Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

Key West….definitely the jewel in Florida’s crown

by Bob Wonders on 17 Mar 2011
Sloppy Joe’s, Duval Street, Key West, arguably the most famous bar in the United States - Key West Bob Wonders
One of the good things about visiting the Miami International Boat Show is the opportunity to take a detour south and visit the Florida Keys and its capital, Key West.

In February I made my third visit to this truly magical part of the world, a world of crystal clear waters, stunning sunsets and more bridges…..well, more bridges than almost anywhere, I would think.

Although Key West, the southernmost point of the Continental United States, is only a four-hour drive, one must cross 42 bridges, including the ‘daddy’ of them all, the All American seven-mile (11.25 km) bridge.

‘The Keys’, as locals refer to the region, must seem like Heaven on Earth to anglers and scuba divers; every strip shopping centre or mall seemed to host tackle stores, scuba equipment outlets, charter boat operations and boat yards, while the entire coast on both sides is dotted with marinas of all shapes and sizes.

Keen anglers rate the region as ‘paradise’ for both light tackle and heavy tackle fishing.

Islamorada, one of the first major destinations on the Keys after leaving Miami, offers sport fishing for all comers form one of its many marinas.

The waters wide of the coast are home to a variety of fish, including highly prized billfish and dedicated anglers recognise the region as among the finest fishing grounds on South Atlantic waters.

Key West, which calls itself ‘the Conch Republic’, is rather historic in many ways, its use even dating back to the American Civil War; it also became prominent during the so-called ‘Cold War’, particularly when the late President John F Kennedy threw down the gauntlet to the USSR over the Cuban missile crisis.

A ‘conch’, by the way, is a crustacean resembling a snail; I’m told Spanish-speaking people pronounce the word as ‘Conch’, English-speaking peoples pronounce it ‘Conk.’

Take your pick.

Real estate in Key West is expensive, make that incredibly expensive.

A local told me that ‘decent’ houses start at about $4 million; condominiums from $1 million (and that’s for a fairly small one!).

To rent a small, one-bedroom apartment, figure on $1200 or more per month.


Away from fishing, scuba diving and just playing tourist, Key West can lay claim to some, well, let’s say mighty interesting attractions.

Foremost among them is the historic Sloppy Joe’s, a bar on Duval Street which also stages annually the Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest which regularly attracts in excess of 100 entrants.

This particular establishment is actually the third to carry the name Sloppy Joe’s; the genuine original was in Havana, Cuba, and in 1934 it opened just a few doors from the present site, a location now known as Captain Tony’s.

The present Sloppy Joe’s opened in 1937 and has been there ever since, dispensing all manner of cooling drinks to local and visitors.


Hemingway made no secret of his fondness for Key West and his house, where he write one of his blockbuster novels, ‘To Have and Have Not’, is a major tourist attraction; as is a quite palatial residence known as ‘The Little White House.’

This was the home of former US President Harry S Truman, who spent most of his free time out of Washington, DC, at ‘The Little White House’, which made him smarter than the average politician, in my book.



Another attraction to both locals and tourists is Mallory Square which, as the name implies, is the city’s square, but it has won fame for the view it offers for Key West’s fabulous sunsets.

Entertainers, buskers and various market stalls all give the square a carnival atmosphere and the sunsets are definitely worth seeing.



Hotels, motels and guest houses all seem to make maximum use of waterfront locations and it’s easy to locate a restaurant or bar where your feet are almost awash with the waters of the Caribbean, the Atlantic or the Mexican Gulf, depending on your actual location.

Many sections of the highway from Miami to Key West have water both sides, the Atlantic Ocean to your left, the Gulf of Mexico to your right.

It’s all just part of the broad appeal of the Keys.

To those readers who have never been there, my advice is do it, do it soon.

It’s unique, it’s a one-of-a-kind place that you will want to re-visit time and time again.

Don’t believe me?

Visit the very informative website, www.fla-keys.com

I’ll wager you’ll start looking at ways and means to get there.

Insun - AC ProgramGiacomo Yacht SaleNaiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Yacht Racing Forum extends partnership with Zhik for two more years
Top sailors choose Zhik gear to win world championships, and demand it for their OIympic campaigns. The company sells its products into an international network covering more than 40 countries, in Europe, the Americas and the Asia Pacific.
Posted today at 12:10 pm
Moth Worlds – Moth speed uncovered
C-Tech’s Tim Willetts takes time to reflect on changes in Moth class rig design and development over the past six years With the 2017 Moth world championship starting Tuesday, C-Tech’s Tim Willetts takes time to reflect on changes in Moth class rig design and development over the past six years. A lot has happened behind the scenes that is giving the top sailors the edge by staying ahead.
Posted today at 9:25 am
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
World Sailing confirms strong presence at Yacht Racing Forum 2017
The tenth edition of the Yacht Racing Forum, in Aarhus, Denmark will reassemble the sport’s key personalities and actors The tenth edition of the Yacht Racing Forum, in Aarhus, Denmark (November 27-28) will once again reassemble the sport’s key personalities and actors, including a strong delegation of World Sailing representatives.
Posted on 19 Jul
Watch Change in Crosshaven - UK Sailmakers under new command
'Our strength has always been service, quality and people. Right now, they are Graham, Claire and Barry.' The famous Crosshaven loft that is part of the UK Sailmakers organisation will shortly have a new crew on deck. Barry Hayes, Claire Morgan and Graham Curran are taking over from Des McWilliam who is stepping down after 39 years in the business and 25 years at the helm of McWilliam Sailmakers.
Posted on 3 Jul
When the going gets hot Zhik has the answers on what to wear afloat
Whilst many of us Brits are looking in the sailing bag wondering what on earth to wear afloat in this heatwave Whilst many of us Brits are looking in the sailing bag wondering what on earth to wear afloat in this heatwave, Zhik the Australian sailing apparel innovators are set up for dealing with extreme heat, moisture management and sun protection.
Posted on 22 Jun
AkzoNobel named as official supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard
The competing boats– including team AkzoNobel’s brand new Volvo Ocean 65– have already been coated with Awlgrip products AkzoNobel will be the official coatings supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard in 2017-18, after signing a deal to ensure that the fleet of Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts will be coated with the company’s International and Awlgrip range of products
Posted on 29 May
World Sailing and Volvo join forces for the future of sailing
The partnership is a signal of the Volvo Ocean Race's commitment to the sport and future of offshore sailing. As part of an ambitious plan, World Sailing will partner with the Volvo Ocean Race, owned by Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group, to develop the next generation of offshore sailors.
Posted on 18 May
TIMEZERO by MaxSea extends navigation partnership with Clipper Race
TIMEZERO by MaxSea, has been named as the Official Navigation Software Supplier for Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Returning for its second race partnership, TIMEZERO by MaxSea, has been named as the Official Navigation Software Supplier for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.
Posted on 18 May
North Technology buys Hall Spars from receivership
North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. The Hall Spars US parent company announced in early 2017 that it would be closing the doors due to well publicized financial challenges. The acquisition covers Auckland and Brekens and Hall Spars will re-establish in Rhode Island
Posted on 9 May