With a chill in the air in Central Florida, I was more than happy to accept an invitation to Duck Key in the Florida Keys to find some warmer weather and some fun in the sun activities. Before I knew it, I was on a plane for Miami.
Upon arriving in Miami, Grace picked me up at the airport and we headed to Downtown Coral Gables for some shopping and lunch while we waited for more of the girls to arrive. Our first stop was Hip.e Boutique (www.hip-e-boutique.com), a cute and trendy boutique located along the city’s trendy Miracle Mile. We both tried on several dresses, and Grace purchased a new Diane Von Furstenberg bathing suit for our trip south. Next stop was Peterbrooke Chocolatier just a few blocks away. I told Grace I was familiar with Peterbrooke since there is one located on Park Avenue in Winter Park. “You must see this store and meet the owner, Sharon,” Grace said. And she was right. As soon as I walked in and shook hands with Sharon, I knew she was not only a gracious host, but a fun-loving girl just like us. We chatted about all things chocolate, sampled the delicious treats, and I hand-dipped my very own bottle of wine into creamy milk chocolate! It was so much fun (and I got to decorate it too). If you are ever near Coral Gables, be sure and stop by Peterbrooke to say hello to Sharon and sample her yummy store goods. Sharon was also nice enough to send us to the Keys with bags of her chocolate-covered popcorn, which we enjoyed fully!
We made one more shopping stop at Habit where you can find trendy pieces at very reasonable prices. The store owner posts all new deliveries on their Facebook page, and within a few hours, most of it is gone. After all of the clothes shopping, we couldn’t forget about the shoes! With several brands of unique designers, Dulce carries some of Miami’s sexiest stilettos suitable for anyone wanting their feet to be in fashion. Dulce also carries handbags, sunglasses, jewelry and other accessories.
We worked up an appetite and stopped at Charlotte Bistro (www.Charlotte-Bistro.com), the area’s newest French restaurant, for lunch. The owner, Venezuelan-born chef Elida Villarroel, has been trained by three-Michelin-star Chef Michel Bras. The food was delish and we were now fully prepared for our two-hour drive to Duck Key in the Florida Keys. The great thing about all of our Coral Gables visits is that each business is female owned and operated. So proud of these terrific entrepreneurs. I hope to support more businesses like these!!
After a few hours of singing in the car (where’s the karaoke bar?), we arrived at the 60-acre luxury resort, Hawk’s Cay (http://www.hawkscay.com/). One step into their exquisite lobby sets you in a relaxed mood as soon as you walk in. We checked in, relaxed in our rooms, and then met our lovely hosts in the Bar at Alma, which is located in the resort lobby, for appetizers and cocktails. My favorite drink of the trip was the Little Red Dress (be sure to try while you are there) and the Lobster Risotto seemed to be a group favorite for dinner.
PHOTO: Sharon & Casey decorate the chocolate-covered wine bottle at Peterbrooke Chocolatier.