On our way we found an art & farmer's market setting up in Truman Waterfront Park. We couldn't pass that up! Tours are available of the ship also.
We passed the Coffee Butler Key West Amphitheater, took pictures of the birds hanging out in front of the The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and checked out the equipment display in front of the Truman Annex Naval Air Station.
Admission to Fort Zachary Taylor is $2.50 each for pedestrians. Car admission is $4.50 for single admission, $7.00 for two passengers, increasing by 50 cents for each additional passenger. The park is open daily from 8 am to sunset. The fort is open from 8 am to 5 pm. We found a bit of history in the park before reaching the fort.
The Blacksmith Shop
Fort Zachary Taylor
Beautiful view from the top deck...
But it's the history uncovered up top that's remarkable!
"The 10 Holer"
Egads! A little privacy please!
Harbor View - Upper Deck
Iguana View - Upper Deck
Ack! They were HUGE!!
Sally Port & Jail Cells
Armory & Equipment
The Grounds of Fort Taylor
Keep following. We'll meet you there!
There's a lot going on at Mallory Square! Shopping, museums, the aquarium, history, art, food, goofy photo ops, unusual people & incredible sunsets. We did not see it all. We skipped the indoor activities - the aquarium, shipwreck museum & shopping but we had plenty of fun and learned a lot in the process.
The Fun Stuff
Before we visited, my thoughts of Key West only brought to mind the fun stuff. You always hear about the Duvall Street partying, kooky people & crazy island lifestyle. I never really thought about the history beyond Key West's "secession" from the U.S. to become the Conch Republic. Mallory Square is full of interesting history!
U.S. Naval History
"Remember the Maine!"
"The Wreckers" is a tribute to the sailors that patrolled the waters off the keys in search of ships wrecked along the coral reefs. Wreckers were the first responders of their day credited with saving many lives and precious cargo. Salvaging cargo from shipwrecks, or wrecking, was profitable and significant to Key West's history.
Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden
The Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden opened in 1997 and features 36 cast bronze busts of notable historical figures that have made the most impact on Key West. The busts were created by artist James Mastin.
Mallory Square Sunset - Thanksgiving 2020
Mallory Square Sunset - "Black Friday" 2020
"It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream."
Rest up. Tomorrow is a new day full of adventure and there's much to explore.
For two days we explored Key West by foot. There are plenty of places to rent bicycles, mopeds, Segways & carts. We thought about it but not for long. We had just arrived & had already observed several "accidents waiting to happen." Key West is congested. Cars, pedestrians, tourists, mobile tiki bars & too many inexperienced riders on rented wheels. We played it safe & decided to hoof it.
Key West had the highest COVID density of all the places we visited in Florida. We decided early on that we would stick to outdoor spaces and walk the less congested streets. (It doesn't take long for Duvall Street to fill up.) There are many places I would like to go back & tour when it's safer to do so. For now, we were content with an exterior view. We decided to wander without a map & managed to find most of the locations we had hoped to see.
Southernmost Point Buoy - 90 Miles to Cuba
Emma Carrero Cates Pier - Southernmost Pier
Our next stop was the Emma Carrero Cates Pier, the southernmost pier, just down from the Southernmost Buoy. Absolutely nobody there but us Pillywiggins. Go figure. We thought it was a much nicer spot.
I love architecture & we're both history buffs. Had it not been for Covid, we would have toured each of these historic landmarks. I was bummed to miss out on the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Next time. It was too hot & muggy for me to want to don a mask to enter a glass house.
Same with the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens although we were able to catch a glimpse from the sidewalk. There was still plenty to see outside. We went in search of the Banyan Resort to admire their huge banyan tree. Later, we stumbled upon a Kapok tree too.
Famous Watering Holes
We did not visit any of Key West's famous watering holes. We were too busy exploring to stop for cocktails. But, we did pop into the gift shops at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville & Sloppy Joes to pick up souvenir koozies & shot glasses for Grandma Pillywiggin's collection.
I would have loved to visit The Key West Museum of Art & History and experience more of the local art scene. It didn't take long to realize, if you want to see it all it's going to take more than 2 days. We caught a performance artists in Mallory Square & spotted some cool artwork on our walks though.
Little Red Roosters - Everywhere!
I was terrorized by a mean ol' rooster named Dominic when I was a kid growing up on the farm. That dang rooster stalked me. He'd pop out of nowhere & chase me around the barnyard, scaring the bejeebers out of me. I haven't been a fan of chickens since but the Key West roosters are protected and they seemed fairly docile...
Wrong! In a tree just beyond the resort boundaries, a flock of roosters crowed nonstop well past midnight. Then, those buggers started up again between 4:00-5:00 am. Needless to say, I'm still not a fan. We didn't get much sleep on Key West thanks to the roosters. I'm not sure how the locals keep their sense of humor with all that racket... but they do!
Jason was on a mission to find the best seafood in Key West. He handled everything including our reservations. He chose A & B Lobster House for our last night on the island. Hands down, A & B Lobster House served the best meal we have EVER eaten! We dined outside on the balcony overlooking the harbor. We watched huge tarpon swim through the green light under water. The service was excellent & our meal was beyond compare. If you visit Key West, we highly recommend A & B Lobster House.
Greetings! My name is Julie. I'm a bookkeeper by trade, an artisan by choice & the author of this blog by default. :)