Happy Memorial Day from the entire gang at ‘365 Things To Do In The Florida Keys’… OK, the TWO of us!
This is an Educational EXTRA! Please pay respect to those who’ve giving us our freedom that we as Americans are so proud of.
Here’s how the tradition started: Memorial Day began with families wanting to honor fallen Civil War soldiers. Over the years it’s evolved in observing all American soldiers of all wars. First called Decoration Day — so named because families decorated graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. The idea came from Henry Welles, a druggist in Waterloo, New York. The holiday’s name was changed to Memorial Day in 1882. Nearly a century later in 1971, President Richard Nixon officially declared the day a federal holiday. And now you know the rest of the story!
Welcome to the historic Jewfish Creek Bridge! This is an important yet overlooked and forgotten part of the Florida Keys history being the FIRST major bridge you’ll reach in making your way down to Key West.
Over all the years there’s been three very different yet unique types of bridges spanning this waterway. The first was called a Swingspan bridge in 1907 to 1944 which I crossed countless times as a child with my parents in our family station wagon like Chevy Chase in the movie Vacation. The second called a Bascule bridge (draw bridge) was in service from 1944-2008 which I got stopped at many times as a child and adult. The current bridge was completed in 2008 and was built to last throughout mine and your lifetimes! Oh yeah, it’s more commonly known as the 18-Mile Stretch Bridge rather than Jewfish Creek Bridge.
You too can see this hard to find Jewfish Creek Bridge historical marker located under the bridge just in front of the Blackwater Siren restaurant. Go to Mile Marker 108.1 bayside and take the access road in the middle of the 18-mile stretch bridge and follow the road to its end.
You know, I’m not quite sure this is exactly what the sign was aiming for!
Somethings just hit me instantaneously when looking around and this was one of them! During an oceanfront picnic out of the corner of my eye I spotted the sign that spurred the creative (OK, silly) photo at hand.
You can find this ‘Slow No Wake’ sign just past the Stock Island Marina Village. Go to Mile Marker 5.0 oceanside turning at Burger King onto 5th Street, down 5 blocks taking a left on 5th Avenue, down 1 block to Shrimp Road and turn right. Once on Shrimp Road drive down a half mile down on your left just past the Stock Island Marina Village and keep driving till the map turns blue.
Here’s one for all of you nature lovers! Filled with wood-planked walked ways, worn underbrush nature trails and paved main roads, this large-acreage Botanical Garden is worth your time seeking out.
There’s so much more here than a botanical flower garden as the sign states: ‘Tropical Forest & Garden’. Your journey around the grounds will obviously include beautiful flowers along with dense underbrush, majestic palm trees, & natural lake. Around the lake be sure to find strategically placed subtle art exhibits like a sculpted gator on the lakes shore and mermaid upon the adjacent rocks.
Though normally incurring an entrance fee, we arrived on the FREE ‘Butterfly Release Day’ when the place was bristling with nature patrons wanting to see the star attraction multi-colored butterflies.
You can find this enjoyable leisure atmosphere at the Key West Botanical Garden on College Road by turning off of US-1 bayside at Mile Marker 4.3 just before crossing the bridge onto the main island of Key West. It will be right there on your right!
Welcome to St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Stations Of The Cross Gardens! An absolutely beautiful place to escape the hustle and bustle of even a leisurely town as Key West. Stations Of The Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours of Jesus, and the devotion commemoration the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St. Francis of Assisi and extended throughout the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval period. It’s commonly observed during the Season of Lent, especially on Good Friday during the Easter Holidays.
You can find these peaceful surroundings in a garden atmosphere while enjoying the Stations Of The Cross mosaics at the St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church Gardens located behind their activity building at the corner of Truman Avenue & Windsor Lane. It’s absolutely FREE.
OK maybe not so famous but hey, he’s got a bike path named after him… do you? Not every town has one, does your town have a FAMOUS Bike Path Man, Key West does!
The sign in the upper left of the photo reads: Jim Malcolm Way for years of dedication to the bicycle & pedestrian program “Share The Road”. Wow, I guess there’s still hope for me on getting a road named after me… I can see it now, “365 Things To Do In The Florida Keys Avenue” for years of dedicated tourist blogs… awe, my mom would be so proud! In all seriousness, I’m sure he was a great guy and super advocate!
You can find Key West’s salute to safety & persistence in a tribute sign to lifetime achievement on the corner of Palm Ave. & Eaton Street here in the Bike Path Safety Capital of the WORLD Key West, Florida.
We here at 365 Things To Do In The Florida Keys aren’t bound to covering only Key’s attractions or the World Famous Duval Street. We too like diversity with past blogs answering questions about: “Where can I find free parking & public restrooms?”
Today we tackle Key West’s hardworking legion of troops who in someway help us get back on our way when ‘Murphy’s Law’ tries to slow down your vacation. We start with bike repairs, as you may or may not know, bike rentals in Key West number in the hundred on a daily basis. Believe me, flats and accidents do occur, even with me! I’ve had two flat tires, I guess it was bound to happen after 5 year of peddling our way down small secluded alleyways, hedge brush shortcuts, down dirt and gravel roads, friendly neighborhood streets, across un-mapped back roads, and of course pedestrian laden Duval Street of my hometown Key West, Florida! Seen here is a bike tech that took great care of me who on average takes ONLY 5-6 minutes to change a tire at a cost of $11.83 a few years ago.
Though Jessie pictured here may no longer be there, you can find other willing employees hard at work inside of ‘The Bike Shop’ at the corner of Truman Avenue & Varela Street in bike-friendly Key West!