On our 6 week road trip of the Southern States, we paid another visit to the Everglades, and this time to the Everglades National Park. On route, we saw a local guy standing on a barrier shouting about the biggest Saltwater Croc he had ever seen. Is it a Salty?
I'm returning to the all-inclusive Hedonism II resort for the 9th time June 22-29, 2013 for my 7th Annual Group Trip Rendezvous at the Caribbean's wildest beachfront resort. Who else will be there and/or is joining me here on VT?
Virtually every travel destination boasts a signature dish that shouldn't be missed by the curious traveler. For example, there's New Orleans' jambalaya, Chicago's deep-dish pizza and Philadelphia' cheese steak sandwich. In the Florida Keys & Key West, that dish is Key lime pie.
Divers interested in aiding in reef restoration and participating in coral restoration and propagation can join marine scientists with Key Largo's nonprofit Coral Restoration Foundation in an ongoing mission to preserve the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.
The Dolphin Research Center (DRC) is a not-for-profit education and research facility, home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. Over half of the family was born at the Center, while the other members either have come from other facilities, or were collected long ago.
Had it not been for a tardy delivery of a car, Ernest Hemingway's 10-year love affair with Key West might never have happened. Key West was to have been just a stopping-off point for Hemingway when he arrived on the ferry from Havana in 1928. But the Ford automobile that should have been waiting at the docks was delayed, so the embarrassed car merchant offered the author accommodations at the Trevor and Morris Apartments located above the dealership. During his stay there, Hemingway worked on "A Farewell to Arms" and became captivated by the island's easygoing ambiance. What he discovered fed his exuberance for living, heralded the beginning of the most prolific period of his career. In a short time, Hemingway moved into a Spanish colonial villa at 907 Whitehead St., which was his home through December 1939. Now a registered National Historic Landmark, the home is open to the public as a museum honoring the island's most famous literary resident.
Islamorada in the Florida Keys is known as as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World" and you can find marinas on every other corner stocked with some of the most professional Offshore and Back Country Fishing Guides. The fish breaks water and takes flight jumping into the sky, bouncing sunlight off its fin as only a sailfish can. He nearly rips you from the chair as he breaks and runs at speeds only approached by your racing heart. Though it seems like hours, it's only been minutes since you hooked the hurricane at the end of your line. But, at this moment, you're the one who's hooked because the world's only concern is that trophy dancing on the top of the sea. But it’s not all about big fish and big ocean…head into the mangroves by Kayak and you will have an experience you will never forget.
With its balmy weather and crystal blue skies, Key West is famous among the outdoors set for its diving, fishing, watersports and golfing at the nearby Key West Golf Club, a course designed by Rees Jones. But only in Key West would the sun shine the brightest when it sets. Once the sun is safely tucked away by jugglers, mimes, musicians and street artists, the city moves to a different beat. A night beat. The streets, filled with sidewalk cafes, open-air bars, legendary pubs and world-class restaurants come alive. Gourmets and gourmands alike treat their palates to island specialties. Drama, musicals and comedy flourish on our stages. As you enjoy these sights, you'll discover that modern Key West is a warm-hearted place where all are welcome.
Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest celebration is internationally recognized for its uninhibited flair and lighthearted spirit. The event, which usually starts around Halloween, was born more than 30 years ago and tends to feature days of masquerade balls, costume contests and parties climaxing in a glittering grand parade. Key West's renowned Duval Street often becomes a stage as venders of costumes, arts and crafts, food and libations star in the mile-long Fantasy Fest Street Fair. In addition, the Masquerade March draws schools of "fishy" frolickers in masks and costumes for an exuberant walking parade.
The iconic original vessel from John Huston's classic 1951 film "The African Queen," starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, is plying Key Largo's nearshore waters and canals again. Registered as a national historic site, a major restoration has cost around $70,000. Work has included repairing cosmetic as well as mechanical details, making the boat once again fit to carry passengers. Plans for the African Queen include offering daily 1.5-hour canal cruises for $39 per person ($25 for kids) and six-passenger dinner cruises on selected nights from the Holiday Inn Key Largo, mile marker 100, oceanside, on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. Cost for the dinner cruise is to be $89 per person, including a cruise to the restaurant, dinner at a special "African Queen" table and a cruise back to the African Queen dock.
The Overseas Highway, sometimes called "the Highway that Goes to Sea," is a modern wonder. It is the "magic carpet" by which visitors from Florida's mainland can cross countless coral and limestone islets through that special world of the Florida Keys. The highway — the southernmost leg of U.S. 1 — follows a trail originally blazed in 1912 when Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railroad from Miami to Key West. The highway was begun in the late 1930s & The Florida Keys — which now host more than three million visitors annually — became an easily accessible tourist destination by car and bus.
I did a little 360 degree video at the point of the park on the beach. It shows the beach, jetty, trees, picnic area, and the distant cruise ship. Much of my narration is lost in the sound of the breeze.