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Published: June 11th 2017
For some reason our blog site was blocked as they suspected us to be spammers. After an email back and forth, the site has now been restored. Below are posts from our first two days pasted from Word.
June 8, 2016
This morning, we began with a pick-up at 5:30 a.m. Though traffic was heavy, we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare and enjoyed a sit down breakfast at an Italian restaurant. Our flight didn’t take off quite on time. When the pilot said we would be taking off within the next two minutes, there were still 20 people in the aisle waiting to get to their seats. After the “flight attendants, please prepare for takeoff” announcement we sat for roughly half an hour listening to a 14 month old cry. These bouts of crying continued in 30 minute cycles throughout the flight, which finally landed in Miami around 1:00 p.m. In the baby’s defense, his father had no idea how to plan travel for a young child and did nothing to mitigate the tantrum or reassure the angry baby. Once we retrieved our luggage, it was off to wait in line once again for our rental car, which turned out to be a white Ford Escape. Out of Miami we headed toward historic U.S 1, the overseas highway that runs from Homestead to “Mile 0” at Key West. It follows the path of the old Flagler railroad and is part of the “Dixie Highway” network. The drive was very scenic and the 3.5 hours went by very quickly.
We then checked in to Casa Marina, a breathtaking resort planned around Flagler’s original plan for a resort near the Southernmost point. The main building dates from the early 1920s complete with beautiful exposed wooden beams and ornate mahogany pillars. The air conditioning works pretty well, too. We then regrouped and began a long, leisurely walk across the island along the lively Duval street, then along the waterfront, and landed at the Schooner Wharf Bar. The shade felt great, the wind felt great, the fan felt great, and the live music complete with a steel drum truly set the moment. We enjoyed the music, some freshly prepared seafood, and one another’s company for a good couple hours. By then, the sun had set and the air had cooled off. We walked the long walk home and then sat out by the ocean at our hotel’s beach. The full moon over the rippling ocean water was truly breathtaking as we intended to post our first blog. That didn’t happen but we still enjoyed the ocean breeze, the swaying palms, and the ocean wind.
June 9, 2017
Today, we were happy not to begin our day at 4:15. Instead, we left our hotel at 9:00 bound for Blue Heaven, a local place known for its food, its history (Hemingway once refereed boxing matches here), and its Spanish Lime tree. The brunch was great and we felt like were on a Caribbean Island. Wait, we were! Off in the distance was a tall Banyan tree which caught our interest and led us to find the Shel Silverstein poem about Lester and his wishes. After breakfast we headed toward Truman’s Little White House. This location served as a remote location for President Truman for 11 working vacations during his time in office from 1945-1953. What an amazing place for the executive branch to function outside of what he referred to as the “prison” of the real White House. Truman was a pretty good guy and this visit reaffirmed that. Our guide was exceptional in his knowledge and sense of humor. He was able to engage our group, which aged from roughly 12 to 75 years of age.
Next, it was off to Hemingway’s Key West home for a second guided tour. Rich got in trouble for passing by the ticket seller before she took the tickets from Jake. Apparently Rebel Pride lives in Key West, too. The site includes the home and studio where Hemingway composed many books (we think nine) and spent time during the 1930s. Still resident on the site are 53 cats who are descendants of Snowball, a mutant with six toes. Roughly half of them continue the unique six-toed trait. We learned about Hemingway’s life, successes, wives (all four), revelries, vices, and accident-prone nature. He sustained nine documented concussions during his life, and lived in days before post-traumatic stress syndrome, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism were treated like they are today. We will learn more about him during our time in Cuba.
Our next walk was back toward Duval street. This street is the main drag through Key West and includes all sorts of bars, shops, art galleries, and souvenir stores. We wondered if there was a French influence on Key West since it was so reminiscent of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. On the way, we stopped for some cold water, iced tea, and a slice of key lime pie. Again, the air conditioning was part of the reward for our stop.
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