NFL Has Been

NFL Has Been

As promised from yesterday, here’s a blog from the past that I’m re-posting because of the Super Bowl!

I’ve passed this sign for years catching my eye having always wanting to stop in to ask about the NFL Has Been portion of the Ocean View Inn & Pub sign. Finally over 5 years ago year curiosity got the best of me as I just so happen to have extra time on my trip down to the Keys so I finally stopped in for a visit.

This is in fact owned by a former NFL player… and not just any former player either. Gary Dunn was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976 following a stellar career at the University of Miami. Gary was a mainstay on the vaunted Steelers’ defense for 12 seasons, serving as team captain four years. The two-time Super Bowl champion is ranked ninth in the Steelers’ all-time sacks list.

Once inside this unsuspecting attraction you’re greeted with a big Florida Keys “Hello” from the bartender, look to your right where you’ll find his former jersey & photos of his glorious playing days. The ONLY bigger thrill is that one day I’ll get to meet this Steeler legend in person. I have personally stopped by 7 times since then trying to catch him there, I’ll keep trying! So Steeler great Gary Dunn if you’re out there reading this… I’m still waiting to meet you and get a photo!!!!! 🙂

This unexpected NFL pleasure can be found at Mile Marker 84.5 bayside on Highway US-1.

Gary Dunn #67 Pittsburgh Steelers

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Super Bowl Stone Found In Florida Keys!

IMG_1387Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday LIII. So you might be asking, “What does this Florida Key’s hand painted stone have to do with the Super Bowl?” I’m glad you asked, this stone does in fact have ties to the Super Bowl… notice the football in the upper left hand corner! Intrigued yet?

OK, it’s actually a two-time Super Bowl champion’s jersey number… but who? I wrote the blog on who about 6 years ago before ever laying eyes on the stone. I’ll try my best to re-post the previous blog tomorrow on Monday so stay tuned… that is, unless you want to guess? 🙂

You can find this unexpected NFL reference to a two-time Super Bowl champion at Mile Marker 84.5 bayside on Highway US-1 in a parking lot of the ‘NFL Has Been Ocean View Inn & Pub’ probably behind some parked cars.

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Spoonbill Sound Hammocks

Welcome to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Spoonbill Sound Hammocks Environmental Area. Located in Monroe County on 26.21 acres of wildlife wetland paradise surrounded by portions of dry land is an animal and plant heaven on earth.

If you like a ton of plants, shrubs, grasses, & trees then this is your mecca! On this premises alone are 144 listed different species with scientific names ranging alphabetically from Abildgaardia ovata, Acacia fernesiana to Ximenia americana, & Zoysia tenuifolia… yeah right, like I’m really familiar with those! 🙂

This is NOT a family friendly attraction, don’t plan a romantic picnic or even a relationship bonding walk throughout nature’s Eden. This is not a park! The paths are very narrow, poorly marked & terribly overgrown. This is for you die-hard survivalists willing to take on nature’s wetlands at its best without whimpering like a nine-year old girl! 🙂

The posted sign reads: No guns, hunting, camping or vehicles allowed. Removal or destruction of plants, animals, artifacts or natural minerals prohibited. These people are serious about keeping this as is! It also says ‘No Dumping’ that sadly a number of non-nature lovers have unfortunately disregarded.

You can find this nature-cherished haven for wildlife on US-1 at Mile Marker 22.2 oceanside by turning onto Pirates Road.

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FREE Audio Walking Tour!

Welcome to Key West, one of the largest historic districts with the densest accumulation of historic frame vernacular buildings in the nation. Our history encompasses unique island architecture, Civil War forts, famous authors homes, Cuba’s revolution from Spain, The Spanish-American War, the sinking of the Maine, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Harbor Walk, Henry Flagler’s railway, the turtle industry, the sponging industry, the cigar industry, rum runners, pirates, sunken Spanish treasure ships, the fishing industry, the sea salt industry, the wrecking/salvage industry, military history, the cemetery, parks, maritime sites, Truman Annex, the Little White House, historic city/state/federal buildings, slave ships, boom and bust economies and the fascinating history of the founding father’s of the island… wow, now I’m out of breath! 🙂

Did you know that there’s a FREE Audio Walking Tour that few tourists ever take advantage of? That can be cured by calling: 1-305-507-0300 either from your hometown or while visiting in Key West. These informative narratives average 90 seconds in length for each of its 33 locations, attractions, & properties. You can also log on to keywesthistoricmarkertour.org and find the one peeking your interest and making your own list. Once your list is complete, go to the address indicated and start dialing your FREE on phone historian. I’ve included a photo below of location #10 of the 33 placards so that you’ll know what to look for. Enjoy your FREE TOUR!

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Biking Key West Is The Best

Turn off your TV, park your car and get outside, after all, you’re on vacation. It’s time to become that obvious tourist that you always point fingers and snicker at. Dawn those faded blue jean shorts, grab your favorite Jimmy Buffett Parrot Head t-shirt, of course your best impression of Terminator sunglasses, that partially used tube of SPF-35, those comfy sneakers that aren’t good enough to wear to work but still have mileage left in them, and that ball cap that you wouldn’t wear in your hometown yet willingly sport upon your noggin here in the Keys. There, you’re 1/2 done!

What’s the best, fastest, and most economical way to venture around Key West’s ‘Old Town’? Is it by car? No, parking is absurd! Is it by walking? No, your limited to walking distances! And it’s surly not by those rental golf cart looking things you see around town, you still have that same old parking problem. The best by far is by bicycle, if you bring your own as we do they’re FREE! You can park ANYWHERE in town FREE and cover ANY amount of the areas hot spots on your tourist list in a single day of peddling by simply parking your bike and WALKING to the tourist-trap shops to your heart’s content. Yes your butt may not be use to it at first and that’s why it’s important to find a comfortable bike height with a cushy fluffy-puffy seat. Oh yeah, it’s good for your health and the environment too! And NO that’s NOT my bike pictured above, although it is the MOST COLORFUL one I’ve seen down here.

You too can participate in biking Key West, you’ll be surprised at how many new and different sites you’ll find along the way to your vacation wish list. As a blog writer, I can’t tell you how many daily articles I’ve written just on the interesting town features, evolving creatures (some human), 🙂 & fun-filled activities I’ve run across on any given trip. Remember always to take the camera, photos tell stories when our minds can’t remember what those stories were!

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The Florida Key’s ONLY Living Fan Tree!

IMG_1488What the heck is a FAN TREE? I can tell you this, it’s an evergreen since it remains the same in warm and cold weather… as if it ever gets COLD in Key West! 🙂

Looking like an old train crossing sign, this fan tree is actually the remains of a dead palm tree with ceiling fan blades as its branches. The multi-colored red, black & yellow trunk has written on it 91 Miles To Cuba since its literally at Mile Marker 1.0 on US-1.

You can find this one-of-a-kind FAN TREE at the corner of Truman Avenue & Havana Lane near the dead center of town.

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Widow Walks Of Key West

Most everyone has seen at least one of these yet few have any idea what they’re called. It’s called a Widow’s Walk, a railed rooftop platform frequently found on 19th century North American homes. A popular romantic myth holds that the platform was used to observe vessels at sea. The name comes from the wives of mariners, who would watch for their spouses’ return, often in vain as the ocean took the lives of the mariners, leaving the women widows.

Widow’s walks are in fact a standard decorative feature very popular during the height of the Age of Sail in many North American coastal communities. Pictured are six widow walks on 4 land-based homes, 1 boat house & 1 business all within a block or two overlooking the ocean.  If you look closely, you can see that one of them below built for the Curry Mansion has a female manikin complete with spyglass atop their walk portraying a wife looking for her husbands return from the sea. (to be honest, the manikin looks a lot like Micheal Jackson!) 🙂

I’ve personally found approximately 18 of these around Key West with the best visible examples posted for your enjoyment. So the next time you see one of these rooftop adornments you can impress your friends by correctly naming it “Widow’s Walk” along with an accurate explanation of their purpose.

         

    

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