Our first stop is The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. This is a great place to see butterflies and relax.
This place is amazing. We took WAY too many pictures of butterflies and flowers.
A pair of Flamingos, Rhett and Scarlet, live in the conservatory.
The conservancy and birds in the building.
There is a warning at the exit.
I did not add any commentary because this was a place all about beauty. Hundreds of butterflies everywhere. At times, it was overwhelming how many were all around us.
Time for a walk. We decided to see the “Southernmost Point in the Continental USA” which is not actually the southernmost as when we were on the beach a couple of days ago that is just a bit south of here.
Lots of shrimpers just offshore.
Time to head up Duval Street.
We stopped in a French restaurant. The south side of Duval Street has a heavy French influence. A very old home converted to a French restaurant. Very cool.
A few blocks the street we stopped in an old church.
After a bit of walking and window shopping, I just had to stop at the First “Original” Margaritaville.
I had a Cheeseburger in Paradise and Shawna had a big piece of Key Lime Pie. Both were really good. We also got drinks Shawna’s was the ‘5 o'clock somewhere’ and mine was the ‘Fin’s to the Left’. Did I mention that this is a tourist trap? A fun one but still...
The Hemingway house is diagonally across the street from the lighthouse.
We visited the Lighthouse. Originally the lighthouse was on the coastline at the most southernmost point but was destroyed by a hurricane in 1846. The current lighthouse was built further inland and first lit in 1848.
Though most lighthouse keepers are men, three women have held the job at this lighthouse for a total of 38 years. In the beginning, the keepers had to maintain the light by hauling up oil to keep it lit. Later the light was converted to gas, so it was no longer necessary to bring up oil. Today, it is electric.
To get to the top we needed to climb 88 steps in a tight spiral. There were two landings to let others pass but otherwise it was very narrow and steep.
The caretakers house has an example of a cistern.
Before a very very long pipe was put in all the way from the Florida coast, people had to collect their fresh water from rain or haul it in barrels.
Water is very expensive in Key West. Every single drop is pumped all the way down the Keys. There are emergency plans such as large tanks spaced along several Keys should a break happen. Key West even has a desalination plant for emergency use only but they use a lot of energy converting sea water to fresh.
We had a great day and made it back to the truck just before our 6-hour parking ticket ran out.
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We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...