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Published: March 9th 2010
Someone with a sense of humour.
Sixty miles south of Key Largo is a resort known as Sunshine Key. Although the resort is on its own key I don’t actually think the name is official. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my week there. Each morning I walked the perimeter of the park starting on the Gulf Coast side and ending on the Atlantic Ocean coast. Unfortunately, the weather has been abnormal for Florida, the mornings were cool, the mid-day’s pleasant but the clouds rolled in the late afternoon each day so I wasn’t able to see one of the sunsets the Keys are famous for.
The Bahia Honda channel separates Sunshine Key from the Bahia Honda State Park. This channel is the deepest in the Keys and there is a lot of scuba diving just off the coast here. The park’s main focus is what remains of an old trestle railway bridge. Until 1905 the only way to get to Key West was by boat so the railway line was a dream of oil mogul Henry Flagler who imagined a railroad across the sea that would promote a cultural and economic connection with Cuba, the Panama Canal and South America. Sometimes called Flaglers’ Folly because of the
One of the main attractions in the park is what remains of a railway track that was built between 1905 and 1912. Known as Flagler's Folly it was washed away by a hurricane in 1935
astronomical cost and geographic difficulty; the line was started in 1905 and completed in 1912 opening up the Keys to tourists and being heralded as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The Overseas Highway was built over the causeways and bridges of the Overseas Railroad but at Bahia Honda Key, the railway bed inside the truss bridge was too narrow for two lanes of automobile traffic. Instead workers built the road on top of the bridge trusses. In 1935 the strongest hurricane ever recorded hit the keys washing away miles of the railroad and highway and by 1938 the railroad was gone. Amazingly, twenty three of Flagler Railroad Bridges remain.
Key West is 39 miles south on the Overseas Highway from Sunshine Key so I made my way there as soon as I could. I have heard good things about Key West and found all to be true. The locals are very laid back, and it certainly has a vacation destination feel about it. The streets are lined with curio shops, t-shirt shops, restaurants and sidewalk bars. Not built for a large number of vehicles traffic congestion is horrific, which in turn leads to a lot of bike and scooter
The Bahia Honda channel is the deepest in the Keys. There is a lot of scuba diving around this State Park which is also it's own key. This is looking west over the Gulf of Mexico
rental shops, taking vehicles off the road but making driving even more stressful as bikes and scooters appear out of nowhere at intersections. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my couple of days there.
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