Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Visit to the Conch Republic


Cousins stand on the last rock, just before you fall off the United States. Cuba is 90 miles to their right.

The Florida Keys stretch like a string of pearls off the tip of Florida. Once you leave the mainland, it is a 150-mile drive on the Overseas Highway, US 1, to Key West, Mile Marker 0, and the Southernmost point of the continental United States. When you stand on that Southernmost point, you are closer to Havana than to Miami.

Tropical architecture in Key West

The term Key is from the Spanish word cayo, or islet. Key Largo, Upper Matecumbe, Islamorada, Lower Matacumbe, Long Key, Conch Key, Duck Key, Grassy Key, Fat Deer Key, Key Colony, Marathon, Vaca Key, Boot Key, Bahia Honda Key, Big Pine Key, Little Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Ramrod Key, Summerland Key, Cudjoe Key, Sugarloaf Key, Saddlebunch Key, Big Coppitt Keys, East Rockland Key, Boca Chica Keys, Stock Island, Key West - these are most of the isalnds traversed by US 1 travellers. There are other islands, some not connected by any bridge, with picturesque names, like Half Moon keys, Dredgers Key, Knockemdown Key, and Shark Key.


There are conch shells, homes to the little conch animals, and then there are Conchs, or Key natives. Those Conchs made the news a few years back when they seceded from the union, declaring the Keys to be the Conch Republic.


Southernmost Point Marker - where you make friends with
the German tourists behind you and hand over your camera


We were blessed to have a week at a friend's beautiful house in the lower Keys last week. What a great week it was. One SIL and niece drove 14 hours to join us. Though the sun is intense, it is often cooler in Summer there than in central Florida because of the ocean breezes. We were awakened by the sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico daily, and were in the pool by 7:30. It was one of the most relaxing vacations (not just relaxing - downright lazy!) I have ever had.




Sunrise from the porch

4 comments:

Life At Camellia Cottage said...

Oh, K, it sounds heavenly! We've always wanted to go to the keys, but find the drive daunting! We've even looked at campgrounds in the area, but the drive pulling a camper is even MORE daunting! So glad you had a nice vacation! B.

crispy said...

It looks like a great time. I love the pictures. And to think we never made it down there. =(

K-Sue said...

It's a lo-oong drive from here, Crispy, but worth it.

ScienceGeek said...

What a beautiful view. It's so nice to have a place to stay like that. I've been to the Keys once, when I was pregnant with JD. It rained a lot and I had morning sickness. With the torrential rain, I don't feel like I got a good taste for the Keys. We'd like to go with the boys with the boat and go lobstering. However, it's a LONG drive.

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