Hand-Carved Wooden Wonder Fish

Where can you find what very well maybe the largest hand-carved wooden sailfish in the entire Florida Keys? I’m glad you asked! Oh yeah, whether it’s the largest or not doesn’t really matter, it’s an exquisite example of masterpiece artwork!

This sailfish is right at home being among it’s own kind (live and otherwise) surround by those who live to someday hook a real-life beauty of their own. If your getting my drift then you might actually drift away offshore in the pleasure craft of your choosing and toss out a line while crossing your fingers.

Enough riddles, you can find this mammoth master-crafted finned phenomenon inside the World Wide Sportsman store at Mile Marker 81.4 bayside in the upstairs portion above it’s equally unique elevator. Enjoy! This is yet another FREE experience in our beautiful ever changing Florida Keys!

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Finding Zen In The Keys

You know, not everything in the Florida Keys has to be a paid attraction, bar, sunset cruise, Duval Street, day at the beach, or even New Years Eve at Sloppy Joe’s. Sometimes you’d be surprised at what beauty can be found in what you’re currently looking at or have just passed in your car if you’d only slow down and smell the roses!

Let’s take canals for example (featured photo), the Keys has hundreds of small canals, waterways and other arteries leading to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico throughout your entire trip from Key Largo to Key West. Seen here is a splendorous site that most locals take for granted and largely go unnoticed by tourist. Wow… this would make a GREAT picnic spot! Remember the old saying… “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (in this case peace & serenity). Finding your own Zen is ABSOLUTELY 100% FREE, all you have to do is look around!

You can find this particular beautiful canal at Mile Marker 21.0 oceanside by turning on Prost Drive right beside the Monroe County Sheriffs Department… so don’t stop at the Zen if your Green Card is expired! 🙂

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Indian Key’s Abandoned Water Cisterns

6787116720_9d5f294985_bWelcome to Indian Key’s abandoned water cisterns! “So what’s a cistern?” you might ask. A cistern is a waterproof receptacle for holding liquids, usually water. Cisterns can be above or below ground and were commonly used in the Florida Keys to capture & store rain water since fresh water in days-past was scarce.

This large brick cistern (featured photo) held approximately 20,000 gallons of water and its bottom was carved directly into the island’s bedrock.

You can find a tour boat company to take you to Indian Key State Park for $20-$30 per person at Robbie’s Marina Mile Marker 77.5 on US-1 bayside. I again want to thank my friend Scott (ex-Indian Key tour guide seen here) for an awesome one-on-one tour of the island.

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We Biked The ENTIRE Island Of Key West!

Riding a bike in Key West is extremely popular and one of the most relaxing past times. As avid bike riders, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend 35 hours of our lives enjoying ALL of the scenic beauty, historical sites & oddities this vacation wonderland has to offer.

YES it’s true, we biked the ENTIRE island of Key West! EVERY public street, alleyway, paved & dirt road (seen below), behind and around EVERY building & church, crisscrossing EVERY intersection finding countless hidden gems throughout. It took us 6 different weekends, 1 year 5 months, and biking nearly 3-4 hours a day to accomplish such a feat. We snapped well over 1,000 photos, many of them I’ve used in previous blogs saving hundreds upon hundreds more for your future entertainment. Seen here are your blog hosts celebrating the achievement with their two favorite friends… well deserved ice-cold long necks! 🙂

Although I don’t expect anyone to bike the entire 3 x 5 mile island, I do encourage you to give it a try for an hour or two. I assure you, it will become one of the most relaxing memories you’ll take back home.

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Golf Carts Galore! Share The Road

I love this sign”Share The Road”… and NO, this WASN’T found at a golf course! Where else can you find a sign like this on a main road… I love the Keys! 🙂

If you don’t know or haven’t noticed, the Florida Keys is a haven for retirees and their favorite mode of transportation commonly called a golf cart! Cushman, a world leader in the manufacturer of golf carts owes their growing numbers to yet another group… a yearly phenomenon known as the ‘Annual Snow Bird Migration’ from the cold Canadian north! 🙂 For those of you needing a little explanation of this Florida term “Snow Birds”, it refers to the influx of Canadians escaping their harsh winters temporarily relocating in our warm weather paradise till conditions improve in their own bilingual homeland.

From out of nowhere this sign appeared as I instantly began to chuckle. Having my camera with me at all times when in the Keys, I pulled the car over and snapped this photo. Though there are more, you can find this particular sign “Share The Road” just behind the main entrance building (where you pay the park fee) to the Long Key State Park at Mile Marker 67.5 oceanside on US-1.

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Historic 7-Mile Bridge (original)

5168582573_51834c450e_mWhat’s the Florida Keys #1 tourist attraction? By far it’s the incredible 7-Mile Bridge! But wait… believe it or not there’s two 7-Mile Bridges!

The older original 7-Mile Bridge was used until 1982, it connected Knight’s Key to the Lower Keys. It was one of the longest bridges in the world! The original name was “Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge”… wow, was that a mouth full! Many thanks to those who changed it to the “Seven Mile Bridge”. The bridge was badly damaged by a 1935 hurricane and refurbished by the government as an automobile bridge. Look and you’ll see that the guard rails are made from former railway tracks!

The black pipe on the side of the bridge in the photo below was the freshwater lifeline to the Keys for many years. The bridge also had a swing span that opened to allow passage of boat traffic near Pigeon Key. The vast majority of the original bridge still exists, used as fishing piers and access to Pigeon Key.

The bridges narrow width contributed to its demise. In fact, I remember as a child traveling in our Chevy Chase Griswold Family Vacation station wagon folding in the car side mirror so that the opposing traffic wouldn’t hit it… which happened way to often! Today it’s relegated to foot & bicycle traffic unable to support the former tourist tram that traveled it for years.

You can find the northern end of this historic monument to perseverance on US-1 South at Mile Marker 46.8 heading down to Key West.

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Southern Glades Wildlife Area

Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area (SGWEA) consists of over 30,000 acres at the southern end of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades basin.  The SGWEA is located in Miami-Dade County adjacent to the canal between Everglades National Park and US-1. The area was acquired to protect wildlife habitat and as part of Everglades restoration. Bird watching is popular on Southern Glades, especially along the northwest corner of Aerojet Road. Wading birds are common and include the endangered Wood Stork and the Roseate Spoonbill. This area is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. On the area are two hiking trails totaling 16 miles. One begins on CR 424, 1.8 miles west of U.S. 1. The second trail is about two miles west of the first trail. Unfortunately camping and the use of ATVs are prohibited.

You can find the Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area at two different points as you head down on US-1 South towards Key West. First by turning right at Mile Marker 122.3 and following the curve of the road about 1/3 mile on the left seeing the northernmost end of the refuge. The second and southernmost end of the park (pictured above) can only be accessed by boat at Mile Marker 116.4 by turning left off of US-1 South and following the road underneath the overpass that you’ve just driven over.

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