Tag Archives: Key West

Key West Photos


We tried them. They were a lot like hush puppies, only with mildly rubbery little bits in them. Okay, but I won’t rush back for seconds. Also of concern: the unrefrigerated mayo-based tartar sauce. Ewww.



Bob and one of the marginal conch fritters.


There are lots of these little tourist stands all over the city.


These poor people from Ohio—the trolley driver refused to let them on and explained that on the trolley “we bleed blue.” It was all in good humor (since there were no seats available anyway) and the tourist gave as good as he got. It was pretty funny.


Not sure what the story is here, but it’s covered with bird poop and they’re nesting in the stuff in the back.


View from the road that circles the island.


This is the most stolen sign in Florida. They finallly just started selling them, and that helped, but it still goes missing regularly. By the way, the other end of US Highway 1 is in Maine, about 2000 miles north.


This statute must be 25 feet tall. It was done by one of the heirs of the Johnson & Johnson fortune and it’s modled off a painting by Renoire.


It’s like a little cartoon pirana : )


This is only about ⅓ of this banyan tree. The rest goes over the top of the house and is in the backyard. It’s all one tree. You might think the house is a tree house, but it’s not.


Here are the pics of Truman’s Little White House. It has an interesting history.


Truman’s Little White House. No pics allowed on the inside, but here’s the side of the house.


Its easy to forget all the things one man can do when he’s president. Truman was a busy man.



Poinciana in bloom


The brick wall in this pick was built by Hemingway himself. He used the bricks from a street that was torn up for repair. No one missed the bricks until they tried to recover the street and found they didn’t have enough. The city sued and Hemingway agreed to pay a penny a brick.


The front of the house. It was built in the mid-1800s, so Hemingway wasn’t its original owner.


Hemingway had about 50 cats. Currently his house has 45 of them, all descendants of his original cats. They were everywhere!


They were laying around like dogs!

IMG_0552 IMG_0553


Nothing seemed to bother them very much. There was a sign at the ticket booth forbidding anyone from picking up the cats.



View from the deck that circled the second story of the house.


View of the pool from the balcony on the main house.


Another view of the pool. Hemingway’s wife had it built while he was away working as a war correspondent (and spending time with his mistress). They bought the house or $8000, but he pool cost over $20,000. It’s 65 feet long!


This is a fountain to provide drinking water for all the cats. Yes, its made out of a urinal. Mrs. H tried to disguise it by putting the Spanish tile on it and installing the larger pitcher, but it’s still a urinal. Some of the cats refuse to drink out of it.


Here’s one of his famous 6-toed cats. Sorry its hard to see. He’s sitting on a chunck of rock that was used to build the house walls. its 18 inches thick so the house has weathered several hurricanes with no problems.



The cats were everywhere! This one was sunning himself in the gutter. This is right at the entrance to Hemingway’s office over the pool house.


Here’s where Hemingway wrote. He got up at 6 am and worked until about 1 pm most days. He considered it a good day if her wrote between 300 and 700 words a day. He often complained that his brand of typewriter was notorious for misspelled words.


Cat condos. They aren’t locked up here, the cats are free to roam where they want. This is just shelter for those that want it.


Only the special cats get remembered here. There are so many, it wouldn’t be possible to put a marker for all of them here.


Hemingway named his cats for their personalities: “Friendless” and “Frisky.” Today, they are named after people.


It’s a little kitty mausoleum.


View from the garden.


A poinciana tree


Cute gadgets for sale in the gift shop.



Here we are!




There are wild chickens and roosters everywhere. People brought them from Cuba for cock fighting at the turn of the 20th century. The authorities were looking for new revenue sources and decided to tax all the betting on the fights by taxing chicken ownership. Rather than pay the taxes, the inhabitants released the chickens and they still grow wild. People love them because the chickens eat mosquitos.


Here we are, on the southernmost tip of the island (at least the southernmost part that’s accessible to the public.) The real southernmost part is on the naval base and it’s where they have all the equipment necessary to listen to Cuba and the Caribbean.


I have no idea what this thing is supposed to be, but it’s south of everything else 🙂

Those who owned the southernmost house were proud of that fact . . . until the next door neighbors built their house several feet more southerly. That house has this plaque by its gate.


Yep, we tried it. I even had a cheeseburger in paradise and it was really good.


We even tried a margarita. Bob said it tasted like medicine, I thought it was okay. I usually love margaritas, but this one wasn’t quite right. I think we drank about ⅓ of it between the two of us.


Key lime pie is big down here. A popular way to eat it is frozen on stick, dipped in chocolate. I haven’t tried it, but I’m not a key lime pie fan.


Manatees are like the Florida state animal. They’re everywhere. : )


There were many really cool looking houses and buildings on the island.


Here’s another. I like the garden on the roof.


Hemingway’s favortie bar. It’s also where the urinal for the kitty drinking fountain came from.



Key West, Day 2

Today we spent the day wandering around Key West.  My favorite was the Hemingway House.  Hemingway wrote several books while living in the house and I got to see his office.  My very favorite part was learning that Hemingway considered it a good day if he wrote between 300 and 700 words a day.  That’s about one to three pages of a printed book. Most writers I know tend to shoot for 1000 words a day, or more.

The house is beautiful.  It was built in the mid 1800s and has survived a couple of hurricanes.  When he Hemingway family moved on from Key West, they sold the house and didn’t look back.  The lady they sold it to was pretty savvy and she planned all along to make it into a museum.  She preserved everything the way it was when the Hemingways were there, including the cats.

Apparently, Hemingway had dozens of cats.  He often talked to them and they all had names.  Today, the museum has 45 cats and they’re all descended from Hemingway’s original cats.  It was strange to walk around and see cats everywhere.  They like to sleep on the furniture, often right beside a sign stating there is no sitting on the furniture.

The house and museum is still owned by the family of the lady who bought it from the Hemingways.  Hemingway paid $8,000 for the house and sold it for $80,000. Now, it’s worth millions.

For lunch we decided to go totally tourist and headed for Margaritaville.  My  hamburger was really good and Bob liked his coconut shrimp but, ironically, the margarita was uninspiring.  We didn’t even drink half of it.

I put all the picutes I’ve taken of Key West here.  I hope you enjoy them!

Key West, Florida

Happy birthday, Dad!  I had the dates screwed up (you may have noticed I had them wrong on this blog) so I called to wish Dad a happy belated birthday two days ago.  Oops!

Today we took a trolley bus on a guided tour around the island.  It’s got quite a history.  It was named by Ponce de Leon back in the 1500s.  Since then, its been a military base, most notably, a Union base during the Civil War.  Even though Key West is the southernmost city in the United States, it refused to secede from the union.

From 1918 to the 1970s it was the main submarine base for the US.  In the early 1900s one of the partners of Standard Oil sold out and sunk $50 million into building a railroad to Key West, which was only accessible by boat at that point. This project included about 40 bridges.  He wanted to take advantage of the opening of the Panama Canal and he hoped Key West would be the place where all those ships docked and unloaded their cargo.  That railroad later became the basis for the road, now known as Highway 1.

President Truman spent 11 vacations in Key West during his presidency.  In fact, we toured the “Little White House” today.  I thought it was interesting that Truman had a shot of bourbon every morning with his orange juice—it was on his doctor’s orders.  Also interesting is the fact that most of those vacations (all but four) were without his wife.  She stayed in Washington because she thought her husband should have a “guys” vacation where he could drink and play poker without her comments.  Truman insisted that everyone who traveled with him get rid of their suits as soon as they arrived on the island.  They adopted Hawaiian shirts and khakis as their uniform and I think it was the origin for “loud shirts” contests.

Another favorite story involves the U.S. Border Patrol.  Apparently, they set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the Keys on Highway 1 (I think this was in the 1980s) and they searched every car—coming and going—for illegal aliens.  It meant anyone trying to enter or leave the Keys had to wait in a four hour line and everyone had to carry proof of citizenship with them.  This policy killed tourism in the Keys so they asked the Border Patrol to stop.  The Border Patrol refused.  So, over some cold beverages, the citizens of Key West considered their options.  They decided the US government was treating the Keys like a foreign country.  After all, the government had established a border, complete with document checks. So, Key West seceded from the union and named themselves the Conch Republic.  Then they declared war on the United States.  After a minute, they surrendered and applied for a $billion in foreign aid and $100,000 in war reparations.  Of course, this was all done in front of the national press and it embarrassed the Border Patrol into changing its policies (especially since they didn’t find one illegal alien the entire time the policy was in place.)

Tomorrow we plan to visit Hemingway’s House.  I’ll get some pictures posted tomorrow, too.  I’ve been distracted and my heart hasn’t been in touring or taking pictures.  I’ll remedy that tomorrow.

Driving through Florida

3,070 miles, so far.

The last couple of days have been all about the driving.  I thought Texas took forever to drive through—the length of Florida felt just as long.  I wish there was more to see from the interstate, but they kind of all look the same.  Trees, some crops, grass, maybe some wild flowers.  To see any of America, you have to get off the interstate.  Since we were more interested in getting from point A to point B, we didn’t.

We stopped Sunday night in Naples, Florida, and did the laundry.  We didn’t get around to dinner until nearly 9 pm.  Luckily, the Bob Evans was still open.  Don’t laugh—Bob Evans is our favorite place to stop on the road.  It has really good beef vegetable soup and we love the bread—whether they have cherry, banana, or blueberry.

On Monday, we were back on the road and headed for Key West.  It was a beautiful drive, but nothing like the road portrayed in the movie True Lies.  The road and bridges are narrow with only one lane going each way.  That means the driving is a little stressful.  This is especially true since the traffic is nearly bumper to bumper and the speed varies often from 35 to 45 to 55 and back again.  Despite that, it is really beautiful.  The water is a unique, deep aqua color.  I’ll get pictures for you soon.

We finally arrived at the hotel late Monday afternoon.  We spent a couple hours by the pool just relaxing and we had dinner at the hotel.  We’re looking forward to exploring Key West over the next several days.