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.

Visiting Key West in September - watch out for the closed restaurants

Several restaurants in Key West close for a few weeks or more every September.

As I write this in mid-September the following are currently closed for a while (not permanently!) -

Blue Heaven - closed
Sarabeth's - closed
Roof Top Cafe - closed
Cafe  Sole - closed
Old Town Mexican - closed
La Trattoria - closed
Mangoes - closed for lunch, open in the evening
(Even Kermit from the Key Lime pie shop is not standing in his normal position outside the shop)

This is not a complete list but it's the ones I noticed closed - because I like them and I really miss them!

I don't blame them (much!) - it's the quietest time of year and really humid.  They work really hard during the peak season.  But it's still a shame.

Should this put anyone off visiting this time of year?

I don't think so because:

  • guest houses and B&Bs are cheap (er)
  • it's nice and quiet
  • there are good restaurants still open: Mangoes, Antonia's, 915, Michael's, Veggie Cafe, etc
But it's just good to know if you are visiting in this pre-fantasy fest period.

For anyone interested here are some pictures of what a closed restaurant in Key West looks like!....
A starkly empty and closed (only for a few weeks) Old Town Mexican restaurant

Old Town Mexican closed for a while for their annual vacation

Cafe Sole gone fishing for a while!

I managed to catch Virgilio's for one evening before it closed for 10  days
Sarabeth's - seems strange not to have David standing guard on Simonton Street!

An unusually empty (because they are closed for vacation for part of September) front dining area at Sarabeth's

Roof Top Cafe closed until Sept 29

Monday, September 19, 2011

The prettiest street in Key West - my runners up

I got thinking, if you could only walk down one street in Key West which one would it be?  For me, not Duval Street as that fits into its own category. So which is the prettiest, best street in Key West?

Obviously, like everything else in this blog, my selection is totally subjective!  So don't get annoyed that your street's not in there. Most streets in Key West are lovely so this is only a bit of fun.

It does raise the question what factors make a street beautiful? The trees and flowers, the variety of homes, the grandeur of the buildings, the businesses or restaurants on it, the width of the street or how quiet and peaceful it is?

Here's my runner up list, in no particular order. Click here to jump straight to the winner of the prettiest street in Key West.

First, Fleming Street - a strong candidate.

Fleming St - This is one of my favorite houses, I love the  design of the balcony.

One amazing Fleming Street house which is hidden behind the garden out front.  Shame!
 Windsor Lane gets a worthy mention because of all the street in KW I love the bougainvillea display seen in the second picture below.

The most beautiful bougainvillea in Key West, on Windsor Lane.

And then to Elizabeth Street.  A very strong contender indeed, slightly let down by the lack of high quality consistency all the way up and down the street.  Very beautiful anyway as these highlights show.

And finally to Simonton Street with maybe the greatest variation in different types of houses as these snaps I took today show.   

The Cypress house on Simonton.  I love the wood.  Built 1888.
...and same street, but very different....

The lookout of Sarabeth's on Simonton.

But none of these is my 'winner'. ...

The prettiest street in Key West - click here

My Key West picture of the day - 19 September 2011

I was really pleased with this one.  It's a close up of the 'mini leaves' from a row of mini Royal Poincianas on Southard Street (corner of  Margaret St).

They are so small and delicate leaves and in the setting sunlight directly behind me they were glowing with this incredibly bright green.

Leaves of a mini Royal Poinciana tree on Southard Street in Key West