Shopping in the Florida Keys

When we came to the Florida Keys I wasn’t expecting to do much shopping. Essentially, unless you’re in the market for a key lime pie, cigars, snorkel gear, or flamingo snow globes, the Keys are not a great place to shop.

As a general rule, if you want to find something to wear other than a transparent mesh beach throw to cover a dental floss bikini, you’d be better off driving to Las Olas Blvd in Fort Lauderdale or ├╝ber chic South Beach.

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There is one glowing exception to this rule: Water’s Edge Cottage Boutique and Gifts in Key Largo. This unusual boutique owned by Lily Goodrich, a painter with an exceptional eye for color, is an oasis in the fashion desert of the Florida Keys.
It’s as trendy as a shop you’d find in South Beach, with Kmart prices.

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They carry designer brands for half the price of what you’d expect to pay. Many of their unique and colorful print dresses are in the thirty dollar range.

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I liked that much of their clothing was chic and contemporary with echoes of retro. I bought a pair of shorts that look like something Marilyn Monroe would have worn to the beach and a pair of shapely featherweight spandex bell bottoms that are perfect for long flights.They also carry a bold and eclectic selection of scarves, jewelry, handbags, and household items, many crafted by talented local artists.

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I bought three new pieces that could roll up into fist-sized balls and spent under $100, which was my limit. Unfortunately, I did not leave with what I perceived, during my momentary fit of acquisitiveness, to be the most beautiful and simultaneously comfortable pair of shoes known to man.

One thing I’ve learned as an aspiring digital nomad is: don’t buy more shoes. They take up too much room in your suitcase and weigh too much. After all, it would sort of defeat the purpose to scour Kayak for cheap flights and then be penalized with a hefty fee for checking an enormous behemoth of a suitcase. Two or three pairs (maximum) of comfortable shoes (only one of which can be feminine and sexy) are fine.

Somehow, stupidly, it hurt to leave those shoes behind. I had one of those moments where I just wanted a regular home with a regular closet maybe even a dog frolicking beside the barbecue in the backyard. But then I remembered what is even more exhilarating than owning a new pair of shoes or even a new home–the freedom to just hop on a plane, with only a carry-on suitcase, and wind up in a strange new city halfway around the globe.

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