On a long 12 hour flight to Honolulu to start another semester, I picked up the travel magazine stuffed in the back-seat pocket and flipped through the pages. A feature story in the magazine featured Key West, where a woman traveled solo to the Florida Keys for a relaxing vacation. She wrote about all of the Overseas Highway (composed of 42 bridges), and her experience on a charter fishing trip. She also shared about the Conch Republic, “a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida.”
My mother, who has been to the keys a handful of times, loves it and always talked about going with my brother and I when we were old enough. Now that T.C. and I are in our early 20s, our mom is taking us to the Florida Keys for Christmas. Thanks, mom!
We’ll be staying at Mango Margarita (photos above), a house on the corner of one of the popular avenues in the area. We’ll be within walking distance to popular restaurants and shops. Here are some of the things we have planned to do while visiting Key West!
1. Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a climate controlled, glass enclosed habitat where we can walk through a world filled with butterflies, birds, and tropical plants. There a learning center where we can “explore the anatomy, physiology, life cycle, feeding and the migratory world of the Monarch butterfly.”
2. The Earnest Hemmingway Home and Museum
In the heart of Oldtown Key West is the home of famous author, Earnest Hemmingway. For more than 10 years, Hemmingway lived in this house and wrote a number of his novels here. Here, we’ll be able to tour the home he lived in and the grounds where over 40 cats take refuge.
3. The Southern Most Point
The southernmost point in the Continental United States is marked by a brightly painted red, yellow, white, and black buoy at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets. Erected in 1983 by the City of Key West, the Southernmost Point buoy marks an approximate 90 miles to Cuba.
4. Key West Light House
Lighthouses are imperative to navy operations as they light the way for all ships headed in and out of port. The Key West Light House was opened in 1848 with a woman (!!!) as it’s keeper. Since then it’s undergone numerous changes and upgrades like the addition of a third lens and the keepers quarters. It was decommissioned in the ’60s due to technological advancements, but we’ll still get to walk up the 88 stairs to learn about this history of the lives of the lighthouse keepers.
5. Key West Garden Club
The Key West Garden Club is one of the last remaining free places to visit in Key West. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to tropical gardening and West Martello Tower. The Garden Club is one of Key West’s most secluded spots and features beautiful pathways that lead to gazebos overlooking the sea.