Another Key West Chair NOT In Key West!

IMG_2970Two months ago I wrote a blog about a Key West painted chair that wasn’t in Key West located on Cow Key just outside Key West by only a half mile. Well guess what? I’ve found one even further away, 102 miles away to be exact!

Believe me, there’s a number of these type of BIG chair photo-ops located throughout the Florida Keys. This is unique only in the sense that it says ‘Key West’ which makes a great addition to any vacation photo album. There’s just one tiny itty-bitty problem… it’s NOT located in KEY WEST! :-) It’s still a great photo!

You can find this Key West wannabe photo-op ‘Big Chair’ at Mile Marker 106.7 on US-1 bayside in front of the Key Largo Visitor Center.

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Key West’s Lost African Cemetery Is Found

Lost African Cemetery

This is one of only two known African cemeteries in the Western Hemisphere. Not  slaves, it’s  a burial ground at Florida’s southernmost point containing 294 actual burials which were lost for 141 years.

In 1859 President James Buchanan ordered the Navy to commandeer any vessel found hauling human cargo… slaves. Slavery was big business in Cuba at the time fetching up to $1,200 per each person. The 3 captured ships were brought to Key West bringing 1,437 new temporary Florida residents to the island. Most were sick from the 6 week voyage from Africa and began dying immediately. As the African’s passed on they were buried at a government paid cost of $5.50 per person and then forgotten by history for 141 years. The remaining survivors stayed here for only 3 months, they stayed in makeshift barracks till being deported to Liberia. It wasn’t until March 24th 2001 led by an 1861 Army Corps of Engineers map with nine X’s on it when Key West recognized the historic site. This cemetery has NO headstones, only a historic marker seen above with this tourist leaning against it. There’s a beautiful color map of slave ship routes (shown below) that sadly gets passed by almost all tourists not even knowing what it’s for and why it’s here.

You can find this new memorial at Higgs Beach on the Eastern part of the island just a few 100 feet south of the AIDS Memorial mentioned in last weeks blog. This is a FREE attraction with FREE parking… and please don’t walk by this part of history as 99.9% of the other tourists do!

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A Real Key West RV

Key West RV

Would you do this to promote your hometown? They did! It’s time to go RV’ing… ok, RV hunting! This is one of those things that I had no idea of seeing or even looking for, we cruised right by this while on one of our day-long cycling trips around Key West. As we peddled by I began laughing and immediately turned around whipping out my 6″ Cannon… (That’s my camera!) 🙂 not missing an opportunity for a uniquely different type of photo that most don’t have.

This hometown promoting RV can be found near the corner of Vernon Ave. & Waddell Ave.  diagonally in front of a fantastic restaurant and gathering place called Louie’s Backyard on Key West’s eastern part of town just two blocks north of Duval Street. Now Go RV’ing!

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Pirate Related Street Names (part 2)

7157076582_1374c943d1_bAs you know, I love driving into sub-divisions and seeing theme-named streets! Pulling into this one made me smile being a history buff remembering the stories of Pirates in movies and literature.

Peg Leg: Is an artificial limb fitted to the remaining stump of a human leg. Though its use dates to antiquity, they’re mostly associated with pirates, you’ll find at least one in every movie.

Treasure Chest: Buried treasure is an important part of the popular beliefs surrounding pirates. According to popular conception, often buried their stolen fortunes in remote places, intending to return for them later, often with the use of treasure maps.

Gold Bullion: Gold bars & coins mostly associated with Spain were the pirates main focus in looting ships.

Buccaneer: Were pirates who attacked Spanish shipping in the Caribbean Sea during the 17th century now synonymous with the word pirate.

Jolly Roger: A wide variation of flags flown to identify a ship’s crew as pirates that were about to attack. The flag most commonly identified today is the skull and crossbones.

You can find these Pirate themed street names for yourself by turning at Mile Marker 23.0 oceanside onto Cutthroat Drive or bayside at Yardarm Road and just begin driving noticing as many different names that remind you of an era gone by.

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Beautiful Ocean Dock Posts

Take time on your next visit to Key West or the Florida Keys and notice some of the beautiful offerings that others tend to miss. Most people walk down piers and notice only the ocean missing the beauty of the pier or the dock posts used to secure boat from drifting away. I on the other hand love noticing the more subtle sights that tend to catch my eye. The five posts form a point with the weathered war-torn scars of the ocean beaten upon its lower water-level exposed portions leaving natures artistically etched skeletal remains. As you can see, It makes a GREAT photo!

The pier posts pictured here are from one of Key West’s busiest and most popular places to stay. The Casa Marina Resort is filled with Jet Skis, Boats, Swimmers, Sunbathing Worshipers, Sand Castle Builders and Sightseers galore and yet NO ONE else walking by these dock posts even gave them a second glance more less a photograph as I did. This to me is true beauty and gets me even deeper into relax mode and is yet another one of the reasons I absolutely LOVE KEY WEST!

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Alabama Jack’s

This place is always packed with bikers and car clubs stopping in for a brewski on their way down or back from the Keys. This has also been the backdrop for several Miami Vice TV show episodes and the 2-story portion was in the Movie “Drop Zone” with Wesley Snipes.

On US-1 at the beginning of the Florida Keys turn onto Card Sound Road and head East 12.5 miles where you’ll find it down on the right hand side of the road… just look for all of the cars and motorcycles. If you’re heading down on a weekend you might just hear some good old southern & country music being played while others try their luck at line dancing and 2-step around the small dance floor. Stay alert and watch your odometer because most of this portion of Card Sound Road has no mile markers. A good time indeed, the sweet potato fries are awesome and there’s NO cover charge.

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Man & Woman Torso Statues

Nudity or Art? Key West has long been a haven for starving artists, poets, & writers long before Tennessee Williams & Ernest Hemingway arrived stamping their imprint on this island city’s culture.

This example of art begs me to ponder and wonder only replying with… “Hmmm!” I guess I’m just not hip enough to appreciate its artistic relevance here in a public park. If you can’t tell, these are an artist’s rendition of a female & male torso. Yes, the female is the one with the blue & yellow… uh, uh, uh… things on her upper body 🙂 while the male has its back tuned away from the photo for A GOOD REASON! 🙂

While you’re in the park, also check out the José Martí  Monument, All Wars Memorial, Vietnam War Wall Memorial & New York State Yellow Fever Civil War Monument previously blogged.

You inquisitive artistic type can find this example of freedom of expression in Bayview Park located at the corner of Roosevelt Blvd. & Eisenhower Drive in Key West.

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Escaping Key West’s Heat

Escaping the heat in Key West has been sought out by most everyone upon their visit. A practice that’s been mastered by us with brains and ignored by those without… you know, those ruby-red sunburnt bodies seen walking up and down Duval Street… ouch, that’s gotta hurt! Haven’t they ever heard of sunscreen? 🙂

Escaping the heat is evidently more than a human thing! Seen here are birds seeking out the refuge of the shade provided from a street lamp. I for one have NEVER seen birds do this and thought you too might be amused at this birds-of-a-feather flocking together in the shade photograph.

This spectacular view (minus the birds) can be found at the majestic eye-popping White Street Pier in Key West.

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“10-4 Good Buddy!” CB Channel 9 Sign

“10-4 Good Buddy!”… Wow a CB sign, does that bring back memories of the 1970’s! CB’s were at their height around that time with the song “Convoy” by C.W. McCall 1975 staying No#1 for a massive 19 weeks in Austria! 🙂 (only 1 week in the USA) along with the Hollywood MEGA movie “Smokey and the Bandit” featuring Burt Reynolds & Sally Field in 1977.

Well, I don’t have a CB and never owned one so I can’t verify 100% on it still being manned even though the sign says it is. Not quite sure how many folks these days even own a CB. Even if it’s not manned… WOW what a nostalgic sign either way!

You can find this FREE roadside oddity CB sign directly on US-1 southbound lane at Mile Marker 91.6 bayside.

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School Mascot Welded By Students!

Buccaneer Mascot

Standing nearly 8 feet tall this welded Buccaneer protects his students just as the pirates of the past once protected their booty (treasure) here in the warm waters of their island hide-a-way of Key West. Horace O’Bryant Middle School houses 6th – 8th grades with approximately 712 students and by the way is the United States Southernmost Middle School with Cuba only a short 90 miles south! The pint size junior Buccaneer students enjoy a warm tropical climate all year with an occasional rain shower in the summer and a possible cold front of 60 degrees or so on occasion. So come see this student welded mascot reminiscent of the treasure hunters who once sailed these waters looking for lost treasure. The statue was welded by a high school welding class and donated to the school in January 1988.

The Middle School is located at 1105 Leon Street exactly next to Bayview Park near the roads Truman Ave & N. Roosevelt Blvd meet, then turn on to Jose Marti Drive. You will see the Buccaneer standing proudly in the parking of the school. It’s FREE to stop by but please time your visit to NON-school hours of dropping off or picking up of children. It’s really neat and worth a glance and a mimicking photo pose!

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