Sometimes I put a lot of effort into traveling. I research the best places to stay, look at my favorite local blogs for recommendations on places to eat, things to do, etc. Lately though, with all of the crazy (and last minute) traveling I’ve been doing, it’s been a little more like, buy a plane ticket, leave 4 days later, figure it out when I get there. I think this is just part of the inherited lifestyle of dating a guy in a band. Sometimes we just pick up and go.
The other big side effect of “dude in band” syndrome is that I do essentially everything alone. I fly alone because his flights are booked by someone else, I eat alone because he is in rehearsal and I have to entertain myself alone a lot of the time.
I spent the first two days of the four day trip working from my hotel room. Sure, I travel a lot, but that doesn’t mean I have a lot of vacations. I’m not complaining, working from a Four Seasons on Palm Beach isn’t exactly punishment, but I definitely have a lot of responsibility as a freelancer and my obligations get packed in my suitcase like everything else.
On the third day of the trip though, I decided to take a day off and go do something fun. My quick Google search showed that the Palm Beach island had plenty to do if you are into golf or tanning. To the (eternal) dismay of my retired grandfather, I’ve got nothing to offer when it comes to swinging a club.
“It’s not baseball Rachel, stop trying to hit a home run,” I can just hear my grandfather repeating as I whack the shit out of the tiny golf ball, spraying chunks of grass and dirt on all the nearby grannies in skirts and visors.
I keep scrolling through results until I find some place called Peanut Island. Tropical and nutty? Keep talking, Google. Some research tells me that Peanut Island is a popular spot with the locals in the area, but not huge for tourists unless you happen to be a JFK geek. The only way to the island is either by canoe or water taxi, I read. Water taxi?! Peanut island is starting to look like a really cool trip.
I pack up my day bag and set out, ready for any adventure coming my way.
Let’s have a little talk about preconceived notions and online reviews.
When I looked up Peanut Island, I saw low ratings, lots of complaints and a general “thumbs down” consensus to both the island and Captain Joe’s water taxi. Maybe I should pay more attention to reviews, but I think I’m easier to please than most and seek adventurous experiences, not perfection. So when I read about Peanut Island being bogged down by young beach bums and cigarette butts, but also of the beauty of a real-life lagoon, I decided I should go. When I read about Captain Joe’s boat services not being a perfect experience for some, I thought, when will I get to experience a water taxi again? Not that you should disregard bad ratings, by all means, read reviews. Collective wisdom is a good thing. I’m just saying, don’t give up too quickly, sometimes reading reviews requires reading between the lines.
I’m so glad I ignored the 3-star rating and went to Peanut Island anyway. It was such a cool experience for someone from a landlocked state. I’ve been to tropical islands before and know the expectation of white sand beaches, but there’s a certain something about Peanut Island. The attractions include visiting the old Kennedy vacation-home-turned-museum, collecting seashells (this is my idea of an attraction), exploring the wildlife, soaking up sun in the lagoon or touring the Kennedy bunker. Not to mention just staring out at the lightest blue ocean you’ll ever see. The water is so clear you can spot colorful fish swimming everywhere.
My favorite part of the island was definitely the lagoon. If you’re not from Florida, experiencing a lagoon is a pretty unique experience. It’s a shallow pool, surrounded by land on all sides. You can swim or wade in this lagoon if you so choose. I chose to walk around to the foot bridges that span over it to take some photos.
Like a relic from the past, there’s a giant life guard chair sitting next to a vintage paddle boat on one side of the lagoon. On the other, there are thatch covered picnic tables and small beaches. Coconuts hang from all the trees and you can hear exotic birds chirping everywhere.
For the record, there were zero drunk people and I didn’t spy a single cigarette butt on the whole island. Then again, I wasn’t staring at the ground while I walked the length of the path around the man-made island. I was looking at all of the beautiful things to see. Peanut Island doesn’t have any businesses, so I recommend taking another water taxi to the nearby Sailfish Island for tropical cocktails and a fresh seafood lunch.
Stay tuned to hear about the water taxi and the tour of the JFK bunker!