MM 50 - Sombrero Resort
We've been over to Dockside before, and Bob hated it. but I thought we might do better if we went to this restaurant which is not as far down as Dockside is. Bob had lasgna (his favorite) and I had eggplant. They also have pizza of course.
The meal for the 2 of us including tip cost $33.30
Across from the Sombrero Resort and next to the road and the Golf Course is a driving range. There is netting from the top of the chain link fence up to the level of the power and telephone lines. We saw someone picking up the balls with a kind of ball sweeper machine while we were eating dinner. I can't find anything out about it on the internet.
We spent the winter here in 2003-2004. We arrived on December 15th, and intend to leave in the middle of March.
Our original idea was to buy a 'conch cruiser' (an old car which runs but looks as if it won't) and then sell it when we left. However, we discovered that Florida charges $100 extra for the first car you register in Florida (which this would have been) and we figured that by the time we bought a car and paid that fee and taxes and registration, we'd have spend $700 to $1000. And renting a car was only $155 to 175/week. So we rented a car for a week once a month to make the run to Key West.
When we have the car, we eat out every night, which accounts for my many restaurant tips. The restaurant tips are arranged from west to east along the highway.
This travelogue will summarize the winter's activities, with links to other specific locations that we visited.
"Summary of December"
We arrived on December 15th from Indian Key. As we explored the area, we discovered what restaurants we could walk to (Cabots, Seven Mile Grill, Porky's, Castaway and New China Inn).
We unpacked the bikes. Bob started cleaning up the boat and redoing the topsides and the toe rail. He also periodically rode his bike up to Publix for provisions.
We celebrated Christmas on the boat. Then after Christmas our daughter and SIL and grandchildren came down from Miami in their boat and spent some time with us over New Years. They took us on a tour of Boot Key Harbor on their boat, and we went to dinner at Burdines.
In January we rented a car for the first time.
January 8th, Bob took a cab to the airport to pick up the car. He felt he was overcharged. We didn't do much as it was too hot, except looked at the Captain Hook's which is sort of next door to where we ate dinner at Fish Tails. I had confused Fish Tails with the Key's Fisheries where I had meant to eat.
On January 9th we made a trip to Key West and revisited the Botanical Garden on Stock Island. I had visited it for the first time when we lived in Key West in the late 60s. We also visited the Boca Chica marina (on the Naval Air Station) and the West Martello Tower which is run by the Garden Club. We had lunch in Key West at the Key West Diner (which we had eaten at before), and we had dinner at the Cuban restaurant Don Pedros in Marathon
On the 10th (Saturday) we had dinner at the Key Colony Inn which we think is the best restaurant in Marathon.
On the 11th (Sunday) we went to the Big Pine Flea Market and then went to the Blue Hole part of the Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine.. We also started our visit of Crane Point Museum which will be written up under Vaca Key. We ate dinner at Annette's Lobster House.
On Monday the 12th we finished up the visit to Crane Point ( the local museum/aquarium and historical exhibit) and walked out to the old settlement. We ate at the Village Cafe -an Italian restaurant.
Tuesday the 13th we visited two other CSY boats - one was the former LIMBO LADY in Marathon and the other was SOGGY PAWS up at Matecombe Key. We ate lunch up at Little Italy on Grassy Key, and ate dinner down at the Quarterdeck.
Wednesday we went back to Key West, and shopped, and I had Bob drive around various places so I could take pictures to go with my tips, and had dinner at Marathon Pasta and Pasta. Then he turned in the car in on Thursday.
During the following days, I practiced riding my bike, and biked out as far as Knight Key.
"February car rental"
Monday, Feb 2nd (ground hog day)we took the boat out to Sombrero Key Light and picked up a mooring. I went down to see whether the prop had a lot of growth on it and whether the zincs were still in good shape. The prop looked OK and the water was so cold that I couldn't stay in there very long (I didn't wear a wetsuit because I wanted to be able to get down to the prop and the wetsuit would make me too buoyant without a weight belt and I didn't want to wear a weight belt without scuba tanks, and I thought it was too much trouble to use the tanks just to see the prop)
Anyway, there was a lot of wind and current, and I was soon ready to get back on the boat.
Bob wanted to turn the boat around in the slip so he could wash and use penetrol on the other side. But it was too windy for that, so we just went in bow first like we had been. Both of us were pretty tired by then.
February 3, Tuesday, Bob rode his bike out to the airport to pick up the rental car, and I rode my bike over to Burdines.
Afterwards I asked him to drive out to Boot Key to see what was out there. The answer is - nothing is out there, just like on the maps and charts. We saw an iguana sunning himself on the road, and I got out on the bridge and talked to the bridge tender a bit. That night, we drove out to Faro Blanco Bayside to see if their restaurant Kelsey's was open, and it was not. So we ate at Burdines, and were eaten alive by no-seeums. The hamburgers are nice and big though.
Wednesday Feb 4th, we went down to Key West to go to the commissary (which is not open Sunday or Monday). Afterwards we went to the Navy Base and Truman annex, and ate lunch at the snack bar there, and I had a swim on the beach. We had dinner at the Cracked Conch Cafe
Thursday February 5th, I had intended to go out to Pigeon Key, and have dinner at the Hidden Cafe on Grassy Key. But the Cafe didn't have any early bird reservation slots left, and Pigeon Key is completely closed this week for the art festival. So Bob dropped me at Sombrero Beach (pictures under Tingler Island as I have no more room under Marathon), and I went swimming. We had dinner at Herbies.
Friday February 6th, it was too hot to do anything so Bob pulled the boat away from the pier and washed the other side. Then we had a Full Moon party here in the marina. Lots of food. In the morning we could watch the moon set over Knight Key. (Almost everyone else except VT calls it Knight's Key or Knights Key)
Saturday February 7th after Bob gets a few spots that he missed when he did the boat, we went to the
Big Pine Flea Market again and went to the other site in the Key Deer Refuge. We actually saw a live Key deer along the side of the road, but I didn't get a picture. We ate dinner on the Wreck Galley Grill out on Grassy Key. I had an excellent prime rib that was the Saturday special.
Sunday February 9th, we finally had dinner at the Hide Away Cafe Early Bird. We thought our friend worked there, but he had actually switched and was working at the Wreck Galley Grill.
"End of February"
I finally saw a manatee in the marina and could take some pictures. We also saw a pod of dolphins (including some that looked like babies) herding fish out in the flats off the stern of our boat.
A couple who have a CSY 33 picked us up at the marina and took us to see their boat, and we all had dinner at Burdines afterwards. This time the no-seeums were not in evidence.
It was during this time that we found out that while Marathon Marina and Boatyard's policy is to prorate the end of the month that you come on the monthly rate, they prorate the beginning of the month that you leave on the weekly rate, so that if you stay 2 weeks, you don't get any money back on the month that you pay in advance.
"March car rental"
I dicovered that we could get a car more cheaply if we rented it before March 10th (probably due to Spring Breakers) although it was more expensive than it had been in January or February. We were also seeing evidence that it was Bike Week in Daytona, in the number of motorcycles on the road.
So Bob picked up the car on March 2nd - we didn't do much of anything for the rest of the day.
March 3rd we ate at Key's Fisheries and I had an excellent lobster roll and key lime pie ice cream.
March 4th we ate at the Quay.
March 5th, on Bob's birthday, we went down to Key West actually found a parking space on Duval Street (no cruise ships in town). We went to the Oldest House, and walked to the Truman White House. I decided after looking at the video tape not to spring for the $10 each for the tour, so we walked around to Wendys and had lunch, and then went to the commissary. We went to Key Colony Inn again for Bob's birthday dinner.
March 6th (Saturday) it was off to Big Pine Flea Market again where I shopped for an anniversary present for one of our daughters, and we had lunch at Rob's Island Grill in Big Pine.
March 7th, we had dinner at the Panda House Chinese restaurant.
March 8th we finally got to take the tour of Pigeon Key. We didn't get there until almost noon, so we went and had lunch at the Stuffed Pig first, and we had dinner afterwards at Sombrero Resort's Marathon Pasta and Pizza (for the second time.)
March 9th we did some shopping and had lunch at Leigh Ann's Coffee Shop before he turned the car in on the 10th
Then on March 21st we left for Indian Key