Rating: 8 out of 10
2 bdrm house #88845
View from across bridge (yellow
After exhaustive searching on VRBO.com (Vacation
Rental By Owner), the house we rented was an older bungalow on a quiet
neighborhood street oceanside at the southern end of Key Marathon. Key
Marathon, for those not familiar, is about half way down the "key chain"
between Miami and Key West. The house is "keys-y" as the agent I spoke with
put it. By this he meant it has what you need, but it is not a
glamorous vacation home. It's got additions here and there. It's quirky.
That's just right for some visitors. A table for four in the small
kitchen was fine for us as we were only three. Right outside in the side
yard was a big patio table to spread out onto if necessary. The two bedrooms
had a/c, while the rest of the house had fans. The living room had a couch
and several comfy chairs. The sun porch, sort of a second living room,
had a pull out couch and was positively loaded (crowded!) with chairs! The main
bathroom was small and pre-fab but in good condition and one bedroom had a
small private bath.
The yard is concrete and is lush with plants, both
in ground and in pots. It is also loaded with furniture. On the
one hand, it has a bit of a cluttered look, but on the other hand it has a
keys-y sort of charm.
lounge chairs along
patio by dock
view of bridge from
Lines of chairs and loungers run the length of the
back for the best canal view. The streetside yard, as mentioned, has a table
and chairs. There is even a tiny backyard that is landscaped and has a wash
line. The one remaining side has several old Adirondack chairs and leads to
a garage and driveway.
This vacation rental is set on a canal, right next
to a small concrete bridge and the first day there my brother saw a manatee
drift by! Iguanas climbed in the mangroves by the canal's edge. Of course,
you can dock a boat there and be minutes from the Atlantic.
bungalow may not appeal to everyone. Some guests may want a more
updated or modern place to stay. We did, however, have everything we needed.
The yard was fenced and the rental was pet friendly so that made my Dad
happy as he travels with his small canine companion. Although some rental
ads say you can swim in the canals, they don't look like something I'd jump
into! No hot tub or pool means you need to go to the beach. On Marathon,
Sombrero Beach is lovely. Heading south over the seven-mile bridge is the
renowned Bahia Honda State Park Beach. It would have been nice if the
property had a kayak or paddleboat to explore the peaceful canals, but none
was available. The location, while not upscale, was quiet, safe, and very
close to shopping and restaurants.
Using this website
has been a very positive experience--here in the Florida Keys, on the
California coast, and in Hawaii. There is a consistent format on the
internet that helps you find what type of property and features you require.
You can sort by location, price, number of bedrooms; you can check easily
for whether a property is pet friendly or if the dates you want are
available; then you fill in a brief form and you can deal directly with the
owner to have more questions answered and to negotiate your stay. I feel
these are better deals because there is no middleman as with a rental
agency. Sometimes there may be personal negotiations or inside info an owner
can offer that an agency would not (discount in a down economy, flexible
arrival day, recommendation of best local restaurants, loan of kayaks or
bikes, etc.). It's definitely worth giving
a look when contemplating a vacation rental property.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Tariff: 4 bdrm house
This newly updated 4 bedroom ranch house on the gulf
side in a small neighborhood at the north end of Marathon near Vaca Cut was
plenty roomy for 6 of us. It's most enticing feature--a 'beach' front turned
out to be more of a view than anything else. Although we had a sandy
yard and dock over the water on a natural cut through, what we found was
that loads of saw grass and natural debris gathered in the water there and
made it unfit for wading or swimming. We had shared use of kayaks but
were unprepared for the difficulty of using them in that location. The
tide running through the cut between the ocean and gulf was very strong and
unless you could leave the property headed toward the gulf side, hugging the
coast tightly, you would be pulled into the current and washed toward the
ocean side! What sounds like an amusing anecdote now was actually a
very scary kayak trip with my two teenagers. One was carried away
backward with the current until he disappeared from sight as we watched
helplessly and tried to steer into a nearby canal to disembark and search
for him. After a frantic time dragging the kayak out of the water and
running for the car, we drove off to find access to the area where he had
been heading. Luckily he was able to beach the kayak and then had to drag it
across a wild, scrubby field where we found him. It was
really quite a dangerous situation and we were lucky when I think about it.
I guess it's good to be aware