Road trip-part 3: Spending New Year’s in Key West, Florida

You should try it once – driving down the Keys to the ultimate of destinations, Key West.  I wanted to experience New Year’s Eve celebration there.  After so many years of watching the crowds in New York City and other parts of the globe, I scribbled in Key West at the top of my bucket list.

Warm weather trumps cold weather. If I was guaranteed 80 degree weather in New York City, standing out on 42nd Street and Times Square, I would do in a heart beat.  Since that wasn’t going to happen, the next best thing was continuing our road trip from Hollywood, Florida to include Hemingway’s hometown of Key West.

Looking from Miami down I95 to the Keys

Looking at the Port of Miami down I95 to the Keys

It’s approximately a three and a half hour drive from Miami to Key West. The one good thing about taking this trip in December/January, on the one-on-one Interstate 95 Highway, there’s no traffic.  Information from other travelers who have made this trip in summer said the weekends can be a nightmare of a drive.  I keep my ears open for all good information about traveling, especially road trips.

It was a pleasant drive on I-95 through other Key towns, which reminded me of a spring break in high school forty years ago, not having a care in the world.  We enjoyed the scenery of what man and nature have combined, in architect design and waterways in Southern Florida.

I had an itinerary tucked neatly in my pocket of things I wanted to see most, and Hemingway’s house, along with ringing in of the New Year on Duval Street headed the list.  So we drove straight through to Key West, just stopping for gas and a cool drink along the way.  Our first real stop, our hotel.

Pool area

Pool Area

The Marriott in Key West is a luxurious a hotel with everything – pool, access to the beach, fine dining, a lounge, and it was all set up for a New Year’s Eve  celebration.

The Marriott  offers  free van service, ready at the front door off their lobby area every twenty minutes, just for such cruising.  And after we stowed our bags in our room (which was ready for us by 12 noon on New Year’s Eve – a very pleasant surprise),  we headed out to greet whomever and whatever was in store for us on our first afternoon.

New Year's Eve at the Marriott

New Year’s Eve at the Marriott

Downtown Key West, it’s a must to try key lime everything:  pie, chocolate covered pie on an ice cream stick, jelly beans, cookies, candies; you can go key lime everything at the Key Lime Shoppe on Elizabeth Street.

Kermit _Key lime

Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe on Elizabeth Street

Knowing the best was yet to come, after a brief tour of the seaport and downtown, it was time for a well-deserved nap. When we come back in Part 4, New Year’s Eve 2013, on Duval Street.