Summer may traditionally be a time to relax and unwind, but hotel openings, new tours and the launch of Key lime pie-making classes mean it’s an exciting time to visit the Florida Keys & Key West. Here are five new things to experience this summer:
New accommodation: The growth of new accommodation options in the Florida Keys continues with the launch of three new properties: Dolphin Point Villas (com) in Key Largo is to open in mid-July, offering six stand-alone villa homes with event space for up to 100 guests; LaTeDa by the Sea (latedabythesea.com) on Grassy Key near Marathon has recently launched with 23 oceanfront suites; and the 14-room Marquesa 4-1-4 (marquesa.com) will open its doors in Key West this summer and have rooms in historic buildings dating from the late 1800s to early 1900s, together with accommodation in a third newly-added building at the rear with rooms set around a swimming pool and orchid garden
New app: A ‘Walk Key West’ free app has launched and features stories about 12 historic sites in the island city. Available to accompany walking tours of Key West, the app highlights details about locations such as the Custom House, Sloppy Joe’s and the Fogarty, Curry and Porter mansions – most of which feature on the GPS Key West Historic Marker Tour (org). Download the app at flstories.org.
New hop-on, hop-off bus service: Launching in Key West this summer, the free hop-on, hop-off bus (com/duval-loop) will feature 16 stops with a route running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, providing transportation around Duval Street, the Key West Historic Seaport and other top attractions in the island city. Operated by Car-Free Key West, initially the Duval Loop will carry passengers Thursday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to midnight with buses running every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and every 15 minutes from 10 p.m. until midnight.
New cookery classes: At the Key West Key Lime Pie Co. (com), wannabe Bake-Off participants can learn to make an authentic Key lime pie in newly launched cookery classes. Running Fridays at 11 a.m, the class teaches participants how to create mini-Key lime pies of graham cracker crust, Key lime filling and whipped topping in a live kitchen. Prices are $20 per person (less than £16) for ‘students’ aged 5 and older. Children under age 15 must be accompanied by a paid adult for the hour-long classes. Classes take place at 511 Greene St. in Key West.
New meadery: The Keys’ first meadery, Keys’ Meads (com) has opened in Key Largo with tours and a tasting room. Traditional mead from the family-operated Keys’ Meads is made using honey acquired from apiaries or beehive collections that include Pirate Hat Apiary, which tends to 40 hives in the Upper Keys. The meads are dry, semi-dry or sweet, with flavours such as ginger, apple, plum and Key lime added. Specialty meads include habanero, coffee and caramel with new flavours set to include blueberry and huckleberry.
For more information on the Florida Keys: www.fla-keys.co.uk