We got an early start this morning, for us senior citizens that’s 10:30 a.m. We visited the Old Town section of Key West and took a sightseeing tour on one of the Old Town Trolleys. They provide a narrated tour on a route that takes visitors by the Hemingway House and the Southernmost Marker Point in the U.S.
The island of Key West is approximately 1-1/2 miles wide by 4 miles long with a population of almost 25,000 residents. We were surprised to learn that their busiest season is Halloween, when around 100,000 visitors arrive. During this event, some of the younger and older adults’ parade around the streets of Old Town Key West, au natural, with painted costumes on their bodies.
Duval Street is the main drag of Old Town Key West and traverses the entire width of the island. There are an estimated 146 bars on this street. Key West is reported to have the densest housing in the U.S. Having seen it first hand, we can believe it. There is literally hardly any space between the homes and there is no need for a lawnmower, since there are no yards. The island is basically a coral reef that has been built up over the years for human habitat development. Key West has the third largest coral reef in the world residing along the Atlantic coast, extending 186 miles north. This coral reef protects the coastline from wave activity that creates sandy beaches. Key West has a white sand beach area, but the sand had to be brought in from Miami.
We had lunch at the Conch Republic Seafood restaurant. This restaurant is located on the water on the Gulf of Mexico side of Key West. I had a blackened snapper BLT on Cuban bread that was absolutely delicious and Sharon had the fish and chips.
After lunch we continued on a self-guided walking tour of the Old Town section of Key West. This is a very popular tourist area, with restaurants, bars and boutique shops populating the streets throughout the old section of Key West. Several bars, three-stories tall, advertise clothing is optional on their 3rd floors. The irony is they all have a sign posted at their entrance stating: "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service." We had a chuckle over that. I mentioned to Sharon that perhaps that means pants are optional!
At 4:30 p.m. we strolled over to a famous Key West attraction called Mallory Square Dock to participate in a ritual called the "Sunset Celebration." Hundreds of people gather there to watch the various street performers until the anointed time arrives for the sun to set. Tonight the sunset was partially obscured by a cloud cover, but it was still a breathtaking view. As the sun was setting below the horizon the crowd began cheering in unison. It was a magical moment to end the day with.
Tomorrow, another new adventure begins!