Ashley Kupke-Jordahl, a sommelier and former wine distributor, founded Sea Grapes Wine Bar & Bistro six weeks ago. The ratio of seats to wines is 19 to 75, and every bottle, including Wölffer Estate’s Summer in a Bottle, a semi-dry rosé produced in Long Island, N.Y., is available by the glass thanks to her Coravin wine system. For the holiday weekend, she prepared a special red, white and blue-themed wine and tartine flight pairing: sauvignon blanc with lemon whipped ricotta and truffled honey; rosé with goat cheese, white balsamic glaze and strawberries, and a blueberry cider with smoked blue cheese, blueberry balsamic reduction and toasted hazelnuts. Sunday brunch involves watermelon mimosas and deviled eggs, served breakfast-style with bacon and cheese. The décor’s white wainscoting and cork walls feel very Cape Cod.
80925 Overseas Highway; 305.522.0155; seagrapeswinebar.com
PLANT YOURSELF HERE
Like many locals, Sue Wright discovered the Keys on vacation. Seduced by the tropical climate, she relocated from Boston, where she worked for the Garden Concierge, to launch Boo Kee Sue Botanics in Village Square at the Trading Post. She specializes in living/floral arts and gifts rather than a classic nursery; all of her creations are garden- or patio-ready, so no planting is involved (and clients can just get down to the business of relaxing). Her adorable shed and garden vignettes around the compound display her works, whether succulents tucked into driftwood or large-scale objets dripping with air plants. For the busy weekend, she stocked up on aloes, bromeliads, hoya vines and phalaenopsis equestris, an orchid developed in nearby Homestead. Her services also include container gardens and living walls.
81868 Overseas Highway; 305.853.6564; bookeesue.com
Islamorada loves Italian food these days. Following Oltremare Ristorante at Amara Cay, Ciao Hound came to Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina. Its concept marries local seafood with Italian preparation like oven-baked, parmesan-encrusted mahi mahi, pancetta and rapini in marsala jus. Family-style dining includes flatbreads (try the Tuscan with sweet Italian sausage, pepperoni and two cheeses), and appetizers, from mussels arrabiata to baked spinach and artichoke fonduta with creamy ricotta and fontina cheeses to slather on grilled country bread. For a heartier meal, go for lasagna Bolognese served bubbling hot in a ceramic dish like in New York’s Little Italy. Fido is welcome, from daily “yappy” hour to his very own Pooch Patio for dog-friendly drinks and dishes. Tuesdays feature half-priced select bottles of wine.
84001 Overseas Highway; 305.664.5300; holidayisle.com
Cheeca Lodge & Spa is doing it up for the Fourth of July with an early start to the celebration. From July 1-3, the hotel operates a poolside grill for hot dogs, hamburgers and lobster rolls with all the traditional sides. On July 4, take a cruise from 7:30-10 p.m. to watch the fireworks out in the ocean. Reserve soon through its Watersports desk since the boat only holds 42 passengers; you’re welcome to bring picnics and beverages. No one misses out on the festivities by heading over to Founders Park at Mile Marker 87 for the village’s annual Independence Day Celebration from 6-10 p.m. The complimentary bash offers live music by the Carousers and Leah Sutter, food trucks (M.E.A.T, Polar Ice) and cocktail and beer stations. Click here for details.
81801 Overseas Highway; 305.664.4651; cheeca.com