My partner and I loved and disliked “The Conch Republic!” Elitist that I am, I was hard pressed to find the authentic Key West in 3 busy days. But, I want to book another stay perhaps in an inn on one of the quieter back streets in the old part of town, spend more time looking, relaxing, eating, drinking and talking with the native, and imported Conch Republicans. Hopefully the authentic Key West experience is still to be had.
This all too short trip gave us the tourist experience, and I know I shouldn't expect more. The artist in me loved the authentic tropical 19th century blocks of old Key West. That part of town was extensive, and so quiet at night - with the exception of the occasional wild rooster screech. However, the Jimmy Buffet honky-tonk of Duval Street reminded me of the Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk on Labor Day, minus all the little ones, but plunked down into the tropics. Perhaps if I were in my late teens or early twenties and on Spring Break I might have found it exhilarating. Instead, I found that it had the most tiresome drunk tourist vibe imaginable.
Okay, so much for the best and the worst. I swam a lot in our hotel's tropical garden pool, and exercised as always. We also did the usual tourist things; Hemingway House, The Harry S. Truman Little White House, Audubon House, Southernmost Point, Mel Fisher Museum, the current much extended art exhibit (I think) ICONS, sculptures by Seward Johnson located around the Custom House, and the Sunset (that didn't happen). We walked everywhere, opting for the exercise instead of the expensive trolley. I took a ton of pictures! We drank and talked with the bar tender in the small quieter outdoor bar at Ricks (part of the big party complex), and ate out all three nights - more about the eating out later. Suffice it to say we had great fun, but are worn out.