Wednesday, October 7 – We made the long drive from our campground at the Florida Keys Elks Lodge to Key West this morning. The speed limits vary from 45 MPH to 50 MPH down to 30 MPH and up to 55 MPH at some crazy sign planner's whim the entire length of the Keys. We were lucky to average about 40 MPH. There are police every where. It's rare to see anyone speeding. And of course, US 1 is mostly 2-lane so passing is pretty much out of the question. No problem except it takes forever to reach Key West. Thanks Tracey for the heads up on all the police. We appreciate it.
Upon arriving, our first stop was the famous ocean buoy marking the southernmost point in the Continental U.S.A. The line for pictures was short, and everyone politely gets the person behind them in line to take their picture. Pretty simple and efficient!
US 1 that stretches the entire length of the USA East Coast ends here also.
Next stop was a walk up to Earnest Hemmingway's home. Can’t get close to the house without buying a ticket. After a quick picture, we headed over to the nearby lighthouse for another Kodak moment.
We then walked down to Basilica of St. Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church. It is one of the oldest Catholic parishes in the state of Florida and the oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Miami.
An unusual design with full length doors down the entire length of both sides. These can be opened to get a cross breeze but I'll tell you, it was still very hot inside. We were the only ones there. What is it like on a Sunday in July? Interestingly, a friend of our daughter, Kelly, recently was married in this church.
Harry S. Truman Little White House is also located in Key West. In 1946 the historic building first served as the winter White House of President Harry S. Truman and a site for the Cold War response by later presidents.
We then drove up to the Old Town district to find a parking space. Remember we drive a dually pickup truck so parking on the narrow streets of Old Town Key West was a no no. We found a great centrally located spot only a short 5-minute walk to Old Town – the U.S. Post Office. They have an attendant that collects the $20 all day fee. We could come and go all day long. We parked for our sightseeing afternoon and even returned there for the evening sunset adventure. Not too bad of a deal.
Duval Street is the happening area of Old Town. Shop after shop for the tourists. Many restaurants for the foodies, and bar after bar for the late night partiers. They have an open bottle law permitting the the crowds to walk with open alcohol containers. We didn't see any of that during the day – that comes after dark. The bars stay open until 4 a.m. so things probably get crazy. We did not stay around to verify that!
Famous Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville.
We enjoyed walking around town stopping to share a piece of the famous Key Lime Pie at the birthplace of the pie in 1856, Key Lime Republic. Excellent!
When our friends, Pam and John, Oh, The Places They Go!, read that we had our first taste of Conch Fritters, they said we haven’t tasted the best. They said we had to eat at a little place located in the back of The Sponge Factory. We found the place, placed our order, and ate with a smile on our face. They were scrumptious. Thanks Pam and John….excellent recommendation!
Of course, Key West t-shirts were a must purchase to prove we made it this far South.
We jumped back in the truck to go check into our hotel. Thanks to daughter, Carrie, we had a paid-in-full room at the Marriott for the night. She traveled frequently for work and has accumulated considerable hotel points and treated us with a room. Since she is a platinum Marriott cardholder, they even gave us 2-for-1 coupons for their Tiki bar. Cool. Thanks Carrie!
We enjoyed a couple of those beverages at the poolside Tiki bar and then went up to the room to rest up for the nighttime activities. Sunset is a BIG EVENT at Mallory Square in Key West. The coastal boardwalk and pier is packed with tourists enjoying mother nature's beauty, arts and craft booths selling all types of coastal theme crafts, and of course all the sidewalk “acts” earning tips for their entertainment.
We lucked out and grabbed a front row table at Sunset Pier Restaurant and Tavern. We certainly were not disappointed with Mother Nature's show! Amazing! The pier was packed. We never saw so many “selfie” shots in our lives!
After sundown, we walked along Duval Street to enjoy the revelry. People were having a good time. There were tons of people out enjoying the evening. Where did they all come from? We stopped at a few of the places to enjoy the music and partake in a few beverages.
Key West Museum of Art and History had a large number of outside statues. We saw a few during the day, but took another opportunity to walk around the building at night. Glad we did, we missed many very interesting pieces of art.
We did tons and tons more sightseeing. Marsha took 111 photos. We only had one day and night. If we would have stayed longer, she would have had to buy another camera.
Key West is a fun town, and the sunsets are unbelievable. I guess the long drive was worth it! Friday is all uphill – we're heading North. We'll spend a couple weeks along the Florida Gulf Coast so stop back and spend some time with us.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!