Our first stop on the summer trip was to Key West, also known as the Conch Republic. But why?
In 1982, the city of Key West briefly declared its “independence” as the Conch Republic. This blockade was set up on U.S. 1, where the northern end of the Overseas Highway meets the mainland. A traffic jam of 17 miles (27 km) ensued while they stopped every car leaving the Keys, supposedly searching for illegal immigrants attempting to enter the mainland United States. This paralyzed the Florida Keys, which rely heavily on the tourism industry. Flags, T-shirts and other merchandise representing the Conch Republic are still popular souvenirs for visitors to Key West, and the Conch Republic Independence Celebration—including parades and parties—is celebrated every April 23.
We have been here many times before by ship and bus, we have seen Mallory Square, The Southern Most Point, trolley ride, Fantasy Fest and Duval Street, so we decided to see what new things we could find. We did see this new sign at Mallory Square.
I just finished, The Paris Wife, about Ernest Hemingway’s early writing, so I was interested in seeing the Hemingway house.
Legend says the Hemingways installed a swimming pool for $20,000 in the late 1930s (equivalent in 2013 to $330,000). It was such a high price that Hemingway is said to have put a penny in the concrete, saying, “Here, take the last penny I’ve got!” The penny is still there.
The six- or seven-toed cats descended from Hemingway’s original pet “Snowball” still live on the grounds and are cared for at the Hemingway House, despite complaints by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they are not kept free from visitor contact. The Key West City Commission has exempted the house from a law prohibiting more than four domestic animals per household.
This guy was just hanging out on the bed during the tour.
One of the reasons we keep coming back to the keys is the resort we stay at. Blue Water Key Motor Coach Resort is beautiful, they have beautiful sites right on the water. We rent the sites with the cabana’s. This is really a great place for R&R.
Time to head north to Charleston for our next stop.