Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Key West- because you don't have to shovel sunshine" ~ Jackie Gibbons

And now, for Part II of our trip to Key West! I mentioned in my previous post that I'd never seen so many shades of blue. It's true. Between the sky and the water, shifting shades from morning till night. It's difficult to describe how the water is in Key West. It's right there. It's not a gradual beach that gets deeper and deeper. It's right there. The activity on the water is ceaseless.

Low wall separating land and water.

Another spot that we visited was "The Little White House". We were not permitted to take pictures inside as it is still considered a government residence. It's simplicity and charm cannot be overstated. Truman was known as the "Common Man's Man." It's easy to see why he would be comfortable staying here. From 1946 to 1952, he used the Winter White House exactly 11 times. He loved the anonymity it provided him. A quiet place, away from the crowds, in order to get his work done. 

During those stays, he often played cards late into the night with the Press Corps, and was known to sneak out at night, eluding the Secret Service so that he could wander the island on his own as a "Common Man".

One of the things that Key West is known for is spectacular sunsets. We were there only two evenings, and unfortunately, neither one of them shared the sunsets of lore. However, there can be no doubting that they were beautiful anyhow!

As we drove out to Key West , we travelled miles and miles with water directly on either side of us. We wondered aloud how the electrical poles, which were placed in the water, not on land, were serviced and repaired when needed. We had that question answered on our return trip!

Such a wonderful get away - a trip for all of the senses! I'm sure that we will do it again one day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Key West... Where a chicken can cross the road and his motivation will not be questioned!" ~ Cheryl Casale Huftalen

Last week, Bruce and I made a few day trip to Key West. We had never been to the Keys before, and this was a true treat. I admit that I had the wrong idea of what Key West was like. I was envisioning a sleepy, Caribbean type of town. Wrong! Key West reminded me of New Orleans - loud and very walkable, and Provincetown - funky and very walkable. Not a bad combination, but it took me by surprise. I am going to break our trip up into two blog posts, with part II coming next Wednesday.

One of the first things that we did, once we settled into our B and B, was to take a trolly car tour around the town. This was well worth it. We then visited the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. This had been recommended by a friend and it was amazing! Bruce and I agreed that it almost felt like we were in a Disney World attraction, but everything was real.

"Walk Among Hundreds of Living Butterflies and Colorful Birds! Take a stroll through a tropical paradise... walk through an exotic and inviting environment filled with hundreds of the most beautiful winged creatures in nature -- butterflies.

During your breathtaking journey you will experience an impressive collection of flowering plants, cascading waterfalls and trees that set the stage for the “flowers of the sky.” Witness some 50 to 60 different species from around the world, as well as varieties of colorful birds, all under a climate-controlled, glass-enclosed habitat.

Our butterflies are not collected from the wild. They come from butterfly farming operations. The captive breeding of butterflies is well suited to tropical regions and can be an environmentally beneficial endeavor through the release of excess production into the wild and the culture of native shrubs, flowers and trees as host and nectar plants. You will have a unique opportunity to observe butterflies and birds in a tropical setting. The diversity of size, shape, color, patterns and behavior make these delicate winged creatures a delight to see."

There are two resident flamingoes. 

A "Turaco"

One thing that we found out very quickly is that chickens and roosters are EVERYWHERE! We heard "cockadoodle-doing" all day and night!

Even under barstools.

On our second day we went to the Hemingway House.

"The Hemingway home was built in 1851 in the Spanish Colonial style, and was constructed of native rock hewn from the grounds. The home was in great disrepair when it the Hemingways took ownership, but both Ernest and Pauline could see beyond the rubble and ruin, and appreciated the grand architecture and stateliness of the home. The massive restoration and remodeling they undertook in the early 1930’s turned the home into the National Historical Landmark that thousands of tourists visit and enjoy today." 

"The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately 40-50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. Cats normally have five front toes and four back toes. About half of the cats at the museum have the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA, which means that the ones that have 4 and 5 toes can still mother or father six-toed kittens. Most cats have extra toes on their front feet and sometimes on their back feet as well. Sometimes it looks as if they are wearing mittens because they appear to have a thumb on their paw.

Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship's captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat, named Snow White. Key West is a small island and it is possible that many of the cats on the island are related. The polydactyl cats are not a particular breed. The trait can appear in any breed, Calicos, Tabbies, Tortoise Shell. White, Black, etc. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors and personalities."

Some of Key West's vibrant foliage.

 Next week - I never knew there were so many shades of blue!