It’s been too long, I can’t even remember the last time I got down to Key West. I only live 4 Hours away (Which is a lot closer than 99% of the rest of the world) and yet we hardly get down there anymore…mainly due to the economic situation these GOP morons have gotten us into. (Used to go down 8-9 times a year in 2000, 7-8 in 2001, 4-5 in 2003, you see the trend…)
I love Key West. There’s something about…no, lots of things about it…that draws me there. Maybe it’s the history, hundreds of years of pirates’ and wenches’ souls haunting it, or maybe it’s because it’s so incredibly different from everywhere else in the world. If you haven’t been there, there’s no way to know what it feels to walk down the narrow streets, seeing some of the oldest standing homes in Florida, knowing you’re on a sandbar a mile wide by about 4 miles long.
I don’t know if I could actually live there full time; once you get past the drinking, beach and boating, there’s not a whole lot to do there. But for an extended weekend, it’s perfect.
One of the things I love most about Cayo Hueso is the way everything indoor is outdoor, at least in the older sections of town. Trees grow up through living rooms. Houses and cafes open up entire walls onto wood decks or sandy patios, and it becomes unclear where the inside of the building ends and the lanai begins. Tropical plants and palm trees are everywhere. You can walk up to a bar that serves drinks inside a restaurant on one side, and on the beach on the other. It gets pretty hot down there, but nobody seems to mind. It’s not uncommon to have ceiling fans outside.
One of my (and my wife’s, she found it first) favorite restaurants, Mangia Mangia, ( http://www.mangia-mangia.com/ ) is down there. Italian food with a Key West twist. We always eat outside on the patio, under the palm trees. The bars on Duval Street are the best I’ve ever been too, even the touristy ones like Sloppy Joe’s. (Of course anyone who knows Key West will immediately start thinking of Captain Tony’s www.capttonyssaloon.com). We’ve done the touristy stuff too, like the Haunted Ghost Tours( http://www.hauntedtours.com , http://www.keywestghosts.com ), the Pirate Soul Museum (https://www.piratesoul.com) and the Mel Fisher Museum/Wreck of the Atocha ( http://www.melfisher.com ). But the best part is just being there, breathing the air, watching the strange people, hearing the sounds of the ocean, and applauding the sunset at Mallory Square.
I’ve got to get down there soon.