Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail

Ever hear of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail? It's a fairly new 106 mile multi-use scenic trail system extending from Key Largo to Key West utilizing 36 historic Flagler Railroad bridges and running parallel to US-1.

Ten years in the making (and still not fully completed), the pathway permits running, bicycling, hiking, sightseeing, fishing, and kayaking. Planners envision a world class integrated system of smooth bike paths, educational kiosks, picnic areas, scenic outlooks, fishing piers, boat ramps, water access points, nature trails and amenities. 

This year construction is planned for nine more improved portions of the trail (including retrofits of five bridges) and seven more areas improved for 2010 including a trailhead and offices in Key Largo.

Islamorada locals Holly Padgett, Cathy Rakov, Sara Bernardin, and Nancy Kluger recently geared up their bicycles and left from Plantation Key heading to Key West. Their 1st annual journey was divided into three days of about 30 scenic miles per day. According to the ladies it was the perfect pace (not overly aggressive) to have time to see the sights, stop along the way for snacks and lunch, and arrive at a nice hotel by mid-afternoon for some fun in the evening. Their overnight stops included Hawks Cay Resort before Marathon, Parmers Resort in Big Pine Key, and the grand finale at The Southernmost Hotel in Key West. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kiteboard Islamorada

Driving over the bridges through Islamorada, it’s hard not to notice an increasing number of Kiteboarders taking advantage of the island breeze. 

This unique, high-flying, extreme sport has been gaining popularity over the past few years, and has found a home right here in the heart of Islamorada. Fueled by wind, and driven with muscle and mind, these new age wind surfers rip across the water, and flip into the air making the sport worth watching from the shore or by boat.

Or better yet, try it yourself! Beginner lessons are now being offered and include the kite, and everything you need to get started. Although I have yet to try it, I’ve heard first hand the sport is nothing short of addicting. Maybe I’ll give it a shot the next time it’s too windy to fish.