Monday, July 27, 2015

Florida Keys 2015, Day 1

This is regarding the trip we took to the Florida Keys in January, 2015.

Well, it's about time that I recap our FL Keys trip! We had a great time. Was it our best trip? No. Was it still great? Yes!

We flew into Miami, as it was cheaper than flying into Fort Lauderdale (which almost never happens.) We got in late, but our car rental company was right at the airport. We had used Orbitz to book this car via Dollar Rent-A-Car. We got in a long line, & waited a very long time. Then a man from Thrify car rental came over & told us that their two companies are owned by the same person (?) and that we could check out in his line. So we moved over, and began checking out our car. We had already paid Orbitz for the car rental, but our clerk told us we needed to pay daily insurance through them. Jim explained to him that our own car insurance company covers car rentals. He disputed, we rebuttled, & he continued to dispute. He told us we would not be leaving with a car rental if we didn't pay this daily car insurance. We were so tired & annoyed that we just paid it. It ended up being $300+ more than we expected to pay. I would definitely look into this next time before going with just any old car rental company. 
We had to drive from Miami to Homestead to our hotel, the Fairway Inn. The desk clerk was so nice & amazing. We got our nice, clean room & passed out!


The next day, we wanted to just dink around Homestead. We ate the free breakfast at the hotel & drove on to the Everglades Alligator Farm. We enjoyed seeing the alligators, seeing some shows, & an awesome airboat ride!
Gator Show at Everglades Alligator Farm




We had a blast! 

Next, we wanted to stop at a fruit stand we seen before we got to the Alligator Farm. The fruit stand was called Robert Is Here. How the name came about goes a little like this: There was a young boy named Robert who, back in the day, had a small fruit stand on the corner. No one was stopping to buy his fruit, but he was determined, so he stuck with it. His parents, seeing this, made a big sign that said "Robert Is Here" so people knew that the stand was open & the boy was ready to sell. The sign caught people's attention, & he began selling all of his fruit. His family kept growing fruits, & when Robert was older, he bought acres & grew even more fruit. Now his fruit stand is a huge hit & was very packed when we were there. But the fruit was amazing! We enjoyed pineapple, strawberries, star fruit, and some real fruit smoothies.

We read about a winery on TripAdvisor, so we wanted to make our way there next - and what a great idea. We pulled in & was the only car in the lot. We walked in & were the only customers there. But we were so glad to be there! We tried several wines each, in this beautiful tasting room. Other people started showing up, so we decided to walk the grounds...
Schnebly Redland Winery

We highly recommend just checking out Schnebly Redland's Winery. It was a quick stop, but so worth it. We ended up taking a bottle of Passion Fruit back to the hotel with us to enjoy once we got to the Keys!

We wanted to get in the water, & there are not a lot of beaches in the area. It took us awhile, but we found Homestead Bayfront Park. If I remember right, I think it was $3-$5 per car to enter, which we were willing to pay to take a dip! The place was NOT packed. There were maybe 3 other groups there. It was a lagoon type beach, with a strip of land in between the "pool" and the ocean. It was a clean, warm body of water & we were again happy with our choice to visit. 



We wanted to get the most out of the Homestead area, so we didn't swim long. I had read about a small, local museum on TripAdvisor and, while I'm not always into museums, the description pulled me in. Supposedly, a little, sweet, woman owned the museum & it was her pride & joy, so we had to check it out. Again, NOT disappointed! We learned so much about the bridge to the keys, the history of the area, & the hurricanes they endured. And yes, there was a sweet, little woman there to tell us many stories! If you want a little history lesson while in Homestead, check out the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum. We truly enjoyed it! 

At this point, we just wanted to go back to the hotel, relax a bit, take a dip in the pool, & get ready for dinner. We ate at Richard Accursio's Capri Restaurant. It's an Italian restaurant with great deals & an awesome family setting. We both got the special, unlimited spaghetti for like $8 a piece. And it was soooo good. 
What a day!


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