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