It was a long drive down to Key West from Fort Lauderdale, but I was thankful that I managed to grab a seat on this trip as it was not guaranteed. I had taken a trip to Miami and South Beach the day before and learned about this one. The guide said he’d pick me up at my hotel if there was a cancellation. So I waited in the early dawn light and luck was with me. The drive takes you along Highway 1 Overseas Highway and passes through some 40+ islands before reaching Key West. Journey time from Miami to Key West is approximately 4 hours. We had a coffee break in Key Largo and stopped to view the African Queen. The restored steamboat—made famous in the 1951 classic movie of the same name—is docked at Marina Del Mar (Mile Marker 100). We drove over The Seven Mile Bridge and the most incredibly turquoise-coloured water ever seen between the ‘islands’ that make up the Florida Keys.
After a wonderful afternoon exploring the town I made my way to Mallory Square where we were all to meet up for the Sunset Celebration before heading back north. The square was busy with buskers of all sorts and sunset cruise boats were encircling the bay. Disappointingly there was no vibrant sky that night only a dull haze on the horizon. But the day wasn’t a failure. I had discovered Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville (and bought the T-shirt), learned about ‘Shotgun’ houses, seen Hemingway’s home, but not the six-toed (polydactyl) cats, stood next to the Mile Marker 0 in Key West, ridden on the Old Town trolley through the town and taken a photo of the Southernmost Point Buoy, marking the southern tip of the continental United States.
This has to be one of the ultimate American road trips and one I had long dreamed of doing. And although I’d have loved to have driven this myself and lingered longer on the way, I am glad that I have been to Key West.
~wander.essence~ the call to place