Friday, March 18, 2016

History of Islamorada

"Isla Morada Tierra Encantada" - Islamorada, the Enchanted Land

Islamorada, Village of Islands is approximately eighteen miles long, including the channels between the four islands, and is no more than two or three blocks wide. Islamorada is known as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World."


From archeological excavations, we know that Indians lived here two or three thousand years ago. The first historical record was of Ponce de Leon in 1513, as he passed through the Keys calling them Los Martires. The fresh water wells on the Matecumbes were well known to the Spanish explorers who filled their casks before sailing to Europe or Central America. Just off shore is the graveyard of the Spanish fleet destroyed in a hurricane. 

The early settlers came from the Bahamas or New England. They raised and shipped thousands of pineapples to northern markets. One of these ships was the Island Home, built on Plantation Key by Johnny Brush Pinder. It was from this schooner that Islamorada got its name. "Is la morada" means "Island Home."

Henry Flagler accomplished what most thought impossible by building a railroad to Key West which opened on January 22, 1912. This was followed by the first road in 1928, with a ferry across two water gaps.

On Labor Day, September 2, 1935, almost everything in today's Village was destroyed by the worst hurricane ever at that time, killing almost 500 people. Those that survived were dedicated people who stayed and rebuilt the community. The road was constructed on the railway bed and opened on March 28, 1938, without ferries. It was this determination and having roots in the coral rock that our Village was born.

After World War II, the northerners found the islands, so rich in history, and built homes and businesses.

Our Village of Islands, Plantation Key, Windley, Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys voted to become a municipality on November 4, 1997. The date of incorporation was December 31, 1997.

The 1870 census shows a total of 29 people, 77 if counting Indian Key. Our last census (2000) shows a population of 6846.


The above was provided by Irving R. Eyster, a historian and resident. The Village would like to acknowledge the contribution by Mr. Eyster, who was kind enough to take time to write this history for Islamorada, Village of Islands. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

What's the weather like?

What's the weather going to be like during my visit? That's the number one question. You really don't need to worry about the weather. It's actual much more comfortable and less humid year round here in the sub-tropical Keys than on the mainland. Our prevailing east wind off the Atlantic, keeps things warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm. With an average high of 82 F and and average low of 71 F, chances are the weather in the Sport Fishing Capital will be pretty nice during your visit. Here's the averages by month, including rainfall and sea temperature January through May:

January

  • Average High: 75° F
  • Average Low: 62° F
  • Average Precipitation: 2.47 inches
  • Average Sea Temperature: 74° F

February

  • Average High Temperature: 76° F
  • Average Low Temperature: 62° F
  • Average Precipitation: 1.93 inches
  • Average Sea Temperature: 73.7° F

March

  • Average High Temperature: 78° F
  • Average Low Temperature: 65° F
  • Average Precipitation: 2.14 inches
  • Average Sea Temperature: 75.5° F

April

  • Average High Temperature: 82° F
  • Average Low Temperature: 70° F
  • Average Precipitation: 1.99 inches
  • Average Sea Temperature: 78.8° F

May

  • Average High Temperature: 85° F
  • Average Low Temperature: 74° F
  • Average Precipitation: 3.73 inches
  • Average Sea Temperature: 81° F

Friday, December 11, 2015

BLOODLINE Returns for 2016


From the creators of "Damages," "Bloodline" is a dramatic thriller that explores the demons lurking beneath the surface of a contemporary American family. The Rayburns are hard-working pillars of their Florida Keys (Islamorada) community. But when the black-sheep son comes home to his parents hotel, he threatens to expose dark secrets and a shameful past.

If you have't seen it, the first season is already out there on Netflix. And the crew is here now working on season two! If you are a fan of Islamorada and the Florida Keys you will enjoy seeing this thriller and recognizing the locations. Fun seeing the stars around town too!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

News from Pines & Palms...


For those who haven't been here for a while, we offer some exciting new amenities and features.

Captain Chis Hanbury is our in-house guide doing everything from fishing and snorkeling to sunset cruises and eco tours. He even took people out Lobster hunting earlier this year. If you want to fish with Chris or book him for Lobster season, give us a call and we'll hook you up.

Happy Hour at the pool side bar has become very popular, Monday through Sunday 4 pm to 6 pm, two for one house wine and standard beer.

Live Music is on tap 4 to 7 pm on the weekends. Local musicians perform laid back tunes to create the perfect late afternoon ambiance. 

Free Yoga on the pool deck happens every Saturday morning with Tracy at 9:00 am. We provide the mats, towels, and cold water... you provide the stretching and meditation.

Spanish Gardens Lunch specially prepared by Chef Jose' is offered Tuesday through Saturday afternoons. Simply place your order at the pool-side bar or front desk. Charge to your room.

Paddle Boarding lessons and guided tours are now offered by our own Pierre-Mark. Two people, two hours... $99. Fun in the sun!

Hope to see you soon in sunny Islamorada...


Monday, October 14, 2013

How to Get the Best Room at the Best Price

It's amazing how making a hotel reservation as changed. It used to be you simply called the hotel or went to their website. Now there are many more choices and currently the trend is on-line booking.

Travelers are flocking to websites (we call them booking-engines) like Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz, etc., because it is easy to book and easy to compare choices. As a consumer it is to your advantage to understand how these web sites work. In short, if you already know what hotel you want, it's better to call the property direct. If you are price shopping and only want the cheapest room, Expedia (and the like) are the way to go.

To be blunt (and skip all the details), hotels generally use the booking sites as dumping grounds for unsold rooms. They either pay extremely high commissions (up to 25%) for each reservation or sell off large blocks of rooms ahead of time. The end result is you may get a less expensive room, but your contract is with the booking site, not the hotel. That is an important difference. You may get a cheaper rate but you give up choices such as room location or room type. Many hotels keep the most desirable rooms to sell commission free to their regular customers.

My advice is to go to your favorite on-line booking site, check things out and decide where you want to stay. Book your room direct with the hotel or hotel web site.  If you found a cheaper room on-line, let them know. They will gladly match the rate and sell it to you commission free. When you book this way, your contract is with the hotel and not with a web site.

Want to know another little secret? There are really only a few of these on-line booking sites. Expedia, for example, owns Hotels.com., Trivago, Hotwire, Engencia, etc. They simply rearrange the data and call it something else.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Our Special Guest for the Holidays

Martha Stewart spent the Holidays with us here at Pines & Palms Resort in the Orchid Cottage. Along with her daughter and grandchildren, they had a nice relaxing time touring the backcountry, dining at some of our restaurants, and relaxing on the beach. She was such a nice lady and a pleasure to have on the property.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Employee of the month... of the year!

If you’ve been to Pines & Palms you’ve probably met Ana. Among her many duties as Resort Manager, Ana is likely to be the person to greet you upon arrival, do the final check of your room, tend to the orchids, or deliver a barbecue. Ana moved to the Keys from Bogota, Colombia in 2000 and immediately got involved in hospitality and came to us as a housekeeper in June of 2002. Soon after she was promoted to Housekeeping Manager, became a U.S. Citizen in 2008, and eventually became the Resort Manager. Pines & Palms owner Jim Bernardin: “Ana will be celebrating her 10th year anniversary later this month. It’s a real milestone given the transient nature of the Florida Keys and Pines & Palms wouldn’t be the same without her. She is the sweetest, most honest, and reliable person and our guests love her.” Congratulations Ana!

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Pines & Palms Web site and Video

After months of working with our friends at FloridaKeys.Com and Sun King Studios we finally launched our new web site. We've added the video you see here plus a high definition Web Cam, Live Chat, an interactive property map, a newsletter, and much more. Check it out at www.pinesandpalms.com.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cool Cultural Scene Expanding in Islamorada

There's always been an arts, music, and culinary scene in Islamorada. Up until now it's been a bit underground... you had to know where to look. Now we have the Third Thursday Art Walk showcasing local artists, food and music. The video really captures this cool little event.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Bonefish Rules Possible

People come from all over the world to try to catch the elusive Islamorada Bonefish. You can find them all over the world but Islamorada is home to some of the largest specimens on the planet.

It's big business here. A recent study by the University of Miami estimates the value of each Florida Keys Bonefish to be about $3500 per year or nearly $75,000 over it's lifespan.

This may be one of the reasons the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is proposing new fishing regulations. The proposal would eliminate the one-fish daily bag limit and allow only catch and release fishing. Seems like a good plan. I don't know of anybody who would keep one unless it was some kind of record.

Apparently the new rules would allow temporary possession of a Bonefish for photographs or for weigh-ins at tournaments.

FWC board Chairman Rodney Barreto is quoted as saying "These proposed rules will further protect bonefish populations in South Florida, while providing anglers with opportunities to document a record catch and enjoy the exciting action of bonefish fishing tournaments."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Important News on Turnpike Tolls

Starting mid February all turnpike tolls between Exit 47 and Exit 1 (a primary route to the Keys) will be collected electronically... no more cash lines... no more stopping.

Tolls will be collected with the SunPass (a prepaid toll program) or with TOLL-BY-PLATE which is a system that photographs each vehicle license plate and mails a bill.

Vacationers traveling in their own cars can purchase a mini-SunPass sticker via mail before their trip for $4.99 and receive the cost back in toll credits. The pass is available at major Florida retailers and Turnpike service plazas or visit www.sunpass.com or call 1-888-865-5352.

For visitors renting cars in Florida, most major rental companies have programs allowing you to use the TOLL-BUY-PLATE system. Tolls and service fees are automatically charged to the same credit card used to rent the vehicle. For more details including pricing options and participating rental car agencies, visit www.sunpass.com/rentalcar.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Good News for the Keys

Check out Tuesday's (June 22) Miami Herald headline:

Keys Dodge Threat from Oil

"Forecasters say the state's delicate chain of islands is in no imminent threat from the oil gusher."

The article goes on to say "the risk of oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout reaching the Florida Keys and South Florida anytime soon is now so remote that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has suspended its trajectory maps for the area, effectively downgrading the area to low risk."

As stated previously, you can get all the up to day, realtime information at the TDC web site at www.fla-keys.com.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No Oil in the Keys!

My daughter called today from Boston and asked me what the oil damage was like in the Keys.

I don't want to downplay the significance of the BP Gulf oil spill, it's an eco-disaster. But come on... this irresponsible news coverage is causing damage to places like the Florida Keys where there's no sign of oil.

Hotels, fishermen, dive & tour operations and others have experienced significant losses from oil related cancellations. So much so that BP has opened claims offices in both Marathon and Key West!

If you really want to know what's going on, visit the Tourist Development Council (TDC) website which provides real-time information. There's even a weekly video offering proof of all the great activities here including beaches free of oil.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Too late to say goodbye...

A group of Islamorada locals gathered to morn the unexpected loss of "Little Kenny" Bowering last night... a gem of Islamorada, an original barn dog, a pirate, a Keys character, an all-round good guy, a friend. Bud n Mary's won't be the same. Click here to see a tribute to Kenny. Hit your back button to return to Islamorada Insider.