The Florida Keys: Part II

Welcome to part II of our Florida Keys vacation (read part I here) which is all about the stuff we did and ate when not hanging out at Deer Run B&B.

Super close to Deer Run is a natural food store called Good Food Conspiracy (love that name!). We picked up some snacks and shared a delicious veggie wrap with Daiya cheese, and a mango smoothie in their garden before checking in at Deer Run.

We visited Bahia Honda State Park a couple of times during our stay because they have beautiful natural tropical beaches. I’m not normally an ocean swimmy type person because I’m weird and wanna see what’s lurking by my feet. But here, the water is so clear that I magically morphed into a mermaid.

My favorite beach at the park was Sandspur which is where we spent a lot of time.

Nature abounds at this place: seagulls, a plethora of other ocean birds that I don’t know the names of, sea sponges and sea grass. One time I thought a plane was flying overhead because I was ensconced in a shadow, but nope, just a big ol’ pelican flying close overhead.  We snorkeled and saw a lot of cool fish and crabs too.

We put this sea sponge back in the water so he could stay wet.

At the park, we also took a path that leads to the edge of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge that crosses the Bahia Honda Channel.

Um, hello zompocalypse bridge.

Supposedly, one can see lots of interesting sea animals like sharks when overlooking the Bahia Honda Channel. We saw some sting rays. People around us kept shouting “barracuda!”, but we didn’t see any. Maybe they were just singing that song by Heart really loudly.

We also took a tour of the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. The day we visited they had a new patient that had been severely injured by the propeller of a boat (not shown because it was too distressing to see, so forget about taking a pic!).  Though it was really depressing to learn that most injuries are caused by careless humans, the staff does a good job in educating the public on how to help prevent turtle injuries.

The turtles are kept either in a large pool or individual tubs depending on their injuries.

This guy was going to take a swim in the big pool because he was going to be released soon.

They had one hatchling who was about 2 inches in length.  Gah! So much cute in such a small body!

At the end of the tour, we got to feed the turtles in the big pool.

Hey, I do that when I swim…you and me, we’re not that different.

This guy reminds me of Morla the ancient turtle from The Neverending Story.

Close to the Turtle Hospital is Food For Thought– a natural food store with books! We stopped there for a smoothie (something tropical and delicious) and a raw key lime pie.

Back on Big Pine Key we stopped at Blue Hole, an old limestone quarry that is home to a lot of wildlife.  It was late afternoon and kinda stormy, so it was creepy when, after not seeing or hearing anything except ominous thunder and lightning, to hear a big ol’ dragon-like breath and see this alligator staring at us.

I was a tad scared because Blue Hole isn’t a zoo prison for animals and the alligator could’ve walked right up to us if it wanted to. But it’s not like I was so scared that when I saw the alligator creeping towards the edge of the quarry, I high tailed it back to the car yelling “He’s trying to cut us off, he’s coming to get us!! Run for your life!!”. That would just be silly.

One night we had dinner at Kaya Island Eats in Saddlebunch Keys. Though the menu doesn’t appear vegan-friendly, the owner/chef Scott goes out of his way to accommodate vegans with really delicious food. He came out to talk to us personally and came up with an inventive four course vegan feast.

The starter was fried wontons topped with carrots in peanut sauce with Thai basil.

Soup was a mushroom miso.

The main course was portobello mushroom with a garlic aioli served with coconut infused yellow rice and veggies.

And for dessert (on the house) we got grilled strawberries with, I think, a chocolate-mint-balsamic sauce. I can’t remember all the details, I was on a food high at this point.

We highly recommend eating at Kaya, just tell the server you’re vegan and you’ll be treated like royalty. Every bite was bursting with flavor…Scott is a chef that does vegan right. It was just what we needed after good times in the sun and the alligator scare adventure.

Stay tuned for part III, our adventures in Key West. (click here for Part I).


9 thoughts on “The Florida Keys: Part II

  1. goodstorysarah

    I want to eat e everything you did! And the turtle hospital…so cute and sad at the same time. I’m glad they help those awesome guys! Isn’t the Canon awesome!? I live it. It looks like you had a great trip!!

  2. Starr

    Looks beautiful there, and I would love to visit all the patients at the Turtle Hospital… could maybe live without the gator encounter though (he didn’t look as friendly as the turtles) 🙂

  3. iatelunch

    The Florida Keys are my absolute favorite vacation spot! The last time I went, I was pescatarian. Good to know there are so many vegan options for my next trip (whenever that will be…..several years from now, more than likely).
    So jealous. So insanely jealous.

  4. Richgail Enriquez

    I’m inspired! I wanna make the portabello with aioli for my mom’s birthday today. That part about the alligator is hilarious 🙂


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