|Sorry these pics will be repeated below, need a pretty header pic for Bloglovin, Pinterest etc!|
So we took a little trek to Key West on our holiday....I hadn't been in, oh....20 years. Yikes! How old am I?! ;-0 I had blurry memories of steel drums and sunsets, and a longstanding desire to return, and so finally we bit the bullet and went on the mahoosive road trip from my Mom's in Bradenton (It's like a 6-7 hour drive, traffic not withstanding). It's a long trip, but then you get to the Keys...and it's still three more hours! But it looks like this:
|For a bridge over water phobic, there are a few long stretches like this (I think one is 7 miles long!)|
Then you get to Key West, and it all feels like you've been transported to a Caribbean island. It's so tropical feeling and laid back. (SO tropical, it was record breaking heat while we were there!)
We stayed at the Authors of Key West Guest House, which was a bit off the beaten path (about a 20 min. walk to the center of town, which doesn't sound like much but in 90+ degree heat felt a bit longer!) but I'm really happy we stayed there and not above the more, erm, rowdy Rum Bar which I was also looking at!
|So much walking!|
We stayed in the (former Key West resident) Tennessee Williams cottage, which was decorated appropriately...
The bed was comfy, my Mom had a fold out futon (lest you think I am a terrible daughter we did offer...plus we sleep on a futon at her house ;-). There was a small kitchen and a teeny tiny bathroom. For a small family it would be fine, the bathroom being in the bedroom wasn't really ideal for us sharing though we coped! It was cheap by Key West standards though so I can't really complain too much! There is a continental breakfast included which is served in the property's garden which is pretty, which of course I forgot to take a picture of!
There are two cats on the property, this one was being friendly with me but really he was just thirsty/wanted some of my water!
|So many streets are pretty picture postcard looking|
|But there's still a hint of ramshackle|
|And wild chickens,everywhere!|
And Ernest Hemingway's house! (more on that later)
|No idea what this place is, just seemed an obvious photo opportunity spot!|
And if you wander away from Duval Street, which tbh has become a bit tacky the closer to Mallory Square you get, you find all sorts of cute places...like Andy's Cabana - best fish tacos and cheap beer on the island! (Um there are no pictures of the tacos, we are put the tacos in our mouth people, not take a picture first people ;-)
|Andy's Cabana Key West|
|How cute is my Mom with her Pabst Blue Ribbon! I think it cost $2.50!|
You are literally at the end of the road....
Cute sign outside someone's house... 4389 miles to Edinburgh!
Thar be pirate ships....
And breathtaking sunsets that put everyone in the mood to party (apparently!)
|Mallory Square: The boy with the machete is just selling coconuts!|
And basically after a couple of days you start to think "I could get used to this island life lark!"
|Classic pirate ship coming out of head shot...|
The further down Duval Street you walk away from the hub, the more cute and "Old Key West" it gets, with posh shops interspersed with quieter gay and drag bars, which is more how I remembered it. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great place to visit, and I'm sure if you live there you would know where the cooler/less touristy places are hidden, but I do think they've gone a bit overboard with the honky tonk vibe/ Hard Rock Cafe and its ilk establishments.
We were there a week or so after the big Halloween parade "Fantasy Fest", which still had remnants of gay pride decor on various houses, which to me felt like when Key West must really come alive. Traditionally it was a haven for the artists, bohemians and gay community, which is what made Key West so full of culture and charm. It's still there, underneath the chain stores and tourism, I think you just have to search a tiny bit harder. It is still unquestionably a beautiful place to visit, and I feel we only scratched the surface of things to see there -our time there went by too quickly and I think when/if I go back I would probably stay a night or two in Miami first to break up the trip. And I would definitely get into the island way of life and rent a bike, everyone you see there is riding bikes, which makes sense, especially in the scorching heat!