Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Key West Hodge Podge

We flew out of Miami, Florida (above) on an American Eagle propeller plane --a first experience for me -- to Key West last week.

A view flying over the Keys, which are a string of islands off the southern end of Florida, and are on the dividing line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

The original name of the island was "Cayo Hueso" which literally means "bone key". It is said that the island was littered with the bones from an Indian battlefield or burial ground. The name was eventually anglicized to "Key West" from the Spanish pronunciation of Cayo Hueso

As soon as we landed in the Key West Airport I knew we were in for more new and unique experiences! The "Conch Republic" is the other official name of Key West, as it's citizens hold dual citizenship by act of Congress, after they succeeded from the union as a "micro nation"in 1982 as part of a protest against a Federal blockade of US Route 1. The whole interesting story can be read here.

We stayed in the lovely Westin Key West Hotel & Marina,which is adjacent to the famous Mallory Square and its amazing sunset party that takes place every evening.

Every morning from our terrace we'd see a cruise ship come into port for the day!

During the 17th Century, Spain sent many a treasure-filled ship from Havana through the Straits of Florida, near present-day Key West. Unfortunately, many of these caravels and galleons never reached their destinations as pirates made the waters off Key West their preferred hunting grounds. There is still appears to be a bit of the pirate influence here!

Of course one of the first things we had to try on the island was a slice of Key Lime pie! We went to Kermit's Key Lime Pie Shop in Old Town for a slice --- it was delicious! Watch Kermit make a pie on this YOUTUBE video!

Then we took a stroll down Duvall Street to see all the famous bars, shops, hotels, restaurants and crazy characters that can be found along the way.

This is the famous Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

Below is Sloppy Joe's. The real Sloppy Joe was Joe Russell, friend of author Ernest Hemingway when he lived in Key West, and whom he based the protagonist of his book "To Have and Have Not."

See a web cam of Sloppy Joe's and enjoy some of the wonderful singers/songwriters/musicians that are always live on stage there!

Here is a view of the bar inside the Hog's Breath Saloon.

In addition to live music they have a raw bar and grill, and we dined on some delicious conch chowder and conch fritters when we visited.

Their web cam and stage cam. We saw a great band playing a couple of nights and this musician did some wonderful covers of Eric Clapton!

One unusual sight that we saw were chickens roaming the street -- everywhere! The story about them is that they are descendants from fighting roosters that Cuban residents once used in sport. There are reportedly over 3,000 on the island! The locals seem to have either a love or hate relationship with them, but to city people such as we are, they were an attraction we enjoyed watching!

Route One begins and ends in Key West, and seems fitting for a city that is a dichotomy itself --bohemian and laid back, cosmopolitan and trendy. A little island that has it all!

I have to end this post with a fish tale .... one that didn't get away!

My husband was on Key West along with some co-workers and corporate clients for the first couple of days, and they went on a fishing expedition. My husband caught a large prize fish called the Wahoo in the Atlantic Ocean! The flesh of the wahoo is delicate and white and regarded as very good in quality, and it is sought after by all fishermen in this region.

The ship mates cleaned the fish, along with the Mahi Mahi and mackerel that the others caught....

...and we brought it all over to this restaurant on the dock.....

Where they cooked it and served it to us all for dinner on platters, as the freshest, most delicious fish we've ever tasted!

It was a dream ending to a dream day in Key West.

Next post I'll show some of the varied,pretty houses and famous residences on the island, and a sunset celebration!


hough loader said...
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steviewren said...

The Conch Republic sounds as though it has a lifestyle all of its own. With 3000 chickens wandering around, pirates on the street corner and a delicious fresh to order cuisine, who wouldn't love it. I'm glad you both had such a good time.

Mama said...

This was the most wonderful hodge podge Pat, the pie, the ships, music, pirates and the fresh fish caught by your hubby, what an exciting trip you had, I am of travelling on Sat, but will still be able to keep up with your post, big hugs, Kathy.

Judy said...

Thanks for the tour...I always hear about Key West, but didn't know much about it. Now I feel like I've been there. I'm thinking about pumpkin pie, since we celebrate Thanksgiving here this weekend...but now I'm hungry for key lime pie.

Your hubby looks quite thrilled with is catch...and how special to have it served up for you at a restaurant. Great idea.

Judy said...

What a wonderful time. Thank you so much for sharing.

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
I hate to say this, but, "That fish looks delicious!" And you know how I hate fish!!! YUK!!
Wouldn't it be nice to live in an area with sky's that blue?
Can't wait to see the houses!
I hope you're having a wonderful week and didn't come home to any surprises.
XO Cori

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
Your pictures are great. Key Lime Pie is one of my favorites, and I really love Jimmy Buffett. I've seen him twice at the NOLA Jazz Fest.

The picture of your husband with his price catch is priceless!

Glad you had a fun relaxing time!

Strider said...

Nice tour. You did an awesome job as usual. Wow......that is great to catch a fish and have the local restraunt cook it for you. Nice post. Strider

imjacobsmom said...

I guess you learn something new everyday. I had no idea that the Keys were dual citizenship or any of that history. I can't believe you flew in that plane. I am too chicken. I couldn't drive over those bridges either for that matter. Thanks for sharing the pictures, because I would never get there otherwise. It looks like a neat area with lots of character and good food, though. ~ Robyn

Alex said...

Hi Pat, I hope you're having a great week! :)

nanatrish said...

What a great trip! That fish looks so delicious. I'll bet it was so fresh tasting and yummy. Your husband looked so proud. Isn't Jimmy Buffet's place cool? Cheeseburgers in Paradise. There is such a laid back unique feeling in the Keys. I'm glad you got to go.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Your husband must have had a blast catching that prize fish, I know mine would have! Great tour, I've always wanted to go to The Keys and now you're wetting my appetite again!!

Lisa B. said...

Fun! I was not aware of the resturant...great idea!! Very neat to be able to be served your own catch.

Can't wait to see the sites thru your eyes. We were just down there this last winter...but I bet I learn more from your tour! lol.

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Looks like you had a grand time! The fish made my mouth water.

I was in the Keys when I was little with my parents but don't remember much. I always thought I would like to go there again. Now I know I would!

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!
Your photos are wonderful and I DID feel like I was there! What a great area to visit. The farthest down I've ever been is Naples, which I loved. That was quite a fish!! How great is that, you got to cook & eat it too, wow! ( well your hubby did)
Please stop by to pick up an award I've given you. You already have it I'm sure but I just HAD to give it to YOU!!
Hugs, Sherry

Betsy said...

I was on a cruise 4 years ago that stopped for a day at the Keys. Wonderful memories and your pictures brought them all back! The chickens...the key lime pie....we took the little train tour to take in the whole place. BeautifuL! And that is some fish story with a picture to prove it!
Sounds like a wonderful time!

Naz said...

Looks like you had a marvelous time in Key West. Gotta love that key lime pie. mmmmm

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

That fish looked so good...the best you've ever eaten? High praise indeed...good going for your dh!

I was just talking with my "Florida Aunt" yesterday and she told me that it has been miserably hot there for days and days. This surprises me because she should be used to this by now. Apparently, there hasn't been the usual cooling down that happens in autumn. Guess that I really identified since I am sitting in a house where it's so warm that we can fry eggs on the kitchen table. ;> (Nan likes it this way...oh my!)

Nola @ Alamo North said...

What a relaxing vacation. You are a lucky lady. I haven't been to the Keys in years (& years), but I remember Key West was a "whole other country" so to speak.

Beverly said...

I have to tell you that this is making me so homesick. I love the keys.

I can't wait for you to post pictures of some of the homes. I love the homes with all of the "gingerbread" trim.

Tara said...

Hi Pat

Trying to get back to life here!
I have been to key West, on one of those cruise ships! What a great place to spend time, it is alomost as if it stops when you get there. Looks like you had a wonderful time--missed you lots!

Wendy said...

Looks like a great trip. Happy Anniversary!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Hi Pat:

So much fun!

Did you make it to My Blue Heaven for breakfast or lunch? I think that might be my favorite spot. We also plopped ourselves at the Southernmost House for the day...In fact, I was going through the photos on my computer and found my Key West ones this morning, with quite a few of that house.

Your pictures are so great. I almost feel like I was there again. Almost. ;-)

- Laura

Yolanda said...

I am really enjoying all the pics from Key west.