florida keys

When I am home on sundays we always go out on my dads boat down in key largo.  I grew up down here and spending time on the water makes it really feel like home. You can say boats run in my family.

You can say boats run in my family.  (circa 2004 - from left Dad, Brother, Grandfather)

My dad raced boats when he was younger.  He shared the love of racing with my brother who raced all through adolescence. 

My brother now races all over the world with a team out of Portugal.  Above is him in Dubai earlier this year...looking pretty bad ass.

But anyway back to the keys.  Even though I didn't get to race boats like my brother did, (I begged and begged but my dad always said no it was too dangerous) I still grew up loving speed boats and always wanting to push the limits on how face we went.  My dads leisure boat cruises at about 60-65 mph and tops off at 110.  My hair is always a mess by the time we get to whatever sandbar or beach we head to that week.

Mostly while we are there I explore the beaches with Zelda.

Or just lay in the ocean and enjoy the sun.  It's one of the most relaxing things I get to do while I am home.  Also I am pretty sure I am part mermaid.

I feel so lucky I get to hang out in this awesome place

and sometimes it blows my mind that paradise is so close to home. 

Zelda absolutely loves having wind in her face.  She is the typical dog who has to have her head out the window in the car.  So when we are on the boat she is in pure heaven.  (once we get to the sandbar not so much...she is definitely not a water dog.)

After we hang out at the sand bar for a bit we always head to a late lunch.  While I am home I always request lunch at Ocean View.  Its dog friendly with huge buckets of water to keep the pups cool.  It has some of the best and freshest food in the keys. Plus the place is super casual (although most places in the keys are).

Ocean View has probably the coolest history of an restaurant in the keys.  It's now located on the bay side and so many people ask why it is called ocean view because of that.  Its original location was actually a quarter mile south and on the ocean side of the keys.  In 1960 Hurricane Donna destroyed the original building and the remains washed up to its current location on high ground (a whole 12 feet above sea level).  Ocean View also was the first place in the keys to receive a liquor license and it became a hangout for a lot of unsavory characters including smugglers and (real) pirates. 

They still have Capt Larrys trail out back (pictured above) which was where some very lucrative off loading operations took place.

Now it's a pretty family friendly motel, bar and restaurant. Zelda of course made tons of friends.

And a bonus shot of my family, me and Zelda.  I really cherish the time I get to spend with them.