‘Watch out for Manatees’ says the sign next to the balcony where I am having lunch. I am eating at Made to Order and am perched on the edge of a canal network where folks are lazily paddle boarding and kayaking. To be surrounded by heat, palm trees, mangroves, water and boats is nothing short of awe inspiring, especially after coming from grey, rainy London.
The restaurant next to a non-descript Inn is in Tavernier, just south of Key Largo. The main highway running through all the Florida Keys is bordered by trees, often blocking views of the water. But as soon as you are off the tarmac and going out toward the ocean or bay sides of this strip of road, you are rewarded with beautiful mangrove ‘swamps’ and intricate waterways. It is simply breath-taking.
Have also had a fantastic evening meal featuring ‘Hemingway style’ Hogfish (cooked with Japanese breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese coating) and a terrific clam chowder at Sundowners in Key Largo. With a deck overhanging the bay, it is truly a stunning setting to watch the sunset. Hence the name! As I grab my camera to photograph the scene from my perch right on the edge of the water, I freely admit the card has been taken out to process other photos. The picture above is from the Sundowners home page.
I guess because I grew up in a southerly part of the United States, California, my parents were never interested in taking us to another southerly place. Perhaps because we had moved from Canada in the late 1950’s, the timing had something to do with it. My mother, in particular, was horrified at reports of lynchings taking place in the South. I still remember her talking about it. That might be a big reason why we never visited Florida.
Its a shame because it is the perfect spot for a family holiday. Incredibly safe (no one locks their doors) with many hotels that are peaceful and secluded.