Tavernier Fire Station

IMG_1377Children are raised at a young age learning about bright red fire engines, fire stations, firefighters, & Dalmatian fire dogs via school field trips or visits to their school.

Here at the Tavernier Fire Department you can find two very different tributes to firefighting:

1) Stroker was a Dalmatian given to the Tavernier Fire Department in memory of a former firefighters. The plaque in front of the fire station reads: “Stroker” the Dalmatian 1990-1996 Our faithful friend who was given to us in memory of Derik Smith a T.V.F.D. firefighter. Both are gone-but not forgotten.

2) In the featured photo you can see a very unique vintage portable fire hydrant on wheels.

You can find this old-fashioned portable fire hydrant and the tribute plaque for “Stroker” the Dalmatian at Mile Marker 92.0 bayside. Turn onto Jo Jean Way and then immediate left onto Marine Avenue going only .1 mile on your left.

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A Lost Beach Cemetery

Officially called Pioneer Cemetery, this oceanside burial site has seen its share of hurricanes, tides & water upon its plots over the years. As you can see in the photos, it sits only 30′-40′ from the oceans waves on a good day… you can imagine the waterline during a Florida hurricane.

This cemetery memorializes the determination of 50 of this towns former pioneers & homesteaders with 3 families headstones present today. Oh yeah, the land was deeded to one of the families by President Chester A. Arthur! How’s that for a historical tidbit.🙂

I first heard of this site but couldn’t find it. My next attempt found the site but was refused entrance by a new employee at the resorts main entrance. My third time was a charm walking right in with a visitor pass directly to the sacred sand procuring these photos.

I saw no one else remotely interested in the cemetery as people walked on the beach just feet away passing the sign with so much history information about the settlers to this area and their families lives. What a shame! I on the other hand loved doing this for you and happy to report that you too can come see Florida’s “Lost Cemetery By The Sea”!

You can find the forgotten little-seen cemetery on the grounds of the Cheeca Lodge at Mile Marker 82 on the left side of US-1 South. Stop at the main gate and simply ask for a visitor pass to see the Pioneer Beach Cemetery. It’s FREE to both park & visit the hallowed ground.

              

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Key West’s Historic Presidential Gates

It never ceases to amaze me seeing tourists walk right by such historic sites & plaques never once batting an eye or raising their cameras. What a shame, in this case they would’ve missed this indiscrete one of kind driveway entrance of incredible importance as this Presidential Gate.

This gate was built in 1906 and over the years have welcomed Presidents: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy along with a laundry list of other world-stage dignitaries. They were opened to all of the citizens of Key West, the State of Florida, & the Nation for the first time on March 31, 1987.

If you look close at the above photo you can see the letters US interwoven on both sides of the gates pillars along with the bronze plaque commemorating the Presidential appearances adorning the left pillar. (both enlarged below)

You can find this historical Presidential Gate at the intersection of Whitehead Street & Caroline Street here in the ‘Fun In The Sun Capital of Florida’ Key West!

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Safari Lounge… Feeling WILD?

It’s hard to find but well worth tracking down! Too cool, the circular bar and hand-carved tiki totem centerpiece are alone worth the price of admission… FREE!🙂

Though not pictured, this is an oceanfront bar with a view to remember. I can’t say anything bad about this place except that I wasn’t there long enough!🙂 A return trip is guaranteed.

You can find the super cool Safari Lounge across from the Florida Key’s LARGEST full-length mural on the Caloosa Cove Marina at Mile Marker 73.8 on the Atlantic Ocean side of the road hidden behind a gas station.

    

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Airplanes In Driveways!

Does your garage or driveway have an airplane in it? Where in the Florida Keys can an entire community park their personal airplanes in front of their homes and pull directly onto an unfenced runway? I’ve found just that! Look close at the photo and you can see at least four planes. Oh yeah, why not throw in an airplane mailbox for good measure while you’re at it!🙂 (seen below)

What a great drive this is, once off the main road take 10-minutes of your trip and admire this unique atmosphere! Photographed below is a garage built specifically for housing a plane. Seen to the left in the featured photo shows an airplane’s cockpit covered up awaiting its next upward flight… once the rain stops! Yes I got wet taking the photos but that’s part of  the job… it was worth seeing even in the Key’s liquid sunshine!🙂

You can find this one-of-a-kind Florida Key’s ‘Airplanes In Driveways’ with an unprotected airport runway on US-1 at Mile Marker 25.0 turning onto West Shore Drive, go down .2 miles till you see the runway on your right sandwiched in-between North Airport Drive & South Airport Drive. Remember, DON’T turn onto the runway, as the sign says: ‘DANGER, ACTIVE RUNWAY DO NOT ENTER’… it could be hazardous to your health!

         

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Environmental Observatory

IMG_1466Do you like seeing sharks, sharks and more sharks? If so, I bet you’re one of those that look forward to TV’s highly anticipated shark week! No need to wait, I’ve found some very nice painted ones at ground level for your vacation photo collection.

Though not officially a tourist attraction that you walk into, you can on the other hand admire the awesome artwork and get your picture taken with them without anyone batting an eye.

You can find the Clark Maxwell Environmental Observatory 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 it be behind by the Tennessee Williams Theatre.

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Blue Heaven’s Chicken Gate

IMG_1774Ornamental gates are a dime a dozen throughout the Keys. I’ve found two that are dedicated to the famous free-roaming chickens of Key West.

Seen here is the side gate to an equally famous Key West restaurant featuring a family of chickens and one not so obvious cat on the far left. I wonder if the cat is smiling knowing that he’s about to get a free meal!🙂

You can find this ‘Chicken Family Gate’ at the popular bar & dining hangout called Blue Heaven on Caroline Street just a few blocks southwest of Duval Street in Key West.

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