A place in the sun cured their blues
WHO: Genevieve Day, 37, and her children Julian, 5, and Flora, 2
WHERE: Key West, Fla.
WHEN: One week in February
WHY: Day, who grew up in Key West, has family there and visits yearly.
IN SEASON: "This is the first year my son was in public school so we had to go when everyone goes, on February break," Day said. "We usually go out of season , when it's not so crowded and tickets are less."
WINGING IT: "We were going to leave on a Thursday at 8 a.m. Usually we fly to Key West, but it was so expensive that this time we flew into Fort Lauderdale. In the morning we got up at 5:30 and checked online and the
FEELING BLUE: " It was a madhouse . Families with kids and baggage were everywhere, and there were huge lines," she said. "It was just awful. We decided at that point we were going to go on standby on a 10 a.m. flight to Fort Myers because we had a better chance of getting on the plane," she said. "Then all the flights backed up and it was total chaos. Finally the plane took off around 5 p.m. but they only had one seat available, so I didn't get on." Day's luggage, however, did.
FLORIDA, FINALLY: The earliest JetBlue could get her to Florida was five days later, on a Tuesday. From Fort Lauderdale, "we drove down to the Keys, which I hadn't done for a long time. They still have a ramshackle quality. You're driving and the water is still right on the side. And the Seven Mile Bridge is still gorgeous."
SPOKEN LIKE A LOCAL: "Key West is still a funny old place. It's pretty small but accommodates a lot of groups: Cubans, conchs -- the old-timer whites -- and the gay community, which I've noticed is shrinking," she said. "And now the streets are flooded with people from cruise ships. But the good thing about Key West is it's a real city not just a vacation community. It can absorb and transform change in a positive way."
AROUND TOWN: "The thing I love to do there is ride my bike. This time I had Flora on a kiddie seat and Julian was on training wheels. My family lives in Bahama Village, the old town, where you'll find a shotgun shack next to a million-dollar home and chickens running around loose." They rode around town and to the beach at "Fort Zach," or Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park . "The other thing we really enjoyed was the outdoor shower and bath at my brother's. He has a big clawfoot tub, so four cousins could fit inside together."
HAPPY ENDING: A month after the trip, Day learned that JetBlue was crediting her for the full value of their tickets.