My Travels

August 6, 2015

Soon we’ll be off to Cuzco and Machu Picchu Peru to explore the Inca culture and photograph the many wonders there.  We will be especially looking out for unusual plant life, including orchids, to photograph.  We’ll show you what we return with.

While we love visiting the farm in North Carolina and the ranch in Avon Park we more often jump down to the Keys for that quick get-a-way that seems to rejuvenate us like no other.  After all, it’s a relatively quick drive and always interesting in every way.  Where do we go in the Keys?

  • Islamorada-  We often stay at Sunset Inn.  Inexpensive, usually $65 or $70 per night.  They do not vary their rates at holidays.  Breakfast at Mangrove Mike’s right there in the Sunset Inn building.  Dinner either at Lazy Days oceanside a little further down the highway from Sunset Inn.  Lots of fresh seafood, pastas and vegetarian dishes.  Dependably excellent.  And, our favorite of all the Keys, Ziggie & Mad Dog’s there on Islamorada.  Ziggie was an excellent chef who started this place in 1962.  He also ran a small casino operation in a building out back.  It is said that John Huston conceived of the movie Key Largo while enjoying the casino behind Ziggies.  Also, some of the Capone gang used to patronize the place.  Then sometime in the early 90’s as I recall, Ziggie died having been hit by a car.  After remaining empty for a few years Jim Mandich, receiver for the Dolphins in the glory years, along with his construction business partner opened up the current operation.  It is beautiful, casual and with a very dynamic chef who turns out delicious foods like triple tail fish, beautifully done steaks, beef stroganoff plus the truffle mac ‘n cheese and perfect desserts.  Check out their web site:    Also on Islamorada you’ll find Whale Harbor with their huge seafood, etc buffet.  Peel and eat all the shrimp you can handle.
  • Key West-  We usually stay at Spanish Gardens, a quaint little strip motel from the ’40s or 50s located just a block off Duval Street.  See their web site to see if this is right for you.   Rates usually range from $89 – 149 seasonally.  While on Key West be sure to reserve a table at Seven Fish, a small locals place on Virginia near the city cemetery.  Only open Wed – Mon 6p-10p the best fresh fish and seafood carefully and perfectly prepared, other things as well but it’s a short menu.  Try finishing dinner with the sweet potato pie or the Key Lime Cheesecake.  Make a reservation well in advance of your trip down or miss this place.   Also, on Duval, most places are just tourist traps but La Trattoria is special.  See their information at  This is the one on Duval.  Their Oceanside place isn’t as good.
  • On the way down or back, take Card Sound Road and stop in at Alabama Jack’s.  They don’t have a web site and hardly have a building but you can’t miss it for all the cars and motorcycles usually crowded around.  Don’t pass it up because of the crowds, just enjoy the atmosphere.  Beer, conch from fried to chowder and all the other bar foods you would expect.  Their attitude is carefree – let yours be the same.  This is truly the Keys laid back style personified…….
  • As you can see from the photo below, Whale Harbor Seafood Buffet is closed due to this massive fire.  The building has been razed and rebuilding has started.
  • Fire guts building on picturesque Friday Harbor waterfront


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