If you’ve never been to Key West, your next steps after reading this post are as follows: go to priceline.com, find a flight, book it, and leave town as soon as possible. I had only been to Key West once prior to this weekend, but I wasn’t old enough to drink yet, and was only there for an afternoon as part of an excursion with the cruise we are on. I can tell you that Key West at 25 is exponentially better than Key West at 12 was.
Included in my maid-of-honor duties was of course planning the bachelorette party. Starting back in September, the bridesmaids and I threw around a few ideas; Vegas…Miami…and finally settled on Key West. The bride had spent a glorious spring break there during college, and was hoping we could relive the glory days (which I would say we successfully accomplished). Key West is less than a two-hour plane ride away, yet you feel like you’re in a different country. The water is crystal clear, its relaxed and laid back, plus you can walk around with a Grain Train without fear of an open container ticket. Any city whose bars stay open until 6am, encourages sippin’ in the streets, and promotes weirdness and individuality is a place I’d be comfortable with calling home!
Six of the eight bridesmaids left Charlotte on Thursday and headed down to the land of the Conch Republic. We arrived at lunchtime and changed into our bathing suits in the hotel lobby. We didn’t want to waste a single minute of catching sun rays. We managed to eventually pull ourselves away from the beach to head to our
room Presidential Suite and do some decorating before the bride and her soon-to-be sister-in-law arrived from snowy (yes, it is still snowing there in April, ridiculous!!) Chicago.
We spent a few hours catching up over daiquiri’s and getting ready before we headed to Dirty D: Duval Street. Duval Street is in a category of its own. Think Athens, GA meets 5Points in Columbia, SC. We stopped at Amigos Tortilla Bar (home of the square taco’s) and devoured some gigantic burritos, salsa and queso. Next Stop: Flying Monkey’s for an infamous Everclear Grain Train slushy (imagine Dr. Rocco and Wet Willie getting together and producing an evil offspring). A few of those bad boys and we were loosened up to hit the da-da-dance floor at Rick’s. I don’t know the exact story behind it (and I probably don’t want to know), but Rick’s lives in infamy in the heart of my sister. Rick’s is one bar with eight other bars inside, genius! We went to Rick’s all three nights, stayed until around 3am all three nights, and danced like we were Ke$ha and going to die young. You know you’ve had a successful night when you go home with your hair soaked with sweat and a a strangers receipt you signed for 20 shots.
Friday we set out to the Southermost Beach Cafe for a round of Painkillers and some fish taco’s. The view from the restaurant was insanely beautiful and the best part is that there is a public beach surrounding the cafe. It makes it quite easy to roll yourself from the table to the beach in under 2 minutes. We spent the majority of the day laying out there and then headed to the marina. Coincidentally (or not…?) Whitney’s soon-to-be father-in-law happened to be on his annual sailing trip with the guys and had docked in Key West the same exact weekend we were there. Typically, your father-in-law would most likely be the last person you’d want on your bachelorette weekend, but Mr. Stanton and his friends were awesome. The boat is owned by the owner of Weber Grills and is amazingly nice. They had appetizers and drinks waiting for us and we spent a few hours docked in the marina soaking up some more sun. Just when we had enough margarita’s for things to start to get weird, we politely thanked the gracious hosts and headed home. We decided we would save some mulah by cooking our own dinner one night (our suite included a full kitchen) – so we had taco’s again (the bride is a huge fan of mexican food, can you tell??). The night ended with another dance session at Rick’s and a late night DiGiorno.
Saturday morning we were moving slower than usual. These days most of us are up at 5am because we’re going to work or the gym, not because we’re still awake from the day before. We managed to get ourselves together and head to Ft. Zachary Taylor for yoga on the beach. Dad donated this portion of the trip so he could ensure we did at least one healthy thing during the trip (thanks, Dad!) and it was AMAZING. Based on the fact that we were twenty minutes late to an 11:00am class, I think our instructor, Nancy, knew it had been a late night. She took it easy on us at first and did some core exercises to help us detox. Then she introduced AcroYoga to us, something none of us were familiar with. She paired us up with someone similar in height and then proceeded to tell us that we were going to be doing double dog down, triple planks, and other ridiculous poses. I loved every minute of it. Nancy did a great job of keeping us interested and engaged. There were so many times I would stop myself, look around, and think how incredibly blessed we all are. It’s not every day you get to practice yoga while staring at the ocean. Yoga took every last ounce of energy we had, so we headed back to the hotel pool to relax for the rest of the afternoon. Later that evening we threw a lingerie shower for the Mrs. and played a few fun games. One of the games involved Whitney answering questions about Bob and vice versa. Liz was sweet enough to record Bob answering the questions on the iPad, and it was a lot of fun for us to be able to watch the recording with Whitney. A correct answer was followed with a ‘good job’ while an incorrect answer was followed by a shot (a win-win in my book, really). I’m glad “Bob” was able to make an “appearance” at the bachelorette party, and it’s something that Whitney will be able to keep forever to laugh at.
We woke up Sunday to what appeared to be a scene from the movie Animal House. Our suite was a complete wreck; it had apparently rained goldfish and beer cans, remnants of what appeared to be a burnt, yet devoured, pizza were scattered all over the kitchen, and remains of an empty bottle of Fireball was recovered. Lucky for us, there was a bachelor party staying in the suite next to us, so we convinced ourselves that ours probably looked liked roses and rainbows compared to their’s. Instead of cleaning or packing, we decided our best option was to hit the pool until the absolute last minute before checkout. I envision the cleaning crew is probably still having nightmares over what they had to clean up, but that’s why you leave a tip for them on the first night, right? After resisting the inevitable we begrudgingly packed our bags and headed to the airport to head home.
The cost and time spent planning the trip was completely worth the four straight days of laughter. We all had such an amazing time that I think all of us are already thinking of way we can get back (someone else please get engaged soon!). The Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel couldn’t have been a better place to stay. The staff went out of their way to accommodate every need we had – including glasses of champagne upon arrival, passing out cucumbers for our eyes while laying out, and spritzing our feet with cool water and a fan to combat the Florida heat. I am so thankful for the friendships my sister has with these special women, who have all become more like sisters to me. The big day will be here before we know it, and I think the Future Mrs. Stanton had a wonderful last fling before the ring!