Southern Glades Wildlife Area

Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area (SGWEA) consists of over 30,000 acres at the southern end of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades basin.  The SGWEA is located in Miami-Dade County adjacent to the canal between Everglades National Park and US-1. The area was acquired to protect wildlife habitat and as part of Everglades restoration. Bird watching is popular on Southern Glades, especially along the northwest corner of Aerojet Road. Wading birds are common and include the endangered Wood Stork and the Roseate Spoonbill. This area is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. On the area are two hiking trails totaling 16 miles. One begins on CR 424, 1.8 miles west of U.S. 1. The second trail is about two miles west of the first trail. Unfortunately camping and the use of ATVs are prohibited.

You can find the Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area at two different points as you head down on US-1 South towards Key West. First by turning right at Mile Marker 122.3 and following the curve of the road about 1/3 mile on the left seeing the northernmost end of the refuge. The second and southernmost end of the park (pictured above) can only be accessed by boat at Mile Marker 116.4 by turning left off of US-1 South and following the road underneath the overpass that you’ve just driven over.

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Key West’s Visually Stunning Artist House

The famous Artist House is one of the most photographed homes in Key West. It’s the former home of painter Robert Eugene Otto and his wife Anne, a concert pianist… not to mention the former home of the world-famous haunted Robert the Doll. It sits only a half block from the popular Duval Street and Old Town’s legendary famous restaurants, bars, art galleries and attractions.

This lavender & white Artist House is a restored 1890 Victorian mansion masterpiece. Virtually no other Inn on the island is as true to its original design, layout and character. As you can see, there are numerous graceful columns, verandas and gingerbread adornments highlighted by the magnificent presence of its center focal point turret. The rooms come with 12′ ceilings, richly detailed original design wall coverings & splendid woodwork. The Artist House, now an Inn, has been operating as an island favorite since 1978. Don’t miss this iconic Key West site, it’s truly visually stunning.

This would’ve been a FANTASTIC photo if not for the inconsiderate visitor to the Inn parking his car directly in my photo. Only in the preparation of this blog did I finally realize that the car I had been pissed off at WAS MINE! 🙂

You can see this historic Key West home at 534 Eaton Street in the center of ‘Old Town’, just 2-blocks northeast of the even more famous Duval Street.

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Message In A Bottle

With a name taken directly from Kevin Costner’s 1985 Hollywood Movie comes todays blog of the same name “Message In A Bottle”.

Upon ending our daily 3-4hr bike ride around the island of Key West, we stopped at a local watering hole to wet our whistles. As we were enjoying our adult beverages with the waitress hearing the common phrase “Keep’em coming” we somehow found time to observe the centerpiece adorning our table.

Seen here is the focal point of the tables arrangement “Message In A Bottle” sitting upon a solid navy blue tablecloth. Though it’s impossible to read the entire message within the bottles, the several I looked at seem to all be alike. It really doesn’t matter, it’s a great idea, conversation piece, & photo-op waiting to happen.

This bottled-up message can be read in the restaurant and bar area of the Ibis Resort on North Roosevelt Blvd. here in sunny Key West where you can ALWAYS find something different!

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Famous Roosevelt Quote Found Above Garbage Can

Look what I found nailed above a trash can BEHIND a building in the Florida Keys! It’s a famous quote by the 26th President of the United States, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. Yes, vandals have distorted two of the words “who” & “suffer” so adjust your reading of it accordingly.

This astonishing man of history has so many accolades associated with his name that it would take many paragraphs to list them all… so I’ll be satisfied by sharing four: 1) He led a Calvary regiment of the US Army into Cuba in 1898 known as the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, earning him the Medal of Honor. 2) The world-famous Teddy Bear gets its first name after him. 3) His image graces yet another world-famous icon, this is a mountain near Keystone, South Dakota known as Mount Rushmore. 4) Roosevelt has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

In finding this hidden gem of historical quotes I realize yet again how lucky I am to find and seek out such items and then pass them on to you. I LOVE MY JOB!

You can find this famous “Teddy” Roosevelt quote at Mile Marker 79.9 on the left hand side of US-1 South behind the Bud & Mary’s Marina building nailed above a garbage can.

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Hurricane Hole Bar’s Hurricane Party

IMG_2215Want to know where locals go who stay in Key West during hurricanes? Believe it or not, many (and I mean many) go to their local bars!

Those ‘Conchs’ (people from Key West) who choose to venture out during bad weather partake in what is called a ‘Hurricane Party’. Thou it may not be the smartest move they’ve ever made, it happens yearly by the thousands. The bar with the best name is ‘Hurricane Hole’ which I’m sure gets its fare share of party-goers.

You can find the infamous Hurricane Hole Bar at Mile Marker 4.5 oceanside on US-1 before, during and after any given hurricane. 🙂

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Flag Pole

This well hidden marker known as ‘President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Flag Pole’  (since bearing his name) is NEVER seen by visitors and passed by locals who live only feet away from it. Forgotten by time and ignored by the masses, this flagpole sits unadorned and alone in a part of town that most would actually avoid going into… but not us! We, upon our customary 3-4hr bike ride around town each day found this secluded landmark begging for a photograph to be taken, and so we did!

Maybe you too will seek out President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Flag Pole for a photograph of your own. You can find this rarely seen relic of a commemorative plaque at the corner of White Street & White Street (I’m not kidding either) here in Key West. The next time I’m in Key West I’m going to photograph the street signs… who knows, that might be a future blog! 🙂

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A Roadside Reef Light

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! 🙂

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