Turtles, Bike Rides & Seafood, My Attempt to #SeizetheKeys

She’s back! Little sister Rachel shares details on her latest journey, a media trip to the Florida Keys! Encouragement is much appreciated for this collegiate traveler. –AA

Hello World! Little Sis Rachel here with a recap from my latest adventure on behalf of Angie Away. I recently took a break from my super glam life of college summer classes, velociraptor handling in the Central Florida heat and house hunting to experience the Florida Keys.

I’m usually very efficient and organized, but for some reason I just couldn’t get my life together the week of the trip. What should’ve been a simple adventure almost didn’t happen…

THURSDAY MORNING –  July 9

7:30 AM: Woke up just like any other day and began to get ready for work.

8:00 AM: Began my hour long trek to Universal Orlando Resort, where I’m in charge of dinosaurs.

8:55 AM:  Arrived early to work and decided, “What the heck, I’ll check my email.”

8:56 AM: Read over my #SeizeTheKeys itinerary. Noticed something odd – Welcome dinner Thursday night.

8:57 AM: Wait, my flight is Saturday, right? I leave Saturday…But how….Dinner Thursday…That’s today.

8:58 AM: OMG, I HAVE TO LEAVE NOW. WHAT TIME IS MY FLIGHT?! HOW DID I DO THIS?! I’M GOING TO MISS MY FLIGHT. ANGIE IS GOING TO KILL ME.

8:59 AM: I tell my manager I’m an idiot and I have a flight to catch. Good luck with the velociraptors. BYE!

9:00 AM: Race home to pack and then race to the airport.

Seriously y’all, I promise I’m super organized and on time. The only thing running through my brain the whole morning was, “Angie is gonna punch me in the face, I can’t ever tell her I almost messed this up.”

But of course I did tell her, and she confirmed, yes, she would have punched me.

No worries, because I made my flight and before I knew it, I was in the Florida Keys! 

IMG_0105

I arrived at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamoradaone of the Keys’ most luxurious properties and a haven for fishing enthusiasts. It had some gorgeous views of turquoise water and a lovely stretch of beach, but my favorite thing about this hotel was the outdoor bathtub.

After all the stress of my unexpectedly hurried morning, I could have stayed in there in the tub for the rest of my life. (By the way, the water comes from the ceiling – AMAZING)

Bathtub on the balcony at Cheeca Lodge & Spa

There are so many things to see and do at Cheeca, I wish I had more time to explore the hotel. Next time I’m in town, I’ll be sure to wake up early for a beach yoga class and treat myself to a spa day.

(Editor’s note: I visited Cheeca a couple of years ago and totally agree — that bathtub is the bizness — and the spa is well worth a visit. –AA) 

IMG_0096

We had dinner that night at Atlantic’s Edge, located inside the hotel. Since Cheeca is home to some of the top fishing tournaments in the country, of course the menu had TONS of fresh seafood options… is this a bad time to mention that I don’t eat seafood at all?

I have tried to like it, I really have. Growing up in Florida, you’re basically an outcast if you don’t eat seafood. My family jokes around that I’m adopted because I’m the only one who doesn’t love it. But I decided to be an adventurer and promised to try it again in the Keys…

We ordered the GIGANTIC seafood tower as it seemed like a good appetizer to get to sample a little of everything.

IMG_0097

It’s just not meant to be, y’all. I tried to hide the fact that I wish I had ordered mozzarella sticks instead.

There’s good news for those of you who don’t eat fish. Atlantic’s Edge still has many delicious entrees that aren’t from the depths of the ocean. In fact all the restaurants at Cheeca are designed to satisfy even the picky eaters, like me! There are three restaurants and two lounges at Cheeca Lodge & Spa so you could realistically stay at the hotel your whole vacation.

Needless to say, I did enjoy the chicken — and this view!

IMG_0103

On the morning of my second day in the Florida Keys, I had the opportunity to bike the Old Seven Mile Bridge.

IMG_0151

I was totally ready to bike the full seven miles! Who needs to train for that, right? I later found out that you can only ride about two miles until you reach a dead end into the sea. I think I would have passed out from exhaustion if I tried to bike a total of 14 miles, so I was grateful.

IMG_0184

You shall not pass

The Old Seven Mile Bridge was built more than a century ago. Old 7 closed in 1982 to automobiles and became a fishing and walking pier.

IMG_0153

For those of you who are up for a bike ride (not Ange, obviously, because she still can’t ride a bike) it’s easy to rent a bike for the afternoon and cruise out to the edge.

IMG_0182

RaeRae fun fact: I LOVE DOGS – especially pomeranians. The Overseas Outfitters shop has a pomeranian hopping around the store. IT’S SO CUTE!

DCIM355GOPRO

Can I take you home?!

After the bike tour, it was time to stop by the Turtle Hospital. Since1986, this non-profit hospital has been rescuing injured turtles and, when possible, releasing them back into the wild.

IMG_0176

Many of these little guys are suffering from “bubble butt” syndrome. When a boat hits the top of a turtle shell, it causes air to become trapped inside, making it difficult and sometimes impossible for them to dive for food.

If the injured turtles can not be released back into the wild, they stay at the hospital and live a full and happy life. Thankfully, some of the injured turtles can be helped and released back to where they were found. IMG_0180

Can you imagine all the amazing things I would have missed out on if I’d missed my flight? WHEW!

I’ll be back soon for more adventures from the Keys… and trust me, you won’t want to miss my seaplane melt down. — R

Special thanks to the Florida Keys & Key West tourism council for coordinating the Seize the Keys itinerary. All opinions belong to the writer.

COME AWAY WITH ME!
Get exclusive updates with all the latest news and posts delivered directly to your inbox
  • September 01, 2015

    Wow. Amazing. Just like really really great. You’re so cool. You’re waaaaay better than I am. I wanna be just like you.

  • September 03, 2015

    I loved following along with your trip on Insta, Rae! We also did the turtle hospital two years ago on our Keys vacation, but I’m still kicking myself for not staying at Cheeca. Because DAT TUB.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Sweating It Out on ArubaMy Profile

  • October 06, 2015

    Rae, I too am seafood averse and feel your pain. I have found that occasionally feigning allergy is your best bet. Glad you made your flight — I’ve been there and done that, and there’s nothing better than getting your butt in the seat in time for takeoff!
    Alex recently posted..The Great Escape: Month 47 RoundupMy Profile

  • August 03, 2016

    The turtle is awesome..loves turtle. I didn’t get a chance to visit Islamorada, last time I visited Key West, Florida. One of the great place to do holiday.
    Byby Elle recently posted..Christmas Rose Ombre CakeMy Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge