Key West, Florida

The wife and I will be going in a few weeks for four days. It seems like very unique place with loads of things to do and see. We plan to hook up with Doug and Bethany Gatewood (Alex’s HS coach) for a day. The Keys are their favorite place for vacation and they have given us some ideas on things to do.

I’m sure we won’t have a problem finding things do or eat and drink at, but if you’ve been feel free to throw out suggestions.

Ask the locals about “Fantasy Week”!!! And, be careful with all those chickens/roosters running around wild!!!

Look up Mr Z’s it is a pizza and cheese steak place and the best part they will deliver to you 24/7 on a bicycle no less. The tomato pie is awesome. Also try out Schooners Wharf and The Green Parrot. Also on the southern end of Duvall St. there is the Southernmost Beach Cafe they have excellent breakfast.

museum across the street, Bobby somebody found a sunken ship full of gold-pretty cool and won’t take much time.

The old presidential retreat at the southmost part of the island, they’ve made part of it condo’s, but still a cool place and unusual piece of us history

Mallory Square for Sunset is beautiful (“90 miles from Cuba”), great sunsets and breeze, great people-watching, food and booze.

Fast Buck Freddie’s is a really unique store, cool clothes, furniture, toys for kids, etc

great food, great sand, great sun and sunsets, and you can shop outdoors while walking around with a giant open container of a rum drink. if you’re into that sort of thing. Not that you or DD would ever do that.

I’m jealous, I really love that place. one of hte places in America where you can really feel like you’re in a foreign country, it’s so laid back


Plan for some time to just walk the streets. And, you have to be ready for the sunsets. There are folks with food trucks and other things that will blow you away with good eats. You will be able to tell from where the lines are long. It’s going to be good. There may be some different looking folks there, too. I’m not saying much, but you will have stories when you come back!

If you are driving down from Miami I reccommend Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen in Key Largo. It’s a tiny local place with wonderful Fish Taco’s.

You’ll have a blast in the Key’s.

Good stuff. We’ve never been, but really looking forward to it.

Found out that Sloppy Joe’s bar in the Keys is owned by an Arkansan. Word was he would try and get into the place and it was always packed and couldn’t get in so he bought the bar. True story.

You’re right, DD and I don’t partake.

Pop over to Sunset Key for dinner at sunset; pretty nice, and the food is worthy of Don Eldred.

Most folkss watch sunsets from Mallory Plaza, where that motel/restaurant (don’t know name) has a second level outdoor bar with lots of tables to just relax while the sun is going down.

We stayed at Courtney’s Place on Whitmarsh Ave–affordable.

While walking on Duvall Street, look very carefully at any female that seems to have a t-shirt with lots of art on it. She may be walking art, with no t-shirt–but it’s not easy to determine, trust me. (Oh, gee. That’s what Trump says “trust me”. I apologize.) People watch from any dining spot on Duvall St.

Also, for a day or so, ride bikes around, especially in the morning when there’s less heat. It is just fun and you’ll see three times as much. And you can lock your bikes up and go in any store/restaurant you desire. If you go to Hemingway House, go across the street to the Lighthouse, but you gotta walk the stairs to see the fantastic view from the top. Beautiful old homes around that old White House retreat.

A sandwich shop only locals know about (5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop), sporting the cuban sandwich. Truly a treasure. Also, an Italian restaurant that we enjoyed was Michaels on Margaret Street. We had breakfast once at Sarabeth’s on Simonton St and can recommend it–lite and healthy, Jan says. And, finally, another breakfast/lunch/dinner place we enjoyed (kinda touristy) was Blue Heaven (roosters walking among tables).

Think San Francisco or French Quarter with beaches and sunsets.

WOW, that is high praise indeed.

get off the beaten track & eat at the small mom & pop joints where there are only picnic tables outdoors. That’s where the locals eat. that’s the most authentic & most tasty food down there. The Hemingway House & the Southern White House are worth the time.

There’s a dessert place called “Better Than Sex” which is…

Really outstanding

Not sure it’s “better” but I suppose that’s all relative

One of my favorite authors is John Gierach. He writes fly fishing prose. His first book was Trout Bum. And, he’s a true trout bum. Just fishes and writes books about it. It’s a dream job for many in my little world of trout fishing. There are more books about trout fishing than about anything. Most of them are not worthy of your time. They are folks telling you about why they love to fish. Pitiful stuff. I don’t really care why someone else fishes.

Most fly fishers dream about retiring from their day job (and probably aren’t writers) with the thought that they can write stories about fly fishing and it will sell. I know better. It’s mainly like telling someone to come over and watch their home movies. I’d rather take a public flogging. And, I know that I darn well better not count on ever making a living about writing about fly fishing. It’s boring to read others stories about it. But, John Gierach is different. He is vastly entertaining.

There are some classic writers like Thomas McGuane and a few others that I love to read. But Gierach is flat out the best. He can write. It flows. It makes me want to grab the book, read and keep turning pages. I can’t wait to get to the next chapter and finish it. I devour his books in about five hours, sometimes in one sitting.

Anyway, of his 15-18 books, the one that sold the best is “Sex, death and leaky waders.” The book has little to do with the title. It’s just a bunch of fishing trip stories. It sold about five times the number of copies as any of the others, aside from Trout Bum. And, Trout Bum, considered the classic trout book, has been in print for about 25 years, the reason it’s sold more. I heard an interview with John about why the book Sex, death and leaky waders sold so much some 10 years ago. He said, “Simply, it has sex in the title.” And, there is nothing remotely to do with sex anywhere in the book.

His last two books are great and they don’t match the titles. There was one called “All Fisherman are Liars.” And, there isn’t anything about that in the book. Then the last one is called, “A Fly Rod of Your Own.” There is nothing about that in there, either.

You can’t do that in my business. The headline should at least remotely match the story.

One of my favorite little eateries is in Norfork. It’s called Heidi’s Ugly Cakes. Her cakes aren’t long on beauty. Just simple one layer cakes with about two inches of sinful icing. She makes key lime cake, strawberry cake (my favorite), chocolate cake, lemon cake and about 10 others. It sells for about $3 a slice. Mainly, Heidi sells great cheese burgers and fried bologna sandwiches (my favorite). But her best selling cake is “Better than sex cake.” She does not think it’s anywhere close to her best. But, if you have sex in the title, it sells.

Key West actually bills itself as, “a quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem.” As I recall, there about 25 bars on this little island. I love the laid back atmosphere. I found Hemingway’s home interesting. There is drinking trough out back that serves the multitude of cats. It was previously a urinal at Smokey Joe’s. Hemingway supposedly tore it out of the bar and took it home because he had deposited a fortune down it.

There is some hotel there that lets people come to the open top floor with a drink and toast the beautiful sunsets. Enjoy.

Thanks. Pretty pumped. I love the laid back thing.

My wife and I spent a few days there a couple of years ago. Duvall Street reminds you a bit of Bourbon Street, but without as many crazy folks. The best food we had was at Schooners Wharf. Their oysters were awesome. You need to visit the Hog’s Breath Saloon just to get a drink coaster.

One warning, it’s going to be pretty warm. We went in April and got a little heat exhausted not being used to the higher temperature and humidity. You are going to do a lot of walking.

Have a great trip.

but then it takes all kinds, right!

Buck beat me to it. We loved the Hogs Breath Saloon. Get a T shirt with the boar hog on it and you will look very appropriate back in Razorback country. Also, as others have said, Mallory Square at sunset is a blast…