Mallory Square Historic Marker

Welcome to the historic Mallory Square marker. Though it’s within the square, it’s still very easily missed being flanked by bushes.

The Mallory Square Area was the hub of Key West’s Wrecking industry in the 19th century. It includes warehouses where salvage from ships wrecked on the reef were stored and auctioned. Named for Stephen Mallory who left the United States Senate to become Secretary of the Navy for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Here’s a little known fact that’ll win you a bar bet: Even though Stephen Mallory was the Secretary of the Navy for the Confederate States of America and stationed in Key West, the Civil War Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West remained in northern Yankee hands during the ENTIRE Civil War!

Mallory Square is known worldwide for its celebration of sunset and the hub of the city’s tourism industry. Maps available upon request in the former Tift’s Ice House now known as the Shell Warehouse.

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History Of Valentine’s Day

heartHAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Do you know how and why Valentine’s Day came about? I do and now you will too! 🙂

The most popular martyrology associated with Valentine’s was a Christian saint named Valentinus that was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he is said to have healed (others say fell in love with) the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote a letter to her that included the words “From Your Valentine” an expression still used today.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering candies, and sending greeting cards (known as “Valentines“). Today’s Valentine’s Day symbols include hearts, doves, and winged Cupids.

Isn’t it GREAT to be just a wee bit smarter today! Now go and impress your mate by showing your knowledge of this most romantically evolved day of the year!

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Civil War Cannon By Sea

IMG_3140Do you plan on invading Key West by sea on your next visit? If so, you may want to stay clear of this Civil War cannon pointed directly at your oncoming ship, boat or canoe! OK, you really have absolutely nothing to worry about my friends, it’s all for show and normally isn’t loaded the owner says. 🙂 OK, I added the ‘loaded’ part myself!

One of our avid daily readers named Steve instantly knew where this was located at from a blog preview of ‘Things To Come’ about two weeks ago and contacted me. So here’s your answer Steve, “Yes we did stop in and have a beer at the Boathouse Bar and spoke to the estates owner of the cannon afterwards”. Thanks Steve!

You can find this picturesque Civil War cannon set deep off the road in a condo laden section of town overlooking Cow Key. When arriving on the island of Key West via US-1 South, turn left on to South Roosevelt Blvd/A1A. The condo sits only 3/4 of a mile on the left side across from Flagler Avenue and turn into the Coconut Mallory Resort & Marina. Walk past the ‘Boathouse Bar’ out to the pier pictured below and look to your left over the fence and there she be! It may take a minute or two to find it so don’t give up… it’s so worth it! Or… if you get lost, just ask everyone at the Boathouse Bar if they’re Steve who would be glad to point you in the right direction! 🙂

PS – I think the owner said he named the cannon ‘Nick’. Hmm… Nick Cannon 🙂 OK, I too made that up.

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Key West’s Outdoor Candlelight Vigil

I’ve seen hundreds of these around the world from Moscow, Russia to Rome, Italy… but, they’ve always been indoors.

Here in the heart of Key West is yet another first for me, an outdoor candlelight vigil area complete with stone kneeling pew alters for praying. A bit of advice, bring a towel, the uneven jagged surface is not kneeling friendly!

Way too cool, save a few minutes out of your next visit to see Key West’s one-of-a-kind outside candlelight vigil. Once here I’m sure you’ll want to expand your timeframe since you’ll be within feet of SOOOOOOOOO many other fantastic religious related wonders.

See these and more at the St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church Gardens located behind and to the side of their activity building at the corner of Truman Avenue & Windsor Lane.

    

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Lake Surprise… Yes, That’s Its Name!

Surprise… it’s a lake! 🙂 Yes, that’s actually its name ‘Lake Surprise’. I’m purely speculating, sometime in the past someone was stomping through the Everglades never suspecting that they would happen upon a lake!

Often you’ll see people fishing off its shores, boats anchored just 30 or 40 feet off its shore with their passengers wading in the shallow waters.

Finding the lake is a no brainer, the sign on the other hand can only be found heading northbound as you first get on the 18-Mile Stretch Bridge on the right.

You can find Lake Surprise on both sides of US-1 at Mile Marker 108.0 in Key Largo.

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The Famous ‘Green Parrot Bar’

One of Key West’s BEST! The Green Parrot Bar has a long shady history dating back to 1890 and remains a local and tourist favorite to this day.

It began as a grocery store to supplement the local Cubans with cigars and the Bahamian population with food from their native lands. It has grown into a bar of today with a wild, wild, wild shit-kicking reputation. In 1890 the store had a back room that local musicians played long into the night… hey, I quess some things never change! During WWII the Navy patronage was overwhelming and notoriously famous for the ruckus sailors are known for… and we all know they NEVER swear, fight or take another man’s woman! 🙂 The sailors have long since gone being replaced over the years with such crowds as hippies, nomads, rendezvous seekers, tourists from every walk of life up to celebrities seeking refuge as an unknown even if only for a day. I admire a bar that states as their saying “A sunny place for shady people”… oh yeah, it also says “No snivelling!”.

You can find this landmark pub sitting on the corner of Southard & Whitehead Streets awaiting its next shady character to occupy a stool telling their best D.B. Cooper story claiming to be the long-lost hi-jacking parachuting bandit.

                   

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Key West’s Nature Preserve

Looking for a change of pace? I’d wager that 99% of tourists visiting Key West have no clue that there’s a nature preserve on the south side of the island! What a pleasant surprise in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of this tourist laden oceanic vacationland.

‘Third Time Lucky’ was a hit song in the 1970’s from the rock band Foghat and here came true for me. I was finally able to gain access always being either too early or too late saying “I’ll go there next time”. Sandwiched between multi-level condos on either side, this protected area is a haven for those animals calling it home. Key West and its hungry developers would love to get their hands on this prime oceanfront property given the chance. Operated by the Key West Garden Club, I hope it remains in the hands of wildlife lovers for generations to come.

You can find this last oceanic safe haven for wildlife on Key West’s less traveled south side on the eastern end of Atlantic Avenue. A walk on the beach is worth a 30-minute visit alone, it’s open daily from mid-morning to sunset. It’s two entrances are as different as can be, one is a walking path while the other is a beautiful boardwalk leading to a grand deck overlooking the ocean.

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