Key West, Part 1 (Florida Keys Trip 2014)

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Florida Keys Trip Report

 

Can I just say how much I LOVED Key West? I mean, seriously loved it. There was so much to do, so many good places to eat, and it was just so laid back and beautiful. I had been there once before, but I was like 13 and we only stopped there for a few hours on a cruise destination. Do kids actually enjoy anything when they’re 13? Probably not, because I barely remembered anything about Key West.

But this time? So many memories!

Driving along the Overseas Highway (Key Largo to Key West)

We started with our drive along Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West.

Overseas Highway Drive Florida Keys Overseas Highway Drive Florida Keys Overseas Highway Drive Florida Keys

It appears that there was an old highway, or perhaps train tracks, that ran parallel to the Overseas Highway that was open to pedestrians. But large chunks were missing in places!

Overseas Highway road that runs parallel

Like in our Key Largo drives, Ken set up a timelapse to record our drive from Key Largo to Key West.  Once we were back, he created a map overlay using geosynced coordinates (which he tracks using a Garmin handheld GPS) and the Google Maps API.

We arrived in Key West, got checked into the Casa Marina, relaxed for a bit from our drive, and then headed out to explore Key West a little bit before the sun set. We had a taxi take us to the Mallory Square area, which was a perfect central location to begin exploring.

Buildings in Key West Streets in Key West

The actual Mallory Square part is popular for watching Key West sunsets, and I had read online that it could be extremely crowded at sunset, and loud as well with street performers. Both warnings lived up to the expectations. Crowded and loud. We snapped a few photos of sunset and then continued our walk and headed to dinner (more on where we ate in a future post!)

Mallory Square area in Key West Sunset from Mallory Square

The next day was chock full of activities. We started with the Ernest Hemingway Home.

Sign at Ernest Hemingway Home Entrance Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West

The Ernest Hemingway Home is, of course, famous for the author. But one could also argue that it’s famous for it’s 6-toed cats!

At the time we were visiting, there were 51 cats living on the premises.

Cats at Ernest Hemingway Home Six toed cats at Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West Sign to not pick up cats

They even hang out in the restrooms on the premises.

Cats in Hemingway House Bathroom

Oh, and in the gift shop too!

Cats in Hemingway House Gift shop

Tours of the house start every 15 minutes or so. After hanging out and taking pictures of cats for a while, we joined a tour that was starting.

Inside the Hemingway House Inside the Hemingway House Inside the Hemingway House Inside the Hemingway House Bedroom Inside the Hemingway House

Clearly the cats are not subject to the same rules as humans and are allowed to sit on the furniture, despite the signs!

Cats sitting on furniture in Hemingway House Cats sitting on furniture in Hemingway House Key West Bathroom in Hemingway House Balcony at Hemingway House Balcony at Hemingway House

One of Hemingway’s ex-wives spent an ungodly amount of money to install this swimming pool at his house. ($20,000 in 1938 dollars. That’s the equivalent of nearly $350,000 today) At the time, it was the biggest swimming pool in Key West!

Swimming pool at Hemingway House

Another fun feature: This fountain that had been a urinal from one of Hemingway’s favorite bars in Key West.

Urinal fountain at Hemingway House

The tour was really fantastic. After the organized tour was over, we just hung out on the grounds for a while, exploring (as well as relaxing on some benches!)

Grounds of Hemingway house Grounds of Hemingway house Grounds of Hemingway house Grounds of Hemingway house

We also noticed the cat cemetery, which includes a plaque of all the deceased cats.

Cat Cemetery at Hemingway House Cat Cemetery at Hemingway House

The even have their own replica Hemingway House to live in on the grounds!

House for cats at Hemingway House House for cats at Hemingway House

West Martello Tower / Key West Garden Club

Our next stop was West Martello Tower / Key West Garden Club, a short walk from our hotel. It was originally meant to be a fort, but was never finished and eventually was not needed. Now it serves as a botanical garden!

Entrance sign for West Martello Tower West Martello Botanical Gardens in Key West West Martello Botanical Gardens in Key West West Martello Botanical Gardens in Key West West Martello Botanical Gardens in Key West West Martello Botanical Gardens in Key West

Through the gates were some fantastic ocean views!

West Martello Botanical Gardens in Key West West Martello Botanical Gardens in Key West Key West Garden Club Key West Garden Club

Around Key West

So many of our photographs from Key West are not of particular sites or attractions. Like on this walk from West Martello Tower back to our hotel, we just stopped and enjoyed a bunch of things along the way!

Near White Street Pier in Key West Sculpture on beach in Key West Walls to Key West Garden Club from Beach

We walked down this pier (White Street Pier). Although it had fantastic views, the pier itself was in rough shape (cracked concrete, rust stains, etc.)

White Street Pier in Key West Views from White Street Pier Views from White Street Pier White Street Pier in Key West White Street Pier in Key West

And we walked by this beach that looked like a nice size public beach in Key West.

Public Beach in Key West Public Beach in Key West Public Beach in Key West

After our walk, we headed back to the hotel to relax for a little bit on some hammocks! Then we headed out for dinner and enjoyed the beautiful Key West November weather! The next day was full of activities too!

2 Comments

  1. nat   •  

    we are planning a trip to the keys soon!

  2. Pingback: Key West, Part 2 (Florida Keys Trip 2014) - Super NoVA Wife

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *