A Roadside Reef Light

Happy THANKSGIVING to all!

What’s a REEF LIGHT? This is the little known and even less credited REEF LIGHT… ok, it’s the red-headed stepchild to a lighthouse! There, now that you know what a reef light is, here’s it’s purpose. It’s simple, it’s nothing more than a cheaper scaled down version of a larger lighthouse used more on a local level for seaward navigation. I thought I would acclimate you first to the roadside version before showing you its real sea-bound namesake! So keep looking out for the upcoming blog on the mother of all reef lights… ‘Alligator Reef Light’.

You too can find this landlubber lighthouse wannabe at Mile Marker 29.7 oceanside¬†next to the Reef Light Tackle Shop at the corner of Cahill Court & US-1 South. Yes it’s FREE to see, just pull off the road! ūüôā

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Smile, You’re On Candid Camera!

Impress your friends or just¬†act plain stupid! Either way you’re LIVE on the internet so smile, you’re on Candid Camera!

Here at the main Conch Train Depot in Key West on Duval Street’s Northwestern end you’ll find this unique form of publicly or incriminating evidence whichever it might be! So much for that famous saying “What happens in Key West stays in Key West!” ūüôā

So hunt down this video camera and call your family to say hello from Paradise’s Playground. They’ll either love you or hate you for it… there’s no in-between! ūüôā

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Cuban Bollos

Five Brothers Sandwich Shop

Want something different to do in Key West… try a part of its culinary history brought over from Cuban immigrants that’ve made the 90 mile journey. What was formerly readily available from almost every street vendor and food court is now relegated to a dismal few!

Here at Five Brothers Sandwich Shop on Southard Street stands one of the cities last surviving hold outs. Cuban Bollos are best enjoyed deep fried and warm! Similar to an American Hush Puppy or Fritter, they’re made with peeled black-eyed peas crushed into a paste adding garlic, salt & pepper with a touch of hot sauce. We ALWAYS get a bag of six for only $2 (Dozen $4).

Having been raised on them I‚Äôve devoured 1,000‚Äôs of them over my years and hunt them down as a first priority upon entering Key West city limits. This is my self proclaimed REWARD for traveling the most beautiful self gratifying 3-hour drive from Miami you‚Äôll ever have! ūüôā

PS – If you’ve ever wanted to see a picture of the person who writes this blog here’s your chance. That’s me holding the bollos in the picture below! ūüôā

Awe… Cuban Bollos!

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Giant Aluminum Sailfish

IMG_2253Here’s a new one for you that just popped a while back. It’s a wind vane in the shape of what looks like a Blue Marlin that swings around changing positions as the wind shifts from north to south. Standing an easy 15′ – 20′ tall it’s an opposing unique figure against the sunny Florida sky.

You too can check out one of Big Pine Key’s newest additions at Mile Marker 29.7 oceanside¬†next to the Reef Light Tackle Shop¬†on US-1. Yes it‚Äôs FREE to see, just pull off the road to photograph… no dangerous drive-by filming allowed! ūüôā

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A Jellyfish Picnic

IMG_2224TRUE, we had a jellyfish picnic! Here’s how, we took off on our bikes never knowing where we’ll end up when hunger tells us to stop. On this day we were on Stock Island ending up at this beautiful dock on the edge of a waterway leading to the Atlantic Ocean. We got comfortable with sandwiches, chips and beer in hand when low and behold a jellyfish insisted on showing us his latest acrobatic moves for the next 10 minutes… upon finishing we stood and gave him a standing ovation. ūüôā P.S. – Good luck on finding your own jellyfish! Either way, you’ll enjoy your alone-time picnic with not a soul in sight!

While here, look to your right and see the ‘Quiet… No Wake’ sign blog on earlier.

You can find this hard to find self-proclaimed picnic area just past the Stock Island Marina Village. Go to Mile Marker 5.0 oceanside turning at Burger King onto 5th Street, down 5 blocks taking a left on 5th Avenue, down 1 block to Shrimp Road and turn right. Once on Shrimp Road drive down a half mile just past the Stock Island Marina Village turning left till the map turns blue.

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Jimmy Buffett’s Recording Studio

Jimmy Buffett’s Recording Studio

The section of town called Harbor Walk in Key West is located about 3 blocks northeast of Duval Streets northern end. At Harbor Walk’s¬†western end is reportedly one of singer songwriter Jimmy Buffett’s recording studios.

I first found out about this on the internet and followed up by asking my aunt and uncle who still live in Key West and both confirm that they too have heard the same. On our last trip to Key West after eating at Turtle Kraawls¬†we walked by this unassuming white unmarked building with two people outside smoking cigarettes as the side door opened. I stopped and ask as if knowing for sure it was his studio “Is Jimmy recording inside?” to which they replied¬†word-for-word “No, he’s not here right now!”. Hey I tried! ūüôā

Any guesses on what I had for dinner at Turtle Kraawls? That’s right, I had a Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger In Paradise” and of course…¬†“I like mine with lettuce and tomatoes, Heinz-57 and french fried potatoes, a sweet kosher pickle and a cold draft beer good gosh almighty which way do I steer.” ūüôā

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Built By Irish Brick Layers In 1886

IMG_0846Simple has never been so elegant and beautiful! From afar it blends in with the surrounding downtown historic district called ‘Old Town’. Once you begin to get up close it transforms from an unassuming backdrop to a featured work of art.

This my friends is the Sawyer Building built in 1886 after a devastating fire on April 1st that sadly was no April Fools Joke! ūüė¶ It was constructed from¬†red brick by immigrant Irish brick layers brought in from Boston, Massachusetts. I invite you to¬†enlarge the¬†photo and see the intricate quality of work¬†around the¬†doors, windows & rooftop¬†to complete this¬†1886 Picasso of a building.

If you look real close in the bottom right hand corner of the featured photo you’ll see the a portion of one of the¬†last brick strets¬†in Key West. (photo below) I wonder if the immigrant Irish brick layers from Boston built the street too? The sign shown below only lends credence to the building not the street.

You can find the simply beautiful historic hand-built red brick building at the corner of Fitzpatrick Street & Front Street across from Mallory Square in Old Town Key West.

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Great Florida Birding Trail

Over the last¬†three years or so I’ve seen dozens of these signs appear at a number of different locations throughout the entire Florida Keys. If you’ve seen them¬†and wondered what they are, wonder no more! ūüôā

The Great Florida Birding¬†Trail is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. At its core is a network of 515 sites throughout Florida selected for their excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing or educational opportunities. This 2,000-mile, self-guided highway trail is designed to conserve and enhance Florida’s wildlife habitats by promoting birding and wildlife viewing activities, conservation education and economic opportunity.

You can find this exact sign just outside of Dagny Johnson Botanical State Park. Here’s how to find the park,¬†on US-1 at¬†Mile Marker 107.0 turn onto¬†Card Sound Road and go north about 1/2 mile on your right.

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I Swear The Fish Was This Big!

4553530838_59d0718fe3_bOnce again, If you want to hide something it’s said to put it in plain sight… and so they did. If you’ve ever been to Key West before then you’ve passed¬†this going down there and back. I can almost guarantee that 99.9% of you that have been to Key West have NEVER seen this. There’s no sign,¬†it’s right on the road and believe me it’s so easy to whizz right on by without it ever catching your eye.

You can find the beautifully crafted statue on US-1,¬†this bronze wonder “A Fish Story” sculpture is in the parking lot of a gas station of all places at Mile Marker 73.8 oceanside. A¬†typical fisherman’s tale portrayed as a¬†not so typical ornate statue. It of course is¬†FREE and worth the time to pull off in the parking lot and snap a¬† photo admiring its beauty & meaning… you can almost see him saying “Though it got away, It was this big!” “Yeah sure¬†you did¬†Grandpa!” Opie exclaimed while sitting on their front porch in Mayberry. ūüôā

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Entering The Florida Keys Sign

Incredible, I’ve been here before and somehow missed this sign. Oh yeah I remember… MY CAR BATTERY DIED AND I NEEDED A JUMP and maybe, just maybe that distracted me! :-)

A new car battery and $89 later I was on my way forgetting about the ‘Entering The Florida Keys’ sign… but I’m glad to say that my car’s battery is doing fine and I’ve returned for my missing photo.

You too can find this sought out gem of a photo fit for any scrapbook here at the Key Largo Chamber Of Commerce / Visitor Center at Mile Marker 106.0 bayside.

    

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