The Key to my Heart - Key West, Florida

The place I love to come to is Key West in Florida. It has a laid-back atmosphere. This tropical place has great restaurants and bars. Key West has it all: sun, fun, music, and great people!

The Key to my Heart - Key West, Florida

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 18, 2005

Key West is a way of living. The people who live there are very friendly, and it's all laid-back. It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, you will be accepted without a doubt. With beautiful sunsets, great restaurants, and bars, Key West has it all! If you have never been to Key West, it's time you that you do.

Don't miss the sunset on Mallory Square. Everybody comes in the evening to Mallory Square to watch the sun set. There are lots of people and lots of entertainers. It’s fun to watch them. Take your favourite drink, sit down, make sure that you have your camera ready, and watch the sun go down. It's a nice way to begin your evening.

Ernest Hemingway, Harry Truman, Jimmy Buffett and Mel Fisher. An unlikely group of four under most circumstances. But the author, president, singer and explorer all shared a common bond — the love for this small island 90 miles north of Cuba. I can imagine why....because I'm feeling the same way about Key West.

Key West in a nutshell: "Boats, beaches, bars and ballads, and not to forget, Jimmy Buffett."

${QuickSuggestions} Go the visitor center, where you'll find many discount coupons. For example, we found coupons for the Grand (a restaurant on Duval Street) for a free dessert (and they have good ones) or a free frozen cocktail. You'll find the coupons on the front desk of the visitor center.

Terms to Know in The Keys:

1. Conch. A lifetime resident of the Keys who was also born there.
2. Freshwater Conch. Keys resident for at least a decade.
3. Bubba. Best friend or a general greeting, as in "Hey, Bubba!"
4. The Rock. The Keys to locals, as in "I gotta get off the Rock!"
5. Duval Crawl. Barhopping Key West along Duval St.

Keys Delicacies to Try:

• Key Lime Pie. The real stuff is pale yellow; imitators are green.
• Key West pink shrimp. Sweet.
• Stone crab claws.
• Spiny lobster. You eat the tails.
• Cuban sandwiches. Warm meat and cheese.
• Cuban bread toast and coffee. This combo packs a real jolt!

Events in Key West:

January : - Key West Literary Seminar
January : - Key West Race Week
January : - House & Garden Tour
January : - Key West Crafts Show
February: - Civil War Days
February: - Old Island Days Art Festival
March : - Conch Shell Blowing Contest
April : - Gay Pride Week
April : - Conch Republic Day
May : - Hemingway Key West Classic Fishing
June : - Annual International Gay Arts
July : - Hemingway Days
October : - Fantasy Fest
October : - Key West Theater Festival
October : - Goombay Festival
November: - Key West Super Boat World Championship
Race${BestWay} The best way to explore the island is to leave the car behind. You can go walking, or you can hire a bike or scooter to explore Key West! There is so much to do and to see, so you have to stay here for a couple of days to explore it all.

Key West Florida mean history, art, museums, shopping, fine dining and entertainment. An average temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit, beautiful 19th-century architecture, world class fishing and the world's most spectacular dive sites and a laid-back lifestyle.

So what more can I say; Leave the neckties and high heels at home. Turn off your cell phone, switch off your beeper, ignore your voice-mail and take of for the Keys. You won't be sorry!

Set your clock for island time,
get some mellow island riddems flowing,
...and let the Tropical Journey begin!

La Mer and Dewey House

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 18, 2005

This perfect B&B is at the end of Duval Street and the only B&B right on the beach. The rooms are very nice and clean, with a beautiful bathroom. Every day there was a fresh flower in the room. The staff is great and friendly. Breakfast, which is included, is served every morning with lots of different kinds of croissants and other pastries, fresh fruit and fresh juices. Every room has a porch or patio with some chairs. If you like a bed-and-breakfast with good service and friendly people, this is the place for you!

On the beach you'll find The Duval Beach Club. It is ideal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can order your drink while you're sitting on your beach chair - they will bring it to you.

When we got home, we received a postcard from the staff of La Mer just thanking us for staying there during our holiday!

La Mer And Dewey House
Key West, Florida, 33030

The Paradise Inn

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 23, 2005

It's definitely my favourite place to stay. It has a beautiful garden, with many kinds of flowers and trees. The pool is very nice. There are enough places to sit by the pool. If you like the quiet, serene atmosphere, this is the place for you. They serve breakfast, which is simple but good. You can take your breakfast on your veranda. You can sit outside by your room and relax. You have to try this spot, because it’s like the name says--a paradise! We've stayed here several times, and it was always perfect!
Paradise Inn
819 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 293-8007

The Blue Parrot Inn

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 9, 2006

The Parrot was originally built in 1884. It has been renovated a couple of times. We visited The Blue Parrot in May 2003. The Blue Parrot Inn has nine units. It's a very quiet, relaxed, and friendly house. The location couldn't be better, just 2 blocks off Duval. You wouldn't even guess that Duval Street is just a few blocks away.

Our room was named the Tropical. The room was comfortable. In the morning you'll have complimentary breakfast. The breakfast around (served around the pool) was limited in choice but good.

Blue Parrot Inn
916 Elizabeth St.
Key West, Florida, 33040


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 18, 2005

Right on Duval Street is a restaurant called Grand. This is a great restaurant. The food is good and they have a very friendly staff. You can sit inside or outside. It is definitely a restaurant that you have to try.

Here's a tip for you: at the visitor center in Key West (I don't know the name, but if you enter Key West and through the traffic lights to the right, it is on the left side), you can take coupons for a free dessert here (and they have good ones) or a free frozen cocktail. You'll find the coupons on the front desk of the visitor center.

Grand Cafe Key West
314 Duval Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 292-4740

Duval Beach

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 23, 2005

Perfect little beach with all the facilities you need, palm trees, beach chairs, Duval Beach Club, where you can have your lunch, and a "cabana boy" (that's how we liked to call him) who takes your order and brings your delicious piña coladas. It is a perfect place to enjoy the sun, and to eat a bit at Duvat beach Club.

You can find Duval Beach at the end of Duval Street by the pier. You can also entry the beach behind the La Mer and Dewey House.

Duval Beach
Duval Street
Key West, Florida

Bahia Honda State Park

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 4, 2005

If you like beautiful beaches, and I mean white sand and blue water, you have to go to this place. It's a 45-minute drive from Key West. Swim, dive, walk, stay the night at the campground (with an ocean view!!)… everything is possible!

CAMPING: The park has three camping areas providing a total of 80 campsites. We've never stayed on one of the camping sites, but we did see it when we were driving by in our car. It looks nice and has an amazing view. Restrooms and hot showers are easily accessible.

FISHING: Tarpon fishing in the area rates among the best in the state. Charter boats and guides are generally available for hire during tarpon season. It can be quite expensive.

SWIMMING: Bahia Honda has some of the best beaches in the Florida Keys. The water and beach is amazing. Look at my pictures and you’ll know what I mean!

SNACK BAR: There is also a snack bar located in the main building where you can order from different menus, including ones with pizza, deli sandwiches, salads, ice cream, and more.

OPENING HOURS: The park is open daily from 8am until sunset. All park buildings, including the Concession Building, are open 8am to 5pm.

It has plenty of places to get away from other people. If you like blue water and white sand (and, not to forget, great views), make Bahia Honda your next stop on the journey to Key West.
Bahia Honda State Park
36850 Overseas Hwy, Mile Marker 37
Key West, Florida, 33043
(305) 872-3210

Historic Seaport

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 9, 2006

I love to walk along the Harbor Walk. The harbor is lined with charter boats, fishing boats and restaurants.
There are some wonderful boats with full fishing equipment.

After walking around the harbor, you can have lunch in one of the restaurants along the Harbor, such as BO's Fish Wagon, Turtle Kraals or Conch Republic Seafood Company.

Also for the shopaholics, they have thought of you too. Shops like Harborwalk Shops at Lazy Way (hammocks, arts, crafts, and clothing), Local Color (clothing, accessories, and Jewelry) and Mac's Sea Garden (sells and tropical gifts) are waiting for you (and your dollars)

We had a lot of fun at the Historic Seaport in Key West.
Historic Seaport at Key West Bight
100 Grinnell St.
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 293-8309

Sunset Pier at the Ocean Key Resort

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 15, 2006

Key West is renowned for its sunset celebrations. Mallory Square is the place to be before and during the sunset, but let's not forget other nice places, too. Sunset Pier is one of these other places, located at the Ocean Key Resort on Zero Duval Street. Sunset Pier gives you front row seats that overlook the ocean. It's a perfect place to enjoy exotic drinks and eat some tasty food, all while watching the spectacular sunset. Sunset Pier also offers nightly music and dancing, with entertainers from the islands and beyond. I love this place.
Sunset Pier
O Duval Street
Key West, Florida, 33040

Watch the Cruiseships

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 16, 2006

Over 660,000 cruise ship passengers visit Key West every year. The ships are enormous. Just sit and watch to see a ship come and go. Most of the ships will be gone in the afternoon. I feel myself so small when I'm standing next to a cruise ship. If there are two cruise ships in the harbour, than it can be crowded in Key West.

You can take wonderful pictures of cruise ships.
Mallory Square
300 Duval Street At Front Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-4557

Sunset Celebration Mallory Square

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 16, 2006

In the evening, everybody comes to Mallory Square to watch the sunset. I always love to watch the entertainers at Mallory Square. Some of the artists performing for many years now. Everybody loves them, and they love the applaus (and money).

Take your favourite drink, sit down, make sure that you have your camera ready, and watch the sun goes down. If you want to sit, you have to come early. I like to stand and walk around, watch the people, and enjoy the artists.

There are vendors selling their handmade crafts, like paintings, pictures, jewelry, and much more. There are also vendors selling food and drinks. It's always crowded, but that makes the sunset-celebration special. This is something you cannot miss!!

It's a nice way to begin your evening.
Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
1 Whitehead Street, Mallory Square
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-4557

Truman's Little White House

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 29, 2006

Tours lasting 45 minutes begin every 15 minutes. We didn't stay for the tour, maybe next time. We’ve just walk around and visit the shop and (free) museum with photos and some artifacts. The house and grounds are beautiful.

Next time we will visit it again and take the tour.
Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum
111 Front St.
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 294-9911

Walking the Streets of Key West

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on April 4, 2005

Stop the car and take a stroll amid the tiny, colorfully restored homes where thousands of cigar workers lived in the 19th century. You will also see huge mansions. Some have been converted into Key West resorts, guesthouses, and inns with swimming pools and lush tropical gardens.

I love to walk in Key West. There is so much to see, like many beautiful people and cars, animals, and flowers. Did you notice the funny cars in Key West? Some cars cruise through the streets, while some cars are for decoration, like for example, the mosaic car in the picture. It is an Alfa Romeo, and it is totally decorated with little pieces of mosaic. So now you know to not only look at the bars, shops, and people, but also the street to see what's coming by.

LITTLE PAINTINGS OF KEY WEST: There is always an (local) artist on every corner of the street. Some play music, some sell paintings like the ones on the picture below. I know it's not a Van Gogh or a Picasso, but someone did something creative. I like the colors of the paintings. They are very refreshing.

Duval Beach Club, Have Lunch & Enjoy Your Day!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 11, 2006

Duval beach club is on the end of Duval Street (behind La Mer and Dewey House), and is located right on the beach. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is tasty and the menu is full and varied from the basic burger to mahi and grouper. The staff is very friendly, and the view is perfect; looking out upon the ocean with sandy beach in the foreground with a tropical drink in my hand. There are palm trees and beach chairs on the beach. There walks a 'cabana boy' on the beach, where you can order your drinks or snacks. It is a perfect place to enjoy the sun, eat, and drink.

Try the Cheeseburger in Paradise!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 11, 2006

It's one of those places you've got to go if you're a parrot-head... and if you aren't, than it's still a place you've got to go. Walking in you notice all the Key West and Jimmy Buffett memorabilia, street signs, and all the bright, loud colors covering the walls.

I ordered the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" which came with fries. It was made just like the song says; "Medium rare with mustard... onion slice... lettuce and tomato... Heinz 57... and french fried potatoes..." It was good and tasty. Next door is the gift shop if you need to say "been there, done that. Got the t-shirt."

Address: 500 Duval St., Key West.

Fogarty's: The Place for Frozen Drinks!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 11, 2006

Located in the heart of Key West on Duval street. This is a great place to people watch. Fogarty's eatery serves diners who enjoy people watching and casual American food.

It's also home of the Flying Monkey, an outdoor bar. They have just about any blended drink you could think of. Flying Monkey's world famous Margaritas are made with fresh juice and served in a 22-ounce glass. If frozen drinks are your thing then go to the Flying Monkey. Great frozen drinks!

Thousands of shells.

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 11, 2006

The Shell Warehouse is a store of items that are found in oceans. You will find thousands of shells, jewelry, art, and other souvernirs. It's located in one of the oldest buildings in Key West. It's still popular after 56 years. (It opened in 1950)

It's nice to see so many shells in one place. I must say, they are not all wonderful. Some did get a color like yellow, blue, it looks unnatural. The store is worth a visit though.

Catch of the day

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 15, 2006

It's great to see the fisherman return from their fishing trip. When they are at shore, they immediately begin to clean the fish, and then sell the fish to the restaurant owners. On the picture, you'll see the "catch of the day."

The Beautiful Flowers of Key West

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on February 27, 2006

Key West is famous for the old wooden buildings, but let us not forget the lush tropical trees and flowers. I find that one of the great things about Key West; The Flora.

What grows in Key West:
Of course palm trees, almond, sapodilla, mango, sugar, apple, lime, lemon, orange, Spanish lime, pineapple, etc.

Also a variety of flowering tree like Royal Poinciana, Jasmine, Poinsettia and Bergamont.

Everywhere on the island you’ll see tropical flowers blooming.

The Heliconias.
With their variety of colors and sculptural forms, I find it a very beautiful flower. This plant grows well in the Southern Florida area. At home were I live, the Heliconia caribaea is popular in the cut flower trade.

Key West Cemetery

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 8, 2006

It may sound morbid to go strolling through cemeteries, but this cemetery is also a historical landmark. I find it very interesting, because there is a lot of history to explore. Most all of the graves are above ground, because the city is only a few feet above sea level.

Hemingway's longtime friend and fishing companion friend 'Sloppy Joe' Russell rests here.

Read the tomb stones and you'll read history. One of the interesting inscriptions are: “I Told You I was Sick" or "Devoted Fan of Julio Iglesias"

It’s strange to say this, but the Cemetery is a popular spot in Key West. Locals and tourists love to visit this cemetery. You should give it a change.
Key West Cemetery
701 Passover Lane
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 292-8177

Cuban Influences

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 8, 2006

This building was built in 1924, after the original structure was damaged in the hurricane of 1919. It was Cuban architect Francisco Centurion who designed this building.

We've never been inside the building, but the outside is worth the attention.

Now it's an art gallery, a theater, and a museum, and it offers guided tours and film presentations. (in English and Spanish)

Open Hours:
11am-5pm Tue-Sat;
11am-4pm Sun

516 Duval Street
Between Applerouth Lane and Fleming Street

Typical Houses of Key West

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Dutchnatasja on March 8, 2006

Key West is divided into three basic sections: Old Town, New Town and Bahama Village. All of those areas has different style houses. From colourful to Victorian, from white to colorful.

There are still 3000 buildings on the National Historic Register. Stroll along those beautiful houses. It deserves the attention. In Key West you'll find many typically gingerbread mansions and tin-roofed conch houses.

Every time when we are in Key West we walk down the streets. There are many old, restored, wooden homes in different colors.

These buildings were first introduced to the island by Bahamian settlers. Many of the houses were moved intact by barges from the Bahamas and Cuba, while others were built by the ship's carpenters. A Conch house (wooden house) has wide front porches and louvered windows. Eyebrow houses are partially covered by the roof. That is great if you live in a city with hot climates. The people who have bought a house in Key West many years ago, will be laughing when selling their house, because Key West is booming. The prices are sky high! I can only dream of a Conch house in Key West. Maybe I'll win the Lottery or something... you never know.

© LP 2000-2009