There are several major sports in the Keys. Sunset, Water, Drinking, Eating, and Relaxing: not necessarily in that order. For the past five days we have partaken of most of these activities, except the relaxing part. Today is about relaxing. I am sitting at an old picnic table on the golden sandy beach at the Lime Tree Bay Resort. We are in the town of Layton, on Long Key, really just a narrow spit of limestone and sand stretched along the Overseas Highway. There is a QuickStop across the street, a water sports rental shop down the road, and Long Key State park a mile away, but with the exception of a place next door called “Little Italy”, the closest restaurants and stores are 12 miles south or 10 miles north.
We woke this morning to warm sultry breezes with barely a touch of coolness on the edges, and a prediction for rain and thunderstorms. Our plans for the day include sitting by the water, maybe walking to the park, maybe swimming, maybe kayaking. The only item on the agenda we are sure to do is relax. Of course, writing about it all is relaxing for me at a place like this. The only sounds around me are the rustle of the palm thatched shelter, the palm trees, water lapping the limey shore, a few birds making morning sounds, and the gentle drone of traffic on Highway 1.
The Lime Tree is a fine little place to stay if you don’t care about access to amenities. The room is spacious, and clean, with bright lime yellow walls, pure white linens, and our own bathroom. The bathroom is tiny, and one must sit sideways on the toilet to keep from bumping knees on the wall in front of it, but it is our own. No running down the hall and hoping someone isn’t already locked up in the bathroom!
There is a feeling to Florida, in some places, referred to as “Old Florida”. I have felt it in the north central part of the state, around Ocala, in Citra, out on the Emerald Coast near the Gulf, and now here. There are low buildings, things are just a tiny bit tacky in ways that are hard to define, and something about it settles me down inside in a way that doesn’t happen often. It’s the part of Florida that I love, and I didn’t really expect to find it in the Keys.
Today we will relax, tomorrow we will head back to Miami in the morning for our flight to Sacramento, and another round of moving things back home to Klamath Falls. But today, right now, here in front of the Lime Tree Inn, everything is still and perfect.
Later: The morning was nicer than we expected, so by eleven we were on the water in the sit-on-top kayaks provided by the resort for a spin around the bay. They had rules; not too far off shore, and only an hour out. It turned out to be good enough for us because by the time we went out and back the winds were up and we got a good workout getting back to the dock against the waves. We finished up with a nice swim before the thunderstorm hit. Our timing was perfect.
By late afternoon, the weather had cleared enough for us to travel back toward Marathon and Milepost 49 for a watercolor art show and then we found a great beach to explore, complete with dolphins.
Dinner at the Island Tiki Restaurant with a seafood quesadilla and some key lime pie rounded out the evening. Our flight doesn’t leave Miami until 3 in the afternoon tomorrow so we should have plenty of time to pack and amble up the Overseas Highway one last time as we leave Florida and head back west.