Internationally renowned playwright Tennessee Williams lived in Key West for more than 30 years, writing classic dramas including “Night of the Iguana.” Today, fans of his groundbreaking plays can honor his legacy and love for his island lifestyle during the annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration conceived by longtime Key West resident Dennis Beaver.
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 executive director of the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, former ballet danseur Misha McRAE is preparing to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the 15-acre subtropical treasure. Described as the continental United States’ only frost-free tropical forest and botanical garden, the enchanted spot has been his passion since the late 1990s.
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.
A small group of Key Westers recently gathered (properly masked, of course) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the "One Human Family" motto that was born on the island — and officially name a local landmark the One Human Family Pavilion. The unifying phrase proclaims that all people are equal and all are connected.
Six state parks in the Upper Florida Keys offer some of the Keys’ most scenic wide-open spaces for social distancing, solitude and outdoor recreational activities like hiking, swimming, snorkeling and paddling. Acclaimed among the region's prime natural attractions, these parks are rich with Florida Keys history, upland and coastal landscapes and underwater life.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is renowned for a picnic area shaded by Norfolk pines and cooled by ever-present breezes, and a long Atlantic-front beach that Key Westers call one of the island’s best-kept secrets. But it’s the Civil War-era fort itself, once nicknamed “Fort Forgotten,” that really makes the park unique.
As curator and historian at Islamorada’s Keys History & Discovery Center, Brad Bertelli is a storyteller who spins colorful tales with rich factual details about life in the Florida Keys. He has also authored several books — including two about snorkeling in Florida and the Keys, and one each about Key Largo and Islamorada.
When Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West during the 1930s, he spent much of his leisure time with friends at Sloppy Joe’s Bar. On Sept. 17, the beloved Key West watering hole reopened after being closed for six months because of the global COVID-19 crisis — and several Hemingway look-alikes were there.