Your Place in the Sun
Paradise is closer than you think. You'll forget all about winter in Key West.
President Harry S. Truman once said, "I have a notion to move the capital to Key West and just stay." After visiting the nation's southernmost town, who wouldn't want to pack it up and make this magical place home? Especially this time of year when the temperate 75-degree days are followed by 65-degree evenings.
U.S. 1 runs 150 miles south from Miami, ending at this enchanted island--a scant 2 miles long and 4 miles wide--surrounded by sparkling blue waters. Pastel-colored Victorian homes, which look more like overgrown dollhouses than residences, line streets barely wide enough for a single car. Violet orchids grow from the sturdy trunks of towering palm trees, while green ivy climbs on rickety picket fences. On one corner, free-range chickens and their chirpy tagalongs harmonize with a street musician playing Jimmy Buffett's peppy "Margaritaville" on a worn-out guitar.
In Key West, there's no such word as "weird." This seductive beach oasis has a mind of its own and accepts all wayfarers, no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from. Meander down raucous Duval Street wearing a magenta tutu, balancing a green parrot on your crown, and nary a soul will flinch.
My husband and I made a date to escape to this fanciful place. Here's a 12-hour diary of our adventures in Key West. See you there!
Many locals opt to ride bicycles instead of drive cars.
Conch Republic passports get you everywhere you want to be.
The Marquesa Hotel nestled amid lush gardens on Fleming Street offers a luxurious place to stay.
Fast Buck Freddie's is Key West's signature department store.