Key West’s Million Dollar Bar

IMG_1493Welcome to Key West’s famed $1,000,000 Bar!

Mythbusters come on down! One of these four legendary tall tale stories is reportedly to be true… but which one?

1) The most obvious and boring story is that the owner paid $1,000,000 for the property & bar.

2) It sits at the corner of 1,000 Grinnell Street & 1,000 Truman Avenue. Both beginning with the number 1 and having a total of 6 zeros ending up with 1,000,000.

3) It’s a known fact that former mobster king-pin Jimmy Hoffa (pictured below) loved Key West and frequented its many local bars and restaurants. The rumor is that J-Hoff (as I’ll call him) 🙂 reportedly hid $1,000,000 of his mafia money here in his beloved Che-Che’s (former name) and was eventually found keeping it hush-hush for obvious reasons.

4) This one I love! The nude sculpture hanging on the wall (pictured below) was the figurehead from legendary pirate Blackbeard’s flagship ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge’ worth $1,000,000 only to be found out to be a fake and then sold to the bar for a mere $100 and a FREE beer! 🙂 I kid you not!

In speaking to the bartender and patrons, they absolutely love hearing about the dozens of theories of how the bars name came about! In fact, and I quote a male patron: “If you don’t like one of those stories then just make up one of your own… Hell, we’d love to hear it!”. 🙂 The world may never know!

You can find Key West’s legendary Million Dollar Bar at the corner of Grinnell Street & Truman Ave.

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The Harry S.Truman Presidential Bridge

IMG_0068In honor of the 33rd President of the United States Harry S. Truman, Key West has named his home-away-from-home Truman’s Little Whitehouse, a main street to Truman Avenue, the Truman School and yes believe it or not Truman Dry Cleaners! (100% true) 🙂 So if not in Key West, then where’s the Truman Presidential Bridge?

In March of 1964, President Harry S. Truman himself set foot on this very same bridge. This uniquely beautiful bridge is a multi-pleasurable sight to behold. Your eyes are first drawn to the raised divider between the already two narrow lanes. You couldn’t pass on this bridge if you wanted to which leads to the sign on the bridge stating “No fishing from bridge”… or you’ll get run over! 🙂 I personally like the sign that reads “Golf Carts 10 MPH”… that’s to prevent going airborne I presume! And to finish off some oddity, the former Duck Key Bridge isn’t even in Duck Key… that starts on the other side of the bridge as seen from the photo below. That leaves me with only one pressing question… “What’s up with the bridge’s 8 pineapples?” 🙂

You can find the Harry S. Truman Presidential Bridge at Mile Marker 61.0 leading to the Islands Of Duck Key. Turn onto Duke Key Drive and just keep going straight over a mile or so till you reach the bridge on that same road.

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Fun Facts About Easter

juggling-bunnyHAPPY EASTER TO ALL!

Here’s some fun facts that you might have overlooked in your history class! 🙂

1) Did you know that the painting of eggs has a name? It’s called PYSANKA.

2) The White House has hosted an Easter Egg Roll on the front lawn every year since President Rutherford B. Hayes started the tradition in 1878.

3) Chocolate bunnies are in fact the most preferred candy during Easter… but, did you know that 76% of Americans eat the ears first! 🙂

4) Over 700,000,000 million marshmallow peeps are sold during Easter! (and that’s ONLY in the USA) 🙂

5) Americans eat enough multi-colored jelly beans on Easter to wrap around the earth 3 times! 🙂

6) If you stacked all the Cadbury creme eggs produced in a year on top of each other it would form a mountain ten times taller than Mount Everest! 🙂

7) Did you know that 11 out of 10 dentist report an increase in office visits for cavities after Easter! OK… I made that one up! (but it’s probably TRUE) 🙂

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3D Shark Mural

IMG_0090WAY TOO COOL!

What a neat find my wife spotted this past Sunday on our way down to a have lunch with a couple friends. During lunch I was asked “After all these years, how’s it possible to still find new tourist sites?” As a matter of fact, on this single 8-hour day trip alone we came away with stories & photos for 18 new blogs… including this AWESOME one!

This beautiful oceanic mural is in fact 3D coming to life around its centerpiece shark head. If you look close at one of the photos below you’ll see that there’s an arm inside of the sharks jaws. Wow, that gives a whole new meaning to the adage “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”! 🙂

In finding this awesome hidden site you must first slow down, it’s set back off the road wedged between two buildings and is easily missed. Pull into the parking lot of Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen at Mile Marker 99.5 bayside where you’ll see it behind the restaurant.

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Tiled Mosaic Masterpiece

Another tiled wonder! Though not technically a mosaic, this multi-colored masterpiece rivals many I’ve seen.

Jesus’ body was laid out in a tomb after his crucifixion and death. A number of gospels report that Mary Magdalene was the first to report that the round stone in front of the tomb had been rolled-away. They found the tomb to be empty, the body gone, and an angel telling that Jesus has risen. Look close at the mosaic and you can see Mary approaching the tomb as an angel to the right raises his palm upward signifying the Jesus has risen with three mountain top crosses in the background.

You can find this incredible artist’s tiled masterpiece of ‘Jesus’ Empty Tomb’ on display in their outside ‘Garden Of The Resurrection’ at St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church at Mile Marker 105.5 bayside in Key Largo absolutely FREE!

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Solares Hill, Key West’s Highest Elevation

Key West and the Florida Keys are known for many different things like the Southernmost Buoy, Duval Street & Sloppy Joe’s Bar, but its elevation above sea-level isn’t one of them!

Located in the smack-dab middle of Old Town is Solares Hill, a tiny bump in the road for unsuspecting tourist and the name of the highest point of land on the island of Key West in the lower Florida Keys in Monroe County, Florida for locals and historians. To most locations around the world this would be known as the ‘Lowlands’, the peak elevation of the hill is a mere 18 feet or 5.5 meters above the ocean sea top and is the main reason that Key West has endured so many floods during hurricanes over its entire history.

This peak is also a small footnote in the Civil War that is left out of 99.9% of all history books unless you’re from Key West… the reason why this spot was in the Civil War will be answered in a future blog (yes, that’s called a tease). 🙂 The crest of Solares hill is next to the historic Key West Cemetery in the section of the island called Old Town. Solares Hill has also been the name of a weekly newspaper published on the island and released on Sundays. I’m pictured in the photo with arms stretched out (I’m that tiny speck) upon Key West’s elevation-sensation as if I’ve conquered Mt. Everest or the summit of K2.

You can find Solares Hill at the corner of Angela Street & Windsor Lane and then looking to see which direction is the highest… you might need to bring a carpenter’s level to be sure! 🙂

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World Famous Cuban Sandwich

Here’s a blog close to my heart and even closer to my stomach! 🙂 I was raised on these having lived in Key West, Miami & Orlando, all of which have a strong Cuban presence, traditions & Cuban home cooked restaurants.

A Cuban sandwich (also known as a Cuban Mix & Cuban Pressed) is a variation of a ham and cheese originally created in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Cuba and by Cuban immigrant communities of Florida. At that time, travel between Cuba and Florida was easy, and Cubans frequently sailed back and forth for employment, pleasure, and family visits. Because of this constant and largely undocumented movement of people their culture and ideas thrived & flourished.

While there’s some debate as to the contents of a “true” Cuban sandwich, most are generally agreed upon. The traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread. The loaf is sliced into lengths of 8-12 inches (20–30 cm), lightly buttered, or brushed with olive oil on the crust, and cut in half horizontally. A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread. Then roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly sliced dill pickles are added in layers. Now, don’t confuse the traditional Cuban Sandwich with its red-headed step-cousin the one served on a sweeter bread called ‘pan de Media Noche’ and simply known as a Midnight Sandwich.

You can find this Cuban traditional sandwich at any Cuban restaurant along the entire Keys but I’ll guide you to two of them in particular. The first is Five Brothers with locations on Big Pine Key & Key West and then Sandy’s Cafe on White Street in Key West as pictured below claiming to be the home of the ‘Original Cuban Sandwich’ which is widely disputed… but I’ll leave that to you legal types to fight it out in court! Bon Appetit!

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