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Key West – Caribbean Close Enough to Drive

January 30th, 2013 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Key West – Caribbean Close Enough to Drive

While the town that hosted real pirates, wreckers, and smugglers has (for the most part) given way to cruise ships stretched to the horizon and a slew of rip-off t-shirt shops, Key West still offers a glimpse of that laid-back Caribbean vibe. Best of all, you can drive there and don’t need a passport.

The first thing to understand is that Key West – the end of the line of a chain of islands that stretches 150 miles southwest from Miami – is different from the rest of Florida. As a sort of anti-Disney, this adult play town luxuriates in a laissez-faire attitude towards all-night drinking and sexual orientation, and also takes a rather liberal point of view towards what is considered being “clothed.” The point is, if you’re not too much of a prude, a trip to this island paradise could be just what the doctor ordered. When you get there, remember time is precious. Here are a few things to do.

Sunset Celebration: If you do nothing else during your time on the island, Jetsetter’s Jason Hartman suggests at least one Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Like the name suggests, this gathering of tourists, locals, and street performers is dedicated to honoring the end of another day in paradise. There’s no charge to attend but tips are always appreciated by the performers, many of whom rely on the cash flow as their only income.

Key West Cemetary: Even though Key West sits scant inches above sea level, that’s not the reason for the sprawling system of above ground graves. The real problem is that the coral that makes up the Florida Keys is like digging into cement. With respect to the dead, the fun thing about strolling this garden of the deceased is to read the grave markers, many of which exhibit the quirky state of mind for which the island is known. One example: “I told you I was sick.”

Mel Fisher’s Museum: In 1985 a local treasure seeker by the name of Mel Fisher stumbled upon sunken Spanish gold and silver that eventually came to be valued at almost $500 million dollars. The state of Florida tried to stake a claim to it, but Fisher survived more than 100 court battles to emerge from the Supreme Court of the United States victorious (and very rich). You’re going to love visiting

the rooms of gold and silver bars, chains, ingots, and piles of emeralds.

What else? There’s Ernest Hemingway’s house, Harry Truman’s southern retreat, great music, beautiful water, and a laid back vibe that will have you dreading your return to the real world. Hey, nobody says you ever HAVE to go back. (Top image: Flickr | Sam Howzit)

The Jetsetter Show Team

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