I promise that the blog’s title will begin to get clearer as you read on! 🙂
Out of the corner of my eye while driving 55 mph I saw a ‘black squiggly thing.’ (I came up with that description myself) 🙂 Being the ever curious type I just had to pull over and investigate. Yes, that’s my car on the side of the road… kind of looks like a Porsche from this angle! 🙂 But it’s not. 😦 OK, back to reality! Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a cleverly made bike rack of enormously large boat anchor chain.
You can find this rarely used bike rack made of chain at the beginning of a marked bike path at Mile Marker 55.3 bayside. The bike path itself stretches on for miles and miles… kind of like this long welded loopty loop bike rack chain if you were to straighten it out! 🙂
Need some alone time away from the crowds of tourists while in this southernmost vacation land in America called Key West? Well I’ve got it for you, Pines Park is literally the furthest you can get from the hordes of pedestrians walking up and down Duval Street while as close as you can get to being totally alone in this tourist laden mecca!
Duval Street is on the very southwestern portion of Key West while Pines Park is in the northeast corner of the not-so populated portion of the island. As you can see in the photo, you’ll have a front row seat to the ocean while picnicking on one of their 3 or 4 tables… don’t worry, 4 tables here is enough! Though the tourist shy away from this lesser developed area of Key West, we on the other hand love it for just that… solitude! If you like a beautiful view of the ocean while eating lunch in the privacy of your better half then this is the place for you! (And me!) This easy to find getaway from the rat race can be found next to the East Martello Tower Museum (seen below) and directly in front of the Key West International Airports multi-leveled parking garage. Oh yeah, don’t look for a sign, just go by the landmarks I’ve given you… the sign measures 12″ wide by 18″ tall and it’s nailed to a tree… I kid you not! 🙂
Pines Park is totally FREE to use at all times of the day and rarely will you have too much company to contend with. I love this place, as you can see we rode our bikes here for a welcomed lunch before touring the AWESOME East Martello Tower which was formerly a Civil War fort controlled by the Northern Yankees (Blue Coats) for the entire duration of the war despite being the southernmost city in the Southern Rebel (Gray Coats) Confederacy!
PS – This is where my father took my mother for picnics while they were dating and I too took my then fiancé here… now that’s a family tradition! 🙂
Founders Park in Key West is a great place to visit, it’s neither a park to picnic nor a place to spend the entire day. It measures a mere 30′ x 60′ in the middle of the busiest section of town called Mallory Square just 3 blocks southwest of Duval Streets northern end.
Also called Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden, it opened in September 1997 and is located on the original shoreline in front of the Waterfront Playhouse. As you enter through the wrought iron gates, a magnificent 18′ long and 25′ high sculpture entitled “The Wreckers” captures your attention and takes you back to the days when brave men would yell “Wreck Ashore” and risked their lives saving vessels and passengers in distress.
The pioneering spirit of Key West and its island people will dominate your experience as you wander along the shaded brick pathways. The Garden features 36 bronze busts depicting men and women who made Key West such a vibrant and important outpost of American culture and folklore. The entire $700,000 price tag to fund this park was raised by selling individual names engraved on bricks called the Walkway thru History.
I’ve personally looked at all 36 busts trying to find any link to either side of my family tree… no such luck. Though my father was Monroe County’s & Key West’s first Eagle Scout and one time honorary Mayor of Key West (for a day, true)… it wasn’t enough to get a bronze bust. Oh well, our family did however own prosperous businesses that helped spawn the island growth and well-being including restaurants and a number of gas stations. Founders Park or Sculpture Garden is worth a FREE 30-minute visit to check out Key West’s beginnings and prominent people throughout history.
Aqua’s Men… I mean Women!
As you may or may not know, Key West is full of alternative life-styles & choices. The famous Aqua Night Club, Bar & Theatre is no different. This club has been a Duval Street staple for years and shows no signs of slowing down being packed every time I walk or drive by. Shows like “Reality is a DRAG” are performed nightly at 9pm and on weekends twice at 9 & 11pm. Aqua’s men… I mean women can always be found at the front door saying hello to passers-by and some of which stop and pose with them for posterity and a laugh.
They’re located on the northeastern side of the road at 711 Duvall Street smack dab in the middle of this pedestrian friendly roadway.
Hey, is that Daryl Hannah from the movie ‘Splash”? Sorry guys NO it’s not, but if you want to see the largest mermaid / siren in the Key’s well here it is! Her name is Lorelei which means ‘Murmuring Rock’ in a combined German & Celtic translation. (similar to the noise a mountain stream makes over pebbles in the riverbed but 1,000 times louder)
According to myth and lore, Lorelei was a beautiful enticing siren that lured sailors from the sea towards her with an enchanting sound that would lead them to their demise. This legend can trace Lorelei to a real place in history, on the Rhine River in Germany there is a rock named Lorelei (pictured below taken from Wikipedia) that is the birthplace of the legend. Here’s the lore: Lorelei is falsely accused of maliciously bewitching men and driving them to ruin; later pardoned and on the way to a nunnery she passes and climbs the Lorelei rock, watching out for the lover who abandoned her, and falls to her death; the rock still retained an echo of her name afterwards. Amazing the things you can learn from a FREE daily BLOG!
Now here’s where to find this enchanting 20′ tall mermaid / siren of the Keys. Go to Mile Marker 82.0 US-1 bayside and there she will be at the Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar. She is kind of hot and sexy though isn’t she guys, I asked her out once and all I got was a murmuring sound! It was probably for the best, I would’ve felt kind of awkward taking her to a fish fry!
Question: What’s the #1 photo-op gimmick in the Florida Keys that businesses use in trying to get you to stop at their shop?
Answer: That would be the infamous and very numerous styles, sizes, colors, and other variations of OVERSIZED CHAIRS! (followed closely in 2nd place by hanging fiberglass sharks) 🙂
In this case, I’ve passed this particular oversized chair for the LONGEST TIME putting it off having way to many similar posts. Well, today’s the day for the BIG Yellow Chair to shine, and SHINE it does, being a bright brilliant yellow trimmed in red that can easily been seen from the road. OK, with matching building to boot, you can’t and WON’T miss it!
You too can find this 100% FREE big yellow chair to sit in for your vacation photo-op on US-1 at Mile Marker 102.9 bayside at Sundiver Station in Key Largo.
This very well may be one of the MOST EXPENSIVE one night stay RV campsites in the entire Florida Keys! It’s worth it having bragging rights saying “I Stayed Here!” is a vacation memory that will last a lifetime. As if the view wasn’t worth the price alone, the amenities of a massive oceanside swimming pool complex, waterfront park benches to watch the sunset, private sunbathing jetty, air-conditioned recreation room & other perks pushes it right over the edge to the rating of… AWESOME!
Now mind you, I found this site only weeks ago in the dead of summer in sweltering heat and still it demanded a hefty $159 rate per night and the place was PACKED. Oh yeah, management said that the winter rental rate with its cooler weather is even more expensive! Yikes! 😦 Campsite #11 pictured to the left to me has the BEST view, I photographed it just moments after its prior nights occupants were pulling out. If I owned an RV… THIS IS WHERE I’D STAY!
You can find this amazing RV overnight site at Mile Marker 104.3 bayside within the Keys Palms Luxury Motorhome Resort.