License To Chill

IMG_0149Do you have a “License To Chill” in the Florida Keys? This person does!:-) What a GREAT fitting name for a boat in the Florida Keys. Other notable ones I’ve seen both good and bad are: “Hope Floats”, “Big Pecker” & “None Of Your Business” to mention a few. (All are 100% true boat names) I can see a conversation now: So Bob “What’s the name of your boat?”. “None Of Your Business” Tom!:-)

Though I found this boat at Mile Marker 84.1 at the Holiday Isle Marina, you can find any number of boats with similar humorous names anywhere along the Keys. All you have to do is look… and looking my friends is FREE.

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Key West’s Starving Artists

Key West has long been known as an artists haven of all types including literature, poetry & painting dating way back to Ernest Hemingway & Tennessee Williams. Here we’ll focus on the canvas connoisseurs, the purveyors of paint and the tainters of tint.

I’m sure the reference “Starving Artist” doesn’t apply fully to all of Key West’s street vendors. I’ve noticed a lot of these maintain a brisk business and constantly have crowds gathered around as seen in the photo to the left. I’ve been amazed at the speed, quality & ability that these so-called starving artists possess.

Seen here is one of the MANY artist that can be found throughout the “Old Town” area with a heavy concentration setting up shop on Duval Street or Mallory Square. These Picasso wannabes are happiest when selling their wares and are always excited when passers-by show interest in their work asking related questions. I’ve seen these finished ‘street-side brush strokes upon canvas’ run anywhere from $10 to the upper hundreds. Who knows, you just might purchase a future Rembrandt… then again, PROBABLY NOT!:-)

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Florida Scenic Highway All-American Road

Pictured is the ONLY sign of its kind in the entire Florida Keys driving in either direction. There’s a number of Florida Scenic Highway signs throughout the Keys but ONLY one that has the additional All-American Road Florida Keys attached to it as seen here to the left.

Taking a photo of it is harder than you’d think. This sign appears on the apex of a two-lane bridge with signs before it stating “Do Not Stop On Bridge”… so don’t, that would be really dangerous. Here’s your options for obtaining a photo similar to mine. You can always have your passenger roll down their window and snap your souvenir photo as you slow down a tad making sure not to hold up traffic. I on the other hand chose to take the access road exit prior to it and drive below the bridge, once parked, walk to the best position and zoom in for the shot you see here. I’ve also seen tourist walking, jogging & cycling across the bridge for exercise… but still be real careful.

You can find this Florida Scenic Highway All-American Road Florida Keys sign on the southbound lane ONLY at the top center right hand side of the 18 mile stretch bridge. I’m trying to remember what Mile Marker… hmm, got it, it’s Mile Marker 108… and yes I cheated looking at the photo.:-)

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Oriental Oasis In Key West? True!

Are you kidding me, an Oriental Oasis in Key West? Yes my friends, it’s 100% TRUE! And NO, it’s not some marketing ploy of a desperate Thai Restaurant trying to entice passers-by to dine within.

Welcome to ‘The Gardens Hotel’, the home of this hidden gem that most local residents don’t even know about. Why is that Mr. 365 Days? I’m glad you asked!:-) Here’s the low down my loyal readers. It sits behind a 5′ tall block & brick wall (seen below) that wraps completely around the entire grounds. The views within have been hidden away in plain sight only available to those willing to step off the beaten path.

This is one of the neat rare finds I’ve come across on my own just by being curious and getting off my bicycle then walking behind the wall that other tourist were simply walking by. Seen above is one of the strangest sites I’ve ever seen, a 10′ tall bronze statue of a warrior atop an ostrich. I’ve done some leg work trying to find a historical reference to using ostriches in battle and have come up empty, if you can find such a reference, please let me know. Also seen in the dense lush oriental paradise you’ll find the other statues & ornate artifacts seen below including an 8′ tall bird-cage, a dynamically lion-looking beast, a full-size & bust of a warrior soldier and last but not least a very strange-looking artifact similar to a warped image of a cat-of-nine-tails. Take your time in walking around and of course take your camera and photograph what other tourist have NO IDEA they had missed!

You can find ‘The Gardens Hotel’ at the corner of Angela Street & Simonton Street here in the fun-filled island get-a-way of Key West.

         

         

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Most Beautiful Shark & Scuba Building

IMG_1471By far the neatest, coolest Marine Public Safety building in the entire Keys… heck, it’s the best one I’ve EVER seen anywhere!

It may be a tad hard to find but well worth it. You get an extra bonus with oceanfront picnic tables across from it. Stop by and bring a bag lunch as you admire the Florida Key’s most beautifully decorated Marine Public Safety building.

You can find this on the campus of the Florida Keys Community College just outside of Key West at one of its two entrances at Mile Marker 5.0 & 4.3 onto the horseshoe-shaped College Road. Drive down the road about 1/2 mile from either entrance and there you’ll find it behind by the Tennessee Williams Theatre to the left.

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Florida Key’s Most Beautiful Conch Shell

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful conch shell in the entire 126.7 miles of the Florida Keys! Though it’s not the biggest, that’s reserved for Key West High School’s 18′ Welded Mascot on display out in front of their parking lot.

This is by far has the most picturesque surroundings of conch shell by a lo0oooooong shot! As you can see, this is the focal point of the incredibly popular tourist attraction called “Theater Of The Sea”, a marine mammal park similar to a scaled down version of Sea World. By positioning yourself and standing at the right angle you can create and take one of your vacations most beautifully pre-planned vacations photos. I promise it will only take you 4 minutes to stop, take your photo and hop back in your car and continue your southward journey. It’s well worth your time, as you can see by the photo I’ve taken and published above of the fountain, conch shell, flags, waterfall & sign.

You can find this impossible to miss eye-catcher of a conch shell at Mile Marker 84.4 oceanside smack dab in front of the Theater Of The Sea.

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Tennessee Williams’ Home

Thomas “Tennessee” Williams (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American writer who worked principally as a playwright in the American theater. He also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs. His professional career lasted from the mid 1930’s until his death in 1983, and saw the creation of many of his writings into plays that are regarded as classics of the American stage.

Williams received virtually all of the top theatrical awards for his works of drama, including a Tony Award for best play for The Rose Tattoo (1951) and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire (1948) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). In 1980 he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter and is today acknowledged as one of the most accomplished playwrights in the history of English-speaking theater.

Just like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams also called Key West his home. Tennessee’s home is now a popular tourist attraction for every tourist train & tram weaving its way through the back streets to point out this house. Not only is the home of Tennessee Williams an attraction, but the house to the immediate left is too being used in his Academy Award Winning film “The Rose Tattoo’.

You can find Tennessee Williams’ home to the exact right side of his movie home still boasting its heritage above the door “The Rose Tattoo” at 1421 Duncan Street here in sunny Key West.

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