Mike and I have been traveling to Key West about once a year for many years. We usually go in mid to late September, when there aren’t as many people, although that is hurricane season. Only once has our trip been cancelled because of a hurricane. This year we left a few days before a hurricane, Hurricane Ian, was expected.
Key West is a place I had to develop a liking for. I often say it is somewhere I am never really excited about going until I get there. The attraction is the sun and pure relaxation. Since I do not enjoy the drinking lifestyle, some parts of Key West are wasted on me. But there is wonderful food, you can walk most everywhere, and it is a place where one can totally relax.
Mike introduced me to Key West. He went there for the first time in 1975, taken there by a fraternity brother who lived in Miami. It was on that first trip that he heard musician Michael McCloud for the first time. Michael McCloud is a Key West icon, still playing and singing at seventy-five years of age, the last more than thirty years at the Schooner Wharf bar. He has recorded some wonderful songs, and if you can overlook his irreverent mouth, an afternoon listening to him is time well spent. As my readers know, I do not like profanity, so I am somewhat conflicted by Michael McCloud. But I recognize his talent and suffer through his choice of language. I also abhor the profanity on t-shirts in store windows. Call me a prude and tell me that is the way things are these days. But I do not agree with it, and question why I support it by my presence. But so far, I have overlooked those parts that I do not like for those that I do.
There are two wonderful bookstores in Key West, one, Books and Books, owned by Judy Bloom. There is also one of the best antique shops I have found anywhere, Duck and Dolphin Antiques. There is a plethora of restaurants, many with Happy Hour meals that replace an expensive dinner.
One of my favorite pastimes while in Key West is walking. Every morning around nine AM I head out and take my walk, past storefronts and restaurants. It is different than walking at home, where I listen to podcasts so as not to be bored. I do not even use my earbuds while walking in Key West, enjoying the scenery of the city. Before I realize it, almost an hour has passed, and I am back where I started.
Key West. A beautiful city with some less than desirable aspects to it. I suppose like many cities and like some of us.
Stay safe, Key West, and all of Florida and South Georgia, as Hurricane Ian passes through.