Heading Home...

England, a cruise, and Florida... one month of exciting adventures and unforgettable memories. This sign sums it up perfectly.

"Leaving Key Largo.
Back to Reality."

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Sunshine and South Beach...

The Miami Beach Architectural District (also known as Old Miami Beach Historic District, and the more popular term, Miami Art Deco District) is a U.S. historic district located in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach and our destination for our last day in Florida.

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Everglades National Park...

On the record coldest November 19th in Florida's history (61°), we headed out to the largest tract of wilderness east of the Rocky Mountains- Everglades National Park.

Simply put, it protects more subtropical land and water than anywhere else in the United States, but such a basic description doesn't offer justice to the poignant significance it offers our nation and we spent the day, exploring it all.

Our only alligator sighting.

There are no other Everglades in the world.
They are, they always have been,
one of the unique regions of the earth;
remote, never wholly known.
Nothing anywhere else is like them.
—Marjory Stoneman Douglas

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Movies and More...

Key Largo is home to some amazing things to do.

Located near our home base was the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. Once slated to become a condominium development, this park contains one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the United States. The park is home to 84 protected species of plants and animals, including wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe and the American crocodile.

Today seemed to be 'old movie day' with a stop to see the iconic vessel the African Queen. Made famous in the 1951 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, she still remains a timeless classic.The African Queen was built in Lytham, England in 1912 for service in Africa for the East Africa British Railways company. She was used to shuttle cargo, missionaries and hunting parties and now for tours.
Lunch was a picnic at the Caribbean Club, developed and built by auto parts and real estate promoter Carl Graham Fisher in 1938.

Shortly before his death, in what turned out to be his last project, Fisher developed the Caribbean Club on Key Largo as a fishing club for men of modest means, "a poor man's retreat." Eight years after his death, the Caribbean Club became famous as an "on location" filming site for the 1947 film Key Largo starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Dinner was the best Key Lime Pie EVER.

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The Island of Key West...

No trip to the Keys can be complete without a trip south. There is a totally different vibe in Key West that just has to be experienced.

What a wonderful opportunity to be visited by two Manatees. The sea cow sighting was a bonus for our trip to Florida. 
For us, the history of a place is an important thing to learn about. The forming of Key West wouldn't be the same without its Cigar history.
And one should not overlook the influence of the Cuban population. They had continually grown since William Wall, an Englishman, started a Key West cigar factory in 1831. The Cuban Independence War of 1868 (Ten Years War) assured Key West of becoming a cigar capital.
When Eduardo Hidalgo Gato opened his new factory in Key West, he did everything he could to insure that he had the best cigar artisans working under his roof. To better the lives of his workers, he built a city of 40-cigar maker's cottages around his factory, started the first street car system, created a hospital and supported a baseball league.

A must for me, this third visit to Key West, was Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Nestled in the heart of Old Town, this unique property was home to one of America's most honored and respected authors.
The six- or seven-toed polydactyl cats descended from Hemingway's original pet 'Snowball' still live on the grounds (52 of them) and are cared for at the Hemingway House.
Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote here for more than ten years creating 70% of his works in this studio. Calling Key West home, he found solace and great physical challenge in the turquoise waters that surround this tiny island. Our tour was exceptionally informative, giving us a glimpse into this talented, interesting character.
One of the biggest attractions on the island is a concrete replica of a buoy at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets that claims to be the southernmost point in the contiguous 48 states and it a 'must' photo op.
Since 1890, history has left its mark on the Truman Little White House. Initially, it served as the naval station’s command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. In 1946 the historic building first served as the winter White House of President Harry S. Truman and a site for the Cold War response by later presidents. Today, the Truman Little White House is a public, living, Key West museum as well as a retreat and place of government business by our nation's leaders.

Mallory Square is the location of the "Sunset Celebration", which is considered one of the main tourist attractions of the city. It involves hundreds of tourists who arrive each night to view the sunset- us included. The celebration includes arts and crafts exhibitors, street performers and food carts. It begins two hours before sunset, every day of the year.

An evening stroll on Duval Street made us promise to return for a longer stay in this unique Florida town.

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♪♫ Sailing Takes Us Away ♫♪

Embracing the spectacular day, we boarded our sailboat and went out in Buttonwood Bay.

After a wonderful morning, we went meandering through the local Keys.
The Florida Keys Memorial commemorates the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which was the strongest and most intense hurricane to make landfall in the United States and the Atlantic Basin in recorded history. This obelisk houses the remains of many of those who perished and memorializes the World War I veterans and civilians who perished in the devastating hurricane. Sad.
This is a man's dream, an off shoot of Bass Pro Shops. We delighted in the history within the store. Hemingway's 'Pilar' boat and an exceptional museum of Zane Grey in a lounge, named after him. The Lounge, itself, is a tribute to the Long Key Fishing Club, which the legendary Zane Grey founded in 1917 in the Florida Keys.  

Evening, back at the Key Lime Sailing Club. Yes- a great day.

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Key Largo as our Home Base...

We have booked into the Key Lime Sailing Club for a week of being in the Florida Keys.

The Manatee Cottage was part of the original 1950's fishing village and was a great home base to explore Southern Florida.

The view from our palapa offers a great vantage point to watch the sunset or begin your sailing adventure. Key Lime Sailing Club gives you access to all the sailing you could ever want from our own private dock. If you're an experienced sailor there's a boat at your disposal, with the bay just steps from your room. It's the kind of vacation you'll remember for years to come!

“The serenity of the lulling ocean is a wondrous thing to behold,
more precious than the gems coveted
and covered in platinum or gold...”
― Oksana Rus

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