A side trip to Key West Part 3 ....final part - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Other Florida
The Custom House
The Shipwreck museum
Key West Resident
Our third and final full day and once again we awoke to a glorious morning, although today the breeze was a little stronger, not that we weren’t thankful for it as it was very warm.
We had toyed with a boat trip today but discounted it as there were still things we wanted to do “on dry land” so to speak. Probably just as well as it looked a bit choppy out on the ocean and I am not the world’s best sailor!
We had not managed to fit in a trip to The Little White House yesterday and that was one of the things we definitely wanted to do today. So, immediately following breakfast we made our way across town to the building bearing this name.
Originally serving as command headquarters for the Key West Naval station in the Spanish American war and in both World Wars, the building became the winter retreat of President Harry S Truman when he first visited Key West in 1946.
Ten subsequent trips by President Truman and his family ensured that this building became “Trumans’ Little White House”……. not just because the building is small and white but because it served as a substitute for its larger more magnificent counterpart in Washington DC!
The cost of entry is $12 and the only way to visit the house is on a guided tour. . We were shown around the house by a veteran who must have been well in to his 70’s but his passion for the building and its history was amazing and it was worth every cent of its admission fee. For me personally, it was far more enjoyable than the Hemingway tour, made so because of tour guides’ wonderful narrative.
After the tour was over we wandered down on to the modern part of the harbour where the big cruise ships docked. No tacky souvenir shops here, only expensive designer shops to entice the cruising tourists as they came ashore!
We continued on past The Custom House Museum, stopping to take photographs of the gaudily painted, giant sized figures outside. Key West is full of museums; the Maritime Museum and The Shipwreck Treasures Museum are two more that I have not yet mentioned!
We stopped off at the covered market to buy more souvenirs, this time it was Key Lime Cookies and chocolates for stocking fillers, it was strange thinking that Christmas was only a few weeks away, surely not, it was 80+ degrees here, a lovely summer’s day!
We stopped off at the oldest beach bar in Key West; this had been pointed out to us on the trolley tour yesterday. There was a live band playing blue grass music and we took our drinks upstairs on to the open air deck whilst we studied the menu for a lunch time snack. The view was lovely, the sun was warm and the breeze delightful, I could have stayed there all afternoon, the only problem being we would have probably eaten and drunk far too much!
We had been toying with a trip to the beach but were far too lazy to make the journey out there; we had quickly adopted Key West laid back lifestyle so we decided to return to the swimming pool at our accommodation. Unfortunately there was not a lot of sun on the pool but we soon discovered a little roof terrace which was ideal for our needs, and we all settled down with our books for an afternoon snooze.
I was keen to return to see the sunset, this being our last evening, so we went down to Mallory Square a little earlier and this time we managed to bag ourselves prime seating on the quayside. Once again the sunset was spectacular and I was quite sad to think that I may not experience this again.
Dinner tonight was at La Trattoria on Duval St. Once again we hadn’t booked a table but we took a pager to the bar across the street and had a drink whilst we were waiting. We only waited about 30 mins and it was well worth it, as for me this was the best meal of our stay. Authentic Italian food, nice quantities and friendly attentive service it was a wonderful finale to our short stay in Key West.
We are so pleased we made the trip, it is a long way but worth the journey, having said that if I go again I might explore the option of flying there, or flying into Miami and doing it at the beginning or the end of an Orlando vacation.
Key West is unlike anything you will experience in other parts of the US. It is known as The Conch Republic and is just like a little republic all on its own. The lifestyle is very much laid back and on a par with that of the Caribbean but with all the conveniences of modern USA.
I don’t think it is a particularly good place for children as it is very adult in its themes although there are things to amuse youngsters, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the Butterfly House and The Shipwreck Treasures Museum to name but a few, however, Orlando is head and shoulders above Key West when it comes to amusing children so maybe save the trip until they are older.
For anyone like us who has seen lots that Florida has to offer already, this is definitely something different.
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Page added on: 7 April 2008
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