Travel Tuesday – The Florida Keys

Hello everyone! It’s my first official Travel Tuesday (and linkup) and I’m super excited to join the fun!

My travel philosophy has always been that one can find an adventure whether its 2 miles or 2000 miles from where you began. Adventure is all in the attitude. I was fortunate enough to live in Miami while attending law school and it didn’t take very long for me to make it down to the Keys. The Florida Keys themselves begin at Key Largo and stretch just over 100 miles down to Key West. US1 consists of islands and bridges over crystal clear water. It’s one of the most beautiful drives you can take, at least in the United States (in my humble opinion anyway).

Keys

The African Queen – Key Largo

Keys

The boat was used in the 1951 movie The African Queen starring Humprey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.

Keys

End of US1 – Welcome to Key West

In 1982 Key West declared the independence of the city of Key West, calling it the “Conch Republic.” The story goes that the U.S. Border Patrol established a roadblock and inspection points along US1, stopping all northbound traffic returning to the mainland to search for illegal drugs and immigrants. The Key West City Council repeatedly complained about the roadblocks, which were a major inconvenience for people traveling from Key West and hurt the Keys’ tourism. After various unsuccessful complaints, the mayor of Key West declared independence. After one minute of succession, he as Prime Minister, surrendered to an officer of the Key West Naval Air Station, and requested “foreign” aid. The stunt succeeded in generating great publicity for the Keys’ plight and the inspection roadblocks were removed. The locals are still very proud of this history and the rebellious spirit shines through!

Key West itself has a long and rich history. It played major roles in the various wars and was a major trading point for the United States. Key West is actually closer to Cuba than Miami, and consequently has always had a strong Cuban influence.

Key West

Fort Zachary Taylor

Key West

View from the top – Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Key West has attracted many people through the years, Ernest Hemingway being one of the most notable personages. Hemingway moved to Key West with his wife Paula in the late 1920s. The Hemingway House is now open for public tours, and well worth the time.

Hemingway House

Beautiful house in a beautiful location

Hemingway House

Hemingway House

Hemingway House

Hemingway through the years

Hemingway House

View from upper veranda from Hemingway House

A unique and extraordinary feature of the grounds is the pool, built in 1937-38, at the staggering cost of $20,000. It was the first in-ground pool in Key West, and the only pool within 100 miles. The exorbitant construction costs once prompted Hemingway to take a penny from his pocket, press it into the wet cement of the surrounding patio, and announce jokingly, “Here, take the last penny I’ve got!”

Hemingway House

The last penny!

The Hemingway Home is home to over 40 polydactyl (six-toed) cats! So cute!

Hemingway House

Kitties galore!

Hemingway House

Apparently this little guy is quite the ladies’ man!

Hemingway House

Six-toed Sleepy Kitty

Mallory Square is located on the waterfront in Key West’s historic Old Town. It is the location of the “Sunset Celebration,” which involves hundreds of people who arrive each evening to view the sunset and the various boardwalk entertainers.

Key West

Sunset from Mallory Square

Key West

Sunset from Mallory Square

Key West

Pirate ship sunset

My favorite part of Key West is the island attitude. Things happen on a natural clock and the human pace can’t help but follow suit. I always feel like life has slowed down and the world is my friend when I’m there. No wonder it always feels like “home” when I’m there!

Key West

Random Rooster patrolling the streets

Key West

They’re “birdies” (haha)

A Compass Rose

4 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday – The Florida Keys

    • It is definitely worth the trip! And, of course, Key West is a wonderful destination! I would really like to visit the Hemingway house in Cuba some day (hopefully). Thanks so much for hosting 🙂

      Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s