If You Get Down to the Florida Keys….

…and I sure hope you do, I can offer you some advice on where to stay and what to eat!

We just got back from a little revitalizing mid-winter get-away at the relaxing vegan bed and breakfast in Big Pine Key called Deer Run.  Yep, that’s the gorgeous sunrise from the beach outside our room.  Our stay was heavenly, sunny, and tranquil, but oh how I missed the simple pieces of my everyday life like my oats in the morning.  And my jar of peanut butter.  And especially the cats!

While it’s nice to explore a new environment, the food situation is not as controllable as it is at home and you must pre-plan and be smart about having healthy food options at your convenience as much as possible.  For instance, while out and about, this bag of trail mix and an apple were always close at hand in my bag along with a water bottle…



And these came along for the trip too….

Taking a few moments to check out Happy Cow, a helpful website for finding veg friendly restaurants all over the world is well worth your time.   If you just go to a random restaurant it can still be relatively easy to put together something somewhat healthy, but most places are packed with fried dead animal parts and scarcely a vegetable or whole grain to be found.  At one place I managed to ask for a salad minus the cheese, croutons, and oily dressing- with the addition of hummus, which after scanning the menu I noticed was offered with pita bread as an appetizer.  I could have also asked for vegetarian beans as a salad topper, which was listed as a side dish or a baked potato (sadly they did not have sweet potatoes).  By looking at the whole menu you can usually mix and match things to your liking.

Where we stayed, a lovely breakfast was included each morning so that was one meal I did not have to worry about.  You couldn’t ask for better hosts than Jen and Harry or a more peaceful and soul reviving location.  Each morning they served coffee, a fruit smoothie and/or fresh fruit, a different variety of muffin, and an entrée such as pancakes, waffles, tofu scrambles, and eggless fritattas out on a porch overlooking the ocean.  Most ingredients were organic and/or local as they are a “green lodging” eco-friendly bed and breakfast.  On Valentine’s Day morning they surprised each couple with a box of homemade truffles and  baked goods! A little more sugar than I am used to but so scrumptious and what an incredible treat.  It’s a vacation and a time to relax so I allowed some deviation from my typical food rules.  It’s good for me to do that since I can be a bit compulsive and particular.   I made sure to balance it all out a bit later in the day with nourishing fresh vegetables and fruits.

Not too far from Deer Run is the Good Food Conspiracy which was our savior for getting delicious and nutritious meals at lunch and dinner.  They serve wraps on sprouted whole grain tortillas filled with all kinds of veggies like sprouts, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and avocado.  You have the choice of adding a sunshine burger, tofu or meat, along with dairy or non-dairy cheese.  They also offer a couple of soups of the day and fresh juices and smoothies.

In Key West, the two best places I found to eat are the Sugar Apple and The Café.  We didn’t make it to The Café this trip but have in past years.  At the Sugar Apple I recommend one of their salads and a smoothie for a nutrient-packed lunch that will provide you with plenty of energy without that awful heavy feeling that you get from unhealthy foods.   I got the Marinated Sun-Dried Tomato Salad and it was just what I needed.  Chris got the Grilled Tempeh Salad that he loved.  We split a banana-berry smoothie with greens powder.  It kept us full and happy as we walked all over the town.

Thirsty?  You can even stop and buy a coconut on the street where a hole is drilled and a straw stuck in to drink the quenching coconut water inside.  That red and black marker behind me is the tourist photo spot for the southernmost point in the US!

A few more highlights of the Keys:

Little key deer!…

A beach-bum of a feline (Periwinkle)…
















A new and colorful friend…

Interesting sights on our daily post-breakfast bike rides (Osprey and her babies)…

The Key West locals…

And water toys like kayaks and the sweeeeeeet hydro bike…

You never know what will wash ashore…


This was our third vacation at Deer Run.  I can’t express in words how wonderful the people there are and what a good thing they are doing by sharing their compassionate, cruelty free way of life with their guests.  They are passionate about conserving the environment, use earth friendly cleaning products, recycle, compost, have a salt-water (chemical-free) pool, and none of the food there contains animal ingredients.  You don’t have to be vegan or even vegetarian to enjoy the place; in fact several of the travelers we met there weren’t.  I’ve never seen brighter stars, felt a more caressing ocean breeze, or have been more content just sitting and looking out at the water than at this magical place called Deer Run.

You just can’t let yourself get too accustomed to awakening to deer walking in the sand outside of your room or sipping coffee on a beach chair as you wait in anticipation of the breakfast feast being prepared for you.

Now if you will excuse me I am going to go eat my oatmeal with peanut butter…

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7 Responses to If You Get Down to the Florida Keys….

  1. I always take my own snacks when I travel. I like to eat every few hours and sometimes that’s not easy to do on the go. I always have a bar and some water with me to keep my energetic and happy!

    • Corinne Goff says:

      That’s smart Rebecca- that way you’re not stuck miserably hungry trying to find something decent to eat at a gas station or fast food place where the choices are so limited. Thank goodness for apples and Larabars!

  2. Cole Jones says:

    Sounds like a great place. Will keep in mind for a visit to the Keys. Thanks!

    • Corinne Goff says:

      Cole, your Sunshine burgers are the best!! What a happy surprise it was to find them offered at the Good Food Conspiracy- even my non-veg boyfriend got one and was impressed with how tasty it was. Much better ingredients than most of the veggie burgers out there too.

  3. Annah says:

    Are Sunshine burgers available only at Good Food Conspirancy? I’d like to try them.

  4. Annah says:

    sorry, Conspiracy- not, Conspirancy

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