Jan 7 – Sunday
On Sunday, my sister Paula & husband Michael from Troy Michigan arrived about 1pm.
Prior to their arrival, and because it was the first nice/sunny day in a week, I decided to take some photos of the neighboring vessels near us at the Conch Harbor Marina. We love our boat, but once again feel like we are out of our zip code when we are in some of these nicer marinas.
Almost all of the boats here are private Sportfish types.
There are not any other Loopers with us right now (many Loopers passed on Key West due to the high cost and distance).
In the slips right next to us are Twin 60ft Viking Sportfish boats, the blue/white photos below are of 2 separate Vikings in back/back slips.
Enough of boat envy dreaming !
Michael & Paula arrived about 1pm on Sunday Jan 7th.
We started their visit with some welcome drinks at the pool at our marina, connected to Dante’s waterfront bar.
After some welcome aboard talks, we took Paula & Michael for a long walk down the famous Duval street.
Similar to Brenda’s visit , we had drinks at Willy T’s, they are world famous – the sign says so.
Further down Duvall , we had drinks & appetizers at the Viva Saloon.
Paula claims that our waiter looked like Bradley Cooper, he didn’t think so.
Further south down Duvall we passed by some of the pretty homes and bed/breakfast buildings claiming the title of “Southernmost home”
We had dinner at a place called The Southernmost Beach Café.
The view was good, the food was so-so.
After dinner, we went to the Iconic Southernmost Buoy. Normally the photo line is very long, but we arrived just before dusk and the line was fairly short.
The night continued with music at The Green Parrot. The Green Parrot is known for great music, and they did not let us down. There was a great band called Sol Driven Train, a rock band that also had a Sax & Trombone.
We ended the night with desert at a place called Better than Sex.
The place offers only deserts & drinks.
The names of the deserts are very suggestive.
The interior was dark and seemed like a prohibition speakeasy.
Jan 8 – Monday
We began Monday morning with breakfast at Pepe’s Café, then headed to the
Beach at the Fort Zachary State Park.
Key West is not really known for their beaches. Most are man-made with sand brought in from the Bahamas. Fort Zachary is the only natural beach, as it is made up of ground coral. It also has rocky reef formations all along the beach which act as a breakwall to protect the beach and offer nice views when the waves break over the rocks. We went to this beach because it was the only natural beach & was the least populated. Much of the day was chilly (65f) , but we did get warm enough later in the afternoon to shed the towels & sweaters.
The beach is also right next door to the island of Boca Chica & the Key West Naval Air Station.
After the Beach Day, we came back to the boat, cleaned up, and went on a walk of the Key West Harbor Boardwalk. It is a 1-2 mile walk with many marinas, restaurants, and pubs.
We had happy hour at the Half Shell Raw Bar, a dozen oysters for $10.
We continued down the boardwalk, with the 2nd Happy Hour stop at the Conch Republic Seafood Company.
The final stop was at the Pier House Boardwalk, and by then we were all feeling very friendly, with the most enduring traditions of the season (hugs) which are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin (Clark Griswald-Christmas Vacation).
The night ended with Music @ Sloppy Joes, another one of the Key West best stops for live music. I don’t remember the name of the 3 person female band, but they were great.
Jan 9 – Tuesday
We began Tuesday with Bfast at Harpoon Harry’s.
We met waiter Gary from our home city of Royal Oak, he used to live less than a mile away from our house. Gary also told us the Harpoon Harry’s is owned by a guy that used to live in Sterling Heights (Harry).
While we were at Harpoon Harry’s we noticed a photo on the wall which showed the place just after IRMA. The photos below show the water level just after IRMA. We took a current street side photo for comparison.
After breakfast, we walked off the meal with a trip down Caroline street.
Along the walk we saw a tribute left to welcome my arrival in Key West, but they got my arrival date wrong – June ’88 (RIP Murphino).
Further down Caroline street we arrived at the Art Museum near Mallory Square. I wanted to show Michael & Paula the home-made vessel used by 24 Cubans to come to America in 2010. This is the 2nd showing of these photos, but I am amazed that these folks would risk their lives to travel 100 miles in such a vessel. It makes you stop and think about their feeling of hopelessness in Cuba, to take on such a risk. Notice the V8 engine & battery in the center
After the Cuban refugee boat, we went to the St Paul’s Episcopal Church.
The church has quite the tumultuous history.
The original church was built in 1838-39 – This first building was totally destroyed by a hurricane on October 11, 1846.
The second church was a wooden structure built in 1848 – The second church was destroyed in the Great Fire of Key West in March 1886. By some good fortune the Rectory survived undamaged.
The third church was completed in 1887 – On October 11, 1909, another disaster struck, and the church was destroyed by a hurricane. The parish hall (completed in 1904) and the Rectory survived the storm and were used for services.
Plans for a new church were approved in 1911, which would be constructed of concrete. The church would be located at the corner of Duval and Eaton Streets. This required the moving of the Rectory to its current location in 1914. The first service in the current building was held June 8, 1919. During this time, many of the beautiful stained glass windows were ordered, and installation began in 1920. The organ arrived in 1931 in time for Christmas services.
A major restoration of the church began in 1991 to save the building from collapse. The concrete used in the initial construction had been mixed with seawater and beach sand, causing the steel reinforcing within the walls and columns to split. Work was complete in 1993 at a cost of nearly one million dollars.
Today the church continues to stand as a beacon of light and hope within the diverse cultural community of Key West.
After walking off the breakfast and touring the Cuban Boat & St Pauls Church, we had Pool Day at the Dante’s Pool attached to our Conch Harbor Marina.
The day started out chilly and overcast, but ended with 75f & Sunshine. It became warm enough that me & Michael were able to enjoy a swim in the VERY COLD 66f pool.
Later in the afternoon, we went for Happy Hour at the Bagatelle.
The Bagatelle is one of the nicer/fancier restaurants in Key West, but they have a very thrifty Happy Hour with 1/2 off drinks and very tasty $5 Appetizers. The Lobster Mac-n-Cheese was “to die for”.
I love a bargain, and we had 7 appetizers & 4 drinks, and fully fed the group of 4 for under $50 (actually free for me, Michael paid).
After dinner we went to Mallory Square to watch the street performers.
While at Mallory Square, we ran in to old Looper pals Scott & Linda from vessel Ramble On. They are currently staying on Marathon island and were doing a day trip to Key West. We will join them for a week at the Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club on February 12th.
After Mallory Square, we walked Duvall and listened to a few musicians at the Hogs Breath & Captain Tony’s bars.
We ended the last night of Michael & Paula’s visit with some quiet socializing & DESERT at the Blue Heaven Restaurant courtyard. Jonell did not want any more to drink after the libatious few days, but Paula talked her into gettin back up on that horse.
It was a fun,event filled 3 days with Paula & Michael !
Next Visitors = Ron & Michelle Kline, 20+ year friend of mine from Chrysler !