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PhotoBike Tour 14: Key West!

Author: Jim Crescitelli
Date of Trip: March 2012

And, looking down into that water, this man-made reef… anything to avoid dragging the grocery cart back to the store!

key west houseFollowing are a lot of houses I couldn’t resist falling in love with. Really– these places seem so cozy to me, and with a little TLC might actually be habitable for many more years.

This visit we toured the Eco Center, a free museum which features Keys wildlife, sea life, and flora. Aquariums and dioramas show you what’s at stake along the fragile island chain, and a movie in a dark little theatre helps put you to sleep after all that studying. Let me explain– it’s nicely air conditioned, the music is very Enya-esque, and the images are of divers, snorkelers, and fish of all kinds swimming slowly through their underwater world. It’s mesmerizing, and I almost couldn’t get up out of my seat when the movie ended. You stumble into a gift shop, though the thing that impressed me most was the tooled metal border running along the room’s circumference. It features turtles, fish, coral, and the like. Very nice.

When I went to take a photo out front, it appeared that an SUV had parked itself right in front of part of the mural; naturally, I bitched, leading Kirk to sputter ” I knew, KNEW you were going to say something!!”

Along with the hidden and the obscure, I like to re-visit some old haunts, just to remind myself that some things never change:

garden club library west martello towerThe West Martello Tower is the home of the Key West Garden Club, and is an amazing place staffed and maintained by volunteers. You can wander its nooks and crannies for hours, and the view from the top of the sweeping Atlantic is incredible.

The Garden Club library at West Martello Tower. You can sit here in this cool brick room and look at old books devoted to horticulture. What was that old joke? Someone asked Dorothy Parker to use 'horticulture' in a sentence, and she replied "you can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think."

The Margaret Truman Drop-Off Launderette, catering to first ladies since, oh, 1800 or so.

st mary star of the sea key westInside St. Mary, Star of the Sea. (Sancta Maria, Stella Maris.)

They open the side doors for cross-ventilation at St. Mary, which helps dry off your streaming head after biking frantically to Mass and forgetting that you're going to be dripping when you dismount and go inside.

St. paul on Duval Street, one of the city's Episcopal churches. It's gorgeous, and when you go inside and see the statues and the holy water fonts and the figural stained glass, you say "it's so Catholic!"

Two full days go by fast, but if you drink a lot of coffee and Diet Coke you’ll manage to stay energetic enough to traipse hither and yon and up and down and along, though my feet were hurting all day Monday; I think that was because of all that choreography on the unit’s tile floors. When you’re performing, you’re only interested in pleasing your audience, not thinking about how your feet are going to hurt.

Jon and John drove us home via Jensen Beach, where we picked up John’s mini pinscher from his dog sitter, and Max was the most well-behaved dog in the universe. Not a bark did I hear, and my Claritin prevented any allergic flare ups because, if I had started to wheeze, one of us would have had to be left by the side of the turnpike…and it wasn’t going to be Max.

Can’t wait to go back !

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