Today is day 5 and I realize that we are over halfway through our family vacation. I’m sad to not only have to leave this vacation paradise, but mostly because I’ve so enjoyed this incredible time together as a family. On this trip, I’ve had the opportunity to bond with our Lil Walter more than ever, and it will hold a special place in my heart.
After a casual morning spent sipping on my morning coffee while sitting out at the end of our pier (I am watching a video our son took of a “nurse shark” that frequently visits our area of the docks. Very cool.), I walk with our other son to go check out the dive shop next door to where we are staying. It’s called Quiescence Diving Services and they service Key Largo and the surrounding areas for all things diving, and much more! They have also been a great resource for us regarding the area attractions. You can check them out at: https://keylargodiving.com. They suggested that we visit John Pennekamp State Park (we had previously marked that off our list, but quickly add it back on!) So, we took their advice and planned our afternoon visit there. But first, lunch ! Just up the road there is a little “hole in the wall” Cuban café called The Juice House and we’d heard good things about it, so we decide to have lunch there today. Most of us ordered their special Cuban sandwiches and they were delicious !!! They don’t appear to have a website, but I did find them on Facebook at The-juice-house. Their sandwiches were delicious. They make their own Cuban bread and they top their Cubans with ham, swiss, mustard, pickles and a roasted pulled pork that had incredible flavor. They serve them hot and you might want to split the order because they are pretty large in size.
On to the park….. A little about John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Like the name implies, this state park is home to the first undersea park in the U.S. It covers 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs; seagrass beds and mangrove swamps and it extends 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. To learn more about this amazing park, you can visit their website at: https://pennekamppark.com.
Once we are at the park, we decide to rent some kayaks to explore the various birds, fish and vegetation throughout the channels, mangroves and open Largo Bay. The mangrove tunnels can get narrow but not unmanageable and we have a map, which helps us stay on track. The mangroves all arch overhead and we spot some type of mammal bobbing its’ head in and out of the water!
Oh…. wait…… false alarm! As we get closer we realize that it’s actually a snorkeler enjoying the water beds and the reef fish residing there. We paddle on and it is truly a beautiful sight, gliding in our kayaks under these massive and intricate mangrove trees. You can hear the various birds singing and our oars paddling in unison (ok, maybe not so much “paddling in unison” but it sounds good!) We eventually reach the open waters and paddle back to shore. Even though it was a VERY hot and humid day, it was an amazing experience !
After kayaking, we head back to our rental where we all jump in the refreshing pool after spending an afternoon working up a sweat in the humid heat. Some of us just relax with a book (or a video game in some cases), or take a short power nap (in my case) !
It’s early evening and after our rest, we are headed to dinner at The Lazy Lobster restaurant. The parking lot is full, which is always a good sign. We are taken to the back patio where we find the reserved table all set up for our group. There is music playing and it is very much a tropical tiki, garden island kind of vibe. There are large fans everywhere to keep the area nice and cool and the music they play is perfect!
They specialize in ….. yep you guessed it, lobster, prepared every way you can imagine. We order a wide array of seafood including a half dozen raw oysters in the shell for an appetizer, their jumbo shrimp special, sautéed fish and yep, lobster prepared in many different ways. One of my personal favorites was actually at the beginning of our meal when they bring out a bowl of piping hot dinner rolls and homemade banana bread! Yum! Yum! You can find their menu on their website at https://lazylobsterinthekeys.com.
After dinner we return back to our home away from home where we induldge in some of my homemade lemon cheesecake topped with blueberries. Lots of food in our tummies and lots of happy people. Until tomorrow…
Nite Nite.. zzzzzzz……