I’ll admit, I was reluctant to come to Key West. In my quest to travel to as many new places as possible, I’ll usually dismiss destinations in the U.S. as not being exotic or interesting enough. Well, right now I am loving Key West and it serves as an excellent reminder that that sort of thinking is not only unfair, it’s ignorant. Even in this day and age of ubiquitous chains, there are still plenty of don’t-miss places that retain a unique sense of charm. And Key West is definitely one of those places — even if there’s a Banana Republic in this Conch Republic.
Key West is hard to describe but I’ll try my best. It’s got a real historical feel a la Newport, RI, and Kennebunkport, ME. It’s also got a rowdy/party feel a la New Orleans, Cancun and Newport, RI (in the summer). Then it’s also got a laid-back island feel along the lines of Maui, Bermuda and even St. John. And yes, there’s the cruise ship contingency, just like in St. Thomas, Santorini and, well, pretty much all of the places that I mentioned above. While it doesn’t quite have the beaches of Bermuda or the historical mansions of Newport, I think it’s safe to say that if you like those places you’ll like Key West too.
The wild roosters here sure think there’s something to crow about, as did Ernest Hemingway. I’ve been to his bar, Sloppy Joe’s, where I enjoyed live music. But I haven’t been to his house yet. I’ll be sure to let you know how it is.