Just in case anyone had any doubt that my tongue was firmly in my cheek when I wrote it, this blog entry is dedicated to the 34 reasons why Key West rocks.
I love photographing Key West so I've also inserted some of the pics I took during my many trips to Key West.
#1 - Let's start with the obvious one: The weather. Oh yes, even the heat, the relentless sun, the humidity. They all provide Key West its DNA.
#2 - It's the only American city where you can walk everywhere and not need a car = reduced stress all round.
#3 - The architecture is so varied and stunning.
#4 - The people of Key West are one of a kind. Eccentric, laid back and proud.
#5 - It's a party town.
#6 - Margaritaville and the Parrotheads every November. Don't know why, but I love both.
Remember, as I always try to, It's 5 o'clock somewhere.
#7 - The history of Key West - for many years Florida's largest and richest city. Pirates, wrecking, sponges, turtles, cigars, railroad, navy... you couldn't make it up!
#8 - The artists of Key West. Abundant raw material has produced a vibrant art scene. My favorite: Peter Vey.
#9 - Highway 1 - the 156 mile drive down. Imagine you are Henry Flagler and it's January 22, 1912 every time you cruise the Overseas Highway.
#10 - The flight down from MIA. Witness how ridiculously narrow this beautiful string of islands really are.
#11 - That fact that there are vegetarian options in Key West - with several veggie only places.
#12 - So much sky.
(Taken from La Concha, by me, 2008)
#13 - So much sea.
#14 - Tropical magic: music, rain, storms and good looking palm trees. Why do palms look so cool all the time?
#15 - Key West sunset.
(Me kayaking off Stock Island, my best - and reddest - KW sunset ever).
#16 - The best martinis in the world. Virgilio's.
#17 - A handful of great restaurants.
#18 - A real sense of community.
#19 - An 'interesting' gay scene with gay cabaret, drag acts, a piano bar and strippers.
#20 - Audubon.
#21 - The legacy from Hemingway and Williams and the other Key West talents.
#22 - Sloppy Joe's. It's cool, just don't know why.
#23 - Blue Heaven - It's cool, too.
#24 - Key West tourist institutions: the aquarium, the Hemingway house, the Little White House, the buoy.
#25 - Key West non tourist institutions: the lighthouse, the Bight, Custom House, East Martello Museum.
#26 - Key West hidden gems: like Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden. And the Key West Botanical Garden.
#27 - Great food, great restaurants.
#28 - Fantasy Fest. Too much naked body painting. Something to tell the grandchildren about.
#29 - Nature given free reign. As if the many-coloured hibiscus, the extraordinary Royal Poinciana and the delicate frangipani weren't enough....
...In KW, as well as the beautiful, you also get the weird (I'm still talking nature, here). Check this out:
(Shaving Brush Tree in Key West, March 2008, Gecko Lane).
#30 - The weather. The sea. (Both well worth a second mention).
#31 - Widow's walks. How cool. How different.
#32 - How all of this, the people, the place, makes you feel when you are there.
#33 - Great seafood. Great drinks.
#34 - The best looking pelicans.
Hope you enjoyed as much as I did putting the list together.
Other Key West things you might like on my site....
Key West hotels - hints, tips and recommendations
Things to do in Key West - best of list, with lots of pictures and reviews