For Christina Wilson, hosting “Island Hopping: Florida Keys" enabled her to dive into unique Florida Keys adventures — and share them with viewers of the syndicated television special that recently began airing across the United States. The show explores the Keys’ natural environment and ecotourism opportunities, abundant water-based activities, easygoing lifestyle and signature cuisine.
In the mid-1990s, Key West was home to a world-class mystery bookstore. Located just off Duval Street, Miss Marbles Parlour was the only bookstore in South Florida devoted entirely to mysteries. And its colorful owner Dilys Winn, a legendary figure in the mystery world, staged interactive crime-solving events three times per week.
The Key West Art Center, whose origins date back to the 1930s, is renowned as the oldest artists’ membership organization in the Florida Keys. Its picturesque Front Street gallery features the work of more than 50 artists from the Keys, with a visual tapestry of color and creativity awaiting everyone who ventures inside.
Ever since Ernest Hemingway penned literary classics while living in 1930s Key West, the island has been a haven and an inspiration for writers. Now Key West visitors can boost their own creativity with a chance to write in the iconic author’s private studio — and explore his former Whitehead Street home and grounds.
As temperatures plunge in much of the United States, many people are seeking a place to avoid winter’s chill and continue to enjoy outdoor experiences. In Key West, the southernmost spot in the continental U.S., activities abound that enable participants to soak up salt air, balmy breezes and the island’s irresistibly laid-back vibe.
Florida Keys holiday traditions center around the one and only Santa Keys — a jolly bearded fellow who brings cheer to those who aren’t lucky enough to live in the Keys, and to the underwater creatures in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. What happens on the night before Christmas? Santa Keys makes his rounds!
No one can deny that 2020, and its holiday season, are different than any other year in memory. Whether grief and loss, economic fears or the stress of isolation, almost everyone is feeling the effects of the world’s coronavirus pandemic. Yet even so, it’s possible to find occasional bright spots that bring hope.
Until a few years ago, the Lower Keys were home to a peculiar landmark: a shingled tower rising behind the Sugarloaf Lodge, located at mile marker 17 on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. Tall and weather-beaten, looming over its surroundings, it was a strange monument to an innovative idea hatched in bygone days.
In Key West’s historic Old Town, free-roaming chickens and roosters are a colorful part of daily life. Traffic stops to let hens and their babies cross the road, visitors coo and cluck as they snap photos of the meandering fowl, and the crowing of roosters provides a raucous soundtrack to everyday activities.
Fans of Key West’s Fantasy Fest can enjoy two streaming events that showcase the masking and costuming festival’s creativity and spirit — despite the cancellation of the Oct. 16-25 in-person celebration to guard against coronavirus spread. A virtual variety show and mini-parade, scheduled Oct. 16 and Oct. 24, raise money for local nonprofit organizations.