My first visit to Key West was forty years ago. One sister was living in a trailer at the Simonton Trailer Park and I went down for a visit. The Simonton Trailer Park is no longer there, town-homes mark the site. Much has changed in Key West over the last 40 years, but some things have stayed the same.
Bicycles are still one of the main modes of transportation.
You can still get a great meal at Louie’s Backyard, complete with an authentic Key Lime Pie.
People still gather at Mallory’s Square for sunset.
You can still find the end of US 1, and mile marker 0.
Chickens and cats are still plentiful.
You can still wander the streets in the afternoon and evening to admire the historical homes.
There are still some cute independent stores, but you can also find Coach on Duval Street.
You can still catch a ride on the Conch Train.
Or catch a snapper or a hammerhead shark.
And you can still find the Southernmost Point.
We happened upon Key West during the Conch Republic Days. There were parades, of course, and re-enactments of some battle or other.
These days they shut down Duval Street to traffic in the evenings. That’s a new thing.
But you can still grab a drink at Sloppy Joe’s.
I highly recommend dinner at La Te Da. Good idea to make reservations, but sometimes you can just pop in and have a fantastic meal.
We stayed at the Simonton Court B & B. Awesome. An historic home with cottages on the old Hurricane Alley. We stayed in the mansion house and it was lovely.
We saw remnants of the old Overseas Railroad on the drive down US 1. There isn’t much left but you can see it from the Bahia Honda State Park. My own great grandfather worked on the construction of the railroad.
An excerpt from the website flaglerstation.net.
In May 1905, Henry Flagler was 75 years old and ready to begin the most daring and difficult venture of his life. He proposed to build a railroad 130 miles out to sea and instructed his engineers, “Go to Key West.” Key West was, at the time, the largest city in the state and strategically located in the Straits of Florida. It was America’s closest deep water harbor to the new Panama Canal. Combating mosquitoes, hurricanes, labor problems and the wilderness, the railroad took seven years to complete. On January 22, 1912 at 10:43 a.m. the first New York to Key West train arrived in the Southernmost City with Henry and his third wife, Mary Lily, aboard. The Key West Extension was considered Flagler’s greatest triumph and the grand culmination of his legendary career.
And no trip to southern Florida is complete without spotting a gator. This one was at a rest area off Alligator Alley.
Great view of the new and old of Key West.