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Florida Keys Romantic Getaway on slip of an island

May 27, 2014 8:52 pmViews: 431

The Florida Keys Romantic Getaway on a slip of an island, and where the living is easy.

Florida Keys Romantic Getaway on slip of an island was home to Ernest Hemingway.

The Latitudes Beach Cafe, Sunset Key cottages in the Florida Keys.

It is wonderful to see how the Florida Keys basks in its versatility.

Think of all the good things that the state of Florida offers. And put them together in this slip of an island where wonderful weather, history, beauty, art, and entertainment converge to give Key West a deserved reputation for fun and romance.

There are really two Key Wests.

One is the laid-back community where proud residents show off their gingerbread houses painted in ice cream colors. They close shop at 5pm so that everyone can enjoy some family time.

The other is the Key West of eager vacationers and sun-seekers. Who take off on a warm weekend in their boats or by car and escape to a place with designer bed and breakfasts. Where the sunsets are spectacular. The living is easy. And where the romantically minded can indulge all of their senses. 

We arrived in Key West on a hot July day ready to see the town at its most sizzling. While Key West underwent a decline in the 1960s and ‘70s one thing that hasn’t changed is its strong Cuban influence. Which has given the island much of its color and atmosphere.

Florida Keys Romantic Getaway on slip of an island.

Jumbo Shrimp at the La Mer and Dewey House.

Lying a mere 90 miles off the coast of Cuba at the southern tip of the state today Key West incorporates its Cuban culture with a modern sensibility.

It gleams with shiny new hotels and the main street that never seems to sleep. It has a reputation for fine food, good fishing, and boutique shopping. 

Florida Keys was home to playwright Tennessee Williams.

Florida Keys Romantic Getaway on slip of an island. Ernest Hemingway's home in the Keys.

The Ernest Hemingway home
in Key West.

Though it has nurtured the talents of more writers per capita than any other city in the country. Namely Tennessee Williams being one of them. Its favorite adopted son still seems to be Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway.

He lived there for years and wrote several novels. Many were turned into movies. Among them the classic To Have and Have Not set during the Depression era in Key West.

In between his daily writing schedule Hemingway visited his favorite watering hole Sloppy Joe’s. It still offers libations in the same laid-back manner it did when Papa Hemingway patronized it. 

Hemingway’s home is one of the most popular tourist attractions in town. Its hundred or so offspring of the famous six-toed cats remain the longtime inhabitants of house.

Each year the Hemingway Days festival at the end of July welcomes Hemingway look a-likes from all over the globe to compete in a contest. Seeing dozens of Hemingway clones in clusters around the city’s lively Duval Street is a sight to behold. Visit www.hemingwayhome.com

Florida Keys Romantic Getaways on slip of an island.

But beyond the countless art galleries, souvenir shops and upscale casual clothing stores Key West is also ocean proud.

Its prize treasure is a 17th-century Spanish galleon that sank 45 miles west of the city and yielded $400 million in gold and silver recovered by the legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher in 1998.

One of our favorite excursions was the nighttime star-gazing trip on the Schooner Western Union. The Schooner was the last of the tall ships built in Key West in 1939.

While the sleek tall-masted ship can also be used for weddings and special events. Our purpose this time was to see the clear night sky and its myriad constellations in an atmosphere free from pollution.

It was an unforgettable experience presided over by a delightful former astronomer who had lived out his dream to retire in Key West. And still do the thing he loved best – talk about the stars. There is no arguing with the stars as a perfect romantic backdrop.

One of the myths I’m happy to put to rest is that the Florida Keys doesn’t have beaches.

Florida Keys Romantic Getaway on slip of an island.
La Mer and Dewey House beach front.

It does, in fact, have several and their white sand could rival that of Varadero’s best in Cuba. Key West is more than beautiful scenery and gorgeous homes.

Like a real southern belle it offers a friendliness and hospitality that’s as sweet as a cool lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

I was greeted by the manager at La Mer one of Florida Keys famous B&Bs. He didn’t know who I was or realize why I was there. And he still made me feel as welcome as an old school chum dropping by after a long time away to say hello.

I made a mental note that someday I’d return for a longer visit. And I will.

Visit www.fla-keys.com or www.keywest.com.

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