Fort Pierce to Vero Beach, Florida
We’re on a boat: Our good friend Graham’s family comes down to Florida in the Winter where they have a beautiful 42-foot sailboat. We met them in Fort Pierce where it’s been dry-docked and helped them get it ready for launch and into the water. Watching it get launched was in itself pretty amazing as the shipyard crew have this large remote-controlled lift that picked up the boat and moved it over to the launch, and then into the water. Once in the water we then got to spend a couple of hours motoring up the Intracoastal Waterway to Vero Beach where they’ll be spending most of the next few months. It was such a pleasant and peaceful trip. Nice to not be driving and to be exposed to the sights and smells of the water!
Orchid Island Brewing Company: We stopped at the OIB for a couple of beer tasters and some lunch. We shared a flight of their own beers and, let me tell you (Graham), they were really delicious. One of the better craft breweries we’ve visited.
Bonus: Drinking coffee, wine, and having dinner on a boat, Starbucks (super) high-speed internet.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Random Delicious Coffee: So, we stopped in Fort Lauderdale for a walk along the river and lunch, when between the two, we get stuck waiting for a train to pass in a small industrial district – and it is hot!!! We turn around, and there, right beside us is a broken down van with “Coffee” spray-painted on the side, and behind it is a partially open warehouse loading dock door with a group of working-class hipsters hanging outside drinking. We venture inside (it’s a long freight train) and there is this amazingly open warehouse space with comfy chairs and a small coffee counter. We grab an iced coffee and continue walking just as the train ends. We cannot find this place online, but it was there (we swear) and it was amazing!
Green Bar and Kitchen: A delicious vegan café. Ben had the coconut burger. Writing about it, Ben wants another. Amalia had the raw tacos – so flavorful.
Bonus: Being surprised when, walking along the boardwalk a five-foot long iguana runs out of the bushes, across the boardwalk, and jumps into the water, swimming away like it aint no thang. To date, it’s the only one we’ve seen. What magical creatures.
The Beach: The weather was finally warm-ish enough to go for a swim – but the Portuguese Men o’ Wars were out so no one was really in the water. Ben took the risk to jump in and get his head wet, but we spent most of the time reading and knitting.
Wynwood Walls: This section of Miami is filled with the most amazing graffiti and street art. There are giant walls specifically set aside for artists, but most of the other walls are covered as well.
La Latina: A small but delicious Venezuelan restaurant. Kind of a fast-food joint, but we sat down and enjoyed a meal of vegan arepas, guacamole, and chips.
Cuban coffee: We’ve had Cuban coffee at a couple of places now (in Miami and Key West) and it’s ridiculously good – and strong. It comes in a small cup, with a bunch of really tiny cups. You only need two tiny cups at a time – seriously, pace yourself.
Making new friends: We’d met our friend Graham’s sister Georgina previously in Ottawa, and she generously allowed us to use her parking space (and bathroom) in Key Biscayne (just off of Miami). We had a great time getting to know her, and learn about her work with fish at the University of Miami. She took us for a tour of the facility and some of the different fish they’re studying, and we ended our visit with some beers at the University pub. We had a really lovely time!
Bonus: The Art Deco architecture and fancy cars at Miami Beach, Abbey Brewing Company, Nomad Tribe fair trade clothing store, Cuban coffee at Versailles, great Jamaican food at Palatino (owned by a Haitian couple who used to live in Montreal – try the mac & cheese and everything else).
Key West, Florida
The drive: The drive down to Key West is really beautiful (with good weather). We got up early and started the drive to avoid traffic. While the beginning of the drive is pretty, it’s once you get into the outer Keys, things really get breath-taking – especially Seven Mile Bridge.
Walking around (most of) Key West: It’s a nice town to walk around, as long as you avoid the area where the cruise ships dock. That is exactly the tourist hell-hole you expect.
The Café: Yup, that’s the name. Finding vegan-friendly restaurants has not been difficult, at least so far. This place had fantastic vegan tofu benedict. Ben is a sucker for vegan benedict.
National Key Deer Refuge: Key Deer are kind of like miniature deer, they’re endangered, and this is their last remaining habitat. Although we didn’t see any, we walked the local trails and imagined them peeking out at us from behind the bushes.