TOWARDS THE SUNSET: KEY WEST - Part I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate my birthday, my hubby presented me with a sweet escape to Key West. As I was born on FOURTH OF JULY, and this is America, I won a magic weekend with fireworks just for me!

So, let’s learn about Key West, this place that I fell in love! 

It has known the best of times. It was America’s richest city per capita in 1889. It also has known the worst of times. It declared bankruptcy in the 1930s.

Through it all, Key West has retained its status as one of the world’s most intriguing cities.

Its colorful cast of characters has ranged from Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon and railroad magnate Henry Flagler to President Harry Truman, who vacationed in the “Little White House” on Front Street.

Long a haven for creative spirits, the island inspired such acclaimed writers as Ernest Hemingway, Tenessee Williams, and Robert Frost.

It has known more that its share of conflict, from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Indeed, Key West is closer to Havana ( 90 miles away) than to Miami (150 miles distant).

Key West is a treasure trove, and not just because of the multitude of shipwreck artifacts and memorabilia. Its Old Town section is rich with historic sites and architecture. Because the island is so compact, many venerable houses and other buildings now function as inns, restaurants, and museums.

Bisecting Old Town is Duval Street, affectionately called the longest main street in the world because it goes from coast to coast  - from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. One block away is equally historic Whitehead Street, home to the Hemingway and Audubon Houses and the Key West Lighthouse, among a lot of other attractions.

All roads in Island lead to Mallory Square where crowds gather for the world-famous Sunset Celebrations. These nightly extravaganzas attract thousands to their smorgasbord of T-shirt vendors, artists, musicians, street performers, and merrymakers.

It’s a fitting end to a fabulous day - and it’s an experience not to be missed! Key West is amazing!

 

What to do?

There are a lot of things to explore. I’m going to tell you what we got to do during the three days that we were there.

 

DUVAL STREET

We arrived there on Thursday night and walked by Duval Street. It's a street full of bars, restaurants, cigars shops, nightclubs, and handcraft shops. A lot of fun! Prepare to meet the most diverse characters, from old tourists to drag queens! So, grab your drink and a cigar and enjoy the walk!

 

SOUTHERNMOST POINTWhitehead Street and South Street

Closer to Cuba (90 miles) than it’s to Miami (150 miles), as the name, it’s the southernmost point in the continental United States. It makes for a great photo opportunity. 

 

SUNSET CELEBRATIONS - Mallory Square, Ocean Key Pier and The Westin Sunset Pier

Key West sunsets are acclaimed for their vivid colors. The Island provides one of the most beautiful views of the sunset. It’s also the home to a wild combination of performers, vendors, and the city’s eclectic mix of residents.

 

THE ERNEST HEMINGWAY HOME & MUSEUM - 907 Whitehead St

How about knowing better the lifestyle of the famous writer of Across the River and Into the Trees and The Old Man and the Sea and other classics?

 In the heart of Old Town Key West, this unique property was home to one of America's most honored and respected authors. Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote there for more than ten years. Calling Key West home, he found solace and great physical challenge in the turquoise waters that surround this tiny island. There you can step back in time and visit the rooms and gardens that witnessed the most prolific period of the Nobel Prize winner's writing career.

Wander through the lush grounds and enjoy the whimsy of the more than forty cute cats that live there.

 

JET SKY TOUR - Hydro Thunder ( They have new and well-maintained equipment)

If you like adventure and extreme tours I'm sure you will love this tour! Don’t forget the sunscreen protection, please!!!

It’s an amazing experience of 27 mile, 90 min wave runner island tour around Key West! As you start out in the Gulf of Mexico, you and your group will experience several exciting destinations, such as Navy Seal Training Center on Fleming Key, National Marine sanctuary – home to the majority of marine life and exotic birds of the Keys, and submarine pits built during World War II. After the submarine pits, we will travel under the US1 Bridge that separates the Gulf and the Atlantic. The tour continues on the Atlantic, towards the famous Southernmost Point of the United States.

 

DOLPHIN WATCH & SNORKEL TOUR - Fury Key West ( that company is the only in Florida that has the "Dolphin SMART" certification) 

One of my fave ride there! It’s an aquatic journey to observe the grace & beauty of Key West dolphins. It’s an adventure into the shimmering turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There you can watch bottlenose dolphins as they swim, play, feed and do what comes naturally. Then, you go to the Key West wildlife refuge where you'll snorkel along the shallow backcountry. After a day on and in the water, you'll begin your ride back to the dock enjoying a sparkling wine during the trip.