On Saturday, September 9, 2017, Little Torch Key took a direct hit by Irma, a Category 4 hurricane. Parmer's Resort took the flood and the winds in stride and when the wind and water subsided on Sunday, we were still standing. Some of our neighbors were not so lucky as tornadoes were touching down throughout the storm. The cleanup is still on-going throughout the area and the entire region is perking up. Many places look completely back to normal but the backcountry and side roads still show the effects of the hurricane.
The Keys are officially open. Parmer's Resort has been officially open since October 15th and although we are still a little scarred, all of our services are up and going. Our water, power, phones, television and internet are connected. Because Comcast continued to have frequent problems, we have switched to AT&T for internet and phones. All of our rooms are up and going but we are actively pursuing replacing many of our buildings. Our neighbors are back in their own houses or alternative housing that is more permanent. They are all making great strides in getting back to normal. We have twenty-one boat slips in use and our boat ramp is open. Our new beach is open and beautiful. All of our charter captains are back up and going, some with brand new boats and the fish must have eaten well after the storm because they are HUGE! The trees are growing new leaves and new plants and flowers are springing up all over. Life does get back to normal.
Time To Reflect
As we come up on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Irma, we can look back at what a year it has been. New houses are replacing the destroyed houses and all will be built to new construction standards. When we first returned, it was amazing how one house could have significant damage while the home next door looked untouched.
The county is in the middle of cleaning the remaining blocked canals. We were able to clear our boat basins early and the canal behind us was cleared months ago. Traveling down the Overseas Highway you can barely notice the difference. Some of the offshore islands are still defoliated but nature will bring us new mangroves. We have all learned a lot over the last year.
Of course, the weather is great now and the Keys have slowed down so the peace and quiet we are enjoying make this time certainly agreeable. Here at Parmer's we were able to get our boat ramp up and running just in time for Lobster Mini-season. We had a full house with great fishing for lobsters. The storm has left quite a few big root balls submerged in the channels with lots of lobster in the branches. But you had to get them quick because the big ones knew enough to get in deep. Regular season started with a little windy weather but people were pullling in some really good sized lobster.
As we go into fall, the days are getting a little cooler, the nightly light shows are letting up and all our favorite restaurants have no waits. We are really looking forward to great boating and fishing. And the diving is getting clearer just in time for the coral spawn during the next two full moons. Life is good.
Rainy May But Looking Forward to a Beautiful June
May has been mostly rainy and ended with the threat of Subtropical Storm Alberto. We are looking forward to clearer skys since the storm swept up all the weather with it and took it north and west of us. No matter what, we needed the rain. Most importantly, it helped our firefighters that came from as far away as Georgia to stop the forest fire on Big Pine Key. Over 100 acres were burned which is a lot for our tiny islands but no lives were lost and only two structures were destroyed. The rain will also help our vegetation recover. We have had a very dry winter and even the mangroves were decimated by the hurricane. We are so looking forward to seeing our outer islands turn green again.
Fishing season is in full force. John Sahagian of Fun Yet Charter stopped in to share his trips from last week. Even with the questionable weather forecast he was catching mutton snapper all week and Jason Gabriel of Bonefide Charters went off-shore and hooked onto three blue marlins and a white marlin in the same trip. Joshua Jorgensen of BlacktipH Fishing joined us over Memorial Day weekend for some Dolphin fishing. Check out his video catching the monster below and cooking it up here at Parmer's. He really gets excited about the catch and eating it too!
They brought down a beautiful Everglades boat from Yachtworks that took the rough seas like a dream. You can see a quick shot in the video. Our own Lenny from Florida Keys Outdoors went out with BlacktipH and he is already making plans for that boat. They got to tie up on our new docks in the canal that have just been completed. Water, Starboard fish cutting table and three 30 foot spaces in a protected canal that is just a very short (1000 ft) from Pine Channel. Our Tiki's were finally completed with a picnic table under one and another new Starboard fish cutting table under another. We are still working on the docks with a long term plan of longer spaces with none under 20 feet and most between 25 and 30 feet. This is our wish list, what's on yours? Let us know here.
Spring is Here in the Keys
Finally the winds have died down and the weather has warmed up! We have had a cold winter so far, along with the rest of the country. But recently, we have warmed back up into the 80's and the winds have died off to for some perfect boating and beach days...
Speaking of beaches, how about this. In front of Pelican Cottage we are putting the finishing touches on our own beach. Lounge chairs, adirondak chairs and umbrellas are on their way. We launch our kayaks and paddleboards from the beach also. Work continues on the docks and boat ramp.
The Keys are super busy right now with everyone trying to escape the snow and ice. Make sure you call ahead to book your favorite charter captain or we can introduce to one of our favorites. When you get out on the water, you'll notice a lot of the outer islands are mostly brown from the winds of Irma. We hope to see them green up once the rainy season starts. The water has been gorgeous, so clear and the fish have been really active. We had three large tarpon in one of our basins last week. Recent catches were snapper, grouper, pompano and tuna.
Windy Winter and the Beach Is Coming
February has not seen a let up in the wind. It even seems to have gotten stronger over the last week. Not really good for snorkeling but fishing has been exciting. Days are definitely warming up into the high 70's and 80's and the water has warmed a little too. Tarpon are starting to show up....
Here at Parmer's, all rooms have been reopened except for Permit. We are also working hard on the waterfront. In front of Pelican Cottage our beach is shaping up nicely. About 90 feet of waterfront is cleaned and restored for a sandy beach. We hope to finish this by the end of the month. We have removed most of the damaged docks and the small ramp that was used last year. We are bringing the larger ramp near slip G back on-line in the next couple of weeks. It is wider and longer and will accommodate larger boats than in the past so there will be no need to use the public ramp at State Road 4A. TikiHuts is hoping to finish the Looe Key Restaurant Tiki by the end of February and head over here to fix the Fish Station by Slip P and the Picnic Table Tiki by Slip I.
Welcome back to all our winter visitors!
With January half over, we are welcoming back many of our regulars. The fishing has been really great with some record catches coming in. When the rest of the country was covered in snow (including northern Florida) we did break out the sweaters and socks as our temperatures dipped into the 50's at night. January has also brought some breezy days, perfect for the Duval Crawl in Key West.
Here at Parmer's, we opened up some more rooms including the always popular Porpoise and Snook. We got our kayaks and paddleboards delivered, with more on the way. Water aerobics class is meeting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will add Tuesdays and Thursdays soon. Yoga classes are back on their schedule too, except for the really cold mornings. And we have rebuilt our BIG CHAIR even BIGGER and BETTER!
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, And A Happiest New Year To All
A very busy week in the Florida Keys for the holidays and the weather couldn't be better. While our friends to the north are shivering away and shoveling out, high seventies and low eighties with sunny skys and great boating make vacation days the best. Key West is not quite as busy this year, so dinner reservations are easier and crowds are thinnner. Fishing has been spectacular.
Friday, December 8, 2017
Tarpon and Shark are both up and running! Only nine rooms left to go. Once these rooms are up, we will go back to some of those we rushed to open for some tweaks. We are also taking this opportunity to make some changes. Cobia and Dolphin will be combined to just Dolphin. It will be a waterfront, 543 sq. ft. one bedroom suite with two queen beds and two sleeper sofas in the livingroom and a kitchen. We will probably keep the two bathrooms and it is ground level. I think having another large family suite will be most welcome.
The roofers have started and should have us weathertight by the end of next week. And we have finally gotten some debris pickups along Barry Avenue. This is very nice to see (or not see the piles of debris). Capt. Brian will be bringing his charter boat back to Slip P at Parmer's next week and has paddleboards and kayaks for rent that will make Parmer's their home. We have started some of the repairs to the waterfront also. The ramp which was mostly gone is being completely removed and Slip R suffered too much damage and has been removed also. This would be a great spot for our beach. We already had a small natural beach where we launched the kayaks and paddleboard and there was a lot of natural sand all around that area. We are looking for the best place for the new wider, longer ramp now.
Capt. John Sahagian of FunYet Charters has a flats boat ready for charters now and is in the process of replacing his off-shore fishing boat. Action Boat Rentals is back in business as is Bonefide Charters, Keys Boat Tours, Backcountry Boat Rentals, Waypoint Fishing, Big Pine Boat Rentals and Lower Keys Adventure Charters. Strike Zone Dive Charters is still recovering but any of the boat tours above can take you out to the reef for diving. We also have lots of 'new' islands to explore and Bahia Honda has reopened one side while they work on their recovery effort for the other beaches. Key West is in full holiday swing with parades, Christmas house tours, concerts and more.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We are grateful that our neighbors, friends and guests here at Parmer's were able to share such a special day with us. We had the most incredible spread with everyone contributing their family's tradition. Smoked turkey, ham, lasagna, pumpkin bread, spanish flan, pies, Ed's famous potatoes, cider sangria and so much more. Thank you to everyone.
Take a look below at Lagoon Cottage, which was reopened a couple of weeks ago with new central a/c, walls, floors and more. A favorite for families with two bedrooms, full kitchen, living room with pull-out couch and Florida room with dining table that looks out to Pine Channel.
Our Water Aerobics and Yoga classes are all back. Our Kayak and Paddleboard guide, lost over one hundred kayaks in the hurricane but will bring them to the hotel with a little notice. Our roofer is starting this week to replace our blue tarps with some temporary roofing that will take us through until we can put up something more permanent. Noisy but necessary. More rooms are ready for guests; Amberjack, Heron and Jasmine. New mattress and furniture deliveries are coming in weekly.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Ok, I know it has only been a couple of days but I think this news is worth it.
WE HAVE INTERNET, PHONES AND TV!!!
Sunday, October 29, 2017
The pool is OPEN! The guys worked really hard this week and have got the pool cleaned out, water balanced, pumps working, and heater going. We will need to go back and fix some cosmetic issues but for now...enjoy. And yes, we did have to turn the heater on for the first time since May. The Keys got a cold front, a frosty 71 degrees one night, and Tropical Storm Philippe was good enough to go around us but we have lots of wind today and scattered showers. The winds had been coming out of the east filling our basins with seaweed and storm debris but this westerly wind is helping us move the seaweed out.
The Lagoon Cottage is almost ready. We have replaced the floors, front walls, reset the doors and windows, and air conditioning. Just some painting and it will be ready for guests.
What's on the schedule for this week... Continue to work on the repairs to rooms, with Lagoon Cottage, Amberjack and Jasmine next on the schedule. We took down a wall in Jasmine, which added 50 sq. ft. and another window to the room. A lot of our builidngs are still tarped in but we are working with roofers now to get them repaired. We have started plans on the dock repair also. Working with the county and state on reconfiguring to allow bigger slips that are easier to manuever in and out of, cleaning out the sediment that has built up, replacing the ramp and dare I say it... putting in a beach. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Happy Fall Everyone! While Key West opens Fantasy Fest, the Lower Keys continues its clean up. Absolutely remarkable is how good Key West actually looks. I was driving down Flagler Avenue this morning and you could never tell there was a hurricane, just beautiful. Speaking of beautiful, take a look at the sunset last night. Ahhhhh.....
Ok, on to business. Brought some more rooms back into service this week. Welcome to Orchid, Hibiscus, Spoonbill and Pointsettia. The grounds are looking much better and we got a chance to get out on the water. We have cleared our boat basins of debris and the public ramp on State Road 4A is fine. We have ten boat slips that are in good shape. Marine Patrol, Fish and Wildlife and the Coast Guard have done a great job getting debris out of the channels and marking submerged vessels but be very cautious on the water, there is still a lot that can't be seen and we have had a few squalls come through that move things. We had someone's dock float in this week.
FISHING IS BACK!! Local guides have reported great fishing out on the reef for weeks and the backcountry is clear and teaming. Three permit in 45 minutes the other day. Picnic Island is pretty bruised but the Contents, Snipes and Marvin are perfect.
Our pool is taking longer than expected. While the pool itself is clean and filled, our pump and filter system are on life support. The specialist is working on that. AT&T was postponed again but Comcast is giving us a date of tomorrow for internet, phone and television. We shall see. Eventually, our internet will be back on, hopefully tomorrow.
Monday, October 9, 2017, Happy Columbus Day!
We have had an extremely busy and productive week. We started taking in our first guests on Sunday, the 1st, and have been able to welcome many others this week as soon as we get a room available. Everyone staying at Parmer's right now are those that can not go back to their houses. We have people that were staying at the Sugarloaf School Shelter, in tents, in their cars, at friends or just now returning to see what they have left. Some of the stories are heart breaking, some are very hopeful and some are just riveting. Amazing stories of riding out the storm, the adventures while evacuating and the strange discoveries in everyone's yards and houses have kept us captivated.
As of today, we have 24 rooms up and running. For those that are wondering about their specific room, we have Flamingo, Marlin, Kingfish, Wahoo, Pompano, Tuna, Pelican, Tern, Lily, Ixora, Mackeral, Trout, Eagle, Grunt, Hawk, Yellowtail, Jewfish, Mullet, Rose, Gull, Grouper, Osprey, Lobster and Stonecrab. Still no internet and phones or television. Comcast moved our date from October 4 to October 18. We do have a date of October 12 to get internet from AT&T and hope that they can keep it. We have had an initial assessment of our wireless internet antennas. We have lost four altogether and can check the status of the remaining antennas once the internet is restored. Strangely, once in a while some rooms get tv service that comes and goes. For a little normalcy, we went to Boondocks for dinner the other night and it was like the storm never happened. Great food, great music and the place looks wonderful.
Our plan for the week: mow the lawn (it is getting really high), keep working on the rooms, work on the pool, and just keep working. If you call us and get the answering machine, please be patient, we are working off of one phone line on a cell phone. We do have the desk staffed from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. We are trying to respond to emails and Facebook messages as soon as possible but again are relying upon on cellphone mobile hotspot for internet. The property looks really good compared to just a week ago but be prepared coming through the Keys. Hurricane debris is piled on the sides of every street and highway. Refrigerator mountains, boats and trailers lined up, trees and brush are getting hauled away but there is still quite a bit to go.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Sunday, September 24, 2017
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 16: Parmer's Resort is currently closed due to Hurricane Irma. We sustained a direct hit and had not been allowed to enter the Keys. As much of Florida was impacted by the storm, we have been criss-crossing the state trying to stay ahead of the storm and then in search of power and internet to find out what happened at home and keep you updated. I am sorry we have not been able to keep this page as current as we hoped. We seem to be able to post more reliably to our facebook page, Facebook.com/ParmersResort.
THE WEEK AFTER THE STORM: Two of our staff stayed at the resort through the whole storm and the following week. There was no communication as many utility lines were down, including cell towers. For a few days after the storm US1 was impassible with washouts, debris and downed power lines. Rumors were flying. We finally saw aerial photos of Little Torch Key that showed Parmer's still standing, a little bruised but pretty good considering she took a direct hit from a Category 4! On Wednesday, we were able to obtain a police escort through the checkpoints to get to the Lower Keys that were still closed. With the Lower Keys opening to residents tomorrow, I came back up to Homestead (for supplies and internet).
WHAT WE FOUND: Yes, it is pretty bad down there. Our beautiful islands have taken a wallop. But not as bad as we had heard or expected. First off, utilities. Power is being restored with Key West and the Upper Keys mostly energized. The Main line is fully completed and they have been working on secondary streets. I heard up to Sugarloaf was completed tonight. We saw crews all over Sugarloaf, Summerland and Big Pine today. There are still poles down on Little Torch and Big Pine Key but they have accomplished so much in such a short space of time (less than a week), that part should not take much longer. Water is on down to Marathon and in Key West up to Big Coppitt and some parts of Big Pine. Crews are trying to isolate the trouble spots to get water to as many as possible as fast as possible. Key West has internet and television but I have no information on how far up this has been completed. AT&T has portable cell towers that are placed up and down US1. Sprint service is more spotty and seems to turn off at night. Frankly, we have never had such great cell service as yesterday. Cellular Internet is less reliable but getting better, mostly on AT&T.
Secondly, our islands. We have lost a lot of trees, either the whole tree or just the leaves. A little bit of rain will get them to green up again but we can see neighbors we never knew were there. Waterways are dangerous. I did see a few boats out but there is a lot of debris in the water with some under the surface. A lot of channel markers were lost and many boats were tossed up on shore. We do have every branch of law enforcement in the Keys helping out and that includes clearing the waterways. These are as important to us as the roads and are marked as a priority. The Key Deer are fine. Our little doe that has made Barry Avenue her home for the last few months was walking down the street the other morning. And I saw many others out and about on Big Pine Key. Lots of birds, lizards, a rabbit and yes, iguanas. Even saw some tarpon jumping. And no mosquitos!
Thirdly, Parmer's. Initial assessment, we have 15 rooms with no damage. The remaining 29 rooms have either some roof damage from minor to major, some flooding again minor to major, a combination of both or something else (Hogfish lost its stairs). The staff that stayed has been clearing debris, repairing power connections on the property, cleaning and getting us ready to open again. Our staff that evacuated to Homestead with be returning with me tomorrow with the others not far behind. As soon as we get power and water restored, we would love to welcome you back. Right now, we will cancel all reservations through October 15th. If we are on-line before then, and the powers that be have opened the Keys to tourists, we will let you all know! When we get back, we can unpack our server, get set up and try to catch up on the paperwork. We know we have a lot of deposits to refund and will work through the week to get that accomplished. We will try to keep this statement updated as often as possible. If you have any questions, our phones have been forwarded to an AT&T cellphone, just call our main number 305-872-2157 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are okay and getting better everyday!
Our office is open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day. For check-ins after 8 p.m., please contact us directly for late arrival procedures. We do have staff on-site for after hours emergencies.
We value your privacy and so have eliminated room phones and daily housekeeping is by request only at a small additional charge. Of course, fresh linens, coffee and room amenitities are always available through the office. More Here