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Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter Relief - Part 1

There was a time where I lived in an inhospitable climate. I had originally moved to Florida when I was 20. I lived here for several years, then I moved to Boston. Boston was great... for six months of the year... I lived there for a bunch of years, always longing to be back in a climate where I could BBQ year round and wear a t-shirt all the time. Finally, I moved back to Miami/Dade. I had that opportunity/capability and I made it happen. Not everyone does. Family, career, obligations all can get in the way. I was very, very fortunate.

Since I had the ability to be on the internet I would post pictures of the general area I lived in. I had friends on first, MySpace, then Facebook, all around the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Europe.

Back when I was in Boston, in the middle of January, If I'd see a picture of a tropical scene, it gave me that breath of fresh air I needed to go out and dig my car out of the snow. It showed me there was light at the end of the “Long Gray Tunnel” of winter. MySpace and later, Facebook, gave me that opportunity to give that breath of fresh air to my friends.

Doing it also garnered responses which brought comments such as “Oh! You're just throwing it in our faces!” or “Oh, thanks! Nice guy!”

That was Never anything close to my intent. Anyone who knows me would know that I'm the last person to be posting tropical pictures in a flippant manner, snubbing my nose at anyone.

That's not me at all. Never has been, nor ever will be. This is not for someone who is looking for the negative. This is for someone looking for the positive.

So, if you can look at these pictures and get that breath of fresh air, actually smell the air, with the fragrance of jasmine permeating the night, or getting the tropical salt air in your olfactory seances, this is for you!

With the understanding that this is only here to give you that sense of taking the weight of winter off your shoulders, a fresh breath, and the inspiration to continue on, as this is giving you that sight of the light at the end of the tunnel, please continue... and ENJOY!!!! 

Pepe's on Caroline Street in Key West is a true classic. It's the oldest eating establishment in Key West, dating back to 1909. Pepe's, in a bygone era, used to be in the location of where today "Rick's" is located. It's currently located at 806 Caroline St. They are known for their outstanding breakfasts, however, their dinners are beyond reproach. Don't miss their happy hour either!

There's nothing in the world that can compare to subtlety. Reading between the lines is not only a creative insight but also a perception of the imagination. The subtlety found walking the streets of Old Town, Key West is beyond rewarding. The nooks and crannies permeate the island's oldest section. 

  Donkey Milk Lane. The lanes of Key West are generally alleyways that extend wide enough for one car. They also are access to homes hidden away from the regular streets. For the most part, they are dead ends. What exists down these mysterious allies? What homes are down there? Mysteries waiting to be unfurled. Take a walk down one and discover!

This beautiful home captures so much of what Key West is all about. Additionally, it's not the home itself, but what is outside of it, bicycles! We see five bicycles out front and a man riding his across the street. Key West could very well be the highest bike transportation per capita percentage in the U.S. Riding a bike in Key West only makes sense on so many levels. The town is largely flat, to start with, so it's easy. Use common sense when riding, however! If in a group of two or more, ride single file! Driving a car in Key West is insane for the most part. Walk or ride a bike.

There are over 130 eyebrow houses in Key West. The roof was extended to shade the air to the upper windows, so that cooler air would circulate the homes.

The palms almost cascading in front of a home in Old Town is nothing short of breathtaking and inspiring!

To walk through a tropical abundance of plants, to a door of a home once owned and built by a New England sea captain, can only be stimulating to the imagination of, not only what you'll see upon entering, but also what you would have seen in the 1800's. Many homes in Old Town were built as winter homes by New England sea captains.

Yes, this can only be Key West

Ping Pong at the fabulous Blue Heaven Restaurant 

My backyard, Key West

The true measure of a great bar in Key West is one that attracts both locals and visitors, for both to engage in wonderful conversation over a libation. The Cork and Stogie at 1218 Duval St, is a perfect example of this.

To be continued on the next blog.

Thank you for reading my blog! Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

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  1. You are always such a great ambassador of Key West. Your pictures are so inviting. I can feel your love and passion in your words. Good on you dear friend. My local is grey, wet and very cold. Nothing to chirp about. Oh well, life offers varieties. Sameness everywhere would be a drag.Enjoyed your blog dear friend.