Head to Islamorada in the Florida Keys — EdgeWater style.
| If you’re in the Florida Keys, check out our friends Seven Sports to get a VIP walkaround on one of our boats.| Time stops in Islamorada, Florida. It must be the still oceans on both sides of the highway, giving the effect that the world has taken a break. Hitting U.S. 1 and seeing the mile markers drop makes you feel like the United States rests in the rearview mirror and a faraway island lies up ahead. Get to this location however you can. It’s one for the history books — the personal one and IGFA’s. Islamorada is chock-full of local flavor, even to a tourist. In our guide, you’ll find the Islamorada hotels and lodges to stay at; notable restaurants, bars and attractions; and a look into the tarpon fishing. Whether you’re in one of our heritage boats to the 370CC, Islamorada is a salty experience.
Robbie’s Marina is one of those places that nearly becomes lore; one must go once told about it. For a couple bucks, the whole family can enjoy hand-feeding the resident tarpon that swim under the docks. Stop at the Hungry Tarpon restaurant for a quick mahimahi sandwich ($12.95) with a side of Bloody Mary. Of course, this is usually a drink, but not the way Robbie’s does it.
World Wide Sportsman is an angler’s shopping mall under one roof. Within the store sits a replica of Ernest Hemingway’s Pilar. Make sure to board the boat to get an inside look at the living quarters and transom. Walk upstairs to the Zane Grey Lounge to kick back with a cocktail. On the bottom level, enjoy the sights of the Everglades aquarium, stocked with tarpon, redfish, bonefish and snook. And if you’re hungry, head next door to Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant.
Of course, beer — a must on any Florida Keys vacation. But when landing in Islamorada, stop at the Islamorada Beer Company, a small, charming brewery that welcomes all to taste their freshly brewed craft beers. Enjoy a flight of four of their finest beers: a citrus pale ale, a wheat ale, an IPA and a wheat citrus pale ale. Sit at the bar and see the tanks in action as you take a sip of their final product: a great beer.
Bud N’ Mary’s Fishing Marina brings more to the table than the usual docks and services. It’s packed with history. Over 70 years of legendary fishing captains and guides rose through the ranks at Bud N’ Mary’s. When walking through the marina, it feels historically preserved; it says to visitors that this is our family history, and we know where we come from — the sport-fishing capital of the world. The familial feeling most likely stems from the Stanczyk family, who owns and operates the historic marina. It’s the oldest and largest fishing fleet of the entire Florida Keys fishing arena. Even though the marina has been around for seven decades, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any young-blooded guides.
There’s that feeling on vacation when you’ve had enough, and it’s time to be home. At the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, you wonder if you can rent a room. Every minute on the grounds of Cheeca is like having someone follow you around with the best recliner in the world — no matter where you go, it’s relaxation to the highest degree. Anything you need is right there. Cheeca pulls out all the stops.
Green Turtle Inn Restaurant transports its diners back to a time when restaurants were more than just food on a plate. It’s a place where you have an “evening” with friends, or a Bogart and Bacall romantic date. Green Turtle is where you stay a while and have more than a supper — you have an experience. The vintage neon sign says it all: classic dining made to last. Start out with the authentic turtle chowder (think conch chowder, but trade it out with farm-raised alligator snapping turtle) and delicious Cedar Key clams (middleneck clams smothered in a saffron tomato sauce). Check the chalkboard for what’s cooking and the fresh fish of the day; you won’t regret anything you order off that board.
The next time you’re thinking of going down to the Conch Republic and explore the Last Frontier of the South, head in an EdgeWater. And if you don’t have one, take a look at our dealer Seven Sports to schedule a visit.