History

Sloppy Joe’s, Key West’s Hemingway Hangout, is Open Again!

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.

By |2020-09-23T15:43:07-04:00September 23, 2020|

Remembering Key West’s ‘Conch Ambassador’

For decades, Bishop Al Kee welcomed visitors to Key West’s Southernmost Point marker, acting as a smiling ambassador for the island. He sold fluted, pink-lined conch shells beside the iconic waterfront landmark, sliced open coconuts for those who wanted to drink the sweet coconut water inside, and cheerfully posed for innumerable visitor photos.

By |2020-09-16T16:02:43-04:00September 16, 2020|

The Sea Monster of Carysford Reef

In the 1800s, the wrecking industry made Key West the richest city per capita in the United States. The Florida Keys wreckers were famed for their courage in salvaging crews and cargoes from sinking ships. Yet few people know they once salvaged a sea monster off Key Largo’s Carysford (today called Carysfort) Reef.

By |2021-05-13T15:02:50-04:00September 9, 2020|

Key West’s ‘Amazing Race’ of 1913

Legions of television viewers are obsessed with the adventurous reality show “The Amazing Race.” But most of them don’t realize that, in 1913, Key West was the site of one of the most amazing races in history — a competition between two aviators to make the first flight from Key West to Havana, Cuba.

By |2020-09-02T14:52:18-04:00August 12, 2020|

Traveling the Highway That Goes to Sea

The road unrolls like a long gray ribbon, with vast vistas of turquoise water and paler blue sky stretching endlessly on either side. Driving down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, it’s clear why this roadway is sometimes called the Highway That Goes to Sea — and a “bucket list” drive that everyone should experience.

By |2020-09-02T14:47:58-04:00July 22, 2020|

Pirates, Wreckers and Treasure Hunters Helped Shape Florida Keys

The buccaneering spirit of adventure and individuality is one of the most intriguing — and enduring — attributes that help define the Florida Keys island chain. The Keys’ renegade seafaring heritage is alive in museums and attractions, colorful shipwreck and treasure tales, dive and snorkel trips to wrecksites, and sailing cruises aboard historic tall ships.

By |2020-09-02T14:49:57-04:00July 15, 2020|

Key West’s Spirit Lives in Buffett Songs

Longtime Key Westers remember famed singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett when he lived on the island, savoring the lifestyle that helped inspire his songs. As the world slowly emerges from COVID-19 shutdowns and the Florida Keys prepare to reopen to visitors June 1, Buffett's music can evoke the spirit of Key West and memories of a more carefree time.

By |2020-05-20T18:39:11-04:00May 20, 2020|

Discover the Keys ‘By the Book’

Many books about the Florida Keys are so well crafted that they seemingly transport readers to the island chain — portraying it so vividly that it’s almost possible to feel the humidity and smell the salt air. During this time of COVID-19 travel restrictions, what books provide the best “virtual visit” to the Keys?

By |2021-05-13T15:14:28-04:00May 6, 2020|

Five LGBTQ Cultural Icons Who Helped Shape Key West

Authors, playwrights, composers and poets have been lured to Key West by its one-of-a-kind environment of creativity, natural beauty and sometimes eccentric qualities — making it the muse for some of their most acclaimed career accomplishments. Those entranced by the island have included Tennessee Williams, Leonard Bernstein, Elizabeth Bishop, Terrence McNally and Jerry Herman.

By |2020-04-29T22:04:04-04:00April 29, 2020|

The Unforgettable ‘Shine’

While the Florida Keys remain temporarily closed to visitors, it’s possible to stay connected by sharing Keys memories and stories of extraordinary people. People like “Shine” Forbes — a sparring partner of legendary author and 1930s Key West resident Ernest Hemingway — who was one of the island’s most unique links to the colorful author.

By |2020-04-08T18:17:26-04:00April 8, 2020|
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