09/28/2017

Key West

By Ashley Walton

After the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, it is great to hear that the Florida Keys will officially reopen to tourists on Sunday October 1st.  While some areas still need more time to recover, the Keys are reopening 3 weeks earlier than expected. I was very lucky to have experienced the Keys earlier this year, before the hurricane ravaged the area.

The scenic drive down to Key West is like no other. The views along the coastal Overseas Highway are spectacular! Crossing over the countless bridges you can experience incredible sunsets and endless ocean views. 

You could get lost exploring the many secluded islands, historic shipwrecks, diving sites, and more along the way. I highly recommend stopping at beautiful Bahia Honda State Park, where you can soak up some sun on a beach with breathtaking views of the derelict railroad bridge as the backdrop.

Bahia State Park looking toward Old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge

Old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge

With its lush tropical landscape and eclectic style, Key West is the uniquely beautiful home to a relaxed, tropical vernacular architecture.  With traditional Caribbean and Victorian influences, the style is characterized by tin roofs, gingerbread moldings, and large porches. 

 

Audubon House and Gallery

Some homes in Key West were relocated from the Bahamas by early Conch settlers. These homes were built of a mortar made from sand, water, and lime. The settlers obtained their lime by burning conch shells. 

Other houses were constructed out of lumber salvaged from shipwrecks. Built by expert craftsmen, these wooden structures have withstood tropical storms and hurricanes for well over a century.

Old Town Manor

A typical Key West "Eyebrow" house 

The Ernest Hemingway Home offers a fascinating look into Hemingway’s life, while transporting you to a bygone era.

Hemingway's home

Hemingway’s pool and study 

Patsy Cline is one of over fifty cats on the property, the majority of whom are six-toed - all of whom are the descendants of Hemingway’s own original extended family!

Thankfully, the home and all of the Hemingway cats are fine. You can even follow them on Instagram! To help with the animals affected by the hurricane, please visit the Florida Keys SPCA.

Seventeen-year-old Harry S. Truman runs the show

Not surprisingly, Key West Cemetery is also beautiful and quirky.

 

Key West Cemetery 

And last but not least, don’t miss the wonderful Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square!

 

The unbelievable sunset at Mallory Square

The Florida Keys are truly a uniquely beautiful place like nowhere else.