My First Visit To Big Pine Key, The First Of Many, I Hope
After my breakfast at the Duval House in Key West I was on my way to Big Pine Key. It is located about 30 miles north on Route One also know as the Overseas Highway. I love driving this scenic and historic highway. This time I was driving a black Ford Explorer. I enjoy driving different automobiles on my visit to the Everglades and South Florida.
It was a pleasant drive on the Overseas Highway, recalling the first time I drove it with some friends while I was in college. It’s hard to believe that was 46 years ago. It was a reflective and restful drive, it has been a busy and stressful few months and, it was Winter. I needed a change of latitude and so I had made the last minute decision to leave the cold and visit Florida. And I decided to visit Big Pine Key , instead of my usual visit to the Everglades to look for key deer. It was a good idea. So after taking a slow drive I arrived on Big Pine Key and visited the “blue hole” in the National Key Deer Refuge.
coffee senna flowers. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my first visit to Big Pine Key. Florida Day Two. Big Pine Key January 11 2023
The nature trail wasn’t very long, and it was mid day, around 1 p.m. not a good time for wildlife watching, so I decided to drive to the National Key Deer Refuge visitor center located on Highway A1A. Here a pleasant volunteer named Bill provided me with a lot of information about the Big Pine Key and showed me some hiking trail where I might see the key deer. I also got some tips on where to eat. My options were limited on this very sparsely populated key. Much of the land is part of the Deer refuge and undeveloped. My kind of place, for sure, I left the visitor center and drove out to isolated Long Beach where I was staying at the Barnacle Bed and Breakfast. I immediately fell in love with the place.
Jane, who with her husband Tim met me when I arrived and gave me a tour. My room was on the private beach. It was a nature lovers paradise. I learned more about area and the key deer which Jane told me were regular visitors to the neighborhood. She also told me about the manatees that have been visiting the boat canal across from there property.
A brown pelican flew along the shore. I had already walked 7 miles , so, as much as I wanted to I didn’t walk far, I finished my 2 miles hike along the beach and headed back to my lodging I knew I was going to love this place at sunrise. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my afternoon hike. Florida Day Two Big Pine Key afternoon hike January 11 2023.
It was now late afternoon. So I returned to my room , showered and drove about 8 miles to one of the closest restaurant, Boondocks. The meal was good, I had a good Caesar’s salad, then fried hogfish with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables for my main course.
I was talked into trying the chocolate chip mint ice cream, their specialty . I didn’t realize it served four. It was good and I had it in my freezer for dessert for every evening the rest of my stay.
However I enjoyed the peace and quiet of my own private beach. It was a relaxing evening. I was tired and slept early but got up in the middle of the night to enjoy the stars. They were spectacular. And the solitude of this secluded beach was the perfect place to rest. I made a good last minute decision to visit Big Pine Key.
On a crowded beach, you see the crowd, not the beach; if you want to experience the beach, find an empty beach!”