Key West’s Hard Rock Café

The first Hard Rock Café opened its doors on June 14, 1971, in London, England and began its global expansion in 1982. In March 2007, the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida acquired the Hard Rock Café chain of 175 global venues in some 55 countries ultimately becoming the world’s leading collector and exhibitors of Rock ‘n’ Roll memorabilia. OK, back on track, this isn’t a blog about Global Market Domination… it’s about the Key West Hard Rock Café and the added bonus of dining with a GHOST!

Located in one of ‘Old Towns’ largest and most beautiful houses at 313 Duval Street, the Key West Hard Rock Café is home to Robert Curry. The house was built by William Curry, Florida’s first millionaire, as a wedding gift for his son, Robert. Robert was very sickly throughout his life, stricken with a variety of ailments and illnesses, yet found himself in control of the Curry family fortune. Since he wasn’t a very good businessman the money rapidly faded away (likely due to his poor health). Distraught and depressed, Robert committed suicide in the second floor bathroom becoming one of America’s MOST HAUNTED ROOMS! The Curry House is now the Hard Rock Café, but Robert doesn’t seem to know the difference. Guests and employees have reported seeing a dark-haired man walking the premises, then disappearing into thin air. The Hard Rock Café is always a great place to visit when you go on vacation. In Key West, the resident ghost gives you even more reason to have a meal there! Bon Appetit!

Though not of the Hard Rock, can you find the ghost in this dinner table photo below? I did! Who knows, you may get your own photo of an unwanted table guest here at the Hard Rock Key West. Boo! 🙂

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Boondocks’ Big Chair

IMG_9556If there’s one thing there’s plenty of in the Florida Keys (excluding: sunburns, hangovers, & 1-legged Pirates) that would be big chairs. 🙂 They come in all shapes and sizes from extra wide to super tall and painted in pink to multi-colored stripes. This is the ONLY one that I’ve seen that includes the mile marker of where you can find it written on its tallest part of its back rest.

All big chairs are done on purpose to attract attention wanting you their potential customer to stop at their establishment. Once there taking your souvenir photo they hope you stay a while shopping in their store or participating in their featured activities, in this case putt-putt! As you can see by 6′ tall Troy standing next to it that even a tall person is no match for the height of this chair.

You can find this labeled multi-colored big chair at Mile Marker 27.5 bayside in front of the Boondocks entertainment complex.

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The Blue Hole, Florida Key’s ONLY Freshwater Lake

Welcome to the Florida Key’s ONLY freshwater lake! The Blue Hole is a local tourist attraction that was born from a former quarry supplying the Florida Key’s with material for road beds in the 1930’s & 40’s along with stones for Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway. The empty abandoned quarry over the years filled up with rainwater to appear as it does today supplying local wildlife vital freshwater.

Although I was expecting a brighter clearer blue shade of water, I can see how this has become a tourist attraction. If you look at the sign on the blue railing pictured on the left which reads: “Please Do Not Put Hands or Feet Through Railing”… I’ll finish what was left off: “Or You May Lose Them To A Hungry Gator!” Though others and I looked for gators, I’m sad to say we came up empty… but thank goodness, since there’s NO fence or railing stopping the gators from wandering onto the walkways only 6 or 7 feet away from the water’s edge! Don’t even think about going there at night or you might never return from which you came! 🙂 With that said, I saw only a turtle upon a rock and 3 mosquitoes (two of which bit me) 😦 on my journey to the Blue Hole, maybe your visit will produce a greater abundance of wildlife than I encountered! Happy hunting!

You can find this Blue Hole by driving down US-1 to Mile Marker 30.4 bayside and turning onto Key Deer Blvd. Once you’ve turned, simply go down 2.9 miles on your left where you’ll see the 8 car parking lot where you’ll pull in. Oh yeah, it’s against the law to feed the gators either willingly giving them food or being their food… the only difference is that if your their food… you won’t be prosecuted due to lack of remaining evidence!

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Key West’s Clock Tower

Here’s our proud American flag blowing briskly in the wind over the Key West clock tower. Though not as famous as London’s ‘Big Ben’ or the one portrayed in the movie ‘Back To The Future’ with Micheal J. Fox, it’s by far the MOST FAMOUS & TALLEST clock tower in Key West! OK, it’s the only clock tower in Key West… SO WHAT! 🙂

PHOTO Class #101: 🙂 In trying to take uniquely positioned photos I chose this angle to include a branch giving it depth. I’ve never claimed to be a professional photographer but have learned in my 10,000 photos of FLORIDA KEYS to be more aware of my position & angle. In todays digital world I encourage you to try different shots of the same subject keeping only the ones you like. Perfect example, notice the photo below of the same clock tower but of the flag alone. It’s all about the angle, I walked for blocks till positioning myself to capture the moon & flag in the same frame. I snapped no less than 10 pics choosing this one with the flag completely unfurled. It turned out to be one of my all-time favorites! Myth Buster: Despite popular belief, every photo doesn’t have to be perfectly centered, include the entire structure or have a person in it!

You can find the tallest clock tower in Key West sitting at the corner of Greene Street & Ann Street… or better yet and easier to find, it’s the building behind the World Famous “Sloppy Joe’s Bar” on Duval Street.

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Prehistoric Blowfish

IMG_1522Ugly but AWESOME! This prehistoric blow fish thing is suspended by heavy-duty chain from the roof of this newly found equally AWESOME bar & grill.

Without exaggerating, it’s approximately 6 feet long by 5 feet tall… it’s humongous, I can only imagine how much it weighs! Look close and you’ll see that its bottom jaw teeth (ok, fangs) 🙂 are each about 2 feet in length. If this were real I’d NEVER EVER go in the water again… it’s so big and nasty looking that Jaws himself would shy away from this bad boy! 🙂

You can see this great new find at Mile Marker 53.8 oceanside behind the Holiday Inn on US-1. Turn onto Coral Lane only going about 100′ then left into the side parking lot of the Tarpon Creek Bar & Grill. Add this to your list of places to visit and things to see, you’ll thank me!

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Find Your Lost Weekend! :-)

We’ve all had a ‘Lost Weekend’ either in our past or this most recent Friday, Saturday & Sunday! 🙂

I on the other hand have found my ‘Lost Weekend’ here in Key West where I guarantee more are LOST than FOUND! Judging from the crowds I’ve seen wobbling down Duval Street at 3am, their ‘Lost Weekend’ is at the expense of their livers! 🙂

You can find this poke at humor for those that can’t remember their last 4-hours of partying just 1 building west of the corner of Caroline Street & Duval Street. Have fun down here in Vacationland USA but most of all… try to remember it the next morning! 🙂

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Inside Zachary Taylor Civil War Fort

By far one of Key West’s best kept secrets surviving in relative obscurity but thriving in historic richness and pictorial passion. A focus of past blogs on the outer walls and top of the fort we now find ourselves delving inside the hidden treasures within its brick & mortar confines.

You first walk in from the outer walls seeing the massive grassed courtyard as your eyes steer to the immediate right seeing the wooden window shutters and cannon balls stacked to its left leaving only your camera to act upon its photo gallery quality beauty. To the wooden windows left you’ll notice the munitions storage area portrayed with bowling pin affect are also noteworthy.

The absolute center of your attention is drawn to the cannons and archways furthest away from your entry point. As you can see by the featured photo above, you can create wall-mounted photographs of office and waiting room quality. So many of these beautiful sights are all around just waiting to be found!

Bonus: If you look hard, you too can find the hidden latreen (pictured below) that I missed the first two times at the fort. Bonus #2: Once atop the only circular stair, take a second and look back down the stairs previously climbed for a unique view down for a photo like no other from your hours at the fort.

This again is one of our favorite places to go in Key West to get away from the crowds and enjoy a picnic on the beach or a well-earned sunset and gorgeous views. So grab your camera and head on over to this treasure trove of civil war sites. You can find the Civil War historical relic exactly beside the Old Navy Pier Shipyard about 4 blocks west of Duval Street at the ocean’s edge. There’s a small per car charge for entry… believe me, it’s well worth it!

         

         

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