January 6, 2012

The Conch Republic

Key West, Florida, is a different sort of place where almost anything goes.  It’s not as quirky as it once was since the arrival of the cruise ships, but the city is still fun to explore.  Since we didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Key West, and since we certainly didn’t want to drive the RV into Old Town, we opted to ride the Conch Tour Train.  Sure, it’s a touristy thing to so, but the tour gives one a great overview of Key West and presents a great deal of information about the history of the city, most of which is true.

The Conch Tour Train
Key West, the southernmost city in the United States, once seceded from the rest of the country.  In 1982, the city of Key West became the Conch Republic and declared its independence in protest of a Border Patrol blockade at the northern end of the Overseas Highway.  The blockade, which stopped every car leaving the Keys in a search for illegal immigrants, paralyzed the Keys, which are so dependent on tourism. The protest worked, the blockade was lifted and Key West celebrates its independence every April 23.

We Were the Only Ones Who Didn't Pose at the Southernmost Point
I especially love the architecture of Key West, with its wood frame houses and gingerbread trim.  Most are partially hidden by lush tropical vegetation.  We passed houses once owned by Ernest Hemingway, John James Audubon and Calvin Klein, as well as countless guest houses.  

Custom House
Lush Vegetation

Great Gingerbread Trim
Classic Detailing
Wraparound Porches
I was happy to find the Half Shell Raw Bar still serving fresh seafood on the dock.  After a lunch of conch fritters, seafood chowder and a shrimp po boy, Tim and I were ready to retrace our route back over the Overseas Highway to the mainland.  It was a smooth drive, with no traffic tie-ups.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

Half Shell Raw Bar
Conch Fritters
Beach on the Atlantic Ocean
Isn't It Nice They Named a Street After Me?


  1. Great pics! It's just as I remembered it. Even the Conch Train. :-) LV

  2. LV, Thank goodness some things don't change. I'm glad you were able to see it. Sarah

  3. It all looks wonderful.

  4. Chris, It really is wonderful. Sarah