on May 5, 2006
About two blocks south of the Hilton you'll find the Audubon House Museum and Gallery.The house is named for John James Audubon, the artist. The house itself was the family home of John Geiger, the first Harbor pilot in Key West. Like many early Key West residents, Geiger made his living as a wrecking master who salvaged ships (and the contents) that wrecked on the shallows around the Florida Keys. The House is a wonder - classic style and all original furniture. The Audubon paintings were, frankly, lost on me. Pretty to look at, and for sale (the prints) at the gift shop.But what really amazed us were the plantings in the gardens surrounding the house. Dozens of species of native plantings, and frankly must better kept and more diverse than the rather grim Key West Botanical Garden on the other side of the island.That's a tough comment, because the Key West Botanical Garden has all the earmarks of a sincere volunteer effort. But while we spent two hours touring the Audubon House and gardens, we whipped through the Botanical Garden in 15 minutes.And my wife is a horticulturist!So spend your time at the Audubon house if you want a quiet break from the excitement of Duval Street, and especially if you want to see an exquisite Key West Garden.And if you want to learn more about the disreputable history of Key West Wreckers, wander a block down Whitehead St. to The Wrecker's Museum.
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