"Everything Old is New Again."
Key West, the final stop on the Overseas Highway. Here, the land meets the sea amid 19th-century charm and 21st-century attractions. This is the nation's southernmost city, and it is actually closer to Havana than Miami. Discover a city where real estate titles date back to the Kings of Spain. Stroll the palm-lined streets and discover gingerbread mansions, tin-roofed conch houses, the John Audubon House and Ernest Hemingway's home. Walk in the footsteps of Thomas Edison, Lou Gehrig, Harry Truman and Tennessee Williams.
Stop to chat with the locals and you might come across one of the native-born Key Westers, who call themselves Conchs. Be sure to ask the Conchs about the Key West of their childhood.
Treasure hunter Mel Fisher also called Key West home. Using Key West as a base, he recovered millions of dollars worth of gold and silver from the ship Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a 17th-century Spanish galleon that sank 45 miles west of Key West. At Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society Museum visitors can view and even touch some of the riches of the Atocha and the Santa Margarita.
Only in Key West would the sun shine the brightest when it sets. Everyone gathers for the never planned, always varied Sunset Celebration on the Mallory Dock. Once jugglers, mimes, musicians and street artists safely tuck the sun away, the city moves to a different beat; a night beat. Streets, filled with sidewalk cafes, open-air bars, legendary pubs and world-class restaurants come alive. Let yourself go and enjoy a city of fascinating contrasts.Points of interest:
- Hemmingway House: Take a leisurely tour of the home and gardens of the late Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway. A Registered National Historic Landmark
- Audubon House: Audio tour of 1840's home of Capt. Geiger furnished in elegant antiques. One-acre tropical garden. Original Audubon engravings.
- Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
- Great Antique shops and Art Galleries
- Southern most point: Whitehead and South Street - Only 90 miles from Cuba. Make sure you visit the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA.
- St. Paul's: 401 Duval Street - The first church to be built in Key West. Spectacular stained glass windows.
- Truman Little White House: 111 Front St. (Truman Annex) Guided tours daily. Visit the Botanical Gardens. Presidential gift shop. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Key West Aquarium: Explore the undersea world at the Key West Aquarium. A window of wonder comes alive as expert guides explain the mysteries of the waters of the Florida Keys.
- Key West Cemetery: Margaret and Angela Streets - Moved to higher ground after the 1847 hurricane disinterred bodies from the first burial ground near the Southernmost Point, the whitewashed above-ground tombs and statues are fascinating. A stroll through this historic graveyard can tell as much about Key West's quirky character as any history lesson. My personal favorite tombstone - "I told you I was sick."