Take time on your next visit to Key West or the Florida Keys and notice some of the beautiful offerings that others tend to miss. Most people walk down piers and notice only the ocean missing the beauty of the pier or the dock posts used to secure boat from drifting away. I on the other hand love noticing the more subtle sights that tend to catch my eye. The five posts form a point with the weathered war-torn scars of the ocean beaten upon its lower water-level exposed portions leaving natures artistically etched skeletal remains. As you can see, It makes a GREAT photo!
The pier posts pictured here are from one of Key West’s busiest and most popular places to stay. The Casa Marina Resort is filled with Jet Skis, Boats, Swimmers, Sunbathing Worshipers, Sand Castle Builders and Sightseers galore and yet NO ONE else walking by these dock posts even gave them a second glance more less a photograph as I did. This to me is true beauty and gets me even deeper into relax mode and is yet another one of the reasons I absolutely LOVE KEY WEST!
This place is always packed with bikers and car clubs stopping in for a brewski on their way down or back from the Keys. This has also been the backdrop for several Miami Vice TV show episodes and the 2-story portion was in the Movie “Drop Zone” with Wesley Snipes.
On US-1 at the beginning of the Florida Keys turn onto Card Sound Road and head East 12.5 miles where you’ll find it down on the right hand side of the road… just look for all of the cars and motorcycles. If you’re heading down on a weekend you might just hear some good old southern & country music being played and see Betty out on the dance floor trying to entice you to come out and join her. Stay alert and watch your odometer because most of this portion of Card Sound Road has no mile markers. A good time indeed, the sweet potato fries are awesome and there’s NO cover charge.
WOW, now I’m seen everything! This shark car is hard to miss to say the least. Look close at the front radiator grill and you’ll see an unlucky fish clutched in the jaws of one hungry shark’s mouth. Oh yeah, how can you miss the ‘Key West’ painted sign across the top of his hood. I love this wild and wacky town called Key West where anything goes!
As far as where to find Key West’s most unique ride, simply drive around town and keep an out eye out for the most unusual car on the island! :-)
Outrageously beautifully simple is this ‘Gateway To Paradise’. Sometimes simple is best, this gate must be accessed from crystal white beach sand in order to enter one of Key West’s best kept secret out-of-the-way hot spots you’ll ever find! Welcome to the main gate of Louie’s Back Yard. Louie’s sits upon the edge of the Atlantic Ocean providing a view to die for… in fact, I’ve written before that it’s the home of ‘Key West’s Best Corner Table’ in the entire city! (seen below)
Come by and experience Louie’s Back Yard by first entering the gate as you duck under the equally beautiful tree that hangs over its entrance. You can find my favorite corner table along with this ‘Gateway To Paradise’ at Louie’s Backyard located at the corner of Seminole Avenue & Alberta Avenue.
OK, your first question is either what is a ‘Conch’ or why is it called the ‘Conch Republic’? To answer the first: What is a ‘Conch’ click here, and for the second: Why is it called the ‘Conch Republic’ click here.
This sign is SO RARE that I’ve seen it ONLY ONCE in my entire life! Though it says ‘Welcome To The Conch Republic’, you can’t pose beside it for your vacation photo album. ONLY several hundred people at day see this at all! In fact, these may be the ONLY 7 tourists to have EVER stood beside it… and they’ve been there for years! :-) These dedicated greeters are frozen in time in the sweltering Florida heat year round.
You can find this rarely seen ‘Welcome To The Conch Republic’ sign atop the first floor roof ONLY while you’re getting on or off a plane at the Key West International Airport (the runway side of the airport above the doors). That my friends is a crying shame and needs to be changed!!!!!
I’ve reported on these Highway Piers in the past calling them the more popular “Ocean Caskets” as a memorial to the World War I (WWI) veterans that died in building the failed bridge. I received a tip on where to find this historical marker only after writing the last blog about the “Ocean Caskets” never even knowing of its existence. It sits behind a parking lot not visible AT ALL with cars parked in front of it. I pulled in and was absolutely thrilled upon seeing it and glad to now share it with you!
Highway Piers (seen in the background of the photo above) – The veterans of World War I were promised a bonus but due to the Great Depression of the early 1930’s the government was without funds. Roosevelt was president and formed the Florida Emergency Relief Administration to create jobs for those out of work. In November, 1934, the government sent 600 veterans to build bridges to replace the ferries. The main and largest camp was here where the Boy Scout Base is today. On September 2nd, 1935, the great Labor Day hurricane with 200 mph winds and 20′ waves destroyed the camp and the railway. The road was rebuilt on the railway bridges leaving the unfinished piers as a memorial to the hundreds who lost their lives.
A special shout out and thanks to one of the many loyal blog readers James W. for giving me this tip on where to find this historical marker for your viewing pleasure. You can find this Highway Pier Marker at Mile Marker 73.2 on the right side of the road on US-1 South in the Florida Keys.
Nudity or Art? Key West has long been a haven for starving artists, poets, & writers long before Tennessee Williams & Ernest Hemingway arrived stamping their imprint on this island city’s culture.
This example of art begs me to ponder and wonder only replying with… “Hmmm!” I guess I’m just not hip enough to appreciate its artistic relevance here in a public park. If you can’t tell, these are an artist’s rendition of a female & male torso. Yes, the female is the one with the blue & yellow… uh, uh, uh… things on her upper body :-) while the male has its back tuned away from the photo for A GOOD REASON! :-)
While you’re in the park, also check out the José Martí Monument, All Wars Memorial, Vietnam War Wall Memorial & New York State Yellow Fever Civil War Monument previously blogged.
You inquisitive artistic type can find this example of freedom of expression in Bayview Park located at the corner of Roosevelt Blvd. & Eisenhower Drive in Key West.