Another month in Key West

I’m about to write about all the large gatherings and parties we attended in February, and do so while we are under a stay at home order due to the novel coronavirus pandemic: it feels weird, but here we are.  We had an incredibly active and fun February, so much so that I am unsure how to make a cohesive post rather than a short description of each event we attended.  Ah well.

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Our waterfront dry camping site we enjoyed for three weeks.  Not too shabby.

Like last year, we put ourselves on Jim and Edith’s list of potential sailing partners.  He has a tandem Hobie kayak with mirage “peddle” drive, a sail, and two outriggers.  Its pretty fantastic.  When he feels like going out, he runs down the phone list until he finds someone ready to go.  We got the call early in the month and enjoyed a trip out to the mangrove islands several miles off shore.  2-sail-1

We started hitting additional markets, but as buyers rather than vendors.  The newly positioned Key West farmers market is fantastic.  The new location near the state park and piers is wonderful, and had us second guessing our decision last year to drop this market from our vending opportunities.  We picked up some wonderful fresh fruit, heirloom tomatoes, and one of the moistest chocolate raspberry cakes you will ever find.  3-kw-market

As for vending, we did one on base yard sale and the annual Gardenfest at the botanical garden on Stock Island for the third year in a row.  It was, by any reasonable definition, a sold market for us, though not nearly as good as last year’s.  I didn’t see a lot of advertising for it, and there were apparently some competing events which might have pulled some of the crowds away from Gardenfest.  Ah well, we provided our feedback, and hopefully next year will see a return to form.

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This tree within the botanical garden was destroyed by Hurricane Irma, and a local artist sculpted it into a thrown.

Taco Tuesday is a big thing among the Sigsbee crowd; Lucy’s and Old Town Mexican usually get a big group of us overwhelming their staff as we take over whole sections of their restaurant.  This year we added the poolside bar at the Hilton Garden Inn to the line up, but Lucy’s will always be the place that started it all for us Sigsbee people. 5-lucys

With Dennis and Ginger delayed in coming down to Sigsbee, Steve and I did not have a method of stone crabbing this year.  We put the word out that if anyone had a boat and was interested in crabbing, then we would be flexible about the catch and hopefully come to some arrangement.  Gary and Maryanne are avid crabbers, but health issues precluded him from pulling the traps himself.  We agreed to use his boat, Steve and I would haul all 20 of our groups’ traps, and we would also buy all the pigs feet and cat food bait.  We agreed to pool all of the catch and divide it up by appropriate share at the end of the day.

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Oh yes.

It worked out great.  Aside from the little issue of me slipping and falling on to his gunwhale and breaking a rib while hauling in a trap, we had generally smooth sailing.  We got used to each others technique, got better and faster with each run, and pulled in good numbers of crab leg.

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Dave and Rebecca with us at Pepe’s for oysters.

We did far less fishing than last year, but Rose managed to get out and catch a few with Danny and Sally one day while I was still in a bit of pain from the rib cracking incident.  So Rose got to fish and I got to clean and filet them.  8-fish

Eddie and Tina (of course) organized a Hawaiian themed downtown bar crawl which proved rather popular as we made our way through the ten or so stops.  We skipped one of them to have an early dinner at Pepe’s, my knew favorite restaurant that Rose introduced me to last month.  They do fantastic fresh oysters, raw or baked, at a very low happy hour price point, particularly for Key West.  The fresh squeeze juice right at the bar for cocktails as well.

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Steve and Deb at Pepe’s during the bar crawl.

Rose and I had a late breakfast there one day, and I just can’t say enough about Key West’s oldest restaurant.  Once this COVID-19 pandemic is over, if you get to Key West, put Pepe’s on your list for breakfast and happy hour.  10-pepes-breakfast

Anyway, back to the bar crawl.  Eddie and Tina brought a big sound system complete with microphone on a dolly to both entertain the lot of us and keep us on the bar schedule.  They also made sure everyone was stocked up with the two for one drink tickets for many of our stops.  We attracted quite a lot of attention from locals and tourists alike.  It sounds strange, but the best stop of the night was the steps outside of CVS, where a case of corona (foreshadowing?) was handed out and we took our group picture.  11-bar-crawl-all

Rosemarie’s cousin Daniella had a short vacation in Key West during our stay, and we were able to get together with her for brunch at one of the best places for it: Blue Heaven.  This post is sounding like nothing more than positive restaurant reviews strung together!

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Rose had something healthy while I splurged on Lobster Eggs Benedict and Daniella had Prime Rib Eggs Benedict.  Fantastic. 

In sad but expected news, Linda passed away after making the decision to have her life support systems removed.  She survived with ALS for longer than they give most people, and worked every day to make it worth the pain and struggle.  Rose made the trip to Norfolk to join the big group descending on Jason for a Puerto Rican style wake.

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The grandkids at Linda’s during a rare moment of quiet.

Next up, our final days in Key West.

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