After a week in Key West, we realize why the locals call this island paradise, at least weather-wise. Below is a photo of the temperature on our daughter, Jessica’s car display this morning.
When we received this, we couldn’t resist sending her a photo of our thermometer at about the same time (7:45 AM).
The last couple of days we have spent exploring Key West by bicycle and on foot. One of the places we wanted to find was the Key West Conch Fritters stand in the main part of town. We visited Key West about 14 years ago and enjoyed a sampling of this local favorite so we felt we had to find it and see if the fritters were still tasty (which they are!).
The man running the stand said all the structures in this block are registered as historical landmarks so the stand can’t be moved or significantly altered without permission.
So, exactly what is a conch? A conch (conk – as in conk on the head) is a mollusk living in the shell that we all used to hear the seashore when we were very young. The name is ubiquitous in Key West, it is even the nickname of Key West High School. Every restaurant serves some sort of conch dish and the town proudly calls itself the Conch Republic after declaring its independence in response to a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock looking for drugs and illegal immigrants in 1982.
Below is a picture of the Truman Little White House on the grounds of what was once part of the Naval Base on the island. Harry Truman spend 147 days in this house during his presidency.
Below are a few of the local fowl population. The story is that the chickens were kept for food during the depression, but when better economic times came some people just let them go. Now there is a significant wild population walking the streets.
A few years ago the town council decided to remove the chickens and relocate them in a preserve near Tampa, but local residents kept sabotaging the traps so the effort was abandoned. Apparently the local philosophy of live and let live applies to poultry as well as people.
Below is a picture of a classic spot in Key West, the Southernmost Point marker. There is a line just left of the photo of people waiting to get their picture standing next to the marker but we opted for a seat on the wall.
After a long day of sightseeing it seemed appropriate that we support the local economy, so we opted for a bit of refreshment at one of the numerous drinking establishments along Duval Street. Pam really enjoyed the frozen rum drink but we limited her to one so she maintained the ability to walk to the car.
On Saturday we were treated to a visit from our son, Kevin. Kevin works in the law division of Delta Airlines in Atlanta and loves airplanes. He wanted to experience the “thrill” of a landing in a 737 on the very short runway at the Key West Airport, so he took a Delta flight down just before noon. We then took another walking tour of the city and enjoyed lunch and dinner in town.
Saturday night was the annual Lighted Boat Parade in the waters of the harbor. Signs posted all over the town made it look like a very big deal so we decided to check it out. What a let down! OK, it wasn’t that big a deal for us, but the parade consisted of only about four or five boats. The one featured below seemed to be the best.
The next morning we took Kevin back to the airport for a return flight to Atlanta. We’ll see him again during our stay next month in Ft. Myers.
We’ll be here in Key West for one more week before we head back to the Miami area for a couple of days. More on that later . . .