Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Key West travel guide

Key West vacation?  You've probably checked out some travel guides - do a quick search and you find loads of them.  This is a review of the commercial visitor guides to Key West – websites and online – that you might come across. 

But beware dear visitor to Key West!  There are a only a very small number of excellent guides, and a whole heap of boring or useless guides out there.



Frommer's has by far the best coverage of Key West – online anyway – than all the other ‘famous’ named guides. It’s the only guide to provide a good level of detail on KW.  Great stuff, Frommers.

A fair amount of content available online and what I like is they stick their necks out and are opinionated give marks (out of 3, using the standard Frommers system for marking everything from attractions to restaurants).  Having said that, their judgement especially on the restaurants I personally feel is out of kilter to reality!
Things I agree with: Antonia’s given 2 stars, Mangia Mangia given 1 star
Things I disagree with: La Trattoria only given 1/3 stars (should be 2); Blue Heaven only given 2 stars (should be 3); White Street Bistro listed (now closed), only rate 23 restaurants so lots of good ones not covered, 915 getting 3 stars (should be 2); Sarabeth’s only 2 stars (should be 3 – my favourite restaurant of 2011!)
Top things according to Frommers (3 stars): Key West cemetery (only 1 attraction got 3 stars); Café Marquesa, Hot Tin Roof, Mangoes, 915,

Best quotes:
‘If you're looking for a party, you'll find it in Key West.’

‘There are two schools of thought on Key West -- one is that it has become way too commercial, and the other is that it's still a place where you don't have to worry about being prim, proper, or even well-groomed. I think it's a bizarre fusion of both -- a fascinating look at small-town America where people truly live by the (off) beat of their own drum…’
‘Laid-back Key West still exists, but it's now found in different places: the backyard of a popular guesthouse, for example, or an art gallery, a secret garden, a clothing-optional bar, or the hip hangouts of Bahama Village. Fortunately, there are plenty of these, and Key West's greatest historical charm is found just off the beaten path.’

‘The heart of town offers party people a good time -- that is, if your idea of a good time is the smell of stale beer, loud music, and hardly shy revelers.’


New York Times
OK article by Sarah Wildman on 36 hours in Key West
All the other articles are 2009 or before.
Best quote:
'Ditch the car'

I was not at all impressed by this site.  Key West is relegated to part of the broader Florida Keys, which is not really how tourism works here.  Not much on Key West itself.  And quite boringly written.

Lonely Planet
It very honestly quotes the ‘last updated’ date – which is unfortunate as it’s way back in 17 February 2009.  Apart from a quick list of what to visit and a 300 word introduction, that’s it for Key West.

Best quote:
Anyone will tell you Key West is a little kooky – and darn proud of it. In the words of one local: ‘It’s like they shook the United States and all the nuts fell to the bottom.’

Rough Guide
Dismal coverage of Key West – the worst.  I hope that the actual (paper) book is better than what they make available online.
Best quote:
‘To best absorb this atmosphere – and the mellow pace of local life – take time to amble the gorgeous, lushly vegetated streets, make meals last for hours, and pause regularly for refreshment in the numerous bars.’

And now the other commercial web guides. (Not covered here are fan sites or non-commercial guides, like my blog.  You can see my recommendations to the best Key West blogs here.)


Trip Advisor

Everyone knows TripAdvisor.  It’s a great site and the Key West pages and reviews are very active and generally quite accurate.
Hint: the Key West forum is very good for any tricky question you have.  It’s manned by a dedicated crew of Key West local experts. No question has yet gotten the better of them!

A wide variety of 26 articles on Key West attractions and way of life.  Well worth a look as there are some gems in here.  Including:
Top Events
The overseas highway history
Best bars in Key West


The Florida Keys and Key West official tourist website

This is good as it features the entire Florida Keys and not just Key West so that is useful if you are planning on stopping off on the driver down.  It’s also a very good looking site with impressive images.
The  ‘How to Get Here’ section is useful.  The second video, about KW history, on the KW page is pretty interesting.  And the calendar of events is searchable and essential – very useful to check out what’s on when you are planning on coming.  The Key’s Voices section is also interesting, with over 50 profiles of the fascinating people who live in the Keys, including the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, several the Key’s scuba divers, biologists, artists, actors and drag queens!
Finally, the interactive map is pretty cool as well.
All in all, this is a great site and a great resource for the traveller.

This site is massive and it’s fantastically optimised for the web which means that it ranks very often in #1 position and so you’ll see it a lot on Google.  But it is worth Google’s high ranking?
Basically, it’s ok.  It’s a quasi-official Key West tourist board site so don’t expect too much critical assessment, reviews or detail.  It’s good as a listing of everything available.  Also the sponsored adverts at the top of most pages really get in the way and, of course, are not necessarily a sign of quality as the advertiser paid to go there.


Best on Key West

Visit Key West online
Mainly just a listings site with no value add beyond this.  Promises hotel reviews and images and does not have them. Broken links.
Not the best, but with 1 exception:
The historical photo album has some cool old black and white images of Key West as it was

Visiting Key West – Location Guide
The mast head on this site does not even feature Key West – it looks like Miami coastline (maybe).  There is content here, and it’s ok, but you really get the feeling that it was written by someone who has never visited Key West!  

Key West Travel Guide
Again, mainly listing.  No special or unique content that I could find.  Nice quick summary though.

Whats at Florida Keys
Apparently ‘Key West attractions are often cheap, laid back, but certainly memorable,’
Ok so they have a stab at a best of list, here’s what they include: Hemingway House, Seahorse charters (what?), Butterfly conservatory, Mallory Square, The turtle hospital (which is brilliant and very fantastic place to visit – but it’s 23 miles away from Key West and they don’t mention this!), Little White House and Robbies Marina (what?).
Also, not a lot of content here.

Remember to check out the best fan blogs to Key West too.

If you know of any other good blogs please do email or leave a comment.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Key West blogs

There are a select number of Key West blogs which are essential reading for preparing and researching for a visit to Key West.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few poor, old, crappy blogs about KW.  And only very few good ones!   Here’s my view on which are the best Key West blogs.

Key West Blogs that give a flavor of the place

#1 - Key West diary by Conchscooter

The best Key West blog.  Conchscoter has been doing a daily photo blog (which is an amazing and very time consuming commitment) since 2007 and it's very good with lots and lots and lots of images of Key West and the lower Keys.

Key West Visitor Guide

Obviously, I hope you like this blog -  [my blog, this blog you are reading now!]

Key West Travel Blog

Regularly updated and lots of pictures - a good blog.

The Key Wester

Regularly updated by Genn, the Key West concierge, a good local perspective, particularly good on restaurant reviews.

Key West Blogs that give a flavor of the people

This Week on the Island

A weekly summary of news and other bits and bobs, written by Doug Bennett.  Very good.

Key West the Blog

Written weekly or so by Arthur A. Winstanley it's a highly personal, amusing and sometimes political take on Key West and other issues.

And that's them all!  If I've missed any then please do let me know in the comments below.

Key West websites

I wanted to do a blog about Key West websites.  So many people plan their visits in advance and check out the websites, it’s really important for tourism businesses to get it right.

I do website marketing for a living so I am a bit qualified on this subject! 

So, what makes a good website?

It’s not a simple question, as websites need to do a variety of different jobs these days, but I would say:

  • Give a real feel for the place and what's it is like to visit.  So when designing it really think carefully before how you can do this.  It's tricky but it's worth the effort.
  • Very easy to find the basic visitor information – where is it, when is it open, how much does it cost – including maps and directions and telephone numbers
  • Lots and lots of great pictures- this is where many KW websites fell down
  • A few videos, well produced, not more than a few minutes otherwise it’s too long
  • About who owns the establishment, the history, the heritage
  • Some detail - An online tour of the exhibits so readers can be sure it's right to visit and not too risky
  • Good quality site so it ranks highly in search results – search optimised website.  This is not easy to achieve – you need great original content, regularly updated, and (just as important) also a website that is search engine friendly.  Not all website platforms are like this.
  • Finally, reference any awards, unique features, TripAdvisor citations, special offers, or visitor praise.

In general, the sites I visited were all ok or better, which is great as it means they ARE  doing themselves justice. However, lots of room for improvement, and in some cases simple changes for the better....


Conch tour train website
8 out of 10

Great branding, including a special logo they have made up for its 50th anniversary.  The main image box takes up a lovely big area above the fold and has very engaging photos.  The home page is a bit too long and crowded – they have tried to get everything including the kitchen sink on it!  There’s a good video, on the homepage, complete with compulsory tropical music soundtrack!  Telephone number clearly displayed, and a contact us section.  Could have linked the ‘Tour Route’ page to the map.  They even include the prices.  All in all, it’s a fun and engaging site and gives a good impression of the tour itself.

Old Town Trolley Tours website
7 out of 10

When you open this page, there is an embedded video that starts automatically (ie you don’t have to click it).  It’s ok but not helped by the singing Mike Myers looking hippe who comes on for a musical  cameo half way through the video.   A little bit embarrassing, actually.
The branding and feel of the site is not as good but it’s simpler and less crowded.  Static single image on the web (rather than revolving multiple images) is a missed opportunity.  'Meet our conductors' section is a nice touch.  The Our Company section is also genuine. 
The call themselves ‘Key West’s best sightseeing tour’ all over the website – not sure how they justify that!
The content here is better than the competition – the description of the tour is much better and more comprehensive – so it’s just a shame the pictures and the website isn’t as impressive on first look.


Mallory Square website
4 out of 10
This looks very corporate and boring – it doesn’t help that whenever the site mentions Mallory Square they put a little ‘sm’ after it (for legal purposes, I suppose, but looks really bad).  The pictures are small and don’t impress.  It’s known for the sunset celebration and they’ve chosen only a moderately good sunset, in my opinion.  I’ve got loads of better pictures of the Key West sunset they could use!

Hemingway home and museum website
9 out of 10
Very dramatic pictures and great branding on the site, including of a cute Hemingway House cat.  Very detailed content about the man and all aspects of the house – very impressive content indeed.  Also picture slideshows of the gardens.   On the logistics side, there’s a map and directions and a clear and easy contact us form.
Truman Little White House website
7 out of 10
Again, good content including lots on the man himself – so not just a few pages.  The branding and pictures are not as good  as Hemingway site.  But the separate photo gallery section, with lots of old pics,  is fascinating.  They have a social media section too.
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum website
7 out of 10
A really interesting, fascinating homepage that really draws you in.  Good volume of content, several 30 second videos.  Not the clearest navigation but all the info is there once you find it.

Key West aquarium website
8 out of 10
I was pleasantly surprised – this site is lively, colourful and really fun.  Lots of pictures and easy to navigate.   Almost all the pictures are close up of fish – would be nice to see what the aquarium inside actually looks like.  OK content on the animals.
Audubon House website
5 out of 10
This website is not as sophisticated as many of the others reviewed here but that’s not surprise as it’s a non profit organisation.  Bearing that in mind, they have done a good job although the pictures could be larger, and more numerous, the store is ‘under construction’ (just take it off the navigation for now!) and there could be some more content on.  This is such a cool place to visit in person, it’s a shame the website does not quite live up to it.
Key West tropical forest and garden website
5 out of 10
Another non commercial site.  They could really do with more pictures on the homepage, including of the gardens themselves which are totally cool – but this really does not come over in this site.  There is a good separate photo gallery but it’s a bit hidden.   I love their logo by the way!  The visit us section is nice and clear with good directions.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Best beaches in Key West featuring Fort Zach beach

Key West is not famous for its beaches but there is one exceptional beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park – which everyone calls Fort Zach beach.

Here’s all the essential information about beaches in Key West and about visiting Fort Zach and then lots of photos.

If I don’t like Fort Zach what are the other options?

The only other beach really is Smathers Beach which is 500 feet long and has lots of commercial water sports companies there.  It’s got nice sand and it’s fine if a bit boring.  It’s a 5/10 beach where Fort Zach is a 8/10 beach. 

After Fort Zach beach and Smathers Beach you've used up all your Key West beach options.  That's it.  Then you need to go out of Key West and up the Keys.  The best beach anywhere in the Keys is Bahia Honda which has won ‘best beach in the USA’ awards and is fantastic – a classic blue sea, sandy Caribbean beach. 
Bahia Honda beach is at mile marker 36.8 oceanside (that is, it’s 36 miles from Key West – about an hour’s drive.

So, now let's return to the best Key West beach: Zach Taylor beach.

How do I get there?
It’s fairly close to Duval and the main downtown area – just less than a mile.  It’s great to cycle there (10 mins from Duval), or walk (30 mins - hot and sweaty walk in the summer, but still rewarding if you are a walking kind of person) or drive.  There is a big car park just by the beach.

So while it’s not far from the centre of town it is away from all shops – there is only a small café at the beach.  So basically bring everything you’ll need as you can’t ‘pop’ to the supermarket!

Do I have to pay an entrance charge?
Yes, it’s a state park – the charge is from $4.50 for a car, $2.50 if walking.

Is the walk from town to the beach nice?
Yes it’s great.  I recommend you visit the Eco centre on the way (free) to learn about Keys sea life.  Some great exhibits there and pretty educational.
Also go to the Fort itself – see next.

So what about the Fort itself?
It’s a surprisingly impressive / big (i.e. at least 500 yards long, the whole park covers 87 acres) fort well worth visiting. And historic - building work started in 1845.  And there are lots of massive Civil War cannons.

It’ll only take 15 minutes to see the whole thing.  Once you have paid to get into the park, visiting the fort is free.

What’s the beach like?
Amazing Australian pines surrounding the park.  Beach runs for 500 metres. The sand can be more ‘pebble like’ and sharp up one end of the east-west beach (the east end), so that end is less busy as a result.  If you don’t like the rough sand go up the other end where it’s softer (ie more like sand!).

Does it get busy?
Yes, it’s the local’s favourite too so go during the week if you can.

Is there a café or restaurant?
There is a friendly café serving water, basic cooked food and snacks and ice cream etc.  Nothing fancy.

What do you recommend for food?
Come after lunch or bring your own picnic.  There are many tables, sheltered under the Australian pine tress, with BBQs too.

What is there to do at Fort Zach beach?
  • Walk to the Fort itself (5 minutes to the Fort from the beach)
  • Snorkel is good idea – when I was there a snorkeller saw a barracuda in the very shallow water very near the water line
  • Walk along the Australian pine wood and back (only takes 10 minutes but you see lovely views out to the reef and of Key West harbour).
  • Enjoy the sun, of course!
Can you see the sunset?
Yes, it’s a great place to see the sunset.

What are the facilities?
There is a decent toilet with running water, where you can change.
There are full height showers in 2 or 3 places dotted in the park.
There is a chair and towel hire service – for about $30 per day for the lot.

What’s the swimming like and the water.
It’s fine and loads of people are in the water.
The water is shallow for a bit and then gets deeper.  It’s absolutely NOT Caribbean ideal sand and blue water though – actually pebbles and sharp coral, which makes getting into the water a bit slow and painful, then seaweed.  
The water near the shore is really hot so you’ll need to go a bit out for a more refreshing temperature.

How good is it really?
It’s great, a really beautiful beach.  Lovely views out to the horizon of... nothing!  
If you are in Key West for longer than 3 days then it’s worth a visit for half a day or a few hours.  Definitely add a visit to the eco center and the fort itself as well as the beach, they are both on the way.

More tips
If you've visited Fort Zach beach or you are an experienced local then please leave a comment, below. Many thanks.

Hope you enjoy my photos - all taken by me in September 2011.

At the entrance to  Fort Zach park. 

Fort Zach park sign at entrance

Fort Zach directions - check out the Fort to the right as part of your visit to the beach.

Inside Fort Zach - looking towards the harbor.

From the ramparts of Fort Zach itself out to the reef.

The walls and moat of Fort Zach

Fabulous brickwork of Fort Zach.  Not sure how old these bricks are but the construction work started in 1845.

The cafe at Fort Zach beach and the food on offer.

A weekday at 5pm in September at Fort Zach beach - pretty quiet.  It's not always like this!

Fort Zach beach up one end can be a bit sharp and not soft sand.

The Australian pines at Fort Zach beach.

One third of Fort Zach beach.

Fort Zach beach - does what it says on the tin! - Fishing, Picnic and Sunset

Friday, October 28, 2011

Key West, Provincetown, Palm Springs - which resort is best and most beautiful?

In the battle of the resorts which of the big 3 wins? Key West vs. Provincetown vs. Palm Springs?

If you’ve not visited and want some help deciding, I’ve been to all three (I'm actually in Palm Springs as I write this post) and here I present my highly opinionated and very biased review of all three!

I suppose you think that because I am a Key West blogger, then Key West will win – but not necessarily.  Read on to find out!.....

Let’s do this by category and we’ll start with the weather.

It’s a vital consideration for a vacation and whilst all three are known as sunny locations the weather is very different between the three.  Basically, it totally comes down to when you are travelling.

Provincetown – it’s balmy and wonderful, and just perfectly warm from June to September.  Whilst Palm Springs and Key West can be brutally hot and / or humid in these months, Provincetown is perfect for these months.  However, even a month outside of that it can be chilly, wet and overcast in Ptown.

Key West – it’s the only one of the three which is tropical so it’s ‘big weather’ – more varied, more interesting and more rain!  The weather can be very challenging in the summer (June to end October) if you don’t like thunderstorms or humidity.  Having said that, during this time it’s quieter and cheaper and I had a great time when I visited in September 2011 – read my review on the weather then and how it impacted my vacation.
If you are visiting Key West in the great weather months (beginning of November through May) then the weather is fantastic and the nights warm.  At this time most visitors wear shorts day and night – which you cannot say of Palm Springs (at night).

And Palm Springs for weather.  It’s reliable in the months when the others are not – for example, when I visited in October 2011 the weather was cloudless, and at mid to high 80s with low humidity perfect for 5 whole days.  Key West had bad, rainy weather during this period. Yuck!

So, here’s the year broken down with the ideal place to visit:
June to mid Sept – Provincetown
Sept to November – Palm Springs
November to March – Key West
March to June – Palm Springs

I’ll make this a mega quick summary of the top attractions of each:

Provincetown – wandering the quaint streets and cute shops, art galleries, eating, watching the sea, whale watching from Provincetown harbour

Palm Springs – going up the Mount San Jacinto aerial tramway (or cable car, from altitude 2500ft to 8500ft in 12 minutes), drive around town seeing the modernist mansions, eating, playing golf

Key West
The clear winner by a long way of things to do in town.  You can easily keep occupied for a week without a car and without leaving the island.  Wandering the streets to see the houses and trees are a joy.  Lots of tourist stuff like –trolley tour, Hemingway house, light house, Key West art and history museum, aquarium.  The list goes on.

Then there’s Key West’s extensive bars and restaurants, and the gay/drag scene.  It’s been a lively place for visitors from out of town for over a hundred years.

This is an important points: The beauty for me is NOT needing a car for the whole week and so being able to walk everywhere (i.e. very relaxing).  Whilst you can walk Ptown, there’s not enough in town to keep you busy so you’ll need to drive at some point.  Evan more so for Palm Springs, you’ll definitely need a car.

Provincetown – the 100 miles of pristine beaches, coves and harbors down Cape Code.  Amazing.

Key West – Day trip to Dry Tortugas (island 2 hours away towards Cuba). All the attractions 100 miles up the pencil thin Florida Keys, including dolphin and turtle rescue centers, 7 mile bridge, and the best beach in the USA.  Amazing.

Palm Springs – the San Jacinto Wilderness alpine forest, all the high desert including Anza-Borrego desert state park and Joshua Tree national park (which is an hour away).  Amazing.

So they both have mighty natural backdrops – Ptown and Key West the expanse of the ever changing ocean; Palm Springs the expanse of the desert valley and the imposing mountains.  All with lots to do. So which is best?  

It’s a fight out between Ptown and Palm Springs I think but with Key West close behind.

With any three, there is easily enough to do to keep you occupied and busy for weeks, if you want to be busy that is!

This is where personal viewpoints and prejudices will really come into play.  Here we go.  I’ll try and sum up the vibe for me as a visitor (i.e. not a local):

Palm Springs: it’s known for retirement, golf and money.  And that’s pretty much what comes over to the visitor.  I came here after a week in San Diego and the contrast was amazing – there really are a lot of old people having fun here!

It’s a man made oasis in the desert.  So as a result it’s a little artificial, artificially perfect if you like because of its perfectly manicured streets and trees and grass.

It’s not a party town – it’s pretty quiet and restrained.

There are wide avenues and lots of palms and it’s all very spread out.  This is a car town (albeit with no traffic congestion) and so lacks a genuine centre like the other two.

Provincetown – is trendy, arty, summer town with an influx of partying youths in the summer months.  Its youth and art makes it feel younger than the other two.  Because it’s a walking town, with lots of locals that live local and walk around, it feels really friendly.  They claim to be the doggie capital of the US and I would not disagree.

Key West – is a party town.  

From fantasy fest to bikers, every week there is a unique event in town.  

There is masses of history – from pirates through the Cuban influence.  It’s a working harbour.  Because it’s a very small island and everything revolves around Duval it’s very very friendly and you really get a feel for the community – even as a first time tourist.  It’s the busiest evening and night life of the three resorts in terms of bars and restaurants and clubs – all year round.
The winner?  All depends on you!  (see below)

Ok then….
If weather is really really important to you and you don’t care for much else – go to Palm Springs as it’s the most reliable weather

If you want a cuter more village like feel with frequent trips to stunning beaches and cliffs, and you don’t want it too lively or crazy at night – go to Provincetown

If you want a busy, fun packed time and want a very busy bar scene, with a few beaches here and there,  then go to Key West.

Personally, I relax the most in Key West because of having no car.

So for me, yes, it’s Key West and then Ptown – because they are both a bit funky, younger, trendier, and a little flawed.  Palm Springs is too old and too perfect and too much of a clique.

I think Key West is friendliest.  The walking culture, the drinking culture and the small town layout make it feel more like a community.  People say hi and talk to you (a lot!).

If I could I’d visit them all every year I’d do this (these are the best months to visit each):
February  - Key West
Late August or early September – Provincetown
Late October or early November – Palm Springs

What do you think?  Leave me a comment and give your view.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Key West expert's quiz

Fancy you know your way around Key West?

Ok, well here's a Key West quiz.

It's based on the signs of Key West.

What cafe in Key West is this?
Answers will be posted here in the next few days.
What shop is this the sign from?

Easy one - what shop does this sign belong to?

Tricky one - what beach in Key West is this?

What house is this?
And the final question - as you drive back up the Keys to Miami, what number of miles does the final mile marker by highway 1 read?

Answers soon....

How did you do?

Top 4 pictures from my September 2011 vacation

Here are my favorite pictures (all taken by me) of my Key West vacation in September 2011.  For the first time ever, I visited Key West alone.  I had a blast - Key West is so friendly.

Here's some of my best....

For more pictures of Key West go to my Key West Flickr:

where you'll find only pictures of Key West and the Florida keys. (and only taken by me)

Yes I do go on vacation other places than Key West....

Here's the proof I vacation elsewhere to Key West.  I took an October trip to San Diego and also Palm Springs - a comparison of Key West vs Palm Springs will follow in another post coming soon.

For now, some San Diego pictures that bear a (fleeting) resemblance to Key West!....

San Diego Maritime Museum ship Star of India vs Key West Bight schooner Western Union

This is San Diego's Mission Beach Crystal Pier vs Key West's White Street pier. (ps this was a thick coastal fog which lasted  4 days and brought the temperatures down to the 60s - don't get that in Key West!!!)

This is Old Town San Diego's Old Town Mexican Cafe vs Key West's Duval Street Old Town Mexican restaurant.

Battle of the Best Beaches: This is San Diego's Coronado Beach vs Key West's Fort Zach beach (ok, not very similar!!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Key West picture of the day - 22 September 2011

I wandered down to Fort Zac beach and took this snap of the Australian pines there.   I'm glad they weren't destroyed - invasive or not - they are magnificent.

Australian pines at Fort Zach Taylor beach in Key West

Local Key West issue - just the one!

I don’t want to delve into local issues – I’m not an expert, I don’t live in Key West all the time and that’s not what this blog is about.

And I don’t want to start the debate here whether Key West is getting better or worse - even though I had a lot of interesting conversations about this issue, as usual, this visit.

However, I will comment on the plan to widen the main ship route into the main harbor to allow for even large cruise ships.  Did I hear that right?  Even LARGER cruise ships?

Here's my snap of the Majesty of the Seas, tied up in KW harbor, a regular visitor.  And below it leaving port so you can see it's massive size.  

What is there small about our current cruise liner visitors? - why would we want it any bigger? 

Ok, rant over - I hope sense prevails in the decision making process - and paying $5m to make an assessment of whether to widen the channel.... don't get me started!...

On the getting worse vs getting better matter, I was sad to see some business close since I was last here.  I'll post the images in the next few days, below...

[closed KW business - images coming soon]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Key West pictures of the day - 20 September 2011

Two pictures of the day today, I know, I'm cheating.

This one is an amazing tree, I think on Elizabeth.  These strange yellow shaving brush flowers are cool.

I only just caught the second, and with a long zoom.  We had some mighty downpours today and this guy, at 1pm, was having fun in the rain - maybe he'd had a few drinks too!  That's the magic of Key West in September!

Southard Street - most beautiful, prettiest street in Key West

Southard Street is the most beautiful, prettiest street in all Key West.  Don't miss walking it while you are in Key West.

According to who?  Well, me! Here are my runner up most beautiful streets in Key West.

If you don't believe me about Southard Street, here's the proof....Enjoy!

These are all my own photographs taken this trip (September 2011).  They are in rough order as you walk up Southard Street from Duval heading north east up the street to White Street.

Not a good start to Southard Street, at the intersection with Duval, I admit.  Not very beautiful at all!

'The Cafe, A mostly vegetarian place', one of 4 major (and good) restaurants on Southard Street.

The side, Southard Street, view of Sarabeth's building which dates from 1800.

Maybe the best mansion in all Key West? - I love this impressive house.

A close up view of the Captain's walk.

Some funky vegetation on Southard Street.
A view up Southard Street, looking north towards White Street, taken roughly from the intersection with Love Lane.

Fab car, fab house.

This is 730 Southard Street.  I love this clapped out, worn down old house.  Has the  most potential of any house in Key West for improvement now it's finally been sold.

It was sold in Dec 2010.  Was on the market for $3m.  Looking forward to the changes they will make in renovation.

Colors of a mini royal poinciana tree on Southard.  The color in the afternoon sun was amazing.

Another notable Southard restaurant - Mangia Mangia.

The joker in the Southard pack.  A Romanesque villa right in the middle of Southard Street!

Even the smaller houses are cute.

A surprise at the very end of Southard, on White Street, the Key West armory  - a very striking building to end.

So, that's my view, if you disagree feel free to leave a comment.