Published on October 4th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
3 Bay Harbor Key Largo: a Hidden Gem in the Upper Florida Keys
The drive from Miami to Key Largo was as smooth as the second movement of a Mozart symphony. While Matt and I were not jet lagged, the baby was sound asleep, even after walking what seemed like three miles inside the Miami International Terminal to get our rental car (far, far away in another galaxy). Once we pulled out of the parking lot in our stylish Mini Cooper, which I commented looked like the ?MAC version of a car? (think over-sized speedometers, hip interiors and stylish knobs), we zoomed on US-1 towards Key Largo.
For now, I had to be content with a velvety black horizon, my imagination, as well as a cup of late night Starbucks coffee. After about an hour, we arrived in a town that looked exactly as I had imagined a seaside town would look like: spacious, plenty of docks, stores selling key lime pie and hotels and motels with garish neon lights.
Traveling in a Mini Cooper is like getting into the MAC version of a car
The view from our Waterfront Cottage at Bay Harbor
Each room has its own patio, outdoor seating area complete with parasol
Bay Harbor Key Largo was where we were booked for two nights, and I was excited because I did not want anything too cookie cutter. This smelt and felt like a bed and breakfast-style lodge, at least that?s what I gathered from speaking to the concierge over the telephone. Florida?s quirky neon signs made Bay Harbor easy to spot.? We pulled into the driveway and gratefully plunged into our thick, cozy bed.
Our waterfront cottage had a separate entrance, and filled with wicker chairs, summery prints and a cozy bed. The cottage is perhaps the best type to book if you?re traveling with a family because it features its own sitting area, a glass coffee table, as well as a separate bedroom as well as kitchen area for those who want to prepare your fresh foods and salads (there was a generous fruit basket waiting for me in my room?the mango had summer?s juiciness in it).
Erika enjoys her garden and the bougainvillea life
You can dangle your legs off the pier as though you own the place
Rooms are spacious and flowery
Free breakfast scones and coffee made for a truly Bed & Breakfast type experience
In the morning, we woke up to a uncluttered view of our own private wooden pier and a shady Coconut Grove, complete with vacant deck chairs. Florida during the off-season is appealing, and we hogged the beach that morning as though were lodge Czars.
Fresh-baked scones and coffee make for a beautiful morning perk. While it is not a typical bed and breakfast (there?s no seated dining area), it?s remarkably close, and the caring staff will wander around the property to make you feel at home. Other perks are the kayaks and paddleboats available to residents, absolutely gratis. You just need to sign a form at the Reception, and off you go to kayak into the sunset! Paddleboating with Erika was a huge ball of fun?she loved being out in the middle of the ocean and laughed every swooping pelican she saw.
Bar Harbor is exactly what an affordable luxury stay should be. Cottage rates start from $195 during off-peak season and increase during the holidays, but you receive a delicious breakfast, gratis coffee, a spacious room with kitchenette, free kayaks and boats and a gorgeous beach all to yourself.
If that?s the style of off-season in the Upper Keys, I?ll take it.
Bay Harbor Lodge
97702 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037