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Jean’s Birthday at Key West – The Key for Partying


We decided we’d better not leave White Swan unattended on the hook (anchored) while we were gone overnight to Key West, so we motored her into the small marina at Bahia Honda State Park and rented dockage for the night.

Nancy told me about the nice showers at the campground that is just around the corner from the marina, so I slipped into the shower house and splurged with a leisurely shower for my birthday.  It was a hot, humid morning, so the tepid water of the shower was invigorating.

The morning greeted us with a gentle breeze that kept us comfortable as we walked to the bus stop that is just outside the entrance of the Bahia Honda State Park.  There is a bus transit system that runs the full length of the Keys, which makes traveling from one Key to another fairly easy.  When you don’t have your own car or you don’t have the time required to go where you want to go via your boat, the Key‘s bus system is a great alternative.  In talking with some people on the bus, we were informed a significant part of the Key’s population uses the inexpensive bus transit system because they have lost their cars during hurricanes.

Seeing an area by land is very different than going there by water.  There is a totally different ambience to any place when you go there by water.  However, it was a good experience to see the lower Keys strictly by land. On the bus ride to Key West we spotted the anchorage we used at Newfound Harbour, which was as far south, in the Florida Keys, as we got with White Swan.

Since Nancy lived in the Keys years ago, she pointed out places of interest to us while we rode on the bus to Key West. She stepped into the role of tour guide for the rest of the day, taking us to some of her favorite places.  The first restaurant we went to for lunch is one of the local’s favorites.  Pepe’s is a quaint little restaurant, half of which is outside with a crude leaky roof and dirt floor.  It was raining while we were there, so while we waited for a table we huddled next to the bar which offered protection from the inclement weather.  Going to eclectic places like Pepe‘s, is always a special experience from the norm.

Finding a place to spend the night was our next thing to do.  Nancy suggested different places she knew about and after checking out the Galleon, we made reservations to stay there.  Even the least expensive lodging in downtown Key West is expensive, around $200 a night.  Since we only stayed one night and this was my birthday present from Gary, we didn’t spend a lot of time looking for the absolute cheapest lodging in town.  Our room at the Galleon was comfortable and very near Mallory Square, which we planned on visiting during the evening hours.

Duval Street is “the” street in Key West. We spent most of the day traversing this street, frequenting various shops of interest to us. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaretville was one of our favorites.

We also went on a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s fabulous house with it’s inground swimming pool and beautiful gardens. We saw lots of six toed cats, decendents of Hemingway‘s own. Even before Mr. Hemingway had six toed cats, they were considered to bring good luck to sailor’s. These good luck symbols jumped ship and began populating Key West. They roam freely today, and are still regarded as good luck.

After appetizers and a drink at another haunt of Nancy’s, On The Roof,  we parted ways.  They needed to catch the bus back to Bahia Honda and we walked around, visiting shops until it was time to go to Mallory Square to watch the sunset.  Most people visiting Key West attend the daily ritual of watching the sunset at Mallory Square.  It’s reputation did not disappoint us.  Street entertainers were everywhere throughout the square, bidding an audience.  Tips from the spectators are customary and expected, so the larger the audience each entertainer acquires, the more they are rewarded if they present a good show.

After we were mesmerized by the beauty of the sunset over the ocean, we went to dinner at A&B Lobster House, which is a five star restaurant at the harbor.  The meal was great, as expected, but there was a loud, highly intoxicated, group in the restaurant.  The remaining patrons verbally expressed relief when this obnoxious group left as we were tempted to applaud their exit.  Subsequently, the rest of the time spent at this lovely restaurant was delightful.

Gary and I had a memorable time in Key West celebrating my birthday.












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