Visit Florida Sample Blog 1: Travel Memoir

Off the Beaten Path: A Key-Westless Lower Keys Vacation

It’s not fancy. It’s not pretty. The decor juxtaposes 1970s furniture with classic Florida Keys. No matter; the Sugarloaf Lodge on Lower Sugarloaf is a gem hidden in plain view.

If you want to see what the keys looked like before Buffett came to town, stop in Lower Sugarloaf Key and spend a day or two. The Lodge, a family enterprise, allows dogs and offers all-waterfront rooms.

We kept our kayaks outside our patio. In the morning we put in at the neighboring marina and fished for mangrove snapper in the twisty leafy tunnels just beyond our watery doorstep. We paddled less than a mile from our motel room, but it felt like we were explorers in an undiscovered watery jungle.

When we returned, sun-soaked and salty, we brought our catch – two mangrove snapper – to the bartender, who grilled them with lemon juice for $6. We sat on the Lodge’s weathered brown dock and dangled our legs in the water as we ate our catch and sipped frosty Coronas.

The next morning we once again sat by the water with our complimentary muffins, juice, and coffee, watching the egrets and herons compete with velvety brown pelicans for breakfast.

That afternoon we lunched up the road in the funky outdoor  dining room at locally favored Mangrove Mama’s; that night, we grilled steak outside our room as the sun lit up the sky with a prism of pink, red, and purple.

We never made it to Key West that trip. But somehow, we didn’t miss it.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.