Do we stay … Do we go? Bahamas? … Florida’s west coast? Wait here until after my birthday for the vaccine? With it looking as though Florida will lower the vaccine age from 65+ to 55+ any day now (even before my birthday), we decided to stick it out here so Lori & I will both be able to get the vaccine. On the other hand … we needed a break! So not looking to do a several week cruise, we decided on instant gratification with a road trip to the Keys.
We found a small, 10 cottage COVID-safe “resort” with efficiency kitchenettes on Tavernier. With peak season in the Keys, we had some difficulty finding a good match, but Island Bay Resort fit the bill very nicely. The owners, Mike & Carol, have spent 21 years turning basic ’60’s “cabins” into cute little cottages with many amenities & beautiful grounds. Just what the doctor ordered!
None of you will be surprised that our road trip included donut shop stops both ways! Heading south we detoured to Mojo Donuts in Hollywood, Florida. While we have stopped twice before, it’s been several years … we had forgotten how good they were! Sooo many varieties & really great without being too sweet. It’s probably good that Hollywood is a 4-hour round-trip drive from Vero Beach!
On our way back north, we discovered a newer, highly rated donut shop. Wow! The Salty in South Miami is pretty much the most gourmet (& priciest!) donut shop yet! In addition to being pieces of art, the brioche dough is delicious with all of the glazes & toppings made in-house. In just 6 years, they’ve expanded to several locations around southern Florida & now even into Texas.
Now back aboard (rested & stuffed) in Vero Beach, we’re still keeping our plans flexible. While it’s getting too late this year for us & the Bahamas, we may cruise over to the Florida west coast in-between shots, or slowly make our way north towards St. Augustine … we shall see!
It’s been a difficult decision, but we’ve reluctantly decided to skip the Bahamas this winter. While the COVID rates in the Bahamas are somewhat under control (especially in the Exumas where we spend most of our time), there is the “what if” one of us did somehow contract COVID with complications. Then there are the testing protocols, both before departing & again on day 5 in the Bahamas. While not too difficult flying in, a bit challenging traveling by boat with weather & all. The “last straw” was the U.S.’s new plans to require COVID testing prior to arriving back in the U.S., along with possible mandatory quarantining – a huge hardship traveling by boat.
Waterfront bungalows at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Canada’s recent cancellation of all air travel to the Bahamas (and the Caribbean & Mexico), along with the U.S.’s new plan of required testing all arriving international travelers (and possible quarantining), will be absolutely devastating for the Bahamas. Tourism (mostly from Americans & Canadians) is over 80% of their economy & had been reduced down to a trickle, but was looking to improve this spring. Almost overnite, these announcements caused thousands of cancellations for the resorts who just the week before had begun hiring back workers to re-open. Their government can’t simply print money (as we apparently can) & there is virtually no safety net for the Bahamians – it is very tragic. Next year we’ll spend additional time & $$ in the Bahamas for sure. For anyone looking forward to a vacation next fall/winter, please consider the Bahamas (but not by cruise ship!). For a “true” Bahamas experience, you may want to skip New Providence (Nassau) & look to places such Great Exuma or a smaller “family island” such as Staniel Cay
The final reason to hang around Florida is I’ll be able to get my first COVID vaccine in late March after my 65th birthday! After prioritizing nursing homes & medical workers, Florida moved on to seniors 65+ with almost 35% coverage thus far. While there were many difficulties early on, improvements have been made every week, including the vaccine now being available at hundreds of Publix (the major supermarket chain) Pharmacies. Everyone we know (over 65) has been able to get an appointment within a week or so (although not without some determination!), so next month will hopefully be even easier.
Lori’s been busy too with her bead creations, perhaps TOO busy, although she seems perfectly happy and our interior isn’t TOO dusty. 🙂 Sales were fantastic and with every notification, a big smile and happy dance occurred. We both got a big kick when a friend stopped by in her kayak, to order earrings, then more earrings! Lori says her star-shaped creation will be a covered box with a bezeled crystal in the center of the top. Not as major an undertaking as the huge Christmas Popper she made for a Christmas gift, but still lot of hours and beads. The bezel on top will be a first; always something new. Check out Lori’s Etsy shop- CraftMadein