FLORIDA WHIMSIES...: Key West…really worth the trip

Known as the Conch Republic, Key West, Florida is the westernmost tip of the Florida Keys, a series of islands linked by long bridges and also by boat transport.

If you ever make it to south Florida, deep south, rent a car if you don’t have your own and drive down to Key West through the Florida Keys, a great full day jaunt.

Key West is a great little town to visit. Situated on the largest of the Keys islands, Key West has the attractiveness of Beale St. in Memphis or Bourbon St. in New Orleans. My preference of the three is Bourbon St. but that’s another story. Key West has Duval St splitting it in two. Busy with people all day long and evening too, shops, bistros and bars offer their attractions to the ceaseless train of gawking tourists. The only criticism of Duval is the same one that can be laid against the Florida keys in general…relentless humidity and heat even in early spring. Summertime must be unbearable.

Duval street bistros are all top notch and crowded. It was my return to Key West after being there almost thirty years earlier. I returned to two of my previous visit landmarks.

First, at the oceanfront just off of Duval St., find  US 1 Mile Mark 0, the southernmost tip of continental USA and the closest USA point to Cuba, 90 miles.

The landmark site has become so popular that people form a line to take their turn photographing themselves at it. At noon, the photography line strings out for more than a 100 people but each photographer respects that others are waiting. So the “your turn wait time” is very short.

The second land mark site visited 30 years early is reputed to have been a haunt of the writer, Ernest Hemingway, Sloppy Joe’s bar.

The bar has been discovered and the noon crowd overflows the bar in every direction.

Two “must do’s” at Sloppy Joe’s are ordering a margarita. Their margarita’s may not be the best on the island but they definitely are among the very best, oozing with lime juice and filled with tequila, it is a must be ordered drink for Sloppy Joe’s. The other ‘must do’ is to tip the bartender to have him/her ring the ship’s bell, a tradition for when a tip is paid. If the place is exceptionally busy, which seems to be the case any afternoon, the bartender may be too busy to remember tradition. Remind him or her to ring it when you tip him/her.

https://youtu.be/94SeHhpRd2Q

 

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