LAST DAYS IN FLORIDA: THE KEYS, MIAMI, ST. PETE

We finally made it out on the road! The water pump nightmare is finally over, and we got the bus back on Friday night, a week later than we had planned to be leaving. By then, we were bound and determined to get out on the road no matter how late. Which ended up being much later than we expected… Nevertheless, we snuck out in the wee hours and at last embarked on our adventure.

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We couldn’t leave Florida without seeing the Keys, so we decided to go south before we head out of state. After being delayed by a week (and having a commitment to get to Connecticut by June 20, more on that later) we took a whirlwind trip through the islands. We camped on Marathon Key, in the middle, and found a gorgeous view of the sunset to relax and sip our pina coladas. The next morning we hopped on the bike and zipped down to Key West for a brief visit. Above is a the view from the tower at the Shipwreck Museum. While the time was short, we enjoyed the view along the way.

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After the keys, we headed back up to Miami where a friend offered us a place to stay in the parking lot of his night club in South Beach. We couldn’t have asked for a better tour of the area. He took us to dinner, and then we walked out to the beach and down Ocean Drive. He eventually led us to a little pub called The Abbey and we enjoyed some local micro brews.

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IMG_6450We left Miami the next morning and headed down Alligator Alley to the west coast, to meet some friends in Saint Petersburg. The weather was perfect and we spent the afternoon on the beach and in the turquoise water, followed by tacos and margaritas. Definitely a good day. On to New Orleans tomorrow!

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With our old friend Amanda

With our old friend Amanda

 

MOUNT DORA, FL

It’s hard to believe we’ve spent a whole year in Mount Dora. (That’s about 45 min NW of Orlando, in case you were wondering). We have really come to love this little town, so full of life and it’s own culture. There’s usually something happening on the weekend, whether it’s a craft fair, music festival, farmer’s market or charity fundraiser. That’s not to mention the nightly live music at just about every bar and restaurant, the monthly food truck bizarre, and the sea planes taking off from the lake all winter. It’s a boutique town, full of mom and pop shops, including a store catering specifically to your dog. The winter months do fill the town with snow birds, but even in the summer the locals keep it interesting; and every evening greets a beautiful sunset over Lake Dora.

Lake Dora

 

5th Avenue, night before the annual Arts & Crafts Festival

5th Avenue, night before the annual Arts & Crafts Festival

Wandering the Arts Festival. Not unusually, downtown streets were closed off and open to pedestrians only.

Enjoying a Maggie's wine tasting

Enjoying a Maggie’s wine tasting

Our favorite place in Mount Dora is Maggie’s Attic, a wine bar/bottle shop, and our local beer oasis. We immediately felt at home there, and not just because of the craft beer. The¬†friendly staff was quick to remember us and make us feel welcome, and soon enough we had become regulars. Maggie’s is obviously a great place to imbibe, but besides that it is a community hub. The people we’ve met there and the experiences we’ve shared at Maggie’s events will be remembered for a lifetime. We’ve had the pleasure of sharing the company of people such as¬†the former mayor of Mount Dora, the couple who raises hunting dogs for charity, local home brewers and the ex-soldier retelling his encounters in Europe. It’s a special place.

Inside Maggie's Attic

Inside Maggie’s Attic

I did say beer oasis, right?

I did say beer oasis, right?

Swapping stories at the bar

Swapping stories at the bar

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Jimmy

Jimmy

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Jerome

Jerome

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