Key West, Florida during COVID July 2020 Celebrating our friend Beth’s 50th.
Lisa: Hey friends welcome to our view podcast I’m Lisa Richart Hernandez.
George: And I’m George Hernandez
Lisa: And we are so excited to have an actual travel podcast to talk to you about again finally
George: finally we’re back
Lisa: yes it’s been like at least six weeks uh since we’ve really done anything well more than that but uh since we’ve had a podcast and this is the first time in a long time we’ve been able to talk about traveling again so it was our friend beth it was her 50th birthday we had this trip to key west planned months and months and months ago and then covered it and we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to do it so we kind of kept our eye on the radar and see if they were gonna close the keys and we’re thankful they stayed open and allowed us to come down here.
We came down for a week in the RV and we stayed at our favorite place which is Boyd’s campground Boyd’s key west campground it’s on the stock island it’s the closest campground you can really get to Duval street which is the downtown area of key west and we just really really really like it.
George: We love Boyd’s um like Lisa said it’s the closest campground to key west as the driver of a 40-foot RV class an um it is a little tight however it’s all manageable and the sites are beautiful and if you can if you’re planning on coming down here and you want to stay at Boyd’s and you have time to plan call ahead and see if they have any water lots available they are absolutely beautiful you just back up and the water is right behind you.
And if you want to bring a boat with you they also have uh slips which you can reserve in advance and they’re I just found out this on this trip that if you bring your boat you don’t have to worry about putting your boat in the water they will actually do that for you the um boat ramp is a little narrow but it’s doable but they’ll do it for you so why stress yourself you just bring your boat when you check in you unhitch right there at check-in and they’ll park it for you in a nice safe place you go park your RV and let the fun begin.
Lisa: yeah and if if you don’t have a boat to bring I highly recommend renting one that’s one thing that we did that was an absolute blast.
George: yes and that ended up being a really cool surprise because Lisa rented a 20 foot?
Lisa: 30 foot
George: 30-foot pontoon for a bunch of friends and with covid they limited us to 8 people typically that thing could probably hold I don’t know fifteen twenty,
Lisa: no probably like I think it was like thirteen or
George: 13 or 15. I mean it was really nice but
George: Yeah I’ll let Lisa tell you about that and who we rented it from who are fantastic people and did a great job.
Lisa: yeah well I guess to as a side note because I wanted to talk a little bit more about Boyd’s but to tell you about the boat we rented which think a lot of people come down to the keys and they don’t realize that it’s not an island where there’s like beaches all the way around the edge of it. It’s mangroves and a lot of industrial on the water and a lot of marinas is on the water so there’s not a lot of just sandy beaches to hang out at so getting
George: are there any beaches?
Lisa: There’s there’s one beach yeah and little tiny places but t’s nothing like when you get out on a sand bar in the middle of the afternoon it’s crystal blue water and just enjoy the sun and the sand so I found uh t’s called fun in the sun boat rentals and Sean is the owner he does a fabulous job best customer service we um I just i when we got into town I sent him a text and I was like hey I’ve rented from you before can we um do you have any boats available this week?
And he said I’ve got the pontoon available long story short we rented it for eight hours we took eight of us out on there it’s on tock island right down the road from Boyd’s so I mean it’s like a five-minute car ride down to where we got in the marina and they give you very good directions on how to get there we arrived Ian was there he gave us the rundown on the whole boat the coolers were stocked with ice for us there was a swim mat there was a slide there were all kinds of noodles and swimming things to do we brought our own mask and stores a
Lisa: A paddleboard and then so they give you a GPS and he said just literally fault we drove ourselves you can they do have captains you can like hire a captain but we just decided this time to just do it ourselves and so we literally you drove George so it just followed the line
George: Yeah! they already had the route put in the GPS and he asked me if I had any experience I told him yes and he said okay great just follow the GPS and when you want to come home just follow the trail back.
So that part of it was so easy idiot-proof obviously I drove the boat so we just followed the trail and got to this beautiful sandbar and the weather wasn’t it was a little
Lisa: It was beautifully sunny but it was a little bit windy
George: Yeah it was a little windy it was sketchy on whether it was going to be rainy thunderstorms so he kind of just said listen just go here trust me to go to the sand bar you’ll love it there’ll be a bunch of people you’ll have a blast and it’s safe to get to he said we prefer that you kind of just stay to this map part of the reason why they tell you that and I think a lot of people don’t realize this the waters around the keys are extremely shallow I mean we were in some areas and this is in the middle of the channel we were at two feet of water so you go off the channel there was parts that I was worried we ere at a foot and a half,
Lisa: Yeah, it looks more shallow because it’s so clear
George: Right I mean it’s really shallow so people get in trouble with that they run around all the time so just listen to your guide or whoever you’re renting from and follow their advice.
Lisa: Yeah and they made it really really simple so I really just want to give a huge shout-out to fun in the sun boat Reynolds and I’ll put their info in our um in our show notes for the podcast.
So kind of going back to Boyd’s like we’re sitting in our RV right now doing the podcast and I’m looking out over the water um and the palm trees and they have a great swimming pool here and they were playing like Caribbean music and they have a nice really nice gift shop and you can.
oh, what’s your favorite thing about Boyd’s campground George?
George: the Cuban food!!
George: The luna
Lisa: oh the Cuban food truck is George’s like new best friends um every time we come here and they remember him because he always has funny t-shirts on but uh we get the cafe on Ledge every morning.
George: oh my god I gotta give them a big shout out it’s it it’s crazy that I come to key west and that’s like one of the biggest things that I look forward to is just I’m Cuban so whenever I can get my Cuban food fix I’m a super happy camper and ironically we’re camping and I’m super happy but their food is fantastic they’re wonderful people and they just they’ve been taking good care of us and again I can’t say it enough their food is incredible.
Lisa: yeah so there’s their little food truck is right here at Boyd’s they’re right on-site and they’re open from like 6:30 in the morning till 2:30 in the afternoon or something it’s breakfast and lunch every day except Monday. oh, I finally found out why they were off on Friday, did I tell you that?
Lisa: It was their family was celebrating a bird big birthday party and then nobody made it to work on Fridays. I know it’s like why weren’t we invited? But I’m thinking I’m gonna need a Cuban sandwich today as a matter of fact they have these potatoes that have like bacon and onions for breakfast that are delicious and I usually get a breakfast sandwich with bacon egg and cheese and it’s on Cuban bread and George gets the bread and butter and dips it in his coffee and that’s a Cuban thing.
George: or maybe it’s a George thing but it’s so good!
Lisa: I think I’ve seen the other Cubans doing that too.
George: But you know it’s good when there are workers that park across the street and come over to get food from the lunas it’s not just limited to the campsite. There are always people outside everybody we’ve talked to says that their food is fantastic. So it’s not just my personal opinion but if you come down to bull or even if you come to the keys and you’re not staying at Boyd’s please trust me to come by grab yourself a little something to eat and you will not be sorry.
Lisa: yeah yeah definitely good. There are other restaurants right around here too Rustica is one that we really enjoy you can ride your bike there it’s like three blocks down we didn’t go there this time because it wasn’t open.
George: it was open but
Lisa: I think it was just taken out or something limited.
George: I don’t know it’s weird because they have great Italian food.
Lisa: Yeah and hogfish which is a really popular place is also really close to Boyd’s about that’s all on the stock island and then you know mostly when we go out we head downtown to Duval street. Which is so we have we found a driver that picks this up and drops us off it’s about 15 minutes maybe?
George: yeah it’s like a 15-minute drive depending on the traffic you could bike to downtown but it’s
Lisa: it’s a 25 minute minute
George: yeah it’s pretty it’s all right pretty good stretch for a bike ride we did it the last time we were here.
Lisa: it depends if it’s 100 degrees
George: you know and it depends on what you want to do if you want to go for a ride and get exercise by all means do it it’s great. If you’re going downtown to bar hop I recommend uber because that’s going to be a rough bike ride back.
Lisa: yeah well and we okay so we drove the jeep so now we have our tow vehicle we’re super excited about that so we can kind of get around places and I thought we would use a jeep a lot more than we really did but when we did drive downtown it was like $4 an hour to park. And so by the time if you’re going to spend any amount of time there and have dinner and stuff. I recommend just taking an uber it’s less expensive and easier to just get to exactly where you want to go than to park yeah can be difficult.
George: I think uber from here was 20 bucks $20, $25.
Lisa: Well for we had the big car we had six people it was 20 bucks each way, okay so we did go to Duval street and that was interesting very again strict on the masks had to wear them even if you’re just walking by yourself down the street you’ve got to have a mask on. Anytime you leave the table you have to have a mask on um there’s no bar service so like some really famous places like sloppy joes were closed completely closed I guess it’s been since the covid captain is it.
George: Captain woody’s was closed.
Lisa: hogg’s breath was
George: No that was closed too. I wonder if they’re all owned by the same group
Lisa: Maybe I’m not sure
George: According to our Uber driver those three bars closed from the very first time that they kind of shut down key west and they’ve never reopened and I’m sure they will it’s not that they’re out of business they just decided to it’s not worth opening up for limited seeding and I don’t know you know maybe it’s just too much of a headache.
Lisa: yeah but that’s normally like the go-to kind of like iconic key west sloppy joes.
George: I know but you know me I’m always devil’s advocate or whatever but just what you said makes sense why they would close down. Because if you come down here and you’re like we got to go to sloppy joe’s and then all sudden you show up and there are 10 people that’ll spread like wildfire oh my god there’s only 10 people sloppy joes it was terrible yes. 12:50
Lisa: no they said and I’m just looking at their website it says we’ll remain closed until we feel safe for our staff and our employees but I mean sloppy Joe’s is a bar so I mean nobody and there’s nobody in any bars Irish Kevin’s was open. And Irish Kevin’s is another place that’s usually jam-packed but because they’re all at 50% limited capacity and you have to be sitting at a table that really narrows down what you can have in your
George: So that reminds me of another thing be patient they get a $500 fine if the police happen to walk in and a patron is not wearing a mask and supposedly the patron will also get a $500 fine. So they’re not trying to be a pain in the ass, they’re not trying to
Lisa: They’re trying to work they’re just trying to follow the rules and not get in trouble.
George: Exactly! they’re just trying to do their job to the best of their ability right now under these conditions. So just be patient when you go to the bar just follow the rules it’s not that bad. We had a great time, all servers are awesome. I would come back next week if I could. We had a great time regardless.
Lisa: So the first night we actually got lucky my daughter was down here in the keys in the marathon which is about an hour uh north of key west. She loves Cuban food so she said and we had just been driving you to know all day to get down here in the RV. And she’s like can we meet for dinner we’re so close and so, fortunately, her family, her boyfriend’s family they came and met us at El Mason de Pepe’s. Which is um in Mallory square downtown at the end of Duval street it’s a giant Cuban restaurant and it’s very good, usually, it’s jam-packed.
So we got there like 45 minutes early to get our table because there was 11 of us and we weren’t sure if we were all gonna be able to sit together and a lot of times it’s hard to accommodate a party that size and it was like almost empty it was so strange. So we got there and we said well can we we’re like 45 minutes early they’re not here yet could we just have a drink at the bar and she said well you can sit at this table next door. So there’s like a four-seater table that is pushed up against the bar so that we could get our but the server had to come around and give us the drinks there that was their quote-unquote sitting at the bar was a close.
George: People will always find a way around the rules.
George: And they work!
Lisa: Yeah but there was nobody there and I mean I felt really safe everywhere we went and the food was excellent. What’d I get the combination platter there?
Lisa: a little bit of everything
George: she was trying to sell everybody. So being a Cuban and again talking about the food I’ll say Pepe is in my opinion very touristy trap uh the food is good but it’s definitely not the best Cuban food on the island. It’s just a fun place to go and great service.
Lisa: yeah yeah that’s I think that’s a fair assessment of it yeah yes for sure. So while we were down Duval street there are so many things that I recommend one I absolutely have to do uh what we did last night uh is go to sunset pier. That’s right at the end um it’s also in Mallory square, yeah and I think it’s the nicest one of the most fun places to watch the sunset in key west.
George: Yeah and it’s also the most popular so if you’re if once covet is over if you’re going to go or if you want to go make sure you give yourself plenty of time with covid right now we were able to walk up just before sunset we got a table.
Lisa: there wasn’t even a hostess they said to seat yourself
George: Yeah, just seat yourself which is unheard of there
Lisa: and they had kind of a limited menu
George: yeah a lot of places have a limited menu just keep that in mind too but it is what it is it was good they still had plenty of good food drinks were good.
Lisa: yeah the drinks were cold they didn’t have the french fries that I normally love that are like these parmesan garlic fries that are absolutely delicious and the girl was like oh no yeah she knew exactly we don’t how he took those off the menu I’m like no I’ve been thinking about eating those french fries all day.
So I missed out on those but um we did have some other really good food I would say um our first it was our first trip to amby lobster, yes and that’s more of a fancy place um definitely on the pricier side and it’s more of a special occasion type of thing. But we had a party of eight for best birthday and we sat down on the balcony and it was overlooking the marina and you could see the boats going by fortunately we had a nice breeze it was a tiny bit warm until the sun went down but it was real I would I’m glad we sat outside as opposed to
George: yeah no absolutely it was a beautiful view and I would highly recommend it.
Lisa: I had the um poached lobster I think and it ad a just whole giant lobster tail and this leek mashed potatoes that were delicious George had this
George: I had the Surf and turf which was very very good the lobster was a very actually a very big portion of lobster tail and the steak was prepared perfectly it was very very tasty.
Lisa: Yeah I’m always nervous I’m kind of choosy on my steaks like I have some great steakhouses that I love in charleston so I always have low expectations of steak and I probably only eat it maybe a couple of times a month maybe I’ll eat red meat even I’m more of like a chicken and seafood type person. But the steak was very good and the Bernet sauce was delicious.
So that was definitely fun and night I’d highly recommend that for a date night um or a celebration occasion we also uh went to this place called oh the night before we went to Pepe’s for oysters they have happy hour from 4 to 6 it was like half-price oysters and $2 beers or something.
George: Yeah and it’s this little tiny hole in the wall that you really if you don’t know where it is you’ll miss it but it was really nice.
Lisa: yeah it’s got uh we got that oyster it was like oysters Rockefeller it had like three different kinds of oysters on it that was it’s on 806 caroline street is where it’s located. Which is kind of like sort of a cross from the marinas down there.
George: yeah that’s a that’s the kind of place that I could see uh once everything gets back to a hundred percent the kind of place where you could sit and just day drink yeah man!
Lisa: yeah, because they have like there are things that we didn’t try that i thought would be good like a thanksgiving sandwich and um a white-collar burger beluga or burger they had like just different cool stuff that sounded really good on the menu but we were kind of just sort of bar hopping at that point.
George: What was the other place that we went to?…
Lisa: Schooner wharf bar’s at 202 Williams street
George: That’s the one, that was nice
Lisa: So it was it’s like it’s kind of like a dive bar also they also serve food we didn’t really have we just got some chips and salsa because there’s a big part of us we’re all having cocktails and my favorite thing there and I mean you have to go do this if you’re in key west it’s the first time we’ve ever done it since we’ve been in key west it was like we sort of just happened upon it. But it’s there’s a magician there I mean that magician was so good like you know you think that you’re gonna get somebody that’s he’s just a bad guy or whatever I guess he’s been there for a super long time. Do you know anything about it, George?
George: 24 years and I think his dad was there before him so he’s like a landmark yes as a matter of fact our one of our neighbors uh owns a great company called the key west house yeah key west hat company and obviously he has a location here and he has a location in Charleston and I think in New Orleans and probably some more so if you’re in any of those areas go visit key west hack company.
So I posted a picture of the magician and um he immediately chimed in and he said oh my god yeah he’s awesome and you know he’s seen him a hundred times because they used to live down here so the guy’s been around for a while.
Lisa: yeah and that again was called schooners schooner wharf bar. The magician this was the coolest thing like it was he was one of those card magicians like he would say is this your card and then it would pop up here and I mean cards would disappear it was like super magical and at the end, he kept saying like is this your card I was like no, no, no, no, and then we realized that he had put it down the cards down and he’s like but is this your number and then he like went 843. You know I was like oh my gosh how to like how the heck did he get our phone number.
George: every card we said no to he just laid down in front of him and then we realized that he had put down my phone number my cell phone number don’t know creepy
Lisa: yeah so they have like live music and everything there so it’s definitely a cool place to stop by also where else did we go uh well we never really went to Angelina’s pizza we just got the pizza and took that I mean it was some of the best pizza I’ve had in a while tons of toppings, of course, I love olives and had a ton of olives on it so maybe it was just me but you enjoyed that too maybe it was that we had a couple of cocktails.
George: I might have had a few cocktails that night and they told me that I ate a couple of slices of this pizza that I do not remember at all.
Lisa: so one of we went to this other place what was that amigos we went there we stopped and had a margarita amigos which is right off the wall street and there are all these chickens there are chickens everywhere in key west yes um so we were watching this big rooster uh cross the road and um taking pictures of the rooster and you can see all of our posts on uh I’m trying to keep my RV podcast on Instagram updated with photos of our travels and um I will say that I kind of sort of hate roosters now after this job.
George: I was just gonna throw up
Lisa: Roosters are also all over at Boyd’s campground they’re pretty much everywhere you really can’t get away from them even when we stayed here in a hotel before there were roosters crowing.
George: They’re beautiful, but they are nature’s alarm clock.
Lisa: oh yeah six o’clock in the morning i think there was one under our rv the other day and i was like no we can input sound effect here
George: oh! and if we’re talking about nature at boyd’s you do have to go and check out the iguanas they’ll come and visit you but there’s a little mangrove that’s on the backside of Boyd’s campground and it’s got a little beach area it’s really nice but if you go there at the right time you will see so many iguanas it’s unbelievable it’s really cool and there’s some that are I mean they’ve got to be five feet long they’re ginormous.
Lisa: A little bit about voids that we haven’t done this but I’ve been wanting to do this is because they’re right on the water they also have like kayak rentals and you can get bikes here they’re just super-duper accommodating and um easy to get things to rent and
George: and the staff here is fantastic!
Lisa: and you don’t have to have an um an RV you can tent camp those tent spots are some of the coolest tent camping spots.
George: I think they have the best campsites. but also they don’t take up a lot of space so they can fit a lot of them so just uh another personal service announcement July 29th today is Wednesday, July 29th today kicks off the mini lobster season so I guess it’s only a couple of days that you can go and you pay $30 and they’ll give anybody a lobster license and you get uh six lobsters per person that has a permit.
So we met some people here and there’s four of them they all got it and the two guys are gonna go out and try to get you to know six lobsters each and uh there’s actually quite a few RVs have pulled in recently just before Wednesday and these people are serious. I mean they’re pulling out scuba tanks after scuba tanks and at least three of them are toy haulers. So they have plenty of room in the back and they have pulled out like industrial ice makers. These people are serious about their lobster.
Lisa: oh that’s what those ice makers are for
Lisa: I was just reading mini lobster season is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday and July and this year the mini-season is on the 29th and 30th.
George: So it’s just two days?
Lisa: Yes, it begins at 12:01 am on Wednesday and ends at 12 midnight on Thursday.
George: That that’s what the guy next to us on the boat said he said they start right at midnight on Wednesday and he said it doesn’t take very long to get you uh your six so that’s pretty cool if you’re into lobstering or you want to try for the first time this is probably a great place because the water is crystal clear.
Lisa: Yeah I think that might have been they were considering canceling it because of covid, oh so many things canceled
George: they’re considering canceling everything,
Lisa: yeah we just got the news that um fantasy fest in October which was we already had booked for to stay at Boyd’s was canceled so uh our next travels and trips you guys uh have got to follow us and share this podcast with your friends because we’re planning a cross-country trip we’re starting in charleston South Carolina rowing all the way over up into Seattle, Washington down the Oregon coast across Wyoming to down Utah Montana North Dakota South Dakota Oregon California
Lisa: Colorado Oklahoma and all the way back. So a 45-day cross-country trip is a next thing that we’re going to
George: 45 days almost 9 000 miles
Lisa: Yeah so that’s gonna be super cool we’ll be podcasting the whole way and sharing our experiences and different things that we learn on the route and um hopefully any coveted tips that we have I’ve been searching about some um hiking in all these different places like Yellowstone and stuff and oddly a lot of these trails are closed due to Covid which in my mind is like doesn’t make sense absolutely no sense isn’t like hiking in the wilderness like a good thing to do when you have covert or one so you don’t you’re no one’s near each other it’s not like mass groups of people makes no sense but.
George: I don’t know
Lisa: who knows maybe it’s for the people that work there just I don’t know but anything else you want to share about key west bay before we uh close this one up and
George: no I think like I said earlier if you’re planning on coming down to key west come down yes it’s not the typical key west but we still had a blast all the servers were fantastic everybody is trying to do the best that they can with what they’ve been the new regulations and again if you’re coming down just be patient with them they’re just doing their job and you know if you don’t have your mask on they’re going to tell you 10 times to put your mask on but they’re just trying to protect themselves and you the last thing you need is a 500 fine and we did see the police out there writing fines
George: So it’s not a rumor they’re actually doing it and again the police are just doing their job everybody’s doing their job we’re all trying to get past this and it’s all new to everybody so let’s all just work together and get past this one so we can get back to normal life
Lisa: get back to our travel life
George: Yes the last time we were here was fantasy fest so for us, we went from like the craziest experience to all of a sudden like a
Lisa: it’s a ghost town
George: yeah a ghost town compared to fantasy fest but it is what it is we’re travelers we’re gonna travel no matter what. Lisa and I always say the same thing we have fun no matter where we go because we create our own fun so if you’re like us and you love to travel and you’re out there to have fun you can still do it so come on down to key west stay at Boyd’s and definitely visit Delunia get your Cuban fix I know you won’t be sorry. I know I’m getting ready to go over there before they close.
Lisa: alright! thanks, friends don’t forget to share this follow us on our Instagram at our RView podcast and visit our website rviewpodcast.com reach out to us if you have any questions about key west or experience with covid and we’re happy to share what we know and our experiences and make sure you follow us and subscribe so that you can hear all about our cross-country travel that is coming up uh in the next few weeks.
George: Yes and we’re going to start talking about our trip and give you the heads up of where we’re going to be and if any of our listeners are in any of those areas please reach out to us we’d love to have you on the podcast and talk to you about your area and we look forward to seeing everybody and picking up new listeners enjoy everybody!