Travel Series: Key West
Welcome to Key West
I share an infatuation with Key West with many people. Key West has over 2.5 million tourists per year. A search on Amazon revealed 283 novels set in Key West, and 516 nonfiction books about Key West. There are probably some duplicates, but it gives you an idea of how many people have tried to define or contain the four square miles of Key West. It offers a lifestyle for all: beach lovers, artists, families, nature lovers and those who love a good time. I invite you to come to Key West and see if you fall in love and engage in the second favorite pastime of Key West…looking for real estate.
I hope that you can stay a while, there is so much to experience in Key West and even those of us who live here haven’t seen it all. Key West code mandates monthly rental for houses, so it is a good opportunity to sit back, relax and take it all in. But if you come to Key West, there is something you must bring…tolerance. Key West accepts everything EXCEPT intolerance.
What makes Key West a place that we fall in love with? Well, like most infatuations, it can be many things…here is a partial list:
The acceptance and encouragement for you to find your true-self.
Living outdoors…while tourists are lured by the quirky architecture; Key Westers live outdoors.
The beauty… the delicate dance of the colors of the ocean and sky during sunrises and sunsets.
The quirkiness…expect to see anything.
The bikes…two wheels (or some similar representation of them) are the best way to get around the island.
The weather…8 months out of the year, it is wonderful; the other 4 months it is tolerable but only to Conchs.
The sounds…the rustling of palm trees, the roosters crowing, the bands and happy, drunk patrons on Duval Street.
The tastes…thanks to the tourists and guests, its restaurants rival anywhere in their diversity and quality and Cuban coffee is available 24/7.
The animals…cats and chickens live on the streets in harmony, dogs have their own beach, gawky pelicans skim gracefully over the ocean, the ibis searches for its prey in the grass, herons appear to be statues, and anhingas dry their wings in a ghostly fashion on the piers. They share a tolerance for each other and the people who share the island.
The architecture… few architects put their stamp here, a few graceful Victorians and Queen Anne homes, but mostly just Conch houses built by the cigar manufacturers for their workers. Simple structures that can easily be rebuilt when the next hurricane takes them away.
The people…artists, tourists, homeless, snowbirds, emigres and Conchs live in harmony, more or less.
The history…Key West has a colorful history of wrecking, pirates, scalawags, famous artists, hurricanes, fires and floods.
The mysteries…ghosts and an island that disappears and reappears with the tide.
The spirituality…the cemetery is a tourist attraction, but locals feel its warm spirits.
There is always something to do…always, always, always.
Key West has no clock; it recycles and reinvents itself endlessly. Boom and bust cycles, hurricanes, winds, fires & floods, full and part-time inhabitants, drugs, fishing. Somehow you get the impression that despite climate change, hurricanes, scoundrels, tourists, Key West will endure.