Rickenbacker CausewayWe had originally planned on sailing  on Saturday, but with the last-minute travel changes forcing a Saturday evening arrival we realized that sailing was out of the question entirely.

We like sailing with Captain Gerard out of Fort Lauderdale, but he only had Saturday available, and he was leaving for a week-long charter on Sunday. 

Bummer.

Bill Baggs State ParkThe original plans also called for some underwater time in Key Largo on Sunday, but unseasonably cold temps nixed that idea as well. 

Time for Plan B.

Colette wanted to visit Vizcaya on the last trip here, but didn’t manage to fit it in. 

Not my cup of tea, but I’ll certainly tag along and check it off the list.

After a slow morning getting started, we rolled through the Vizcaya parking lot, and discovered everyone and their mother in line just to get tickets. 

And not an open parking spot to be found. 

Cape Florida LighthouseTime for Plan C!

Our other thought for the day was some hiking, and then a REAL Cuban sandwich in Little Havana

We had discovered Key Biscayne when we were here in November, and this seemed like a logical choice.

Key Biscayne is an island off the eastern coast of Florida, separated from Miami by Biscayne Bay

A quick trip across the picturesque Rickenbacker Causeway

Key Biscayne is interesting in that you have to drive through Crandon Park to get to the actual city, and then on to Bill Baggs State Park located at the southern tip of the island. 

Cape Florida LighthouseAnd it was the state park that we were interested in.

In addition to miles of beach that was rated #8 best  beach in 2005, the park is home to the Cape Florida Lighthouse.

Since my parents are both very interested in lighthouses, I figured that it would provide the opportunity to pass some photos along to them.

The northeast end of the park is secluded, almost barren. 

The real tourist draw is the lighthouse, and people shun this area and immediately head south. 

StiltsvilleSo much the better for an early afternoon walk in the sand without the crowds.

With the less than optimal weather, saying “crowds” is all relative. 

Even at the lighthouse, the tourists were  sparse and we waited only a few minutes for our climb up the stairs. 

We’ve remarked to each other time and time again how difficult travel must be for people who are out of shape, and climbing a tight set of circular stairs for 95 feet would be impossible for those suffering from weight, heart, or joint problems. 

Bill Baggs State ParkIt’s rare that I stop to give thanks for being of sound mind and body (well relatively sound mind), but this is one of those times. 

The lighthouse has a very interesting history, and I highly recommend following the link and reading the Wikipedia article.

To the south of Biscayne is Stiltsville

Yet another piece of history with a fascinating and storied history.   I’d love to explore it someday via kayak or runabout.

Bill Baggs State ParkBiscayne Bay is extremely calm due to it’s protected nature, and it’s popularity is obvious due to the number of vessels anchored out simply enjoying the day.

After exploration and miles and miles of hiking, we headed to Little Havana for a Cuban. 

Miami SunsetWith no specific restaurant in mind, we figured that anything along the tourist section on Calle Ocho (8th Street) would suffice.  We stumbled upon a small restaurant called El Cristo and had a Cuban to die for. 

We had planned on splitting a sandwich and cervezas, then grilling something for dinner. 

Little did we know that the sandwich would be roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, and dinner plans were put on hold indefinitely. 

Miami SunsetDefinitely a high recommendation on our list!

We returned to Key Biscayne to catch the sunset over Biscayne Bay, and we certainly were not disappointed. 

Fiery red clouds reminiscent of a Pacific sunset, with the city skyline in the background.  Magnifico!

Valentine's DayOne other interesting thing was the Valentine’s Day lovers on the beach. 

Several with picnic spreads – fondue pots, miniature grills, cheese and wine, the list goes on. 

It’s a good thing I’m not a sappy sort or I’d have gone broke just from Valentine’s Day dinner fixin’s. 

That and the lonely bouquet of roses left in the surf at the water’s edge. 

Hopefully there’s a good story of passion and forgetfulness to go with them.

Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who celebrate that sort of thing.