Vacationing In The Keys – Southernmost Castaways Coconut Castaways January Jump Up
^Listen to “Raise My Glass To The Upper 48” while you enjoy the blog!^
If someone from, let’s say Chicago, wants to get away for a few days, where would they go? Depending on the time of year and what they’re looking for could result in a holiday in Vail, Colorado, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, New England, Florida, The Conch Republic, Washington D.C. New York City, Austin Texas.. the possibilities are endless, especially if the individual elects to spend that time within the United States.
So, here I am, living in the capital of the Conch Republic and I have an opportunity to take a few days off, what do I do? Well, pretty much the same as the aforementioned individual from Chicago, in that I’m staying within the boundaries of my own country… albeit the Conch Republic, that is :-D
For those not familiar with the Conch Republic, per say: The Conch Republic stretches from the Dry Tortugas, 70 (113Km) miles west of Key West, through the Marquesas islands, and on through Key West and up all of the Keys, extending 18 miles (29Km) up the mainland to the Last Chance Saloon, the first structure in Florida City. The State of Florida considers us part of Florida and the United States of America considers us part of the USA. Let it be stated, that as citizens of the Conch Republic, we are first and foremost very proud Americans! We also allow the State of Florida go on believing we are part of that state because they do things for our benefit, like maintain our bridges and roads. As long as people have lived in the Keys, when they had to travel to the mainland they would say “I have to go up to Florida”.
The fact is, the mentality here is entirely different than anywhere else in the world. I recall when I used to live in Cutler Bay, I’d `drive down to Key Largo, which was only about 35 miles (56Km) away, the great weight of the mainland’s stress suddenly lifted off of my shoulders. That eighteen mile stretch from the Last Chance Saloon to Key Largo was such a cool ride too! First, the drive through the Everglades which would gradually transform bit by bit, into the Keys.
I naturally spent quite a bit of time in the upper Keys back then, Key Largo, Tavernier, and Islamorada so I know it somewhat well. Therefore, with the option of leaving the big city of Key West and all the hussle and bustle that goes on here, where do I want to go for a few days off? I wanted to go someplace that actually is Laid Back. I packed up the dogs and headed to a marvelous place in Key Largo, Sunset Cove Beach Resort, which sits bayside on the southbound lane of US1 (the only road that runs through the Keys). They have a beautiful beach, with four tikis. The grounds also had a large tiki hut with a bar that would be ideal for larger groups. This place was what I call “Old Keys”, while it had all modern conveniences; the place itself was most likely built in the 40’s or 50’s. Robin, the manager, whom I’m guessing hails from South Africa, judging by his accent, was just a pleasure to work with as well.
Everyone’s different, but damn, if I want to stay in a modern motel, I can go up to the mainland and get a sterile room at a Holliday Inn. Hell, if I’m in the Keys, I want history and character! Besides, the room was spotless, had a refrigerator, micro wave, and a large flat screen TV/DVD player. Myself, I only used the ‘fridge. Other rooms were available with full kitchens, btw.
I met a charming couple on the beach my first morning, Ellie and Richard. Their home was severely damaged up in Mass. in Hurricane Sandy and had been at Sunset Cove for six weeks. They are there for about another month while repairs were being done. Now these folks had the right idea! They were up early, had breakfast at a place almost right next door, Mrs. Mac’s, then headed to the beach, where they would spend the entire day just absorbing the beautiful tranquility and scenery of sail boats anchored just off shore, glistening in the sun reflecting off the water, while meeting new people every day. I didn’t ask, however this seemed to be their daily routine. They were always quick to offer a beer or a cocktail as well.
Richard made a statement that stuck with me. “Life is made from good memories. You may change places, but the memories where you’ve been and the people you’ve met will always be with you. We love it here”
As in all things Keys, the sunsets are outstanding. Key Largo sits on Blackwater Sound to its west. This is the exact same body of water that Humphrey Bogart motored out of, in the Bogart/Bacall movie “Key Largo”, held at bay by Edward G. Robinson’s character, the gangster Rocco, albeit just up the coast a few miles or so (that movie was filmed at the Caribbean Club, MM104). Sunset is always something to relish in the Keys, no matter where you are!
As sunset was approaching, a beautiful young woman headed out on the water on a paddle board. After she was out maybe seventy five yards, she started doing yoga on the paddle board! I know I surely would have gone overboard, however watching her I realized that at least for myself, I’ve never seen anyone do yoga on a paddle board. She was obviously very well versed with it! Additionally, sufface to say from the picture, it’s working!
In short, Sunset Cove is HIGHLY recommended!
Heading home on Tuesday I had a part in the Southernmost Coconut Castaways January Jump Up, which this month was being held at Mangrove Mama’s, MM20 on Overseas Hwy. What a great time that was! Mangrove Mama’s was originally a Railroad Station back when the Overseas Highway existed, between 1912 and 1936, before a severe hurricane wiped out the upper section of the railway in Islamorada, at the cost of over 600 lives of railway workers. Mangrove Mama’s is a great place and the event had Captain Ron, Captain Josh, Myself, and Howard Livingstone playing. The Southernmost Castaways are a splendid group of people as well, do gooders who know how to have a good time as well! Thanks Everyone!
(Regretfully, my camera somehow lost the pictures I took at the event. :-( )
All the best from Key West!
Key West Chris CD “Shanghai’d and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse” is available for download on iTunes, Beachfront Radio, CD Baby, CD Universe, and Rhapsody. Physical copies are available at Greenworld Gallery Key West, The Cork And Stogie (Key West), The Key West Bait Shop, CD Baby and CD Universe Search “Key West Chris”
“Chris, I really loved your music !” Shelly Liebowitz (Producer of Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. John, Maria Muldaur, Ray Brown..ex)