’s parent’s rental place at 1 a.m., so it was a long day!  We  played it pretty low-key the next few days –

We visited Sanibel Island  and Captiva Island.  This area was just beautiful, especially the houses. 

Joel caught a sting ray – which you can see he isn’t happy about.  Back in Minnesota, you have about 5 choices of what could be on the end of that line.  Not so in Florida!

And, our last beach of the trip – Fort Meyers Beach.

As you can see, it was a busy trip.  We fit quite a bit into our last hurrah before the baby comes!  It was good to get away one last time with just the two of us.  

Or should I say the two and 4/5ths of us  😉

About Heather Peterson

Quilt pattern designer
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17 Responses to Florida

  1. megsays says:

    yay for gorgeous sunset photos! (Love the silhouette baby bump, one!) Hemingway House is so fun 🙂 it looks like you guys got gorgeous weather! Glad you were able to go snorkeling even though the first try was a dud. My brother has been snorkeling at that state park before, but I never have. Very cool!

  2. megsays says:

    PS: I LOOOVE the chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick (I saw the sign in the pic.)

  3. marie. says:

    What a trip down memory lane. We lived in Florida, first Ft. Lauderdale area, then moved north to Jupiter (West Palm area), now we live in Oregon. Many trips were taken to the Keys especially during mini Lobster season so my hubby, son, son-in-law could suba dive for lobster. We usually camped at one of the local parks. Glad you enjoyed your trip. Now you have to have a vacation to see the wild Pacific ocean in the NW, so different than the Atlantic. No swimming, too cold, and wild.

  4. Candie says:

    Thanks for the trip! You stopped everywhere we did last time we went; I love that drive and you reminded me of how much I do…

  5. Wow! Sounded like a GREAT trip…thank you for sharing….thinking about making a trip down there next winter, but like you..I am not all about huge crowds of people….just love to look at the beach and the sand and maybe try a little snorkeling…enjoy the sunsets…and the beautiful blue color of the waters… Thanks again -Heather!

  6. Brooke says:

    I’m very happy for you that you were able to schedule time away before the arrival of baby boy. I found your comments about the “night life” so funny…..my hubby and I are the same way. We love to see new places, but we crave the calm and quiet of home. A long walk down a beach at sunset listening to the waves sounds quite divine to me! Love the photo of the B&B room. It looks nice and cozy. (Although I think they should have a quilt at the bottom of that bed…don’t you!??) Welcome home. What a whirlwind of accomplishment since you’ve been back. Congratulations on the new book, and best of luck with the finishing touches. Can’t wait to see it!

  7. carol fun says:

    Great pictures! I enjoy looking at them. Glad you had a nice trip before the baby arrives. I did that before my first son years ago and it still holds good memories. Can’t wait to see your new book! I have every one you’ve done and have stitched up lots of quilts from them. You are so creative! Now try to rest up too.

  8. Jan W says:

    Oops! I should have warned you to just skip the Miami thing! When I was a kid Miami was very different! Now it’s loud and crowded and not “like back in the olden days!” I’m so glad you went down to Sombrero Beach! It really is a hidden secret! My in-laws had a house about halfway from the highway going toward the beach. Thanks for the great photos of the trip!

  9. audreyj84 says:

    Beautiful pics!! Glad you had a good time. My mom has a Hemingway cat except he’s got 7 toes on each front paw. He’s an orange tabby and weighs about 25lbs, a real life Garfield!

  10. Patty F says:

    Love the travelogue, especially since I have never been to the Keys! Loved all the beautiful beaches and charming homes. You and Joel look adorable!!

  11. karen says:

    You took some beautiful pictures while on your getaway. We enjoyed being in the Keys right after Christmas last year. I remember the 7 mile bridge – amazing. Your looking darling with your baby bump. Glad you got a trip in before the sweet arrival.

  12. Stephani in TX says:

    Glad you got this trip done. You won’t forget future trips once baby is here, but a “together” trip is so special. I enjoyed going allthe photos of your trip. Mild winter everywhere, but the surroundings are just more beautiful in FL. Not getting much Christmas quilting done just yet. Our son’s wedding is just around the corner but my “gift” quilt awaits. You looks so well well Heather, loved the baby bump silhouette photo.

  13. marsha nelson says:

    Your trip to Florida must have been wonderful. All the pictures are so beautiful. I know what you mean by being a turtle on it’s back. Can’t wait for your new book. So glad it’s done. I’ll bet you are too.

  14. What beautiful pictures…love the kitty one 🙂

  15. cindy hagen says:

    sounds like you had a great time…..

  16. Diana P says:

    Great pics! Prettiest tour of southern Florida I have ever seen! Thanks!! Looking forward to your new book & quilt pics!!

  17. Diane says:

    Oh wow!! We’ve been to Florida 3 times and now I wanna go back after seeing your pictures! Bahia Honda is the best beach. We’ve almost seen the whole state now….and a nice spot to vacation. We’re from Washington and our beaches are mostly cold and you never swim in them. Im a quilter and knitter and love your style. Im going to buy the( lt blue) sweater pattern you knitted up. Absolutely beautiful. And going to follow your blog. Good luck with baby! I’ve had 7, and everyone is a true blessing.

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