Imagine a season celebrated with the same fervor as a national holiday, blending the anticipation of the hunt with the allure of the exotic. Welcome to the annual spectacle of the Islamorada lobster season in the Florida Keys.
As the calendar turns to the end of July, residents and visitors alike find themselves in a festive and culinary whirlwind. Now, what if we were to tell you that this captivating affair is not just about tantalizing your taste buds, but it also offers a peek into a rich historical tapestry? Intriguing, isn’t it?
The Roots of Islamorada
Delving into the past of Islamorada reveals a fascinating slice of Florida’s history. One where railroad tracks and sun-kissed beaches intertwine.
The tale of Islamorada begins with a certain William J. Krome. He was an engineer working under the esteemed Henry Flagler during the construction of the Over-Sea Railroad.
Krome, in his vision for progress, purchased a 15-acre stretch of the Russell homestead on Upper Matecumbe Key. He fashioned a 22-lot town site which is what we now recognize as Islamorada. As shared by Isabelle Krome, Mr. Krome’s wife, in a 1965 interview, the name Islamorada was derived from the Spanish words “isla” and “morada”, translating to ‘island home’.
So, contrary to popular lore, the stories of the Purple Isles are merely myths. Islamorada, in truth, echoes the memory of a railroad town and the image of the 60-foot schooner Island Home at sail circa 1910.
An Overview of Islamorada Lobster Season
Each year, the Florida Keys welcomes a unique tradition that animates the archipelago with a flurry of activity – the Lobster season. The season kicks off with a two-day event, known as the mini lobster season.
The event always falls on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July. This year it falls on the 26th and 27th. The mini-season is an exhilarating 48-hour window, beginning at 12:01 Wednesday morning and ending at midnight on Thursday.
But this is just the beginning. The anticipation soon peaks into a crescendo as the full eight-month lobster season unfolds. It spans from August 6th through March 31st the following year.
Islamorada Lobster Season History and Traditions
The stars of this season are the Florida Spiny Lobsters, affectionately known as “Bugs” by seasoned hunters. These lobsters, varying in color and equipped with long antennae, are significantly different from their clawed Northern relatives. Their antennae function as a dual tool, both to scare off predators and to detect their surroundings.
Catching these elusive crustaceans is an art requiring skill and knowledge. Hunters arm themselves with a tickle stick, a net, and a measuring device to ensure their catch is of legal size. The lobsters are gently coaxed out of their hiding spots with a tickle stick and guided backward into the net.
They are then carefully measured, ensuring the carapace is larger than three inches. During both the mini season and the full lobster season, the catch limit in the Florida Keys is six lobsters per person per day, with any egg-bearing females required to be released unharmed.
Key Monthly Events in Islamorada during Lobster Season
As the season unfolds, Islamorada hosts a variety of events that blend culture, art, and gastronomy. Thirsty Thursdays, held every third Thursday of the month from 6-8 pm, is an example of such an event. During these evenings, locals and visitors gather to celebrate the season and the community with delicious seafood and refreshing drinks.
Another event that has become a key part of the season is the Art Walk. The Morada Way Arts & Cultural District hosts this two-day event. It showcases local artists’ work and provides a cultural feast in parallel with the lobster season.
Living the Lobster Lifestyle with Realty ONE Group
In a place where time-honored traditions meet culinary delight, the Islamorada lobster season is more than just a seafood fest. It’s a way of life that embodies the vibrant and resilient spirit of the Florida Keys. As you immerse yourself in this rich cultural fabric, consider making this paradise your home.
At Realty ONE Group Engage the Keys, we help clients find their dream property in the Keys. Because here, every sunset is a spectacle and every season is a celebration. Contact us today and start your journey to a life dipped in lobster-filled luxury.