Key West (Port #55) ; Jan 2-4 , Sister Brenda Visit

Jan 1 (New Years Day) – Monday
From our previous post, you may recall that we had a great 108 mile ride over from Marco Island to Key West, with beautiful warm weather & low wind & waves.

We spent the afternoon removing the christmas lights & cleaning the boat of the heavy salt water film. Mike washed the boat, Brenda performed the rinse job, and Jonell cleaned the interior.

About 5pm, the weather changed dramatically, with large wind and dark clouds moving in. The rains held out and we remained dry but windy for Monday night.

After cleaning the boat we went for our 1st walk down to Duvall street, about 4-5 blocks from the marina. We passed the usual Welcome to Key West signs, the town Roosters, and had dinner at Fogarty’s outdoor patio.

Jan 2 – Tuesday
Tuesday was the beginning of the ugly weather. Yes even down here in Key West !
The day was Dreary, Rainy, and a cool high of 65f.
We began the day with a guided trolley tour to get the feel for the city, and even rolled up the windows on the trolley.

After the trolley tour, we had lunch at the Key West famous Sloppy Joes Bar. Brenda was busy doing what she does best, making new friends.

After Sloppy Joes Bar, we went on a tour of The Hemingway House.
The house was the home to Ernest Hemingway from 1931-1939.
Some interesting things we saw in the house were; fishing photos of Hemingway & fishing pal Gregorio Fuentes, framed art of many of his movies, a urinal in the back yard, and a shit-load of cats (42) around the property.

The tour guide told us that Gregorio Fuentes & Hemingway were big fishing buddies, and that the novel “The Old Man and the Sea” was rumored to be related to this friendship. The boat they used to fish from was called The Pilar, of which you can still buy a bottle of Rum with the same name (thanks Jerry Luck).

The framed art of Hemingway’s movies prompted me to research how many novels & movies he wrote. While alive he published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four short storys, and three non-fiction works, were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature. There are 22 films which are based on the works of Hemingway, the most famous being ; To Have and Have Not, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Killers.

In the back yard of the estate is a urinal, supposedly taken from one of his favorite places, Sloppy Joes Bar. The urinal supposedly embarrassed his very proper 4th wife Pauline, who attempted to hide/decorate the urinal and make it look like a fountain.

The tour was also accompanied by a LOT of cats. All had been given names of famous people (Betty Grable, Joe DiMaggio, etc). The cats truly own the place. The tour guide advised that all the cats are six and seven-toed cats, that are descendants of the original Hemingway cats.

After the Hemingway House, we went to lunch at The Blue Macaw

After the Blue Macaw, we went walking around the Art Museum area and saw sites like;  the traveling V-J Day Statue, an interesting boat taken by refugees from Cuba, and some shops with tasty treats.

We were told by the trolley guide that the V-J Day Statue had recently arrived from ROYAL OAK Michigan, the same statue we had seen back home at 13 mile/Woodward before we left.

In the same area of the Art Museum is a home-made boat, used by Cuban refugees in 1987 to travel 111 miles from Cuba to Key West. There were 24 people who traveled on the rickety vessel.
I will stick with the 43′ Viking !

Also in the same area, were several shops which caught my attention.

The girls were not interested in the cookies/chocolate, so our next stop was Willy T’s, and their dollar bill lined walls & ceilings.
willy t1willy t2

In spite of the cold weather, we had a great day.
We had dinner at a waterfront brewery, called The Waterfront Brewery.
It was a so-so, not on the Murphree’s recommended must-see places.

Jan 3 – Wednesday
Bummer, it was another Dreary, Rainy, Cool day (55f).
We started the day with breakfast at a pretty cool place called Pepe’s. It was great food & a good price ($24 for 3).

After breakfast, we went on a tour of the Truman Little White House.
Harry Truman, the 33rd president, stayed here 175 days during 11 visits between 1946 & 1953. The house was built-in 1890 and renovated in 1911. It was originally the residence of former naval officers, but became a presidential retreat during Truman’s presidency.
No photos were allowed inside.
One of the most memorable items on display was a copy of the premature “Dewey defeats Truman” newspaper from the Chicago Times.
The house is considered the birthplace of the Department of Defense as a result of the Key West Accords of 1948. In 1961, the house was the venue for a summit between President Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan during the Bay of Pigs incident. Kennedy returned in 1962 after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and foreign leaders held an international summit here in 2001. The Little White House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The house has most recently been used by Presidents Carter & Clinton.
Harry Truman left office with an approval rating of only 20%, but currently is ranked as the 11th most popular president of all time (2007 Rasmussen). Truman had a very difficult presidency, and had to make some major decisions, thus prompting his doctor to advise him to seek retreat for rest. The Little White House became the place of retreat for Truman.

On the grounds in/around the Little White house were cool looking trees, I am told they are Kapok & Banyon trees ???

After the Little White House, we had lunch at a cool little place called Grunts.

After lunch we went to the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
We toured both the Fort & went on the Fort Zachary Beach.
The fort was one of a series built in the mid-1800s to defend the nation’s southeastern coastline. Completed in 1866, Fort Zachary Taylor played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Surprisingly, there was never a shot fired from Fort Zachary during its life.

We also went to the Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, reported as one of the cleanest beaches in Key West.
It was a very windy day, especially near the water, so much so that Brenda was almost swept away.

Next stop on the busy day was Mallory square, where we saw the large cruise ships and watched the local street performers.

Later that night, we went to dinner at a very entertaining place called Irish Kevin’s

Dec 4 – Thursday
Bummer, we found out late Wednesday night that there was a problem with Brenda’s return flight. She had to find a new flight back home and if she left on Friday as originally planned it would have been a $500 one-way ticket vs $300 on Thursday. So it was unfortunately a premature quick departure.
We went for the last tearful breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s, a nice place with a very friendly staff.

Prior to departing, we took some photos at the Conch Harbor Pool, where we spent zero time during Brenda’s visit.

It was a great week visiting with #2 (Brenda). We had great weather in Fort Myers Beach, had a nice ride & fun day with the Vrabels at Marco Island, an awesome ride across the gulf into Key West, and a lot of fun during the first somewhat cold week in Key West.

Our next visitors will be sister Paula (#4) and husband Michael this Sunday, with brother Kenny (#3) & Carla coming back for their third visit on Jan 22nd.

In case you are wondering, I often refer to my siblings as #2, #3, or #4.
Guess what, that means Michael is #1 !
Just kidding kids, I love you and appreciate your visits.

3 thoughts on “Key West (Port #55) ; Jan 2-4 , Sister Brenda Visit

  1. Like watching a TV tour program about Key West. Looks like you will have a minor in US history when this trip is done. Keep it up Mike. Very interesting.


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