Last week we went to Key West for a few days. It is 102 miles from where we are in Key Largo. Highway 1 ends right in the heart of old Key West at mile marker 0. It took us about 3 hours to get there, most of the way is 45 miles an hour. You travel over 43 bridges, the biggest being 7 mile bridge, and yes it is a 7 mile long bridge. As you enter Key West from route 1, you arrive at what is called new town. It was not there before 1940. The navy excavated, and dredged out the harbor and put all the fill here to make about a mile by mile of new land. This was done until the early 70’s, when they found out that all the silt they were bringing up was killing the coral reefs. All of this is now where a lot of the motels, hotels, and major chains of resturants, and stores are. After that you come into the historic town area, about 1 1/2 mile square area. We stayed in a 10 room B&B about two blocks from famous Duvall street. I also was able to get a parking space at the B&B. They are very hard to come by, and with my truck being kind of big, I was happy. After we got settled in ,which was by about 1 or so, we went for a walk to go catch the tour trolley they have running. The trollys run a specific route and give you the overall history of the area, and takes almost two hours. We wanted to do that first to get an idea of the place. The trolley starts and ends at Mallory square, once we got off, we walked around a bit and had a refreshment or rather a drink.
Cheers, bottoms up.
We continued our walk to the historic harbor.
One of the big cruise ships in port.
Our new yacht in port. I WISH!!!!
Where’s Waldo or Dave
After we did that and walked around a bit, we went to a place that has been on my bucket list.
MEL FISHER’S MUSEUM.
Mel Fisher is the man, along with his family, that in 1985 found the Atochia, a Spanish galleon ship loaded with treasures. It was on it’s way back to Spain. It sank in a hurricane along with a few other ship off the Florida keys in 1622. For 16 years he searched ,and every day he would say “Today’s the day”. He did find it, and the court’s agreed ,finders keepers. Over 400 million dollars, in gold, silver, coins and rare jewel’s. Along with the ships cannon and armament, tools, and other everyday objects from over 300 years ago.
We spent almost 3 hours in the museum, which goes over the history of the Atochia, then looking, finding, recovering such a vast amount of treasure. It was a really neat place. You can buy original pieces of eight from before 1622, for anywhere from $1000.00 , up to $8000.00 a piece.
Some of the silver coins
Silver ingot bars, in the background. The box contained coins, which are on the left ,fused together, after cleaning they come back to life, like the ones on the right. WOW.
Some of the high price coins from the wreck.
After all that excitement, we were hungrey, so we went to a outside place near the B&B. It had good food, afterwards ,we walked the two blocks back to the B&B ,and called it a night.
The B&B ,we stayed at was called the Carribean House. Nice place, expensive, like everything else in Key West.
Off to a pleasant night sleep we went, NOT, about 4 am all of a sudden we started to hear roosters crowing, a lot of them. While we did sleep on and off until we got up, they were still crowing. Later we found out why, chickens and roosters in key west are Federally protected, WHAT, yep. They were brought here in the 1600’s by the Spanish and have flourished ever since. Crazy, you can be arrested for harassing them of killing them.
Oh well, what else, we went downstairs to have breakfast. They had a good assortment of stuff and it saved us from going to a restaurant and spending another 20 bucks or so, so that was nice.
Next we went for a little over a mile walk ,down to the BUOY, the southernmost point in the U.S.
When we got there it was not crowded, usually there is a line 15 minutes long. Getting there early was a good thing.
About 20 years ago or so we went to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park to see the sunrise at the most Northern point in the USA, so it was exciting to see the sunset at the most Southern point in the USA.
After that we walked to the Hemmingway house, and took a tour. Ernest Hemingway was an American journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and sportsman. Two of Hemmingway’s famous books are “A Farewell to Arms ” and” For Whom the Bell Tolls.” He lived here for about 10 years, and wrote a good number of his books here, a lot of them were made into movies. The house is pretty impressive and the gardens and yard, are way bigger than most.
Then we proceeded to the butterfly conservatory. It turned out to be a wonderful surprise as I really didn’t want to go. It is about 4000 square feet in size, warm and humid inside. Butterfly flying everywhere, also some small birds and two flamingoes. We talked to one of the volunteers, right now there are over 1500 butterflies inside , normally only 700 are there. He went over some of the different ones. I asked him where do they go when they die, as you really never see them. He said when they get old, they loose there feathers on the back of there wings and start to slow down. They then somehow know they are doomed and land on the ground and go under leaves and brush, it is there they die and return back to the earth. He also said, when they migrate down from up north, the sixth generation off spring are the ones that get to Florida. I never knew. It was a very cool place and we both learned a lot.
We then made our way down Duval Street, this is where it all happens, lots of shops, resturants, and Bars, lots of bars
We also came upon this huge ass tree, called a Kapok. Not many around but it is a giant, it comes from the western carribean. The fibers inside float, so back in the early days they made life vests out of them, they were called Kapok jackets.
After spending a good part of the day on Duvall, we made our way to Mallory square for the sunset. Everyday lots of people go there to see it, and the street performers, who perform for you. It was exciting to see the sunset on the most southern point of the USA.
After that we walked back to the B&B. Once we both got into bed we both were thinking the same thing, chickens, and yep about 4 or so they started again, you gotta laugh. Went to have a great breakfast at the B&B tiki bar with a glass of Mimosa on the house!
We then packed up and took a little walk, came back, said our goodbyes, and we were off. Our last stop we deiced to go to Fort Zachery Taylor State Park. It is located right at the end of Key West and was built in 1845 to protect the harbor. It came under union occupation during the civil war, the only place that the union held in Florida for the entire war. It never fired a shot. It was used during WWI and WWII
It also has a beautiful sandy beach. We strolled the beach for a while ,then headed home for Key Largo, getting back about 5 or so. That was our trip to Key West. All in all a fun trip, but we both kind of agreed we don’t need to go back.