Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Road Tripping - Going Off the Beaten Path in Key West

Mark and I on our way to Key West
Last week my boyfriend Mark and I decided to take a much needed 3-day mini vacation to Key West. Originally we 
had planned to visit my home country of Dominican Republic, but had to postpone those plans due to some recent life 
changes. So we figured why not take a fun road trip somewhere close and decided on Key West. Although we had both 
visited before, we had never been there together. We both agreed it was a perfect place for exactly what we needed - 
to unwind, have a good time and eat some good grub. 

The trip turned out better than we expected. From the moment we got in the car, we were in total vacation mode. 
We started our day off with a delicious power breakfast at Big Pink and drove off into the sunshine. One of the best 
parts of the trip was that we both got to experience the town from a totally different perspective. We went a little bit 
off the beaten path and couldn't have been more surprised as to what we came across. 

So I wanted to write this post to share with you some of these little treasures that we found along the way and 
that you should check out on your next visit to Key West
Sunset from hammocks at Southermost on the Beach Hotel
The first place to check out are the hammocks at the Southernmost on the Beach Hotel. We stayed at the Southernmost
Hotel which is the sister property, so we had access to both hotels. As we checked out the property, we came across
this quaint little garden with several hammocks, right next to the ocean. It was one of the most ideal settings with the
sound of the seagulls, the ocean waves crashing against the pier, the rustling of the palm trees and the perfect sunset.
The best part of all, there is no security. So even if you you're not staying at these properties, you could still walk in
and enjoy this little piece of paradise. Just don't spread the word - let's keep this little secret between you and me. Ssshhh!

The second little surprise, and my personal favorite, is Kojin Noodle Bar. Granted I have an obsession for Asian
food, but this place was just ridiculous, and I mean that in the best way possible! From the food to the service, the
place blew us away. If it were up to me, I'd give it a 12 out of 10. Is that possible? In any case, Mark had the Pho and
I had the BBQ Korean Beef Short Ribs, accompanied with some delicious Moonstone Coconut and Lemongrass sake
recommended by our host. I was sold! So if you're up for some ultimate Asian goodness, you need to check out this place.
But keep in mind, this place is pretty small and they don't take reservations. So try to go on the earlier side or late night.
It' ll be so worth your while. 

The third place we fell in love with was Santiago's Bodega. This little hidden gem was recommended by our hotel
concierge and let me tell you... it was one of the best meals I ever had. The place is kind of on the outskirts of a
sketchy area but nothing to be concerned with. We walked there around 9:30 p.m. and it was totally fine. One thing
to keep in mind is that this place is POPULAR! We walked in without reservations and got really lucky by snatching
up two spots at the bar, but the place gets booked up on a daily basis so call ahead if you can. The tapas plates
were beyond exceptional, the ambiance was simple yet sexy, and the service surpassed our expectations.
This place was a total ace in my book and certainly a place I'll return to. 

The last place worth mentioning is the Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa beach and pier. We stepped into this hotel as
we were walking around town, and found a small beach with these beautiful massive rocks. Next to the beach was
a  pier, and perfectly placed at the end of this pier was a two-person hammock facing the ocean. Mark and I sat
there in silence and just took it all in, appreciating the wonderful seclusion and serene setting. As we continued
exploring the grounds, we came across some beautiful turtles and even took a little time to play some Cornhole. 

We already know Key West is this beautiful, fun, and laid-back little piece of heaven. But next time you're there,
go beyond the main streets and take my word on these recommendations. I promise you won't regret it. 

C h e e r s,  k a r i n a

Relaxing on the hammocks at the Southernmost on the Beach Hotel
Power breakfast at Big Pink, on our way to Key West
Magnets at the Hammock Company
Two-person hammock at The Hammock Company
Mark testing out some hammocks
Hammock heaven - The Hammock Company, Key West
The Hammock Company Key West
The Hammock Company Key West

The Hammock Company
Kojin Noodle Bar
Korean BBQ Short Ribs at Kojin
Beef Pho at Kojin
Loving life on a hammock at Southernmost on the Beach Hotel
Key West Sunset off of Southernmost on the Beach Hotel
Yours and Mayan store
Yours and Mayan store
Yours and Mayan store
Yours and Mayan store
Yours and Mayan store
Yours and Mayan store
Magnets at candy store
Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa
Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa
Turtles at Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa

Santiago's Bodega
Goombay Street Fair in Key West

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