Key West, Conch Town

I was really hoping for sunny, hot, blue sky Key West weather, unfortunately Mother Nature had something else in mind! We rented a Jeep Wrangler, hoping to make the 3.5 hour drive from Ft. Lauderdale down a fun,

Driving through the keys, on the Seven Mile Bridge

open air scenic kind of drive, however due to the cold weather we were forced to leave the top up and just enjoy the view from inside.

I have gone to Key West before as part of a cruise, so I was thrilled at the chance to show Alexander around one of my favorite ports of call. As we drove onto the Key, you start to see small signs of the “conch” lifestyle. Beautiful banyan trees, couples bike riding, motorcycles roaring and the tunes of Jimmy Buffet just easing all your stresses away!

First stop was to get checked in at our hotel, The Pier House, located at the end of Duval on the water. We received a beautiful room in the spa section of the resort, which had a beautiful marble and tile bathroom, nice sitting area and quaint patio. Unfortunately we didn’t have a view of the ocean, but we figured we wouldn’t be spending much time in the room so the upgrade wasn’t worth it this time around! Once settled in, we put on our walking shoes and hit the streets or Duval rather! It was already 1pm so we thought we look for somewhere to eat lunch, Duval is full of choices all with amazing atmosphere and food. We decided on a spot called Fogarty’s, a restaurant across the street from The Whistle Bar. We were craving conch fritters, so of course we ordered them first along with an ice cold beer to cheers are arrival. After lunch, we stuck mostly to Duval St checking out all the sights and shops and such, and headed back to the hotel in the early evening to get cleaned up for dinner and Key West nightlife.

There is definitely no lack of nightlife on this small Key; the streets are alive at night. We made the rounds, stopping at the infamous Captain Tony’s for a glass of pirate punch, then on to Irish Kevin’s for a bit of live 80’s rock music and last stop of course Sloppy Joe’s, Hemingway’s stomping ground.

The next day we were big time tourists, Key West may be a small place, but it’s huge in history, so I had a lot to show Alexander. We started with lunch at Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, under the A&B Lobster house, it was AMAZING. We had the fried shrimp and chips and the lobster sandwich, both were to die for! We did however save enough room to walk down the street after lunch and stop in the Blonde Giraffe for a piece of Key Lime Pie.

Seahorse at the Key West aquarium

With our bellies full we were ready to explore, first stop, the Key West Aquarium. The giant turtles, stingrays, the SHARKS, and all the beautiful sea life were quite interesting. There was also a man offering to let you have your picture taken while holding an alligator, I kindly said NO and ran the other direction, no alligators for me thank you kindly! After walking around Mallory Square we decided it was time to flag down a Pedi-bike to take us to the opposite end of Duval to see the Southernmost point.

Southermost Point in the USA, 90 miles to Cuba

I think everyone hopes for a more dramatic sight, but the buoy is just that, a giant buoy marking the southernmost point of the US, but still a very cool landmark! From there it’s a short walk to the Butterfly and Nature conservatory. It was a nice change from the abnormal chilly weather, to step into the conservatory at a humid 85? a perfect environment for the butterflies and plants. They say if a butterfly lands on you its good luck, well consider Alexander lucky then because he had a beautiful one attached to his arm the entire time inside! We decided to walk back into town so we could stop and see a few more sights, the Hemingway House and the “Little White House”, were just a couple. Our sightseeing made us quite hungry so we decided to go to Kelly’s for happy hour, great wings and cold drinks. It was getting late and we wanted to get down to the pier to watch a famous Key West sunset, so we hurried through our happy hour and followed the crowd down through Mallory Square to the pier. The sunset was incredible!

Key West Sunset

With our time in Key West almost over we made the most with our final night, an amazing dinner and once again taking in all the Conch nightlife had to offer.

Our trip to the Keys was brief, but filled with relaxation, history and amusement. You can go to Key West for 2 days or 2 weeks and never get bored of all that the “conch lifestyle” has to offer!

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2 Responses to Key West, Conch Town

  1. John Baird March 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    May I recommend a not-so-tourist refreshment oasis? The Green Parrot. It’s a joint mostly for locals and snowbirds who are in for the winter. The popcorn machine is the best on the island, the bartenders are efficient and there’s usually a live band or blues blasting from the jukebox. Just go south on Duval, hang a right @ Southard and it’s one block on your left at the corner of Whitehead (US Route 1) and Southard. And remember – no snivelling!

  2. Deal March 8, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    As a Key West local, I’d like to add that The Green Parrot is quite over rated, and has absolutely nothing special to offer during the times there is no live band. The bands who play there are usually high caliber. But the rest of the time, it’s just a run of the mill dive bar, kind of dirty, and plenty “touristy” in it’s own way… I would recommend The Bottle Cap Lounge on Simonton and Catherine streets, as a comfortable place to chill, and actually enjoy conversation. Virgilio’s at 534 Duval is also a classy place for dinner, late night drinks and music.

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