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Key West, the Conch Republic
Pictures of Key West with Conch Republic Information and Gifts
Pictures of Key West are pictures of a very special place! It's the capital of the Conch Republic, and full of fun, friendly, and quirky people, places, and things.
Whether you're cruising tothere for a day, or driving down for a longer visit, you're sure to enjoy these pictures of Key West, a story about the Conch Republic, gift ideas, and fun facts. For my competitive spirited visitors, there's even a Key West Quiz near the end.
View of the Green Parrot Bar
(photo- my own, all rights reserved)
Even if getting to The Conch Republic is still on your bucket list, this page is sure to interest you... It will show you the famous Seven Mile Bridge on the Overseas Highway and introduce you to an endangered species of deer along the way.
Start off by enjoying some wonderful pictures, and voting for your favorite. Then, all the other things I mentioned, and more, are in store for you here.
Have You Visited or Lived There? - (a poll)
Have You Been to, or lived in Key West?
Life in Key West is different than any place else on earth. It's laid back and decidely quirky. Folks there really LIVE life, party like crazy, and celebrate things some of us simply take for granted.
One thing that is celebrated on a regular basis in this southernmost city is the sunset. And sunsets there really are something to celebrate. Here's a picture of one.
In fact a stunning image of one of those famous sunsets was the clear winner in our last 'pick your favorite image' poll.
So, here is is again, along with four more. Will the sunset win out again? Only time will tell.
Key West Sunset
Early Morning at Smathers Beach
Old Duval Street
Pan american Airways Office
Top of the Lighthouse
Favorite Image Poll - Round 2
Which of the prints or posters did you find most appealing?
Gold Jewelry - Beautiful Key West Pendants
Here are some fun 14 karat gold pendants that represent familiar sights you see in the southernmost city in the continental United States.
by Plane, Boat, Cruise Ship, or Car
There are reguar flights to Key West International Airport from Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. There are also some flights from Atlanta.
ARRIVING by PRIVATE BOAT
If you are fortunate enough to have your own seaworthy vessel, or know someone who has one, you can tiel up right at the edge of downtown, very near Mallory Square
Several major cruise lines will happily bring you there for a day, during which you can see if you'd like to return for a longer visit.
Bahamas cruises may include Key West along with Nassau or Freeport, and perhaps a stop at a private island. Caribbean Cruises may call there on their way to points south and west, like Cozumel and Jamaica, for example.
Of course, you can choose the option of driving, too. More about that later.
The Blue Heaven Restaurant - Fun Times and Good Eats
This city on an island is all about casual living, fun times, and good eats. It's chocked-full of unique places and experiences. One of those unique places is a restaurant called Blue Heaven.
Lunchtime at the Blue Heaven
People born in Key West are called CONCHS.
The Story of The Conch Republic
How It Came to Be
No doubt, you've heard Key West referred to as the "Conch Republic." Well, here's how that started.
In 1982, the U.S. Border patrol set up a roadblock at Florida City, stopping and searching vehicles for contraband. Since Florida City is the last mainland city before the beginning of the Overseas Highway, this, in effect substantially slowed and reduced land traffic to all of the Keys.
Flag of the Conch Republic, used under cc license
The tourist based economy suffered. Although the City Council lodged numerous complaints with the federal government, and even filed an injunction attempt, nothing was working.
Finally, on April 23, Key West seceded from the United States and declared its independence as The Conch Republic, with Mayor Dennis Wardlow as Prime Minister.
The brand new republic promptly declared war on the United States of America, and "fired" their one and only salvo of the conflict> What kind of a shot did they fire, and at whom? They broke a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of "someone" in a military uniform.
One minute into the 'hostilities,' the republic surrendered and requested foreign aid in the amount of one billion USD.
After the "Succession" and "War,"
the blockade was lifted.
The incident got a whole
lot of press, too!
Declare your independence with a flag of 'The Republic'
April 23 is
Celebrate Conch Independence Day with a Margarita
You and Jimmy... or whomever ...
The Overseas Highway
Driving to Key West - Across the
If you are driving, you should allow more hours than the number of miles would indicate for normal destinations. On a normal day. the last 128 miles or so could easily take you twice as long to transverse as any other 125 - 200 miles in the state of Florida. That's when you'll be on the Overseas Highway.
Plan on a leisurely trip along the Overseas Highway, because that's probably what it WILL be, whether that's what you have planned or not. Most of the distance is only two lanes, much of it over or between bodies of water. There are a few spots wehere there are places to pass, but not many. And few of the cars in front of you will be in a hurry.
One of the most amazing stretches of this roadway is the "Seven Mile Bridge," which is actually only 6.97 miles long. It connects the Middle Keys and the Lower Keys, and is pictured above.
Overseas Highway Speed
A word to the wise:
Mind the speed limit
(even when you do have a choice)
on the Overseas Highway,
especially on and around
Big Pine Key.
Key Deer - an Endangered Species
You May See Some on Your Way Down
There have been countless serious and fatal accidents on the Overseas Highway. They're pretty darned serious about enforcing the speed limit all along the way.
Check your speedometer as you approach it Big Pine Key. The 45 mph speed limit is VERY strictly enforced there. That's during the daytime. At night, it's 35 mph.
Key Deer, an endangered species found only in this particular part of the world. They tend to wander into the roadway, so watch out for them!
Key Deer on No Name Key
Today, there are fewer than 800 of these animals left, and some estimates are as low as 300. Some 30 to 40 are run over by cars each year, especially on Big Pine and No Name Keys, where they are the most abundant.
About Key West
Key West is the Southernmost city in the continential United States. But Florida is NOT the southernmost state in the United States. That distinction belongs to Hawaii.
The city is actually closer to Cuba than it is to Miami.
Fort Zachary Taylor saw action in the Civil War (on the union side), the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
Nine Pulitzer Prize winners have lived in there, including Ernest Hemingway, whose home you can tour today.
The Key West Coral Reef is 160 miles long - the third largest in the world and the largest in the United States.
The sand on the beaches there was all brought in from the Caribbean, as beach sand does not occur there naturally.
Approximate distances to Key West from other cities in Florida:
FROM MIAMI: 160 miles
FROM TAMPA: 420 miles
FROM ORLANDO: 395 miles
FROM JACKSONVILLE: 500 miles
FROM PENSACOLA: 830 miles
Fort Zachary Taylor History and More at this State Park
History and More at this State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor was built in the 18470's - the 1860's. The fort was active the war between the states (in union hands) and the Spanish American War.
Fort Zach houses the largest collection of civil war cannon ever discovered in one place. They had been buried within the 'new' outer walls, built in 1889. Why were the buried in the wall? Apparently to make up for a shortage of building materials!
Today, the fort is open to the public from 8 am until 5 pm, and guided tours are available. You'll find it at the end of Southard Street, in Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, where you can also enjoy the beach, hiking trains, swimming snorkeling, diving, and a restaurant / snack bar.
Underwater Video - See Scenes from the Barrier Reef Off the Coast of Key West
When you go, don't forget your dive or snorkel gear. As you learned in 'Facts About Key West,' it's home to the largest barrier reef in the United States, and the underwater views are amazing!
In case you can't get there this week, here's some underwater video to tide you over.
Something Cool to Do While You're There
See Hemingway House
Need a suggestion for something cool to do in Key West?
Here it is!
Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and meet the Polydactyl Cats there.
Hemingway House Polydactyl Cats
- Hemingway House Polydactyl Cats
Polydactyl cats are sometimes called "Hemingway Cats." See why with a visit to his home in Key West, where descendents of his own polydactyl still live. Includes photos of some of the cats there.
Bid on Some Memories of Key West - These eBay Auctions are Now Live
See what Souvenirs and Memorabilia are up for auction today on eBay:
Planning a Trip to Key West? - (a poll)
Are you planning on visiting Key West in the next year?
How's the Weather Today?
And All Year
THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW: Click for weather forecast
Average Temperature: about 73 - 83 degrees F.
Average Annual Rainfall: 38 - 39". The wet season is May - October, with August and September being the rainiest months