Five Great Reasons to Visit Key West

We visited Key West this winter as part of our extended poker vacation. We’ve already reported on our visit to Miami and shared some of the things nobody tells you about the Florida Keys.  Our ultimate destination as we traveled down the Keys was, of course, Key West. After a wonderful stop on the island, here are our top reasons to visit Key West.

Five Great Reasons to Visit Key West

The Sun

Let’s start with the key. The most important reason, for us at least, to visit Key West is that is 75 degrees in February. We timed this trip specifically to get out of the chilly New England weather. Even in January, the coldest month of the year, Key West averages 75 degrees during the day. Few spots in the continental US can beat that. Not Los Angeles (high of 68 degrees in January). Or New Orleans (63 degrees). Not even San Diego (66 degrees). If you’re looking for some reliable warm sun in the middle of the winter, Key West is your best bet.

Five Great Reasons to Visit Key West

 

Key West is also one of the few points in the US where you can watch the sun both rise and set over the water. We’ll admit that we didn’t get up early enough to enjoy the sunrise, but the sunset celebration at Mallory Square can’t be beat. The festival begins every evening two hours before sunset and includes jugglers, musicians, magicians, artists, and food vendors. At sunset everyone pauses to watch the glorious sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico.

Read More

Vizcaya Museum Miami Weekend

An Intense Weekend in Miami

Miami is intense. The people are intense. The traffic is intense. The personal injury lawyers are (if the ever-present billboards are any indication) very intense. So it is not surprising that the segment of our recent trip spent in south Florida amounted to a very intense weekend in Miami. Intensity, of course has both its pluses and minuses. While the three days we spent in Miami were not, perhaps, very relaxing, they were filled with new experiences.

Home Base in South Beach

As we learned when planning this vacation (and frankly, kind of already knew), South Beach is not cheap. Especially in February. There are any number of small hotels and accommodations that will welcome you for a mere $400 a night. When researching our trip, we tried all of our tricks for finding a great hotel at a reasonable price. In the end we counted ourselves lucky to find a nice place for “only” a bit over $200 a night (plus $30 a day for parking). Only because this trip was in honor of my 50th birthday did we grit our teeth and pay such a high rate.

Read More

Florida Keys Turtle Hospital

6 Things Nobody Tells You About the Florida Keys

Paul and I are on a mini pilgrimage this week in southern Florida. We spent a couple of days in Miami playing poker, visiting the city and environs, and then drove down through the Florida Keys. In the weeks to come, we’ll share our adventures in Florida travel and poker. However, I couldn’t resist quickly jotting down some of the things that surprised us about the Florida Keys.

My image of the Florida Keys clearly was tainted by nostalgia and a failure to adequately research our destination. I imagined long open stretches of road with the ocean right out the car window. There would be sparsely populated islets peopled by fisherman and tiki bars featuring conch fritters. And after a three hour drive from Miami, we would arrive in the land of Hemingway and Jimmy Buffett. Key West, I thought, would be a bit touristy, but still a throwback to quieter times.

Nope!

Read More

Our 10 Most Popular Posts of 2018

We headed out this week to Miami and the Florida Keys on our next poker/travel adventure.   We scrambled to finish last minute work tasks and remind ourselves how to pack for 10 days away. From this trip, we plan to add six more poker rooms to our list (room reviews to come!). But, while you patiently await those, we’d like to share our 10 most popular posts from last year. As 2018 was our first year of blogging, we’re guessing that many of you missed some of our earlier work. So, without further ado, here are our 10 most popular posts of 2018.

9 Truths We Have Learned in Our 12 Years of Remote Work

In this post, we shared some of the ups and downs of life after ditching the office. Many aspects of working from home are great.  Topping the list for us: not having a commute and jammies being the office dress code.  But there are pitfalls, such as realizing you’ve only taken 600 steps all day and that you can work ALL THE TIME.

Read More

Single Day in Toronto - Casa Loma

A Single Day in Toronto

Spending a single day in a major city is the speed dating of travel. What can you report other than the city is “kind of attractive, and seems to have a decent personality”? However, after our day in Toronto, we had a love at first sight reaction. All four of our children liked it as well, with one of them coming away so enamored it instantly became her favorite city.

If you only have a single day in Toronto, here’s a quick game plan. If you have a more civil multi-day visit, these guidelines can give you a start as well. We visited Toronto in the middle of a week in Niagara falls with the kids (ages 12-20). For the poker players, Niagara has casino options on the American side, the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, and Canadian side, Casino Niagara. But take a break from the tables for a day and head up to Toronto for some culture, food, and fun. It’s a mere two hour drive up the road, and definitely worth a day visit.

The Toronto Metro System

Like everything in Toronto, the subway system is very clean, modern and convenient. The entire metro system is called the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and includes bus and streetcars along with the subway.  If in Toronto for a frantic day, grab a day pass, and, if you are traveling as a family, you can get group weekend day discounts.  Basically, park your car near your first landmark, and leave it for the day. In my visit to Chicago, I discovered SpotHero which allows you to reserve a parking garage spot ahead of time, usually at discount prices. Toronto offers a SpotHero subsidiary, Parking Panda.  We’d give that a shot. Or park at a TTC lot in the outskirts for $7 per day.

Read More