Remembering a Legend: George H.W. Bush

Known for his years of service in World War II and his major accomplishments on the international stage, the late former President George H.W. Bush served our country with respect and dignity during his single presidential term and years of public service. Another lesser known fact about our 41st president is that he always had a fondness for the Florida Keys, often making trips down to our very own Cheeca Lodge.

President Bush visited our Florida Keys resort during the years of his presidency, with First Lady Barbara Bush and a full security detail. The Florida Keys provided President Bush with a calming respite from the world’s most high-pressured job. Always one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and charming guests to grace Cheeca Lodge, President Bush will be remembered as an icon of American history. In his honor, we have created a guide to some of former President Bush’s favorite things to do on a visit to the Florida Keys.

Fishing

Both former President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush enjoyed a quiet morning of fishing during their stays at Cheeca Lodge. There’s nothing quite like casting off into the calming waters, while gazing out at the stunning surrounding landscape. Whether you want to go out to sea on a fishing charter or enjoy a causal day of fishing off the docks, enjoy the president’s favorite pastime during your stay.

Jogging

President Bush would often kick off his morning with a refreshing jog on the scenic roads near our resort. Often times, guests would catch a glimpse of the president during the daily outings. Explore the president’s favorite trails and other picturesque routes on Islamorada.

Spa Treatments

Perhaps no one more deserving of a relaxing spa day, the president would often request massage treatments – provided on-site – during his stays at Cheeca. Prior to a presidential visit, our team would comb through every detail of his stay, including everything from the rooms, menus, and seating charts, to special requirements, like spa services.

We honor and remember the late President Bush and his legacy, and will greatly miss one of our most beloved guests.

Stay Fit (and Have Fun) During the Holidays with These Vacation Workouts

Travel and fitness don’t always feel like the perfect pair. At Cheeca Lodge & Spa, the two go hand-in-hand. And with the holidays coming up, we know how important it is to exercise and stay in shape without sacrificing any relaxing vacation time. Cheeca offers a variety of guided on-site classes, making it easy to stay fit (and have fun) while you’re away from home for the holidays.

Paddle Board Yoga

For a challenging and unique yoga experience, take to the water on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Every Friday evening and Sunday morning, we offer hour-long SUP yoga classes that welcome both beginners and seasoned yogis alike. It’s a great opportunity to practice yoga poses while enjoying the relaxing sound and motion of the ocean.

Tennis Clinics

Our resort also features several adult tennis clinics throughout the week. Our half-hour beginner’s clinics are complimentary for guests on Tuesday mornings, while our more advanced clinics on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings are $25 per attendee. Feeling competitive? Join our tennis round robin on Tuesday and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m.

Total Body Toning

Offering a classic workout experience, our Total Body Toning classes are held every day except Friday and are a great way to break a sweat. Head to our Fitness Studio and jumpstart your day with an invigorating session from 9-10 a.m., led by a certified instructor. Our facility also features the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Resort SCUBA Course

If you’re in the mood for something more adventurous, attend one of our hour-long resort SCUBA courses, held every Friday and Saturday morning. This class is highly recommended: The Florida Keys are home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef, and it’s certainly worth exploring.

Spa

We know the holidays can be hectic, and even stressful, which is why the Cheeca Spa is the perfect place to unwind and reset. Featuring luxurious amenities and services such as a heated pool with butler service, state of the art fitness center, and 7 spa treatment rooms, our spa is fully equipped to cater to your every need.

 

Check our calendar of events for the most up-to-date activities at our Islamorada resort.

 

 

5 Ways to Spend Thanksgiving in the Florida Keys

Swap pumpkin pie for key lime pie and spend Thanksgiving in Key West. Check out our favorite holiday events, where to catch Turkey Day football, and the best foods to add to your Thanksgiving spread. Here’s how we do Thanksgiving in the Keys.

 

Watch Thanksgiving football.

Football has long been a Thanksgiving Day tradition, and Thanksgiving in Florida is no exception. Whether you’re a Gators or Dolphins fan, you’ll be in good company this season. Here are the spots around town where you can catch some Thanksgiving football action:

 

Try local Key West specialties.

Move over creamed corn, here are some vibrant and tasty dishes from Key West that are sure to shine on Turkey Day.

 

Key Lime Pie

Sweet and tangy key lime pie is an obvious choice. It’s basically a staple food group in Key West. While Thanksgiving is traditionally lauded as the holiday of pumpkin or apple pie, in Florida, November is key lime pie’s time to shine.

 

 

 

 

Seafood

Looking for a local alternative to traditional turkey and stuffing? Try Key West pink shrimp or spiny lobster a new take on the popular Thanksgiving dishes. While some might raise an eyebrow at the thought of ordering seafood instead of turkey, a fresh taste of the Florida Keys is sure to make for a Thanksgiving dinner that won’t soon be forgotten.

 

And of course, we can’t not mention the gorgeous weather we’re surrounded with. Where else can you spend Thanksgiving Day on the water? Here are some of our favorite day trips to work up to the big meal on Thanksgiving:

 

Hit the waves for stand up paddleboarding.

Explore the open seas by renting a paddleboard from our resort at no charge.

 

See inside Ernest Hemingway’s house.

Explore the historic Hemingway House, where the famous novelist, writer, and journalist lived in the 1930s. The designed U.S. National Historic Landmark is located just across from the Key West lighthouse at the southern end of the island.

Go kayaking at Indian Key.

One of the many islands off the coast of the Florida Keys, Indian Key is only accessible by kayak, which makes for a great workout on Thanksgiving Day!

 

It’s never too early: Plan ahead and lock in the best rate for your stay this Thanksgiving.

4 Instagram Worthy Spots in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are some of the most gorgeous islands in the continental United States. With stunning reefs, historic revolutionary outposts, and luscious beaches and landscapes, there’s no shortage of Insta-worthy places to snap your vacation pictures. Check out our favorite spots to kick your Instagram game up a notch.

Hemingway House

Nestled in the heart of Old town Key West is the home of lauded American author Ernest Hemingway. Refurbished as a museum (open daily), the Southern Gothic home is most famous as a dwelling space for more than 40 local cats.

Dry Tortuga

Right off Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park sits in the open water. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortuga is home to Fort Jefferson, the coastal military center built in 1825, from which you can take breathtaking pictures of the surrounding turquoise water.

The Southernmost Point in the Continental United States

Not many can say they’ve been to the very end of a country. Hundreds of tourists flock to the Southernmost Point to take a picture with the iconic buoy, indicating that you’re at the end of the line – just 90 miles from Cuba.

Anne’s Beach

And of course, our own backyard has some pretty beautiful vistas, too. Anne’s Beach, just a short walk from Cheeca Lodge, boasts pristine white sands and crystal-clear water.

 

3 Hidden Gems on Islamorada

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The quaint town of Islamorada is full of hidden gems worth checking out. Here are our top picks for fun activities, where to find trinkets, and the best places to explore.


Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina

The hottest restaurant in town…for fish! The Tarpon, a medium-sized fish native to the Atlantic, usually stops at Robbie’s Marina for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hordes of these fish linger near the marina for hours, knowing that tourists and locals alike are sure to feed them. A spectacle to behold, and well worth the $4 for a bucket of feeding fish, head here throughout the day for instant entertainment and fun.

Kayak to Indian Key

The Florida Keys are dotted with little green islands, separated from the mainland by translucent turquoise water. Most of the islands are reachable by boat, but the real adventurers hop in a kayak and paddle out to Indian Key, a historical site that’s part of the Florida State Park system. The shallow water between Islamorada and Indian Key is perfect for kayaking in an area where the island’s many hidden historical secrets and treasures allow you to explore the day away.

Morada Way Arts and Cultural District

Nestled on the small island of Islamorada is a vibrant and growing arts and culture scene. The Morada district is known for its galleries, studio spaces, boutiques, and creative restaurants, making it one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the Florida Keys. The art galleries combine lush island themes and the presence of the surrounding and engulfing Atlantic Ocean, giving way to some truly unique pieces that are adept at communicating stories of the American islands diaspora.

The Cheeca Guide to Florida Keys Cuisine

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While the Florida Keys have gifted us with the delicious summertime favorite of the Key Lime Pie, that’s not all they’re known for. Here are a few special dishes to watch out for when you stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa.

Key Lime Pie

Of course, we had to mention the Florida Keys staple. This tart and sweet crème pie uses key limes, which are smaller than conventional limes. The pie is said to have originated in Key West during the early 20th century. It was a staple of fishermen and Key West dwellers because the key ingredient, condensed milk, did not need to be refrigerated. To find the best slice on Islamorada, head to slightly north to Blond Giraffe, known locally as the Key Lime pie factory. This famed spot is one of the most well-known spots to grab a freshly-chilled pie in the Keys.

Key West Pink Shrimp

Harvested from the crystal clear waters of Dry Tortugas, this Florida Keys specialty is notable for their seasonality and their mildly sweet flavor. Deriving their pink color from their living environment in the coral sand off the west coast of Florida, you’ll find this type of shrimp in most restaurants on Islamorada. Usually served in cocktail sauce, or grilled and seared, hit up Twisted Shrimp, Chef Michael’s, or Lazy Days Restaurant to try this Keys specialty.

Spiny lobster

One of the many lobster varieties, this warm water lobster differs from its Northern cousin by forgoing the claws for a subtler taste. Because of its milder flavor, you’ll find this lobster meat mainly in stews or flavorful rice dishes. The Hungry Tarpon in Islamorada pairs its fresh catches of the day with Caribbean-inspired cuisines. Try the broiled Spiny Lobster tail with tropical rice and charred asparagus for its vibrant island flavors.

10 Fun Facts About the Florida Keys

Don’t let the palm trees and sunshine fool you: The Florida Keys are more than just a great vacation destination. This beloved archipelago offers a rich history, beautiful biodiversity, and more than a few quirky characteristics.

 

Here are 10 of our favorite fun facts about the Florida Keys:

 

  1. There’s plenty to explore: The Florida Keys include over 800 islands, many of which can be accessed via a network of 42 bridges.

 

  1. There’s even more to uncover below the surface. The expansive Florida Reef is the only living coral reef in North America and the third largest coral reef in the world.

 

  1. The Sunshine State is also home to the largest nesting sea turtle population in the country. The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL is dedicated to the rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles.

 

  1. The diverse marine life—along with some spectacular shipwrecks—has earned the Keys the title of Diving Capital of the World.

 

  1. And that’s not all: Our island chain is also considered by many to be the Sportfishing Capital of the World. (Learn about Cheeca’s fishing charters and tournaments here.)

 

  1. The queen conch is a protected marine species; shell collectors should steer clear of picking up these massive mollusks.

 

  1. If you’re looking to escape the cold, this is the place to be: The Florida Keys boast the highest average temperature in the country.

 

  1. Despite the beachy climate, you might be surprised to learn that much (but not all) of the sand you’ll find on our islands has been imported from the Bahamas.

 

  1. Fortunately, cats seem to love the heat. The Hemingway House is Key West is home to dozens of polydactyl cats.

 

  1. Known as the southernmost point in the country, Key West is actually closer to Cuba than Miami, FL.

Discover the Keys and enjoy luxury accommodations when you stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa.