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! 🙂

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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Castle’s Kapok Trees

IMG_1664I’ve blogged on the castle-like old school before but never its front yard! And WOW what a front yard it has! Seen here lining its main sidewalk from the road to the building are two majestic Kapok trees. Though they may not be the biggest or most famous on the island they stand out like giants and do command notice.

Here’s my Wikipedia condensed research version of Kapok Tree: Also known as Ceiba & Silkcotton, it’s the National tree of Puerto Rico & Guatemala. It grows up to 230 ft tall (10 ft a year) and has a very substantial trunk up to 10 ft in diameter which does NOT  include its buttresses (legs/roots). It was also the sacred tree of the Mayans who believed that the souls of the dead climbed a mythical Kapok Tree whose branches reached to the heavens. Most commercial trees come from the island of Java in Indonesia, Asia, Philippines, Malaysia, & South America. The buoyant & water-resistant fibers of its cotton-like pod were used during WWII in lifejackets known jokingly as Mae West’s being large and floaty! :-) Its bark has a medicinal purpose and has been used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, and to treat headaches as well as type II diabetes. Its most prevalent commercial uses are in furniture, insulation, caskets, canoes, & carvings.

You can find these majestic giants greeting you at the curb of this castle-like building at the corner of Southard Street & Margaret Street in Key West.

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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. 🙂

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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! 😦 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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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!” 🙂

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! 🙂

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Trifecta – Three Bars In One

Just like a day at the races, you too can hit the trifecta here on Duval Street without ever leaving the building. This is easily one of Key West’s most recognizable historic structures!

Very unique in appearance alone containing three of Key West’s most trendy bars in one! A bar named ‘The ‘Bull’ occupies its first floor and is distinguished by its many 6′ x 6′ open air windows. The second floor’s ‘Whistle Bar’ has the rare but beautiful wrap around balcony that at night is filled with party-goers that are on their way to having one too many leaning over the rails yelling at all of the passers-by below. The third bar stands out by having palm trees and other plants lining its rooftop in an oasis type atmosphere aptly named the ‘Garden Of Eden’.

I’ve got a GREAT story for each of the bars that will be featured in a future blog so don’t you dare miss them. Here’s a brief look into the The Bull’s blogs, it includes the Rock-N-Roll Mega Icon Eric Clapton! Too cool!

You can find this three-story trifecta of bars stacked upon each other at the corner of Caroline Street & Duval Street.

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Sundowner’s Will Cook Your Fish

Looking for an oceanfront seafood restaurant to stop at on your trip down the Florida Keys? If so, welcome to Sundowner’s, I can vouch for it myself having eaten there just 3 weeks ago. May I recommend the stuffed olives as an appetizer… they’re nothing less than absolutely delicious! Yum!

Upon arrival you’ll first see their sign along the main road with a very large fish hanging on the front. The sign behind the fish head reads: We’ll Cook Your Fish. I wonder if they would cook your fish if you brought one that big? 🙂 Hmmm… with a fish that size you’d have to have about 132 people in your dinner party to not come home with any leftovers!

You can find this fantastic restaurant that can cook your catch and its tourist photo-op hanging fish located at the Sundowner Complex at Mile Marker 104 on US-1 in Key Largo bayside.

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