Dreaming of Islamorada

In times of trouble… and polar vortex… what do we do? We reminisce about the warm, happy, tropical vacations we took and start planning the next one…

Friends, I think it’s time to head back south to the Florida Keys. It’s been chilly in Jacksonville the past few weeks, and while it compares in no way to the snowed-in misery everyone else in the country has suffered, I’m still tired of feeling like a sad little popsicle.

Cheeca Lodge Islamorada

Welcome to Cheeca Lodge on Islamorada!

Winter is a great time to visit the Keys, but there’s really not a bad time for a vacation, no matter what you read about hurricane season. I lived in Florida until I was 18, and had just a day or two off for storm-related shenanigans, and that was really just precautionary. I see so many folks NOT traveling to Florida or the Caribbean during hurricane season, and it’s usually an unnecessary avoidance. If a storm does pop up, usually airlines refund tickets or allow rebooking anyhow, and most hotels have helpful policies in case of hurricanes.

Cheeca Lodge

The main pool at Cheeca Lodge & Spa

So back to the important stuff – pictures of sunny, tropical, swimming pools! Sigh. I warm up a few degrees every time I look at shots like this.

The spa pool at Cheeca Lodge

The spa pool at Cheeca Lodge

I’ve been to the Keys 4-5 times in my life – for science camp (fortunately I don’t have any pictures of me from that little adventure), on a cruise, on a family vacation and for a romantic birthday weekend, and I gotta say, we Floridians are unbelievably lucky to have this paradise for a neighbor. It only takes me about 6 hours to get to the Keys, and then it’s just a matter of which one to visit.

Key West is about 8 hours from my front door, but sometimes I’d rather stop about halfway down the line in laid-back Islamorada, the sport fishing capital of the world.

A stern visitor to Cheeca Lodge on Islamorada

A stern visitor to Cheeca Lodge on Islamorada

During my last visit to Islamorada, I was looking forward to a big fishing excursion with the world famous Robbie’s, but it was canceled due to a band of relentless thunderstorms. I was only bummed for about 4 minutes though, because I was staying at the luxe Cheeca Lodge and they have a magnificent spa.

Instead of fishing, I had the 60-minute Hot Lava Shell Massage, and it was nearly life changing. It was most definitely tension reducing and relaxing and yeah, better than fishing. (Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone I said that.)

Cheeca Lodge Spa

Cheeca Lodge Sunset Islamorada

In the evenings, tall palm trees sway along the beach, and pink clouds bob like marshmallows on top of the clear green sea. Once the sun goes down, lights illuminate the water underneath the pier (the longest in the Keys) and you can watch little tropical fishies all night while heat lightning flashes on the horizon. In the saltwater lagoon, bioluminescent creatures blink under the surface and the waves gently lap the shore. It’s an altogether perfectly relaxing place to spend a night.

Swanky digs at Cheeca Lodge

Swanky digs at Cheeca Lodge

Cheeca Lodge is one of the most luxurious hotels in the Keys, and certainly a top choice on Islamorada. My room wasn’t oceanfront (always a bummer) but even still, the view of the 27 acres of tropical garden landscape wasn’t all that bad.

Especially since I had a private hot tub on the terrace.

Cheeca Lodge

Yep, now that I’ve checked the weather for next week, I’d say it’s time for a return visit to Islamorada. Now I just have to choose between a fishing re-do or another spa visit… thoughts?

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About Angie Away

Angie Orth is Angie Away, a globe-trekking communications specialist and entrepreneur. In 2010, she left a successful career as a travel publicist in NYC for the unpredictable life of a freelancing digital nomad. She’s passionate about travel, the Florida Gators, Shark Week, trying everything at least once and storytelling here at http://www.angieaway.com.