Jun01

0 Marks the Spot

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{Wearing: Blush Romper. Necklace: Vintage. Wedges: Steve Madden. Photographed by Jorge Camaraza.}

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That’s me jumping on the bed, like I do anytime I check into a hotel. The chic teal robe? It belongs to The Marker Resort Key West, the stunning resort that took me in for a relaxing weekend excursion. I haven’t been to Key West in over a decade, so it was amazing to revisit a place I’ve always had a soft spot for. Only this go-round was different from past trips. Getting there happened via motorcycle. I’ve never done that before. I’ve never even ridden on a bike in Miami. To feel the warm air, as opposed to the mountain air I’ve gotten used to feeling, was spectacular, a change of pace. Riding over the 7 Mile Bridge, surrounded by water, sunset looming—postcard status. Wish you were here.

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We brought the bike to a halt as we neared the water’s edge. That whole thing about location, location, location, there’s definitely something to that. The Marker Resort Key West is on the water, so you can sit on your wrap-around porch and watch the boats come in. The backside of the Key West resort also rests on something called “Lazy Lane,” which is packed with touristy shops, where souvenirs run rampant, perfect for picking up little gifts for those back at home. There’s a cute tiki-esque outdoor bar between the dock and the shops, where you can park and take in the local atmosphere. I’m happy to admit I did all of these things, blissfully. I also took some time to find out about my surroundings. Turns out, The Marker is the first newly constructed resort in Key West in the past 20 years. But just because its new doesn’t mean it lacks Key West style. The traditional conch architecture, as its known, which was created in the 18th century by Bahamian immigrants, is alive and well at The Marker. It’s clean, white, lovely and peaceful. And check this out: Key West mandates local hotels to dedicate a certain amount of space to public art, which is a fantastic notion. The Marker Resort Key West has two designated spots: One with towers featuring local familiarities, like pelicans and nautical doo-dads, and other with giant iron sculptures of colorful animals that you’ll likely find in and around the Keys. I only wish Miami would do something this cool at its endless hotels.

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{Wearing: Bikini: c/o Bianca Coletti.}

By the second day of my excursion, I was ready to explore. But first: Pool. The hotel has not just one pool, but three. Two are situated around the restaurant where it’s more of a social vibe, while the other is in what the hotel refers to as the sanctuary. It’s quiet and peaceful, adult-only and you’ll more than likely find people napping in the sun or catching up on novels. I, of course, with my social butterfly tendencies, opted to keep things on the livelier tip. After catching a few rays, I was ready to hit the town tourist style. And that means via bike. The concierge was happy to lend us two yellow bikes so we could pedal across Key West and take it all in. Transportation via bicycle is one of the things I most love about Key West. It goes with the pace of the city. You can stop and see, cruise around and enjoy the sun warming your shoulders. Aside from traveling two wheels across Key West, the other thing I love about this little tropical paradise is its history. It was an enclave for some of my favorite writers: Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. As a journalist, as a writer, as a lover of words, I can feel the inspiration here. Being in a place where others you admire have been, lived and loved, well, that’s powerful. With that in mind, Jorge and I hopped on our yellow Marker bikes and hit Hemingway’s house.

I cannot believe, in all the things Jorge has seen across the globe (which dwarfs everything I’ve seen), he had never been to Hemingway’s house. It’s one of my favorite landmarks in Florida, the U.S. even. And he had never seen a Hemingway cat either. Wait, what? I was beyond thrilled to show him these things. And as I did two things happened: 1) We both realized we need a Hemingway cat to add to our Brady bunch. And 2) We’re going to retire here, get old and just enjoy island life. Looking at Hemingway’s typewriters resting in his writing nook, knowing he spend time writing 400 words a day (and drinking 15 martinis a day), he enjoyed what it is he did. He lived. He wasn’t ruled by work and he didn’t run from his creative tendencies either. he found a way to blend them together in a certain harmony that truly spoke to me. That’s something I want. That’s how I’d like to close out my novel here on earth—on a wrap-around porch, laptop in hand, stringing words into something bigger, sipping on a tropical drink, watching the sun set into the water below. Turns out I got a taste of those last two, as Jorge and I headed down to the pier to sip what was basically a pineapple turned goblet and admire God’s work as he closed out our last day with a sunset that makes you re-evaluate the little things in life.

On the bike ride back to Miami the next day, we spotted a trailer in the distance with the words Hemingway written across it. We stopped and took a pic and I thought to myself: Even after all these years, Key West and it’s legends are an endless fount of inspiration.

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The hotel stay in this story was provided by The Marker Resort Key West. The story, however, is my own to tell.