Shopping in Paradise

Shop Til You Drop?

Ginger and I decided to window shop the eastern end of Duval Street today, trying to discover an offbeat shop or two instead of the tons and tons of tee shirt shops we saw earlier in the week at the western end of Duval. I also wanted to visit an old haunt of mine to see what was up there.

In order to have enough energy to sustain us for hours of walking the overcast and chilly (around 50 degrees for the high is being generous) sidewalks we decided to have an early lunch at Sarabeth’s, located on the corner of Simonton and Southard. But first, we had to finally figure out the parking meter situation in Old Town. Until today we’ve just been feeding the meters quarters, lots and lots of silvery quarters. One quarter gets us 10 minutes at a meter, so you see what I’m saying, right? I had a couple thin dimes in change that we stuffed into the meter (8 minutes total) and hustled up to Sarabeth’s to get some change to feed the meter. We brandished our dollar bills and asked the waitress nicely for quarters, but she didn’t have any (People really don’t use cash anymore, do they?); however, she directed us to a parking kiosk down the block where, once we figured it out, we could pay using a credit card. Ginger and I looked at each other and off she dashed (bless her) to figure out the kiosk and get a receipt that we would put on our car’s dashboard.

Put the kiosk receipt on the dashboard

The southernmost outpost of this home-style restaurant

That done, Ginger joined me inside Sarabeth’s, which also has a northernmost location in Manhattan (another sunny island, in season of course) I had a fluffy breakfast omelet with fresh spinach and feta. It came with a side of cubed-up potatoes topped with sliced steamy red and green peppers and two thick slices of multigrain toast and a side of the restaurant’s famous jam. Yum.

Sustained by the yummy food, we were off and shopping. First stop, The Garden Cottage, which had a variety of lead and tin containers, votive holders as well as huge wall pockets made of dried flowers and moss; really pretty. I fell in love with a bigger-than-life-size hand-painted rabbit planter from Italy. I would have had to get that rabbit its own seat on my return flight; it was that big.

Worth a visit if you love gardens and decorating

Next up was Aria, a funky jewelry store. The front window attracted our interest since it was full of colorful and unusual shaped purses made in from grass. I bought a bracelet though.

Warm tummies and great dog accessories

Then we trotted (get it?) a few steps to Dogs on Duval, a shop devoted to all things dog, including beds shaped like strawberries that little pups can climb inside, sweaters and jackets, collars and leashes, but best of all, they sold a variety of hand-raised puppies, all warm tummies and sleepy eyes. It was difficult for me to stop staring at the little guys and girls.

Too cute

To combat all that cute, we strolled into Cocktails!, a shop that celebrates the art of the drink. Some glassware had gold zippers up the front of the wineglass, some had the Key West logo etched on them, others wore formal attire (earrings and bow ties anyone). It sold initialed glassware and cocktail accessories too.

Unique barware

Kai Kai was next. A shop full of comfy and not-completely-ugly footwear, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. I slid into a pair of sandals and didn’t want to take them off. Then off to check out an old haunt, Fast Buck Freddie’s, a Duval Street institution. It has an eclectic mix of apparel, home goods, kids’ stuff and more. It’s all arranged in dazzling displays and over-the-top vignettes. Take a look at this front window and see for yourself.

What a display

All the window shopping made for a thirsty woman. Starbucks is now in Key West, in a small shop immediately to the west of the La Concha Hotel at the intersection of Fleming. Ginger ordered a tall sugar- and fat-free caramel macchiato and we headed back to the condo and warmth.

Tonight we are off to Grimm’s Grill, a local sports bar well out of the Old Town area that the bartender at 7 Fish recommended. We’ll be watching Ginger’s beloved Alabama face off against Texas in a southern football rumble. Ya’ll better be rootin’ for ‘bama folks.

PS We just rolled in from watching the ‘Bama Crimson Tide roll over Texas for the first time in history. Details to follow. All I can say tonight is ROLLLL TIDEEEEE!!!!  And “Hey, Eddie!”

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