Key West, Florida
The Florida Keys extend from the southern edge of Florida, southwest into the Gulf of Mexico. At land's end stands the island of Key West, the southern most point of the continental United States of America.
The inhabitants of this Florida enclave are an eclectic group made up of artists, entrepreneurs, retirees, writers and those who consider themselves to be living an 'alternative' or 'eccentric' lifestyle.
The local atmosphere is decidedly laid back as the biggest commitment on the island seems to be the almost subconscious daily gathering of people to watch the gorgeous sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
Key West is known for its clear blue waters, sun-filled skies, and laid-back attitude. In addition to being a great vacation spot, the city has also served as an artistic refuge, a presidential retreat, a military post, and an important port.
Vacations in Key West (be them short or long) are typically lazy, sunny days on the beach, and nights on the town that often last till dawn. The island is loaded with flashy clubs, shops and restaurants, and prices in this 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' destination can be a bit on the high side.
Some of the most popular island activities include eating a slice (or two) of 'Key Lime Pie,' strolling on Duval Street, dolphin encounters and whale watching, marlin and sailfish charters, parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, and scuba diving in some of the best coral reefs in all of the Caribbean Islands.
Coconuts are common in Key West, they really are.
Dogie T-shirts for sale in Key West.
The island has dozens and dozens of restaurants, with many (most) serving fresh seafood.
Roosters roam wild across Key West. You see them everywhere. A local told me that the last count exceeded 3,000. Tourists seem to like them while most of the residents want them gone. For now at least, the birds remain, and these two are begging for potato chips from a tourist.
This photo really show the look of Duval Street; note the bikes as they're a great form of island transportation.
Captain Tony's Saloon has been patronized through the years by many well-known artists, writers and celebrities. In fact, an interesting feature of the bar is that when any celebrity visits, a barstool is added with that patron's name. Inside you will find barstools painted with the names of Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Jimmy Buffett, Shel Silverstein, John Prine and even John F. Kennedy.
The Southernmost House in Key West, Florida, located right on water's edge, is one of the most famous Key West beach hotels, attracting presidents, royalty, and celebrities for more than 100 years. It is one of the most photographed and talked about attractions on the island
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway left a powerful legacy in Key West. His zest for life, literary accomplishments and enduring affection for the island he called home throughout the 1930s are commemorated each year during the annual Hemingway Days celebration. The major event include a look-alike contest for stocky white-bearded men resembling Hemingway. This is one of the 2013 contestants.
While living on Key West, Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most enduring works and spent his leisure hours fishing and socializing with local and literary cohorts. Each year, fans of his writing and exuberant lifestyle come together for Hemingway Days. On July 20, 2013, these Ernest Hemingway look-alikes demonstrated a "running of the bulls" for the annual celebration.
Without over doing it, this is a typical look in Key West; a two level wooden home with chairs on the porch
Flowers and trees grow like weeds on this tropical island; even orchards grow wild.
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