Catch-up and Heading East travel blog

We made it back!

Our first greeting party...the base preschool walked by daily

Which reminded us of Kaia

First night's sunset

We took a day trip to Islamorada (Mile Marker 82) this is...

The old and new 7 mile bridge

Robbie's Tarpon Springs

Why do we need a shirt and shoes to eat?

They let us in...lunch at Tarpon Springs

Bandit know how to relax!

Pirate dog

Casa Marina, the hotel Henry Morrison Flagler built to accommodate guests who...

Enjoying the beautiful scenery at the hotel

Flagler logo-the key to sunshine

The view from the Schooner Wharf Bar and Grill

Our favorite singer, Michael McCloud

Another great band at Schooner's, the Doerful's

Confederate grave at the Key West Cemetary

Civil War grave

Memorial to the USS Maine, lost in Havana Harbor in the late...

Higgs Beach, one of two on the island with sandy beaches

Smather's Beach

We were blessed with beautiful weather while there

That's Dennis way out there swimming off of Smather's Beach

Evening kayak paddle

Dennis off the base beach

Water level view off the base beach

Dennis snorkeling near our campsite on base

Gato Pocket Park-small park dedicated to the Cuban cigar industry in Key...

Hemingway sculpture in the Key West Memorial Sculpture Garden

The famous Mile Marker 0 in Key West where Highway 1 ends

One of the quirky sculptures at the Custom's House-notice that the "painter"...

East Martello Fort, home to Robert the Doll (haunted doll who I...

View from the citadel at East Martello of the Gulf of Mexico

There were iguanas everywhere on the island

Interior of St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Key West lighthouse

Stairs of the lighthouse

Ernest Hemingway House pool-we went there the last time so decided to...

View of downtown from lighthouse

Little White House

After the tour in the backyard

An example of some of the beautiful ironwork on the island

Some of the craziness on Duval Street

While there we wrote an article for the 40th anniversary of ESGR...

Fried egg sandwiches in homage to Dennis' dad and their family trips...

Bandit and Tiki living the island life

Day shot of the RV on Sigsbee/NAS Key West

Swimming shot of the RV

Evening shot of the RV

Our last sunset in the Keys

Until our next visit to the Conch Republic

Our two weeks at Naval Air Station Key West and the Florida Keys was nothing short of fabulous! We used the campground at Sigsbee (the Naval Air Station is a series of small bases) as our home while we visited various areas along the 125 miles of keys. The Florida Key begin around Key Largo and the road ends in Key West although the Keys go out another 70 miles and end at the Dry Tortugas. When traveling all directions are given by mile marker and the business addresses along Highway 1 start with the mile marker where they are located.

While here we revisited some areas we had been to 4 years ago and tried some new things. No trip, for us, would be complete without enjoying the beautiful waters of the Keys. We went to Smathers and Higgs beaches (about the only ones in Key West with sandy beaches); we swam, snorkeled and kayaked the turquoise waters around our campground and a variety of beaches. We ate at Schooner Wharf Bar and Grill three times and listened to local musicians to include our favorite, Michael McCloud. Most of the places here in the Keys allow dogs to join you but they are especially pet friendly at Schooners, they even brought Tiki and Bandit their own bowls of water and real bacon!

We really enjoyed touring the Truman Little White House; it is still considered a Presidential retreat and is under the auspices of the Secret Service. It has, over the years, served as a functioning White House and retreat for 6 Presidents, heads of state and recently for a summit between Hillary Clinton and various European officials. Almost all the furniture and décor is original to Harry and Bess Truman’s era and is in fabulous condition.

We biked and walked all over Key West visiting the Lighthouse that is no longer in use but a wonderful example of the Florida Lighthouse System/Lightkeepers homes. The Customs House, which is home to an interesting & comprehensive history of the Keys to include the Overseas Railroad, Cuban cigars, Wreckers (pulling items off of wrecked ships) and they history of hurricanes. We loved East Martello, which was designed after the nearly impregnable coastal Martello watchtowers in Italy. We climbed to the top of the citadel of this Civil War era fort, which afforded us spectacular views of Key West proper and the Atlantic and Gulf Coast oceans. The Memorial Sculpture Garden off of Mallory Square was a collection of all the important figures in Key West history. We spent a couple hours at Fort Zachary Taylor; Key West was unusual because although it was under Union control during the Civil War most residents refused to give up their allegiance to the Confederacy. The citizens would often taunt the Union soldiers housed at Fort Zachary by flying Confederate flags from their “widow walks”.

We spent one day driving from Key West up to Islamorada (Mile Marker 82, Key West is Mile Marker 0). We stopped along the way and had lunch at Robbie’s Tarpon Springs where you can feed the very large tarpon who gather in the harbor waiting for a free meal. We had a marvelous lunch there, meandered around the shops and then drove a few miles to visit a shop that specializes in lobster trap art.

We have met new friends during our time here that will be lifelong friends; we took advantage of the base privileges (shopping and groceries), ate a lot of local seafood and just RELAXED!

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