I know you have been on the edge of your seat since Wednesday waiting for the first 25 Reasons Why I Love Key West. Wait no longer, my friends. Here you go, in no particular order:
1. Because it really is a small town and you see people you know everywhere. If you are not in a people-seeing mood, just stay home. Don’t even bother going out to walk the dog. You will ALWAYS see people you know. Case in point, last week FKGuy saw a lawyer he knows from Fort Lauderdale riding his bike half a block from our house.
2. There are really, really good eats here (Flaming Buoy, Azur…) Well, not so much in September when most restaurants are closed, but the ones that remain open generally offer hefty local’s discounts.
3. It is always happy hour. Seriously, it is not even weird to see people drinking at 9 or 10 AM. Every 5K in town ends with free beer.
4. When I walk Babka early in the morning, I can see the sunrise over the water. (Of course, by “when I walk…” I really mean “When FKGuy walks Babka, he can see…”). It is generally only early in the morning or late at night that I shirk my duties.
5. Tropic Cinema.
6. Tennis at Bayview Park. In the summer, it is miserably hot but blissfully uncrowded. In the winter, blissful temps but really crowded. It becomes more of a social time than an exercise time.
7. Went to a party last weekend and met a whole bunch of people that live on my block. They were all especially nice. Now I know who lives in the houses where my guests tend to park their cars.
8. Year round flip flop wearing, even for dressy occasions. Oh wait, there are no dressy occasions, at least not in the mainland sense of the word “dressy”. I saw a guy in cargo shorts at synagogue for Yom Kippur. Granted it was a bit extreme, but I love that it is at least marginally acceptable.
9. Key West Food and Wine Festival. You haven’t been yet? Stick around, I’ll get you a discount code for VIP passes as soon as they go on sale in the next few weeks. It is too good to miss.
10. The drive from Miami to Key West is among the most beautiful I have seen. If you drive it on a holiday weekend you get to see it for several hours longer than normally necessary.
11. Jury Duty in Key West brings a whole new meaning to island living. (Of course, now that I write this, I am pretty sure I’ll be called to serve soon…)
12. After Fantasy Fest people usually put their clothes back on. But the creative costumes and random full nudity are pretty hilarious and sometimes frightening.
13. Poker Run, Hemingway Days, Songwriter’s Festival… There is always something going on.
14. The Citizen’s Voice. It is a column in the local newspaper consisting entirely of called-in or emailed-in quotes, presumably by real people. They range from good points to the downright delusional.
15. With so many artists and art galleries, gift shopping is easy.
16. Running errands by bike is easy. I even managed to go renew my driver’s license by bicycle. Ironic? Perhaps… Far more relaxing? Undoubtedly.
17. Higg’s Beach Dog Park. Usually a good time. Occasionally not so much (more on that on Babka’s Blog soon.)
18. The list of Babka-friendly restaurants is always expanding. She has her favorites, naturally, but she is happy to try new places, too.
19. There is always an opportunity to hear live music somewhere, generally with no cover charge, and usually someone pretty good.
20. There are a ton of new wine bars. When we first arrived, there were none. Now there are three great ones on Duval Street alone. (lush bar, Cork and Stogie and Vino’s.)
21. Real estate open houses on Sundays. I don’t have to bother hiding my nosiness. Plus, I get to know a lot of Realtors.
22. There are THREE theaters with an array of new shows each season. OK, one of the three is on Stock Island, but still…
23. The first time we showed up at the synagogue, someone came up to us and asked “How’d you find us?” as if there are so many choices. We looked for the synagogue and off we went. There are far less options than when choosing a church.
24. Paddleboarding, kayaking and a variety of other water sports are all easy to achieve within minutes.
25. It is easy to make new friends, especially when you see the same people at the same places.
26. Well, you’ve already read about #26, right?
What are your favorite things about Key West as a local or visitor? Do tell!