Sunshine Key and Key West

Published: March 9th 2010
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Sunshine KeySunshine KeySunshine Key

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
Bahia HondaBahia HondaBahia Honda

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
Bahia HondaBahia HondaBahia Honda

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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Atlantic OceanAtlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean

This photo was taken on the other side of the park which is within walking distance. England is way out there!

The collection of sponges was a viable business in days gone by. There were lots on the beach here, all different colours, shapes and textures
Main StreetMain Street
Main Street

I really liked Key West, it was very clean and had a good atmosphere.
Southern Most PointSouthern Most Point
Southern Most Point

It was a beautiful day when we went to Key West. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this landmark wasn't more commercial--not a t-shirt shop in sight!

This is typical of the homes around the center of the city. There are a lot of older style homes still standing, which is surprising since Key West has been hit by hurricanes in the past
Best of Times/Worst of TimesBest of Times/Worst of Times
Best of Times/Worst of Times

Key West was a city of wealth in the 1920's many politicians, film stars and big business owners owned property here. Then came the Depression and Key West became one of the poorest cities in Florida
Board WalkBoard Walk
Board Walk

I really enjoyed the Board Walk and seeing the yachts in the harbour. The big yacht in the background here is flying the Maple Leaf. Could it be Prime Minister Harper?

Cuba is just 90 miles away from Key West (closer in fact than Miami) so the Cuban influence is everywhere. I ate a pulled-pork sandwich and a Cuban coffee at this little sidewalk cafe just off the harbour.
Cigar BoothCigar Booth
Cigar Booth

Of course the influence of Cuba also is obvious in the amount of cigar booths that are around the city
Sidewalk BarSidewalk Bar
Sidewalk Bar

Like New Orleans, a person can walk the streets in Key West drinking an alcoholic drink--speciality a pinecolada out of a coconut shell. This bar is about ten feet wide at most.

10th March 2010

Looking good!
Hi Lyn, thanks for the photos they are great. You look well and happy. Keep it up. Love Sue
10th March 2010

loved Key West too
would love to go back some day!!

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