Friday, March 23, 2012

20% chance of rain in Key West

The weather in Key West in March can still be a little variable.  We got several days  where the Citizen and the Weather Channel threatened "20% chance of rain".

So here's what 20% chance of rain can look like in Key West.  

Here a 360 degree panorama of 20% chance of rain in Key West, taken one picture after the other from the roof in Old Town where I was sunbathing.....

This a view from behind me.  Lots of clouds on the horizon there.  Fortunately moving away!
To the left, pretty good there, with only a tiny cloud hiding.
In front of me, it's clear.  No 20% risk here!
Finally, directly overhead.  Clear skies and I can continue my sunbathing in the heat of a Key West March.

And no, on this '20% rain' day, it did not rain a drop.

Other links on my blog:

Click here for more on Key West weather and a month by month view on when to visit Key West.

To see my view on Key West hotels - see here.

Click here for my Key West vacation directory - everything you need to know for a perfect Key West visit.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Harpoon Harry's

What a great find in Harpoon Harry's.  Don't ask me why I've not eaten at this Caroline Street long standing 1950s style diner.  As I was explaining to Ron, the very friendly and chatty owner, it's mainly because his place always looks so full in the morning when we pass.

We went for breakfast and had an amazingly friendly welcome from start to finish. Good selection of food, good food, great prices and a fab venue.

This place is definitely on the breakfast list from now on.

Harpoon Harry's menu

Key West first thing in the morning

Ok, not totally first thing but about's something you don't see very often, Sloppy Joe's closed!!

Sloppy Joe's open from 9am until 4am.

I also saw some very strange people on Duval Street who were still finishing off their (obviously very good) night before.  I'll be returning to this theme of Key West in first light with some more picture in a few months.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blue Heaven Key West - and why it was empty

What a surprise awaited us at a few minutes before 11am at Blue Heaven in Key West yesterday:  A powerful experience that caused chaos.... More of that later.  Let's start at the beginning...

We headed for Blue Heaven, the most unique restaurant on Key West. It's a one in a million restaurant and I totally recommend a visit.  Sunday breakfast is great but any evening is good too.  Starting our walk there at 9.30am, it was a hot and pretty humid (for March) day.
Sunday.  What a lovely start to the day.  A little humid, but clear and full sunshine.
Blue Heaven entrance bathed in rich sunlight.
Blue Heaven gates.
The only downside to this place is that because it's so famous, well reviewed and raved over it gets very very busy - as you can see from my pictures.

Arrive nice and early for Sunday breakfast

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crazy Key West

Welcome to one of my favorite posts on this blog, Key West Lookout, featuring images showing how fun, crazy and eccentric Key West and her people are. Key West is a wonderful mix of crazy and beautiful. These images are all taken by me in Key West over the last 10 years. They are all real - no posing, or photo editing. I love them - I hope you enjoy them too. For other, more normal, pictures of Key West and it's beauty and sights go to another of my posts here.
Look very carefully above this lady's stetson
Yes, it rains in Key West. I love this picture. I took it in a snap second at large zoom in bad light. It's a one in a million photo. Then he was gone. Of course, it was raining but at least it was warm.
Inga outside Aqua nightclub trying to get the punters in. With another creative costume, pretending to be a bike.

At Blue Heaven it seems like he's playing to the chicken.

Cool pink bike in Key West.
On this site in Key West in 1897 nothing happened.

Another perfect moment in Key West. He had no idea I took a picture of him. Until now.

Dog's rule in Key West. Saying hi when we were in Virgilio's.

80,000 books and we even know where some of them are. Key West Island Books.

Leather Master Key West. A very handy shop for all

Other links on my blog:

To see my view on Key West hotels - see here.

Click here for my Key West vacation directory - everything you need to know for a perfect Key West visit.

I've taken thousands of pictures in Key West. In this blog post on this site, I've chosen my best:

The Audubon House

Within the walls of this magnificent old mansion, central to the history of Key West, lies the story of two great men - James John Audubon and Captain John H. Geiger.

Capt. Geiger
The rear of the Audubon house.

If you didn't know already, John James Audubon was one of America's leading naturalists and artists.  He was a serial adventurer - over a 10 year period he traveled widely to paint the 435 plates in the book The Birds of America.  When in Key West and the Florida Keys in 1832 he painted 21 of the 435 plates.  He painted in the gardens of this house (although at the time it was a rough mix of sand and cactus and rough shrubs - not the manicured garden it is today).  At the time the only structure on this site was a single story shack and Audubon slept on his boat, not here.

There are various original engravings here and all 21 engravings of the birds he painted here. In addition, there are snippets of the notes he took which are a fascinating glimpse into the natural history of the Keys back then.

All the original engravings displayed in this house are amazingly beautiful and you can buy some of them (not originals - they sell for millions!) in the shop next door for a few hundred dollars.

Capt. Geiger

There were 600 dwellings in Key West before the 1830s storm; after the storm only 8 survived.  The single story dwelling here before did not survive.  So this house was born out of a storm.

Geiger was a rich, very successful captain who made his money through wrecking.  He had shares in at least 6 salvage boats.  In this house was 9 children and 11 slaves and, being the social hub of KW, loads of sailors and other guests.  Geiger got the house built from termite resistant pine and by boat builders - he wanted it to last.  Finished in the 1840s, it has.

He was one of the richest men in town.  Hence the amazing house and contents, here on display.  This was one of the richest men in town, when KW was the richest town in the USA.  However, he loved to show off and also spend lots of money.  So he died poor.

Here is his house:

Restoration and the garden

There's actually a third player in this story.  By 1960 the house was in ruin (see below picture).  Cosmetically, anyway.  The structure was fine.  That's when Frances Wolfson started to restore it and sparked the entire restoration movement in Key West.  That's visionary.

Today the house looks magnificent, the gardens beautiful and the volunteers excellent.