The Southernmost Point in US
Trip Start Apr 15, 2012
6Trip End Apr 21, 2012
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On to Key West, since that is where we spent our time. Key West, or Cayo Hueso --translation Bone Island- is the Southernmost city in the continental United States"The Conch Republic" and motto "We Seceded When Others Failed" when the Florida Keys seceded from the United States on April 23, 1982 in protest of a US Border Patrol blockade that was setup on US 1 at Florida City.
Our first stop in Key West was Blue Heaven, a funky Caribbean Cuisine restaurant where you sit at tables like you are in someone's back yard. Cats lounge on the bricks and rooster perch on the sign. If you have ever had a tuna melt, then order either the shrimp melt or lobster melt and save room for their Key Lime pie. The meringue was about 4" thick. After lunch we headed over to the Ernest Hemingway House. Built by master salvager Asa Tift (more about him tomorrow) in 1851, it is 16' above sea level and is still the second highest site on the island. Built from limestone from the site, the walls are 18" thick and has survived many hurricanes. It actually has a basement and it has remained dry.. Hemingway lived here from 1931-1939. Pauline, Hemingway's second wife, found the house at auction and her Uncle bought it for $8000 cash as a wedding gift to Pauline and Hemingway. The house was one of the first to be fitted with indoor plumbing. The swimming pool was a first for Key West and the only one within 100 miles
Hemingway wrote "A Farewell to Arms" and "Snows of Kilimanjaro" in the Carriage House which served as his writing studio. He would write until noon, then go out fishing, then return to "Sloppy Joe's Bar" where he would drink and talk and hear stories which he would later write down and use as inspiration of his own stories.
The gardens are home to the famous polydactyl cats, all descendants of Snowball, a cat given to Hemingway from a captain aboard a merchant marine vessel. Currently there are about 44 cats on the property, half of which are polydactyl. They have all been named after famous people such as Mark Twain and Mr. Bette Davis. The cats are the second largest expense on the estate.
After the house, we then went to go look at the buoy that marks the Southernmost point in the Continental US.(It isn't really and although it says 90 miles to Cuba, it is closer to 94 --that's why I took a picture from the side) We found it rather amusing that one hotel was named "Southernmost Hotel"; another was "Southernmost Hotel on the Beach. A house (now a B&B) said it was the Southernmost house, yet next door someone beat them by building a house 6" further South and calling it "The Southernmost Southernmost House."
After dinner El Siboney, a Cuban Restaurant, we walked back to Sunset Square to watch the sunset. The clouds obscured the final setting, but it was pretty nonetheless.