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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

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There are a lot of great restaurants both on and off Duval. Michael's, Sarabeth, Blackfin, Martin's, etc.

Dave, out of those you mentioned, how many did you dine at, and which was your favorite? And, by chance, have you dined at The Commodore? Also, thanks for the Sunset Key restaurant mention. It's interesting you feel it lacked in quality, considering the price. Good to know!


March is my absolute favorite month of the year in Key West, weather-wise anyway.

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First off, I agree: March is definitely the time to be there. My best friend lives in KW, so I've been down basically at all times of the year and March is the best.


I was there this time for 8 days and ate at all of the restaurants that I mentioned. Michael's is fantastic: steaks and seafood. I try to go there every time I visit. Sarabeth is great - for breakfast or dinner. Blackfin is a new favorite. It is on Duval and has probably the best burger I've ever had. Not too pricey, either. Service is first rate. Martin's is on Duval, upscale, great seafood and martinis.


I've been to Latitudes (the restaurant on Sunset Key) before and the food was much better. I might just have had a not great meal this time. They've recently reconfigured the restaurant so that you can see sunset from the restaurant (basically moving the restaurant to the other side of the dock). It is MUCH better than being at Mallory Square (cruise ships often block the view).


My advice would be to get a reservation there about an hour before sunset. Folks tend to linger at their tables and if you have a reservation within 30 minutes of sunset, you probably won't get to see it from your table. Oh, and for planning purposes, the boats head out to Sunset Key at 15 minutes and 45 minutes after the hour, so be sure to factor that in to your planning...


-- Dave

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I was down in Key West for a week last April and I thought it was great. We saw a lot of the same stuff on the island as you did, so I liked reliving some memories!


For signage, there's some nice stuff if you look around. For example, the end of US Route 1 has a few big signs.


We went to the beach one day (nowhere near the Old Town area,) and it was pretty bad. Maybe it was just the weather that day.


The Customs House that has the Art/History museum in it has/had a ton of lifelike statues around it... All in everyday scenes. In our first few days I found myself thinking they were real people.


The Key West Toy Factory IS AWESOME! Beautiful store! And I noticed that one of the pictures, with the blue dog, is outside A Key Encounter. Tell me you went in there? It's crazy... A little tourist attraction about "God's creation" and "the beauty of Key West." But they have this big theater and a crazy "jungle walk." It only takes like 10 minutes, but I thought it was interesting. It's on the other side of the second floor of the mall from the Toy store.


Key West Aquarium was cool, I thought, but small. I love the classic style of the building, though.


The Key West Shell Warehouse smelled TERRIBLE when we went in... Ugh. Nothing special.


The Turtle Museum is really small and not too exciting... But the man who worked it was really interesting when we were there. He even broke out his banjo for us. Worth doing if you buy the ticket combo with the Mel Fisher's Treasure museum.


Key West made me wonder exactly how many copies of the same trashy t-shirt store there could be on one two mile by four mile island.

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The drive down from Miami (where we were staying) took about 3 hours. But we got started at 6:45am or so on a Sunday morning, so there was basically no traffic. Hard to say how long it took to get back to Miami because we stopped and had dinner and played mini golf at Boondocks in Ramrod Key, but there wasn't a lot of traffic coming back either, so I think we did it right.


We had lunch in Key West at Red Fish Blue Fish. Mostly for the name, I think, but the food was pretty good.

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For me the keys is definitely about fishing and drinking but I would add sorkeling to the top activities. The first time i stuck my head under water at looe key reef I was blown away, it is a must do while in the keys. If you take your own boat it is probably quite a bit better but the tours are cheap and plentiful, it's about 7 miles offshore but the swimming can be pretty easy on nice days.


For food the stuffed pig just before the 7 mile bridge is tops for me for breakfast. Big pine has a beautiful little hole in the wall called no name pub, very good pizza, served on ply-wood but still really good. Personally Key west is a one day out of seven for me, I could miss it. The magic that happens in the keys happens out in the open blue. I miss the Humps.

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I noticed that one of the pictures, with the blue dog, is outside A Key Encounter. Tell me you went in there? It's crazy... A little tourist attraction about "God's creation" and "the beauty of Key West." But they have this big theater and a crazy "jungle walk." It only takes like 10 minutes, but I thought it was interesting.


We didn't do it. Honestly, it didn't even register as something we should do, at the time. It just looked like a pet store or something. We saw the advertisement on the opposite wall for some crazy religious show somewhere, but I didn't realize that the two were connected. Kind of wish we had checked it out now.

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what, no Blond giraffe key lime pie?!


We made the attempt, but only found a closed store directing us to a different location...which was also closed. As near as I can tell, they've gone out of business.

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IMO Kermit's Key Lime Pie is leaps and bounds better then Blonde Giraffe. The overall quality seems more fresh. Kermit himself is at the store a lot (well at least everytime I have been there, I have talked with him). I also enjoy the fact that he has a satellite store in Mt Dora that I can hit up everynow and then (45min away from me instead of 8ish hours)

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Okay, so what can I say about our first--and almost certainly last--visit to Uncle Bernie's? Obviously, it's ghetto. We knew that. Still, it sounded weird enough that we wanted to see it for ourselves. Of course, once we got there, we were too terrified to actually ride much. Still, it was certainly Oddventures-worthy. And we did live through the experience, so there's that.


Uncle Bernie's Amusement Park, at the Swap Shop


By night, the Swap Shop is an old-school drive-in movie theater. But, during the day, it becomes UNSPEAKABLE TERROR.


Parking is $2.00. But still, make sure you lock your car.


You know what? Just avoid the whole issue by NOT EVER COMING HERE.


Okay, but how do I get up to the roof for the toilets? Screw it, I'll just have some BEER FOOD BEER.


My mom used to take me to swap meets when I was a kid. Until I was able to finally vocalize how much I despised them.


Oh look, a free museum!


Now, you may be wondering, why would we even come to such a place? Morbid curiosity, mostly. And that never hurt anyone, right?


So, the free museum is full of expensive automobiles--which obviously makes perfect sense at a swap meet.


Venturing further in to the indoor portion of the Swap Shop, we quickly find ourselves in even weirder territory.


What are you trying to say, Misty? That we're taking a CHANCE with our lives by being here?


Don't be a pussy. This store seems legit.


Yes, drive a mini car. Unless you're Spider-Man. Then just ride a lion.


"Clowns Things"?


Heading out of the interior portion of the Swap Shop from the other side, we find ourselves in sort of a breezeway area.


You can see so much in me, so much in me that's new.


My imagination actually jumped out of my body and ran away upon viewing this.


One of two farmer's market areas. This is the nicer one.


You'll see what no one else can see, and now I'm breaking free!


Hey, Mexican food! From a trailer!


With live entertainment. Now that's class.


"Hey, sing Sheena Easton!"


Where the heck is this amusement park thingy, anyway?


Ooh, how exciting!


"Safety guide"? Yeah, right.


Okay, I guess that doesn't look too bad.




No one was actually riding, but it looked like the wettest bumper boats ever. Water jets were spraying everywhere.


As ridiculous as Uncle Bernie's is, I would still take it over most traveling fairs. At least there is some theming, even if it is completely random.




Uncle Bernie's has gone out of their way to provide a fair amount of shade, as well. It's all kinds of ghetto, but still.


The DeLorean really helps bridge the theming gap between the insane bouncy ride and the medieval castle play area.


"Hey kids, who wants free candy from my trunk?"


The "park" is really just one straight midway wedged between the indoor mall and the road.


The majority of the rides have really generic names to go with their random theming. This is "Mad Trucks."


I gotta admit, though, Uncle Bernie's does have a certain horrifying charm.


Check out the bitchin' queue for the log flume.


We had a hard time judging just how wet this thing gets you, so we passed.


This makes me laugh in ways I can't quite articulate.


There is one proper "credit" at Uncle Bernie's, if that's your thing.


By no means am I a credit whore, but I wanted to ride SOMETHING, and this seemed relatively safe.


Kiddie coasters can often be violent and horrible, but this one was actually very smooth. Which is good, because they send you around four times.


My favorite thing in this shot is the "tunneled" section of track on the left.


Thar she blows.


Okay, so there's a Ferris wheel. Except that there isn't. If you look closely, you'll notice red trash cans have been attached along the wheel next to each seat. These catch water being pored from the pipe at center-screen. So, basically, the Ferris wheel is just a big water-powered lawn ornament.


And also, Uncle Bernie's invites you for a free dinner! Don't be a pussy.


Bumper cars!


Well, at least they work.


Absolutely not.


A second credit, if you count powered coasters. Which you shouldn't, 'cause that's lame.


And back to the fast car museum.


Even the vendors don't think this is a half-day activity.


I really hate swap meets. Uncle Bernie's, on the other hand...well, it's better than the rest of the Swap Shop. How's that?


But seriously, you don't need to go here. Yes, we had to go here. But you don't.

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While this place looks horribly ghetto, it's extremely intriguing and mesmerizing. I can't seem to take my eyes off it. It's like half mall, half yard sale, half museum, and half carnival. And yes, I know four halves equals two, which is exactly what makes this place so messed up! Just so much randomness, i'm not even going to try and explain myself. Great report guys!

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Y'know, at first, going to Uncle Bernie's one weekend was sort of a joke among my friends... but after seeing that Delorean, I feel like making the trek, if only to save the poor thing from certain death.


Where the hell is this death trap?


Fort Lauderdale, about 10 minutes or so from (what I hear is) one of the best coasters in Florida, the Dania Beach Hurricane. One of my goals before I graduate from school down here is to have both the DBH and Abandon Mine experience in the same day, so I can judge for myself which one is better (in the interest of fairness). It's a close race, though, I'm sure.

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