The COVID-19 crisis may have temporarily closed our island chain to visitors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a “virtual Florida Keys experience” while self-isolating at home. I’m confident that, with a little bit of imagination and some fabulous Keys goodies delivered to your home, you can get a temporary “Keys fix” until officials determine that the destination can begin welcoming travelers again.

Kermit's Key lime pie Key West

Kermit, with his trusty sidekick Pirate, is the purveyer of mouthwatering Key lime pies that can be ordered online for delivery.

One: Indulge yourself with a scrumptious dessert from Kermit’s Key West Key Lime ShoppeKermit’s is the one-stop-shop for everything Key lime, from candies and pies to bath and body products. One of my favorites is the Key Lime Cooler cookies — and Key lime pie, of course, is off-the-charts delicious. Kermit (yes, there really is a Kermit) ships out pies and pie bars overnight to any address in the continental U.S. (please contact the shop for products’ current availability). 

Two: Serve up a tropical “quarantini” from the Key West WinerySurprise your favorite wine lover (who’s hopefully self-isolating with you) with a bottle of premium tropical fruit wine (the winery has over 43 different varieties) shipped to your door. You’ll also find champagnes, ports and even wine smoothie mixes available online. Speaking of smoothies, why not add some ice to your blender and whip up a Keys concoction with a side of tropical fruit. It may not be an exact match for the frozen libations offered at your favorite Keys LGBTQ  watering hole, but it could certainly help with those “self-isolation blues.”

Three: Create a luxury resort spa experience at home with products from the Keys Salt ScrubThe salt scrub is made in the Florida Keys in small artisan batches with a combination of coconut oil, salts and essential oils. Choose from five different wonderful tropical fragrances, including a Key lime product — an excellent remedy for dry winter skin. You can also transform your spa (aka your bathroom) into an island oasis with Key West Aloe’s tropical line of bath and shower gels, including frangipani, mango and Key lime scents.

Four: Spice up your backyard barbecue with some condiments from Peppers of Key WestAre you getting bored with the same old food deliveries and take-out? Well, it may be time to get your “grill on” with this emporium’s award-winning hot sauces and turn up the heat on your next home-cooked meal. You can order their products online, and before you know it, you’ll be the grilling envy of your “foodie friends” on social media. Please be warned that Peppers’ red-hot creations may leave you in need of a liquid cool down (if so, proceed to number five on my list).

Florida Keys Salt Scrub

Create a self-pampering luxury spa experience at home with The Keys Salt Scrub.

Five: Quench your thirst with a microbrew from the Florida Keys’ Islamorada Beer Company. The island of Islamorada may be well known as the sportfishing capital of the world, but it’s also home to one of my favorite producers of microbrews. IBC’s brews became so popular with visitors that they’re now distributed in areas around the U.S. (You can even dress like a Keys local with a huge selection of Islamorada Beer Company apparel, and find almost anything that’s beer-related available on their website.)

Okay, so let’s say you’ve enjoyed the “virtual Keys experiences” here, and now you REALLY want to savor the island chain in person. Then, boy, do I have a fun home-based video contest for you. It’s hashtagged #FLKeysAtHomeChallenge, and the winner will be awarded a four-night vacation in the Keys (to be enjoyed after travel bans are lifted, of course).

Good luck — and I hope to see you in the Florida Keys & Key West when it’s possible to travel again.

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