Funky Key West

KW  004duval  029big conch  014Once again, we are exploring a place that we already “know” and had visited before, but at a much deeper level.  As with many things, there is more to Key West than meets the eye.  This town has a lot of interesting history and many fascinating, funky and eccentric people have spent time here (and many are still here).

If you only look at the touristy side of the city, it can look like a bunch of t-shirt shops and bars.  And many of the bars are a lot of fun.  But in the back streets you will also find beautiful homes, lovely gardens and unique local businesses.Sloppy Joes  001conch train  002garden  025garden  033garden  020garden  021

Crazy Tree!

Crazy Tree!

garden  022

one human familyThere is a movement here called One Human Family.  It is the movement’s belief that all religions, nationalities, classes, races, genders, abilities and orientations are all part of each other.   And there are definitely many diverse communities in this town.

conchmobile  037conchmobile  038Art Festival  024conchmobile  036jazz  032KW  005pirates  002pirate  002booty  016stools  002front street  01591 miles  001front st  035weather buoy  003funk  005flea market  007flea market  006flea market  002Art is something else that you can find here in abundance.  There is a diversity of art here, from the quirky like the “Conch Mobiles” to the more traditional.  At the 48th annual Old Annual Days Arts Festival in Key West, we saw lots of examples of these different types of art.  We also met some of those interesting, funky and eccentric locals.  flea market  003One of the local women told us that Key West was a lot like Homer, Alaska, where’d she’d also lived.  Homer also has diverse art and people.  It kind of makes sense that the Southernmost Point and a Northernmost point would have something in common with each other.

Of course, interesting art can be found throughout the Keys.  It’s fun to drive up and down the Overseas Highway and look inside the many little art shops.  And, while we were here, there was a great arts and crafts show in Marathon and a fun flea market in Big Pine Key, both of which we visited.

Lloyds Bike Tour  001Lloyds Bike Tour  004But back to Key West.  Someone recently said to me “you either love Key West or you hate it”.  And we love it.  One day we went on “Lloyd’s Tropical Bike Tour”.  Lloyd has been taking tourists on bicycle tours for twenty years. Lloyds Bike Tour  013

Lloyds Bike Tour  018Lloyds Bike Tour  019Lloyds Bike Tour  005Lloyds Bike Tour  003This is not a history of Key West tour, but rather a “back streets” tour.  We saw beautiful homes, beautiful gardens, went to a parrot refuge run by a local woman in her yard and to a wildlife refuge.Lloyds Bike Tour  012 Lloyds Bike Tour  011 Lloyds Bike Tour  010 Lloyds Bike Tour  009 Lloyds Bike Tour  008 Lloyds Bike Tour  007

iguana  001Lloyds Bike Tour  022Lloyds Bike Tour  021Lloyds Bike Tour  014Lloyds Bike Tour  015Lloyds Bike Tour  016Lloyds Bike Tour  017Lloyds Bike Tour  023Lloyds Bike Tour  026Lloyds Bike Tour  025

Lloyds Bike Tour  030Lloyds Bike Tour  027And he took us to the Key West Firehouse Museum.  It had some cool old fire “stuff” and also an exhibit of Cuban firefighting artifacts from the time when Key West and Cuba were still closely related.Lloyds Bike Tour  028

No, this kooky tour is not for everyone, and like Key West, you either love it or you hate it.   And we loved it.  Lloyds Bike Tour  029

outrageous  001lizard  003conch house  001garden  039Lloyds Bike Tour  006Other things we love: bicycling through the town as the locals do, Bahamian and conch style homes, the wonderful weather, the laid back style, the beautiful trees and flowers and the many animal lovers here (as evidenced by the many refuges and rescue operations in this small town).

We took Angel on a day outing to town one day.  One of our stops was the Turtle Kraal Museum, which educates the public about dangers to sea turtles, and has exhibits about the harvesting of sea turtles for turtle soup in the past (kraals are the pens they were kept in).  The docent at the Museum, which we visited with Angel, dedicated a song to her: “Angel sweet Angel, you’re the prettiest thing I’ve seen all day”.

angel  001coffee queen  004While we were walking Angel on the street later that day, a guy from a little Cuban coffee and sandwich kiosk ran out to give her some loving and some yummy ham.

One human family.  What’s not to love?coffee queen  005

~ Brendamallory sunset  001

2 thoughts on “Funky Key West

  1. What a beautiful blog!!!! All the reasons to visit an area not for three days but for three weeks and really get to know it, like a local! Get our couch ready, we are coming along for the next few months! Great pics too!

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