Morning on Duval Street — better than evening: Key West

It didn’t take me long to confirm that it was a mistake to book this room atop an old bar on the southern end of Duval Street in Key West. I knew it would be noisy and I came with earplugs but they were no match for The Salty Angler, a bar across the street that blared loud live music from early afternoon until 11:30 pm (I know it’s 11:30 pm because I was counting the minutes.) Then there are the spring break and other partiers hooting it up and motorcycles buzzing by. I spent part of the night trying to find other places to stay but had an even harder time doing that than I did several months ago when the most affordable options ($250 range so not cheap) were gone except for this.

Lunch at Louie’s Backyard

It’s a shame because when it’s quiet, like this morning at 7:30 am , sitting in an upholstered white wicker chair on our spacious second floor balcony with white columns, shaded by palms, is a lovely place to be. Note to self: never again book a place right in town, especially during spring break. (P.s. It got better….)

Beyond that, the drive here was interesting– Never seen water these colors, from pale yellow-green to turquoise. We stopped at Mangrove Mike’s, a local hangout in Islamorada for breakfast and got kicked off the near perfect private beach (pix above) at The Moorings (note to self: stay there next time, if it doesn’t cost a fortune, which it probably does… latest claim to fame– it was where the nexflix show Bloodlines was filmed.) Islamorada in general is a good alternative to Key West, much mellower and quieter (I am now craving quiet). We liked the tiny funky “arts district” that includes a ceremic shop and brew pub.

In Key West, we did have a lovely late lunch at Louie’s Backyard,  sitting at the bar on the deck by the shimmering ocean on a very sunny afternoon – conch chowder (our young server played football for “the fighting conchs,” the name of the high school team here) and a snapper sandwich and key lime pie. We watched the bartender make many a pina colada. dogs and people frolicked on the nearby beach. Our place is an easy walk to South Beach which is tiny and was packed but we had a brief dip in surprisingly warm water with perfect sandy bottom. I was briefly comforted when we walked to the north end of Duval Street to see that our end is indeed “the quieter end” — not my scene up there. Way too many people, college age and middle aged, drinking and being rowdy, lots of bad art and tshirt shops. But we found quieter lovelier spots too (especially along Petronia street, Hemingway’s house and toward the state park so will seek those out on our bikes today. THe staff here also promised to chat with the folks at the bar across the street. Apparently last night was the first time they blared live loud music, maybe to try to lure spring breakers to this side of Duval. NO thanks.

We had an okay dinner at Banana Cafe last night, chosen only for its proximity to our inn. between there and hear is also a house where several young women sit on the porch basically offering their services (there is a whole list of kinky things they can do posted on the walll. No takes yet and not that racy a scene although we did see some primo drag queens a little further north on Duval.


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