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Monday, September 26, 2016

Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Travel in the Florida Keys

Check out these tips for a fabulous Florida Keys getaway that won’t break the bank.

Don’t travel on holidays. Mid-week and low season offer the best hotel prices. Not only will you be getting the best value, the islands will be less crowded and more enjoyable.

Get a hotel room with a kitchen. Stop at the grocery store on your way into town for snacks, drinks and simple meals. This way, you won’t be at the mercy of a mini-bar or high-priced room service.

Utilize the Chambers of Commerce. They’ll mail you information for free, and their website has a calendar full of free or cheap festivals and events. At the visitor centers, they have a variety coupon books, and the people who work there are incredibly knowledgeable about the area.

Gas up in Key Largo. As soon as you hit Key Largo, fill up your tank. Gas goes up in price the further south you go.

Indulge at the seafood markets. Fresh stone crabs, Florida lobster and Key West pink shrimp are sold at a premium at the restaurants. Visit the Key Largo Fisheries, Keys Fisheries in Marathon or the Eaton Street Seafood Market in Key West to get these local delicacies straight from the boat and at a fraction of the price.

Take a picnic to the beach. Want inexpensive waterfront dining? Many of the beaches have grills and picnic tables. Head to Fort Zachary and cook up the goodies you bought at the market!

Try the upscale restaurants at lunch. If there’s an expensive restaurant that you are dying to try, see if they have a lunch menu. Often the prices are cheaper for the same items—usually in smaller portions.

Shop the discount stores. Beall’s Outlet often has souvenir t-shirts, and it’s a great place to shop for any hot-weather gear you may never wear again. The Dollar Tree is perfect for any toiletries or small items you many have forgotten, and Kmart has a nice selection of inexpensive snorkel gear and water toys.

Explore Cuban cuisine. Several Cuban restaurants like Denny’s in Key Largo and El Siboney, Sandy’s and Four Brother’s in Key West have delicious food at reasonable prices. Skip the Starbucks and get a cafĂ© con leche for half the price.

Take advantage of happy hour. Many of the restaurants and bars have amazing food and drink specials during happy hour. Have your fill, and then go watch the sunset for free at a park or Mallory Square.

Got any more money-saving tips? Share them in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

4th Annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival in Key Largo

The dates for the 2016 Humphrey Bogart Film Festival in Key Largo have been announced! The successful event, which drew Bogie-lovers from around the world last year, will be October 12-16. This year, they celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Maltese Falcon.

The Casablanca-themed Bogart Ball was a hit last year in Key Largo. Luminaries such as Stephen Bogart, son of Bogie and Bacall, and Jack Huston, actor and grandson of director John Huston were on hand for an evening of fun. Well-known film critic Leonard Maltin shared his insights on Bogart's legacy as the tough guy with a heart of gold. 

We were treated to a cocktail reception filled with jazz trumpet and piano music a la the film, casino-style gambling and passed hors d'oeuvres. Dinner was a spicy Moroccan-themed menu capped with a delicious baklava dessert accented with cinnamon whipped cream. Dancing continued into the night, and the inaugural Humphrey Bogart Film Festival was deemed a success by all who attended--some from as far away as Australia.