Next up on our Key West visitor schedule, was Pat & Jenny Haggerty.
Pat & I have known each other for 38 years, beginning with out time spent together at the greatest Automotive Company ever – American Motors Corp.
We have watched each other age, watched our children grow, and stayed in touch as we changed companies from; American Motors, to Chrysler, Daimler Chrysler, Cerberus, and Fiat Chrysler.
Pat & Jenny have 2 children (Celia & Liam) and live in Ferndale Michigan.
For all you loyal blog readers, now is when the blog will start to get boring & repetitive.
We have been in Key West for 20 days now, and will be reporting on a lot of the same places as the previous posts.
You will also see a lot of photos with only 3 people this week, Mrs Murph had a severe cold this week, and spent a lot of time recuperating back at the boat. We just went to the Key West Medical Clinic and got her some Meds this afternoon.
Jan 17 – Wednesday
Pat & Jenny arrived at the marina about 4pm on Wednesday, after flying into Miami.
We had the normal welcome aboard drinks on Gettin’ Looped.
We then went for a walk down Duvall, went to Willy T’s for happy hour, and had dinner at the Blue Heaven.
After dinner we went for a stroll to the southernmost homes & the famous southernmost point buoy.
Jan 18 – Thursday
Thursday was ANOTHER very cool/cloudy day in Key West, about 55f.
We spent most of the day indoors or outdoors near heaters (feel sorry for us ?)
We started the day at the Truman Little White House. We have previously reported on this place, but it was basically a place where Harry Truman had several working visits during the late 1940’s (11 visits). It is still owned by the US government, was last used by Jimmy Carter, and could be used by President Trump. If you are ever in Key West, the tour provides great history of the Truman presidency.
Our second indoor visit was to the Ernest Hemingway House. Also previously reported on in earlier blogs, the Hemingway House is where Ernest Hemingway lived from 1931-1939. It is a private tourist attraction now populated by six and seven-toed cats that are descendants of Hemingway’s cats.
It was in this house that Hemingway wrote some of his best work, including the classics; The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, To Have And Have Not, and the non-fiction work Green Hills of Africa.
We are in Key West, so in between each historical stop, we had refreshments. We visited both Grunts Pub and The Blue Macaw.
After refreshing our energy at Grunts & the Blue Macaw, we went to visit The Key West Martello Tower Garden Club. This was my first visit to The Martello Tower.
The Martello Tower is a free exhibit, owned by the Key West Garden Club.
Martello Towers are small defensive forts that were built for security purposes during the 19th century. The Key West Martello Tower was built in the 1860’s, but became a broken down eyesore that was almost demolished in 1949. Between 1950 & 1975 the Key West Garden Club took ownership, and the site became a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
It currently is owned & operated by the Garden Club, and shows many species of tropical plants.
Upon entry, we met the Garden Club representative on duty and learned that he was from Pat’s home city of Milwaukee Wisconsin. They had a lot of common memories and reminisced for about 15 minutes before we began our tour.
The Key West Garden Club is one of the island’s last remaining free tourist attractions. Plants are donated and maintained by members and volunteers. Their mission is to provide education for the community relating to tropical gardening and to the history of the West Martello Tower.
The Garden Club had many exotic plant species that were interesting, even to me (sorry Aunt Angie, plants are normally boring to me). Being an ex-defensive Military Fort, the setting is right on the Atlantic coast and is very pretty.
The Garden Club also had a recent bad experience with the passing of hurricane IRMA. The photo below shows the most prominent Strangler Fig/ Banyon Tree being demolished by hurricane IRMA.
The rootball of the tree weighed 25 tons, and thanks to the County has already been removed. While the Fort’s damages are a loss which cannot be historically replaced, the gardeners have already begun replanting and re-envisioning the historic site into something better.
We ended the day with oysters at The Half Shell Raw Bar, had dinner at Off-the-Hook, and music at Grunts Pub. It was also Pat’s birthday, so we snuck in a little birthday singing with patrons of Off-the-Hook joining me and Jenny in song.
The band at Grunts was called The Shanty Hounds, a 3-piece band which sang many songs of their own creation. The music theme was a blues/jazz rock , a la Joe Cocker & Tom Waits.
After Grunt’s, we went for round-2 of music at a place called The Smokin’ Tuna.
The Smokin’ Tuna featured a rock band called Caffine Carl & the Buzz, playing everything from Pink Floyd to Bob Segar.
Murph tuckered out about 11:30pm.
The Haggerty’s continued until about 1am.
Jan 19 – Friday
We started Friday with coffee from the Cuban Coffee Shop, then first up on the agenda of fun was the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center.
The Eco-Discovery Center features more than 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibits.
The Discovery Center features exhibits on ;
Aquarius – the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory
A Living Reef exhibit – 2500-gallon reef tank with living corals and tropical fish
A live Reef Cam
Other displays that highlight the coral reef environment.
Stop #2 on Friday was Fort Zachary Taylor.
Again, we have previously written on Fort Zachary, but as a short recap – The fort was one of a series of forts 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. Fort Zachary was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
While we were at the Fort Zachary State Park, we went for a little stroll along the Fort Zachary Beach. We finally saw our first Iguana. There are supposed to be many iguanas here in Key West, but this was our experience. Pat attempted to make friends.
Iguana Video = https://youtu.be/VY3SBP4xqbQ
After strolling the beach, we came back to the boat and chilled for a while while having some drinks at the pool.
Jonell was still ill and sleeping, Jenny took a short siesta, and Mike & Pat went for a walk down the waterfront boardwalk to Mallory Square.
After Mallory Square, Jenny met me & Pat on Duvall street, and we went to dinner at one of our favorites already – the Onlywood Pizzeria & Trattoria. It is a beautiful small garden setting with awesome food.
We ended the Haggerty visit with one last stroll down Duvall street, and a celebration stogie cigar enjoyed by Pat.
It was great to see Haggz & Jenny again.
The visit was way too short (only 2-1/2 days).
Next Up = Brother Ken Murphree & Admiral Carla D’Arca (Great Loop visit #3 from Kenny & Carla !)