This week KeysCaribbean Luxury Resort Villas & Marinas continue to focus our attention on each part of the Florida Keys. We feature Key West in the Lower Keys this week. How to describe the lure of Key West? According to TripSmarter.com, the travel website of the destination network, Key West is irresistible, …featuring storybook architecture, beautiful gardens and luring the famous and non famous alike….
“Ernest Hemingway, Harry Truman and Jimmy Buffett…an unlikely trio under most circumstances, but the author, president and singer all shared a common bond — an inability to resist the lure of a small island 90 miles north of Cuba. It’s little wonder that Key West has been a haven for the famous — and for the non-famous, too.
Everyone seems to enjoy the relaxed pace, the storybook architecture, the often carnival-like street life and the end-of-the-world feel…after all, it is the last in a chain of islands (or “keys” as they are called) 150 miles from the mainland of Florida. The natural surroundings are just as pleasant: Hibiscus, bougainvillea, jasmine and frangipani give the island a tropical feel and smell.
The heart of Key West is the historic Old Town area, which runs from White Street west to the waterfront. In the early 19th century, wharves, warehouses, chandleries, ship-repair facilities, and the U.S. Customs House sprang up around the deep harbor to accommodate large vessels — both commercial ships and those of the U.S. navy. The lavish Victorian houses the town’s wealthy merchants and sea captains built, along with the dwellings of famous writers, artists, and politicians who’ve come to Key West over the past 175 years, are among the area’s approximately 3,000 historic structures. Old Town also has the city’s finest restaurants and hotels, lively street life, and popular nightspots. It’s easy to get around by renting a bicycle or moped, taking a shuttle or taxi and many locals walk everywhere they go-parking is scarce (or costly) and the wise tourist will leave his car behind, parked at the guest house or Hotel.
There are many charter boats to take you off the island for snorkeling, diving or fishing…getting “on” the water should be an integral part of any visit to Key West. There are sunset sails for the timid or romantic or hydrofoils that will speed you to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas for a day of adventure. If you’re a landlubber, then spend your day walking around Old Town and soak up the mix of flavors, including hints of Cuba and Old Florida. But no matter how you spend your time, expect to be part of a crowd because Key West draws droves of people.
Most of the action is, for the most part, centered around the many bars and nightclubs that line Duval Street, the city’s main drag in Old Town. Indeed, many a young sailor — or middle-aged housewife from Topeka, for that matter — has awakened with a pounding head, bloodshot eyes, and a certain taste in the mouth, all classic symptoms of an evening spent perfecting the “Duval Crawl.” Think about it for a moment, if you will…
For those with more cultured tastes, there’s the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, Waterfront Theater and the Red Barn Theater, all of which offer a variety of music concerts, plays and other performing arts events.The San Carlos Institute, now restored, is another spectacular venue frequently used for showing art films or other “cultured” events!
Many people simply come to Key West for great seafood! Talented young chefs have settled in Key West, contributing to the area’s image as one of the nation’s points of culinary interest…of course, live music and late night carousing do not a culinary paradise make, but the island’s tropical climate and proximity to Cuba have both played unmistakable roles in the formation of Key West cuisine. Florida citrus, fresh seafood, and tropical fruits figure prominently on local menus, as do black beans, yucca, and other Cuban and Caribbean staples. Also, the many Cuban-style cafes are both affordable alternatives and antidotes to the slew of mediocre “bar food” emporiums that line Duval Street. However, be sure to visit one of these little cafes, even if it’s just to take a break and have a cup of oh-so-strong Cuban coffee…but the list of really good restaurants (and not all expensive) is long and should be explored!
Seafood is the order of the day in Florida, and Key West is certainly no exception. Florida lobster, stone crab, shrimp, fish — you name it: if it swims, crawls, or grows in the ocean, it’s on a menu somewhere in town…and you can be assured it’s all fresh! Fresh seafood is a staple for every restaurant in town. Crab and lobster season usually runs from August to March, but emergency harvesting restrictions and bad weather can affect availability. Whatever you desire, if your first choice is not available, the best advice is to get whatever else is fresh that day. And if you are from a part of the world where deep-fried seafood is the norm, try your fresh catch broiled or grilled for a change. You just might be surprised at how much of the flavor you’ve been missing.
So much has been made of key lime pie that it seems few people know the real McCoy from the chain restaurant version anymore. Authentic key lime pie is made from authentic key limes (about the size of a large egg with a remarkably tart pulp), and the traditional version of the pie is easy to identify: It has a yellow (not green!) custard in a graham-cracker crust and tastes like nothing else. Some restaurants close at certain times of the year (they need a vacation, too) but if your favorite place happens to be closed…simply explore. In Key West, another restaurant — or bar — is always just around the corner.
When you’ve enjoyed a day on the water, dined in an exquisite outdoor restaurant and danced the night away..” you’ve experienced just a tad of the fun in Key West- from TravelSmarter.com
STAY WITH KEYS CARIBBEAN LUXURY RESORT VILLAS & MARINAS AMAZING PROPERTIES THROUGHOUT THE KEYS:
In The Middle Keys:
In the Middle Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resort Villas & Marinas has the Village at Hawks Cay Villas on Duck Key, Indigo Reef Resort Villas & Marina and the Coral Lagoon Resort Villas & Marina vacation rentals in Marathon
In The Lower Keys:
In the Lower Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resort Villas & Marinas has the Coral Hammock Resort Villas and Kings Point Marina & Condominiums vacation rentals