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Islamorada, a Village of Islands
(2015 - Winter Issue)

Writer: Steve Winston

There lies a gem in the middle of the 193-kilometre-long chain of islands known as the Florida Keys. And every time I approach it, my cares melt away.

The islands that make up the village of Islamorada are distinct from the rest of the Keys, each with its own special flavour and rhythm. This may explain why some of the island residents came here 30 years ago on vacation and never left.

Artistic Surroundings

Islamorada actually has its own little art community located on Upper Matecumbe Key where you’ll find galleries, studios, art classes and special events all year long, as well as funky restaurants and shops. And on the third Thursday of every month, special ArtWalks provide opportunities to enjoy them all.

For a small town, Islamorada has some interesting shops. The Ocean Gardens and Gifts, for example, sells a variety of marine antiques, among them gold coins from the 1733 wreck of the Spanish treasure ship Atocha. Hooked on Books is a locally owned, independent bookstore, which specializes in books about the Keys as well as books written by authors from South Florida and the Keys. At The Mystical Mermaid, you can find everything New Age and natural, including artisanal candles and soaps.  

Great Seafood

In Islamorada, you can indulge in seafood that was just caught only an hour or two before. In fact, it proudly boasts to be the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World.”

Lorelei Cabana Bar and Restaurant serves three types of fresh chowder, including two Keys specialties—stone crab and conch chowder. In addition, it features live entertainment and spectacular sunsets over Florida Bay.

Pierre’s Restaurant specializes in distinctive French dishes served in a classic West African Plantation House.

From Luxurious to Laid-back

A local landmark since 1946, Cheeca Lodge & Spa is a luxurious island hideaway, which has hosted movie stars, athletes and even President George H.W. Bush. They come here for the world-famous fishing, the four excellent restaurants, and a chance to relax in a friendly place where locals are used to celebrities.  

The Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina at Holiday Isle has a beachside location, pleasant guest rooms and a great tiki bar.

Amara Cay Resort is the area’s newest hotel where recreational activities include diving excursions, fishing charters and just about anything you can do on or under the water.

Tropical, artsy, laid-back are but a few of the adjectives that describe Islamorada. However, perhaps the best description was bestowed upon these islands by early Spanish explorers who were fortunate enough to witness a sunset over them—“Purple Isles.”

Travel Planner

For more information on what to see, do and visit in Islamorada, visit fla-keys.com/Islamorada or call 1-800-322-5397.

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