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KEY WEST



I have always loved driving to the Keys (lower and upper) when I feel life is getting out of hand.

Key West is a good place to unwind and recharge your energy. In just about three (3) hour drive from Miami you’ll see a different world overlooking the most serene scenery that this side of the world has to offer. From the bluest skies, to the greenest ocean which provide a gorgeous view of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. There is nothing like driving along U.S. 1 and reaching the seven (7) mile bridge surrounded with water.

This is my Key West ~ a perfect place to escape from everything. As you spend time in here you will begin to see that everybody here is escaping from something. For some people it’s the law, for others a divorce or job failure. For some to escape the winter cold, and for the rest of us (like me) just want to get away from the city life.

Key West is an ideal place for someone to relax in the sunshine and strangeness. Key West is the end of the line. When you get here, there’s no going south and staying in the United States.

Key West attracts people from all over the world. The Island has this magical way of getting people to drop their guard, let loose and do things they would never normally do. It is an island of enchantment and mystery. It offers a place a little more laid back, a little more accepting, and a little less judgmental. Something has to be said for a place where you can dress how you want, say what you want, do what you want and be who you want without the worry of others wanting you to be something you don’t want to be. As a whole, the island runs a bit slower and a bit softer.

SHORT HISTORY OF KEY WEST – People who were born in Key West are referred to as “Conchs.” If you were not born in here, you are not, have not been, and never will be a conch. Don’t try to be – it won’t happen. But the fact remains, these are the people who helped make the island what it is today. It is estimated 20-25 percent of Key West population is gay. The island’s live and let live attitude has created a haven for gays. If you have problems accepting the sexual preferences of others, you might as well keep your mouth shut or don’t bother coming.

Key West has had many names, each with its own strange meaning. The first people to live and die in Key West were Native Americans. The first visitors to the island were Spaniards looking for safe trade routes through the Straights of Florida. Upon arrival, Spaniards found bones everywhere, and accordingly named the tiny spot of land “Cayo Hueso” that literally translates to “Isle of Bones.” Something wasn’t too appealing about the name “bone island” so as time went on the Spanish term was corrupted. “Cayo” became “Key” and “Hueso” became “West.” The name really has nothing to do with the fact that it is the westernmost key in the island chain.

Over the years a few attempts were made to change the name to something more desirable but most of the people creating the navigational charts of the day stuck with Key West, which has remained the official name for more than a century.

Key West first known visitor was Ponce de Leon. He discovered the island in 1513 during his search for the Fountain of Youth. It is believed neither he, nor his crew, ever came to shore due to the risk of jagged rocks and extremely difficult sailing conditions. Little did he know that Key West is probably the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth in existence.

For years, Key West was left to the pirates. As time passed, many ships wrecked, and the Native American tribe of Calusa Indians, pretty much kept the island to themselves.

In order to make a living, early settlers of the Keys had pineapple farms and the fruit was considered a delicacy. The fishing industry started to boom and a shark-processing factory was launched in Big Pine Key. Nobody knows what truly happened, but Key West soon became the wealthiest city per capita in the United States. As Key West flourished, more people started moving here, bringing more money. Key Westers soon starting branching out, going into business and selling the goods that are famous today (e.g. Cigars, Fishing, Sponging, Military, and The Coming of Tourism).

KEY WEST TODAY – The island has gone through its share of changes. Instead of pirates cruising the waters we have sunset sails. Instead of the great railroad, we have the Conch Tour Train. The one thing Key West has kept is its mystery and the legendary feeling that you are in Never-Never Land.

FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO MOVED TO KEY:

• Ernest Hemingway – writer
• Jimmy Buffett – singer/songwriter/author
• Kelly McGillis – actress
• Calvin Klein – Designer
• Robert Frost – poet
• Hulk Hogan – wrestler
• Harry Truman – President of the U.S.
• Roy Scheider – actor

Freshwater Conch – is a resident of at least seven years

Honorary Conch – is anyone the County Mayor sees fit to present the honor to

True Conchs – can obtain seniority with each generation and you will find it common to hear people damn proud of the fact that they are a 4th, 5th, 6th generation Conch.

Bubba – term comes from the word brother and started in Key West as a friendly term.



The BEST holidays

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