Dog-friendly White Gate Court in Islamorada

After Irma: The Keys goes to the dogs (part six in a series)

White Gate Court is what you’d call a “human-friendly resort” — as in, it’s really a place for dogs and they tolerate humans. I wrote about it a few years ago for the summer guide, because I figure any place that loves worships dogs like I do is a place CL readers may want to visit.

They’re our next stop down US 1 as we head towards Ground Zero (Cudjoe Key, around MM 20) and I’m nervous about what I’ll find. Things have been more positive than I expected, rehab-wise, thus far, but when we tried to schedule a vacation at White Gate in late October, they still hadn’t reopened after Irma. As we motor towards the end of Islamorada, I notice more and more fences blown over and not yet put right; more land cleared where you sort of assume, after two or 20 of such lots, ill-advised landscaping may have blown over and taken out a few things. I almost don’t want to see how one of my favorite places in the Keys has fared, but I need to know.

As we pull in the (long, long) drive, the first thing I notice is a pile of rubble, but the cottages themselves remain. And — this is a bright spot, I think — many actually look better. We let the dogs out of the car (totally what you do here) and Calypso bounds towards the office, where Fred rushes out to greet her (I’d like to think it’s her animal magnetism, but in reality, it’s probably Fred’s little wiener talking). Jane, the manager, greets me warmly and shows me the property. Yes, she says, the cottages had damage, but they took the opportunity to upgrade and fix things, which is why they remained closed as long as they did (and, also, for a great deal of it, the Keys had unreliable internet and phone service). 

White Gate Court post-Hurricane Irma upgrades. Photo via Cathy Salustri.
Post-Irma: New floors, new paint, a new kitchen and bathroom repairs. Not ideal why it happened, but clearly it’s a big upgrade. Photo by Cathy Salustri.

She’d told me two years ago their biggest challenge was finding time to make upgrades, because they only have seven cottages and they remain full most of the year. Closing for the aftermath of Irma have them the chance to make repairs and upgrade.

After a tour of the property and Calypso and Fred have enough time to buddy around, I bid Jane goodbye and continue south. 

I’m hoping everything I find next has a similar happy ending, but I’m concerned it will not. 

Six months after Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida Keys in 2017, Cathy Salustri explored the chain of islands to see what damage remained. This piece originally appeared at Creative Loafing. Read the next in the series here, or, if you haven’t yet, go back and start at the beginning.