Thursday, May 15, 2014

Key West, Florida

Our recent trip to Florida included a three day sister trip to Key West, the most southern location in the continental United States.   The husbands drove us to Fort Myers, FL where we caught a ferry to Key West.  The ride took about 3 1/2 hours.  I don't know much about boats, but this one sure seemed to go FAST.  Here's a picture of the wake behind the boat:

Key West wasn't really what we expected.  It is called "small", but between the heat and our luggage in tow (and we both packed super light) it seemed pretty big.  And it's much more congested and built up than I expected.  It almost has an urban feel to it in the downtown area absent the tall buildings of most cities.  It has a full time population of 30,000.  It turns out that Key West tried to secede from the USA at one time.  I'm unclear about the event, but we were told that residents can have a Conch Republic passport OR a US passport.  And the Conch Republic passport is accepted by 38 countries including the USA.  They have their own flag, but they are part of Florida and the US.  I don't completely understand it.

We spent the next few days exploring and visited a few highlights including the lighthouse:
It was a somewhat short tower with just 88 steps to the top.  The keepers of this house were all from one family throughout the entire time the house was in operation.  Here's a view from the top:
We toured Ernest Hemmingway's house.  At least they call it his house, but it really belonged to his second (of four) wife.  He did live there when he did most of his famous writing and he was such a larger than life character who really embraced life in the Keys, and besides, who would pay to see "Polly Hemingway's House"?  Most notable part was this awesome pool.  When it was built it was said to be the largest privately owned pool in the US:
He owned several polydactyl (many toed) cats and the decedents of those cats still reside on the property and are loving cared for by the staff.
We toured a very nice butterfly museum:

Took a disappointing glass bottom boat ride - not even worth a picture.  Here's a bit of advice on glass bottom boats.  When the trip starts with the captain telling you that the water is too rough to go to the Atlantic and see the Great Barrier Reef so they are going into the gulf instead to see the coral gardens and you can get off now and get your money back if you really wanted to go to the Great Barrier Reef........get off.

Visited the original Margaretville restaurant of Jimmy Buffet where we shared the best cheeseburger ever:
And saw a pretty sunset on the ferry ride home:

The husbands were a bit late picking us up which was kind of spooky given where the boat docked, but it all turned out well.

We warmed to Key West after our initial disappointment.  I would go back again, a wiser traveler for having taken this trip. 
One more bit of trivia - Key West is 90 miles from Cuba and 134 miles from the nearest Walmart.

1 comment:

  1. 134 miles from Wally World? Sounds like heaven.