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Our Day in Key West!

*This post was written right before Hurricane Irma hit Key West, Fort Myers and the rest of Florida!

Key West Trip via the Key West Express

Blacks Who Travel in Key West

Blacks Who Travel in Key West

Nikki and I have been to Key West about 8 or 9 times.  We have traveled there by multiple Cruise ships.  Once on a Bus Trip from West Palm Beach.  We have even taken the drive from South Florida.  Key West is one of those places I think everyone should go at least once.  Then if you like it you should make plans to return.  We enjoy the fresh seafood, the key lime pie, the unique restaurants, quaint shops and bars with happy hour seemingly all day long.  For about 3 years, I have wanted to make the journey to Key West via commuter boat.  They have a ship that leaves out of Fort Myers, FL called the Key West Express.  It does round trip service to Key West daily or you have the option to return a different day.  We choose the round trip.   

The Ship
Key West Express Ship

Key West Express Ship

The Key West Express is a 170-foot Turbo Diesel Engines Catamaran with 3 floors.  There is seating inside and out, with air conditioning on the inside.  A full-service bar and snack bar that serves breakfast and decent snacks.  They have several different combinations of seating arrangements from 4 or 6 top lunch style tables, to lounge benches with cushion tops.  They also have plain rows of chairs for 5 and plenty of Televisions aboard.  If you are inside you can still get a beautiful view of the water and the other ambient surroundings through the tinted glass windows that wrap around the 2 lower decks.  The one thing they are lacking is WiFi!  We took a DVD player and watched Power on the way there.  The trip takes 3.5-4 hours depending on the wind and the same to get back.

Key West
Blacks Who Travel at the Most Southern Point of the United States!

At the Most Southern Point of the United States!

We departed at 8:30 and arrived in Key West just past noon.  We rented an Electric Car for the day. Then whizzed around town stylishly in our open-air car.  Armed with a map we headed to the Most Southern Point of the United States.  From that spot, it is less than 90 miles to Cuba and on a clear day, you can actually see the Island of Cuba. Fun fact: Key West is 90 miles to Cuba. But to get to Key West from Miami, it’s a 150-mile drive down the Overseas Highway.  Next, we headed back to Duval Street.  Duval is the main drag in Key West.  

(Pic of Duval Street)

Many compare it to Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  We passed souvenir/gift shops, bars, restaurants, and boutiques.  Then we got to the world famous Sloppy Joes.  We did not stop, other than to take a picture.  We were on our way to a Silver Boutique called Local Colors. This is the store where Nikki gets all of her toe

Nikki's Silver Toe Rings

Nikki’s Silver Toe Rings

rings.  These are sterling silver real complete circle toe rings that you never need to take off.  Nikki has had hers for over 10 years and has only had to replace one of them with Local Color’s did free for charge.  All of their jewelry carries a guarantee!

Colors Silver Store

Outside Colors Silver Store

Inside Colors Silver Store, Key West

Inside Colors Silver Store

Colors Silver Store

Colors Silver Store

Key West also has a Tervis Store.  If you are not familiar with Tervis cups they make tumblers, water bottles, sippy cups and wine glasses.  They are double walled insulated to keep a drink cold or hot.  The company has over 1000 licenses to produce branded products for everyone from Disney to the NFL.  The cups all come with a lifetime warranty.   I wanted a new Kansas City Chiefs Football Cup for work.  Nikki wanted a new purple top for her water bottle with the “N” on it!  She was successful and I was not.

New Top for Nikki's Water Bottle

New Top for Nikki’s Water Bottle

Key West Lighthouse

Key West Lighthouse

Next stop was the Key West Lighthouse a landmark of the island.  People come from all over the world to see this lighthouse.  The Key West Lighthouse was first built in 1825.  However, that original structure was destroyed by a hurricane in 1846.  The tower was replaced 2 years later.  The lighthouse was damaged again in a hurricane.  Today, the charming white structure stands 73 feet tall.  Guest can go to the top of the lighthouse and walk around outside taking advantage of a remarkable view of Key West. The Lighthouse can be toured every day except Christmas day.

The Ladies were not finished shopping so we headed back down Duval Street.  We stopped at Silver stores.  Hit a couple of souvenir shops and some of the unique boutiques. However, by now it was 3 PM and we were starting to get a hungry.  We drove by a restaurant we dined at on our last trip to Key West.  Unfortunately, their happy hour did not start until 4:30 PM and we needed to be back at the boat at 5 PM so that was not an option and we went on hunting.  We looked up several seafood restaurants and discussed their menus until finally settling on “Red Fish Blue Fish”  

Red Fish Blue Fish Restaurant

Red Fish Blue Fish Restaurant

Red Fish Blue Fish is in Key West’s Mallory Square.  It is a good-sized restaurant that offers a variety of local fresh fish and salads.  The restaurant is moderately priced.  It has a family-friendly atmosphere and the service is outstanding!  We sat inside in the A/C and enjoyed our meal.  I even ordered the jambalaya to take back and eat on the trip back.  Nikki enjoyed the Crab Cakes and Amy the Yellow-Tail Snapper sandwich. My main meal was the Shrimp Po Boy.  As much as we wanted to try the Key Lime Pie at Red Fish Blue Fish we did not.  The reason is the secret I am about to share with you.

Key West Secret

If and when you come to Key West, there is 1 thing you absolutely must do.  Yes, it is important to take a picture at the Most Southern Point.  Of course, you should see the Key West Lighthouse.  Why I would tell you to make sure you have time to see President Harry S. Truman’s, “Little White House.”  This is the place made to look like the actual White House and where Presidents Taft, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton all utilized during their Presidencies.

If you have time you should see Ernest Hemingway’s house although if you travel you can see places he stayed all over the world.  None of those is the secret.  The 1 thing you must do in Key West is to try the Key Lime Pie, dipped in chocolate, on a stick!   This is one of the best-kept secrets in the world.  It has the best of all worlds.  It is pie, chocolate and ice cream all in one!  You can find it in multiple places on the island all you need to do is ask.  You will not regret this.  It will change your perspective on life!

Key Lime Pie, dipped in chocolate, on a stick

Key Lime Pie, dipped in chocolate, on a stick

Heading Home

After accomplishing our mission.  All 3 of us sitting in the Electric Car eating the Key Lime Pie, dipped in chocolate, on a stick.  Without speaking a word.  We were all satisfied.  We headed back to the Pier to catch our ride home savoring the taste and the thought.  We arrived just before 5 PM.  Got our seats on the ship and we all went to sleep.  It was a peaceful ride back to Fort Myers.  We had a wonderful time in Key West.  The Key West Express is a great way to get to and from the Island.

Arrived back at Fort Myers, FL

Arrived back at Fort Myers, FL

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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