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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life's Journey - Key West, Florida

Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit Key West, Florida.  I have always been intrigued by the Florida Keys and let’s face it – the hint of the tropical breezes, the blue waters and the laid back lifestyle is very appealing.  Key West is the southernmost part of the U.S.  Matter of fact it is closer to Cuba than to Miami.

The 156 mile trip from Miami is primarily over water and the scenery on the drive is breathtaking…

The first thing that I noticed about Key West is the attitude…it is like entering into a different country….matter of fact – they call themselves the Republic of Conch.

I was just like a kid in a candy shoppe…so many things to see…the various restaurants, bars and specialty stores.

I quickly realized that the place to be was on Duval Street – this is a happening street and it has the traffic to prove it!  People from afar travel to Key West to experience the beauty of this key.

During my travel to Key West I found myself on a mission (or two).  I wanted to find authentic Caribbean Jerk Sauce as well as the best Key Lime pie on the face of the earth.  Key West did not disappoint.

Off of the main street I found a cute little specialty store called Peppers of Key West.  If you are into sauce – this is the place to be!  Every type of sauce you could ever want is to be found here.  I not only found my Caribbean Jerk sauce but many other types of sauces as well.  The folks at Peppers are some of the friendliest and most well informed folks I have met.  Want to try a sauce?  No problem – they will open up a bottle for you and tell you everything about the sauce!

Peppers of Key West

Next to my next stop…KEY LIME PIE!!!  Be still my heart.  I am here to tell you that I found without a doubt the BEST Key Lime Pie I have ever tasted upon my lips…Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe.  Not only do they sell the authentic key lime juice but they also sell pies AND slices of their pie.  I ordered my pie and walked outside to their small garden equipped with a koi pond.  It was not only a tasty treat but it was also a serene place to enjoy the tasty treat!

I have ordered their Key Lime juice on several occasions and had it shipped to my home.  This juice freezes well and will last a long time in your freezer.  I would also recommend using their own recipe for the Key Lime pie that they serve in their bakery  *YUMMY*  Just trust me on the juice, bake the pie and enjoy it!

There are so many restaurants in Key West but I have to admit after eating the pie I was stuffed.  Along the way I found someplace that I just could not resist!  Hog’s Breath Saloon.  Now how could anyone pass up a place with a name like this?  I just had to go in and boy am I glad that I did.  I ordered some delicious bar/saloon food and had a wonderful Key West tropical drink.  Perfect quantity of food and libation.

Hog's Breath Saloon

The one thing that surprised me was the number of chickens I saw…they were EVERYWHERE!  Walking down the busy street…wandering in yards…

One other place that I would love to visit but will have to wait until the next trip is Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West.  There is so much of his life story revolces around his time spent in Key West.

I did not get to observe the famous Key West sunsets but on my next trip you can bet that you will find me about two hours before sunset at Mallory Square to celebrate the best sunset to be found!

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