“Got Deer?”

Five Key Deer in one front yard… these folks “Got Deer!”

I love taking friends and relatives through this neighborhood during their visits for the best chance on seeing wild Key Deer roaming freely on Big Pine Key.

You can find this out-of-the-way hide-a-way by turning off of US-1 at Mile Marker 30.4 bayside onto Key Deer Blvd. Immediately veer right (maybe 50′) onto Wilder Road, then winding the rest of your way a few miles by turning left on South Street, then right on Ave. ‘B’ and simply begin looking for the next few miles all the way to No Name Key!

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Pet Sematary By Stephen King?

“El Gato” means “The Cat” in Spanish

OK, that was strictly to grab your attention. :-) Yes, Stephen King was the author of the 1983 Best-Selling book ‘Pet Sematary’ which was then turned into a 1989 Hollywood movie. And NO, this has nothing to do with that movie but everything to do with a pet cemetery.

This section of the Big Coppit Key Cemetery is reserved for pets aptly named “Pet Hill”. After your furry loved ones have passed on they can be laid to rest along with other Key West furry friends in this real-life pet cemetery.

The “El Gato” is several feet away from the actual pet burial site but still visible so just look around, you can’t miss it. It’s a very small cemetery, you have no trouble finding it. By the way, this is also where members of my family are buried… and no, none of them had fur to my knowledge! :-)

You can find this pet cemetery at Mile Marker 9.9 oceanside of US-1 turning onto 4th Street by the ‘Man-Eating Shark’ display and simply head down on your left to the aptly named “DEAD END”! (nice place for a cemetery wouldn’t you say) :-)

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Anchor From Richest Sunken Treasure EVER Found!

IMG_0839Welcome to the world’s richest sunken treasures ever found… OK, the ships anchor from the richest treasure!

Mel Fisher was a dreamer, a visionary, a legend and now called the World’s Greatest Treasure Hunter! Everyday for 16 years he insisted “Today’s the Day!” that he would find the mother lode for the sunken treasure ship known as the Atocha, the Spanish galleon that sank during a hurricane on September 6, 1622, near Key West. On July 20, 1985 he found the “Atocha Mother Lode” treasure cache (and ANCHOR) worth a staggering $450 million dollars.

You can find the anchor from one of the richest sunken treasures ever found in the world at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum located at 200 Greene Street in Key West’s ‘Old Town’. The anchors are FREE to view and are located in front of the building.

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Tiny Inland Lighthouse

Is this a TINY inland lighthouse or what? This tiny lighthouse is the centerpiece of Founders Park in Islamorada. Its correct name is the Pacific Lighthouse, leading me to believe that at one time it saw active duty but is now resting its laurels. Though it might have served a grander purpose in a previous life, its mission here is strictly decorative. Maybe at one time this was the top portion to a taller guardian of the sea. Made of thick steel and containing what looks to be a once proud beacon, this sailors ship-shore friend now poses for photo-ops rather than waves pounding upon its base.

Either way, its former tour of duty has been called home to retire in relative seclusion rendering its shade for more enjoyable things like picnics and BBQ’s while soaking up smiles from land lubbers & salty dogs alike while being part of this park’s ambiance and charm.

You can find Founders Park at Mile Marker 87.0 on US-1 bayside. There is a nominal park fee to enter, but you cheepsters can view it from the gate!

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Jackalope Found In The Keys!

Jackalope found & mounted in the Keys! I found this rare & vicious animal proudly on display at the Green Parrot Bar on 601 Whitehead Street here in Key West. Captured on Big Pine Key on April 28th 1962, 14 lbs. 4 oz. in weight setting a new Keys record!

OK, all that’s bull crap! Below is the truth on the so-called jackalope. The jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore (a so-called “fearsome critter”) described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant’s tail (and often hind legs). The word jackalope is a portmanteau of “jackrabbit” and “antelope”. It’s possible that the tales of jackalopes were inspired by sightings of rabbits infected with the Shope papilloma virus, which causes the growth of horn- and antler-like tumors in various places on the rabbit’s head and body. Yuk!

Anyways, though un-real, it’s a good gag type thing to show your friends upon returning from your Key West vacation!

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Golden Orb Spider Trail

IMG_0897YES, you read it right, a SPIDER TRAIL! This trail is named for the Golden Orb Weaver Spider which is commonly seen on your walk.

This 1-hour walk is about much more than its namesake spider and will take you through several plant communities found in the Florida Keys. After crossing the mangrove creek, the trail follows the sandy berm above the narrow beach. Salt tolerant plants in the low area, which periodically floods, give way on high ground to tropical hammocks.

Since finding this trail on the tail end of our day, we chose to walk the first 15-minutes or so and then head back due to time constraints. You on the other hand can plan ahead and enjoy the entire trail which includes: crab holes, bridges, and a well-marked path with information plaques along the way. (seen below)

You can find this relaxing 1-hour Golden Orb Spider Trail inside the Long Key State Park at Mile Marker 67.7 oceanside. There’s a fee schedule per car load to enter the park, approx. $4.5o for one and $6 for two people.

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FREE Public Swimming Pool

IMG_1672Though I’ve always known of this swimming pool, I never once stopped by to check it out before now. Also to my amazement found out that it’s 100% FREE to the public!

This government-funded facility is open to the public of all ages, genders, color, & religions… “It’s for ALL to enjoy” said the curator. It comes complete with vending machines, changing rooms, showers, restrooms, elevator, sunbathing chairs, painted murals, and mega sized pool. Oh yeah, there’s a great view of the Atlantic Ocean which is also FREE!

While in Key West don’t ever be squeamish about going a few blocks out of your comfort zone. Just west of Key West’s most populated Duval Street is where you’ll find this FREE swimming area. Built in 1958 as the Key West City Swimming Pool, it’s much better known today as the Martin Luther King Center on the corner of Thomas Street & Catherine Street.

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