Day 20: Happy 4th from Key West!

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Jul 13, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Thursday, July 4, 2013

Let me start with a history of The Artist House where we are staying. It was built in 1890 by the Thomas Otto family. Famed Key West painter, Robert Eugene Otto, the youngest son, inherited the home. Gene and his wife Anne and family lived here until their deaths in the 70's. It is one of only a few authentic, original buildings on the island.

When Gene was a boy in the house, he had a beloved doll named Robert the Doll. It was given to him by a young Bahamian girl. Robert was life-sized and stuffed with straw. Gene made a room just for the doll in the attic complete with his own furniture and toys. As Gene grew, he blamed every mishap that he committed on the doll. Eventually, even as an adult he blamed the doll for everything negative that happened in his life.

When Gene and his wife Anne moved back to house, he used the upstairs turret room to paint and Robert the Doll was still by his side propped up in the southwest window. Local kids swore they saw Robert moving in the window. Other visitors to the house noticed Roberts facial expressions changed according to the feeling in the room. Others swear they heard Robert giggling.

Anne hated the doll and after Gene's death she put Robert in a cedar chest. Upon her death, family discovered the doll and donated it to the historical society. Robert the Doll is now on display in a museum.

We are staying in Anne's bedroom in the house. The Turret Room is down the hall and Robert the Doll is often seen in the southwest window by people walking down the street. We are taking a ghost tour tomorrow night and will get to see Robert up close and personal!

As for our 4th of July, we started the day by driving around the island to get a quick tour. We then walked the streets north and west of The Artist House. The harbor is filled with boats of all kind. Small shops, restaurants, and bars line all the streets. We ate lunch at Pepe's Cafe, as recommended by my sister. We arrived just a few minutes late for breakfast, but the lunch menu was great. We both had soup and sandwiches, and I had the best Bloody Mary I've ever had! After lunched we walked back to Greene Street to get a piece of the world's largest key lime pie, but we were too late! I still have not had pie yet!

We came back to the room to rest and get out of the heat (which is actually not bad at all!). At 4:30 the staff here sets out wine, beer, and snacks for happy hour. We say in the patio and had some afternoon cocktails with the other guests. We met a nice couple from Connecticut, a teacher and her sheriff husband from Tampa, and a young couple from Germany. Our happy hour turned in to two hours before we came up to get ready for dinner.

We walked down to Duval Street and stopped at Sloppy Joe's. I never really thought about Sloppy Joe's serving sloppy joe, but they do and it was awesome! We sat for a while listening to the music (a tribute to America and had to be there to appreciate it)! Next we moved down the street to Mallory Square to watch the sunset and the street performers.

From there we continued walking Duval and the side streets stopping for a drink whenever we found an interesting place. One of our favorites was Capt. Tony's. It was fun, the breeze was cool, and the decor unusual...bras hanging all over the place. And, no, mine was not added to the collection! We never made it to the fireworks, but we could hear them as we sat at Willie T's having our last cocktails of the evening.

Happy 4th of July from the southernmost point!

Mindy & Danny
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