My wife went to Miami without me and sent me delirious notes about stopping on Card Sound road for a late lunch. So I dug up this file photo when I was there in 2010 and actually took the time to stop...a while ago! The State of Florida now says the fifty year old bridge in the background, past the toll booth needs some attention as it is past it's maintenance date. So far it seems to be holdiong up fine, offering great views from its 70 foot eminence.
The decision to make Highway One two lanes when they revamped the 18 mile stretch means traffic can't pass very much except in two designated areas and people tend to crowd each other and get impatient as they tail gate waiting for a chance to pass. Card Sound road is a bucolic backwater, a winding drive through the mangroves and gumbo limbo and though it takes ten minutes more to arrive in Florida City from Key Largo its a much nicer ride.
Anyway, even though I pass Alabama Jack's quite often on my way to the mainland I am usually in too much of a mental rush to stop. My wife affirmed in her message that I was doing it wrong as she and Therese stopped on a whim at the roadside attraction and enjoyed it thoroughly. For Therese, as it is for so many visitors, it was a last island stop on her way back to reality. This is the hard core reality of the 18 Mile Stretch which in this instance was better in my direction, North, than theirs:
My wife was riding north with a friend and they decided one last piece of Keys funk was in order so they had lunch on the water. Alabama Jack's LINK
Alabama Jack's keeps odd hours and they close around five o'clock so don't plan to have dinner but prices if you get here soon enough in the day are quite reasonable.
She is rather more gregarious than am I and I got this picture on my phone with the notation that this lady has been at the restaurant every week for forty years to indulge her love of dancing.
The conch fritters are what they are known for and this plate sized fritters are actually quite good. I am not a great fan of conch but these I will order happily. As did my wife and neither of us has seen fritters this big before. Often sign is seen as a substitute for flavor but in this case, not so. If you want conch fritters before you leave the Keys these are the ones:
Take Card Sound and when you are at the Dade County line you will see the toll booth. Alabama Jack's is just north of the booth still inside the Monroe County line and usually the parking lot is full and the road is lined with motorcycles on a day trip from Miami for some Keys flavor. Take the time to join them.