I was in Key West for a few days in March visiting my college friend Bert Parker. I arrived on Friday the 10th and left at noontime on the 14th. With reduced airline service, it now takes 3 flights to get there from Providence, which is annoying. I went via Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale. Going down my suitcase did not arrive, presumably due to a close connection in Philadelphia. I was anxious about it, but the bag arrived at Bert's house the next afternoon.
Bert is always a gracious host, so the first night I was there he had made a reservation for us at Michael's, one of Key West's finest restaurants, which conveniently happens to be across the street from his house. We had planned dinner there in advance, but it was particularly welcome after a long day in the air. I lvoe to travel but find domestic flights to be increasingly stressful.
Bert has a beautiful home originally built in the 1850's in Old Town with a lush garden in what is technically the adjacent lot. The garden makes for a peaceful view from the dining room and kitchen. Most evenings we sat out on his deck and cooked fresh local seafood from the local market for dinner. Delightful!
Michael's. 532 Margaret St. 305-295-1300. Great cooking and good service. Dining is available indoors in the old house or outdoors on the terrace.
I wandered around the Old Town as well as the touristy parts of town (where the locals fear to tread). I bought some t-shirts and much-needed sandals. There was one large cruise ship in town, which apparently counts as a quiet day, although the area close to the port seemed very busy to me. Apparently the passengers don't usually wander too far.
One highlight of the visit was the local garden club tour, which Bert and I took with friends. We saw some magnificent gardens, although all were small, as land is so scarce. We noted that many of the plantings were new, as salt water from a hurricane last year had damaged many plants. In theory in was not a house tour, but many houses there are very open, so we were able to glimpse some magnificent mteriors.
Sarabeth's. 530 Simonton St (at Southard). 305-293-8181. I had a couple of good lunches there, and the dinner menu looks nice. It's in an old house a block off of Duval and has indoor and outdoor seating.