On Sunday Mr. Foodie and I stumbled down to the hotel lobby after a sleepless night because a high-pitch screaming noise had issued from our bathroom all night. The maintenance man had come and said there was nothing he could do that night, and since the entire hotel was booked, they could not move us to a new room. Needless to say I had a few choice words in mind that morning. On top of that, the entire hotel breakfast area was teeming with tourists – so many I couldn’t even reach the coffee. Luckily we were helped by a very sweet woman at the front desk who told us where to grab the best breakfast in Marathon while she sorted out our room transfer to an upgraded suite for our troubles.
The Wooden Spoon in Marathon was definitely hopping when we arrived with nearly every square inch of the small dining room packed with people. We found a small round table in the corner near the bar and scoped out the interesting wooden spoons that hung on nearly every inch of the dining room’s walls. You could tell that the spoons came from all over the world. Some were inscribed with a name and a date – gifts from loyal patrons from over the years.
Their menu was comprehensive, but also basic for a breakfast diner. Mr. Foodie and I were so hungry by that point that we could have eaten everything in sight, but we ordered moderate plates that were basically breakfast samplers – a couple of eggs, bacon or sausage, and a bit of french toast. We did have to wait a while for service, but such is life in the keys. We didn’t mind – it gave us time to check out all the cool spoons. The breakfast was excellent. Unfussy scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, and a basic french toast that was taken over the top with whatever amazing butter they had melting over it when it reached the table. It was incredibly satisfying. Behind us were two tiny girls in water-sports gear chattering about their dreams and their food when one of the bartenders handed them a ketchup bottle for their eggs. The little girl on the left squeezed hard and out came the longest red string of “ketchup” she had ever seen – turns out it was a prank bottle with a red rubber “ketchup” string. The girls giggled so hard over the prank and we all laughed with them.
|Bahia Honda – the old railroad|
Later, we joined our friends for some beaching at Bahia Honda – the nicest beach in the lower keys. Many vacationers are surprised to come to the keys and not find many beaches. They are picturing the rest of Florida or the Bahamas – well sorry to say, the keys are coral, rocky, and rarely produce what most people would recognize as a “beach.” The “beaches” in Key West for example are largely made up of imported sand. But Bahia Honda is natural sand and a state park, so it is kept fairly pristine. There is a per-head charge to enter the park, and there are two beaches – one with a cove, snack bar, kayak rentals, and a historic path to see the old railroad and the other with just one long stretch of beach. Both have picnic tables and restrooms. We typically go to the long stretch because fewer people are there usually. Sunday we were blessed with sunny, breezy weather and only a smattering of other tourists on our beach. We brought more of Dion’s fried chicken and bobbed in the waves for a couple hours chatting and enjoying the sunshine. The kids found starfish and conchs – the areas around Bahia Honda are teeming with sea creatures. But don’t think about removing a thing from these beaches or the rangers will have it out for you. While we were there, one guy tried to fish off shore. One guy tried to pull his boat right onto the shore from the ocean. These are big no-nos and the locals let them have it. I myself have called the rangers to come handle a case where a boy was removing piles of conch shells from the ocean and stacking them on the beach.
That evening we returned to our quiet, roomy suite tanned and sandy and tired from a fun day of wave jumping. Only one more night and we’ll be back home!
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