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Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Road to Paradise





The photos to the right remind me of my very first trip to Key West. We drove down from Miami and arrived just before noon. I saw the big green sign with two arrows both going "South" but requiring right or left turns. I turned left and headed for the "beaches". Mistake. Wrong. I started to panic and thought I had made a terrible mistake coming to Key West. Wrong again.

We ended up on Duval Street by accident. It's a small island. Everybody ends up on Duval Street. We eventually found Fleming Street and then the guesthouse. Back then there was some free public parking and meters were not all that expensive. So I parked the car and used it once or twice during the two weeks we were here. Mistake #3 was renting a car. You do not need a car in Key West. You cannot park a car in Key West.

After a couple of hours by the pool we did the tourist thing and started the daily Duval crawl where tourists walk up and down the longest little street in the USA. You can walk from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico in about 30 minutes or so. And we did. Daily.

Two blocks east of Duval is the Key West Historic Seaport. It looked really decrepit back then. We went there one day to catch a catamaran for a day of snorkeling. Bad idea if you get seasick. But it is also really fun. The photo of the Lazy Lane reminds me a lot of what a lot of Key West looked like back in 1984--before things got so gentrified. And the pic of the boat at the seaport is just icing on the cake.

I had a major downer about Key West after Hurricane Wilma. I never thought things would be the same. The damage to homes and businesses was not all that bad, but our beautiful little island got a big black eye. So many of the trees and the greenery was mangled and tortured by the winds and rains. The salt water killed off a lot more greenery weeks later.

But the rains eventually returned a few months later and the island started to nurse itself back into shape. Today the island is a green as ever. There are areas of green vegetation that were not green before. "Volunteer" plants and trees sprang up everywhere. Everywhere! And even though Florida is under a drought, when we do get rain all of the plants and trees go crazy. And the little birds bathe themselves in the streets. So many of our trees have flowers--many that are really fragrant. It is just a joy to walk or ride a bike to enjoy our little home town.

If you are thinking about buying a second home in Key West please CLICK HERE. You can preview every home, condo, or commercial property for sale in Key West and the Florida Keys. And if you see some property that you like, please call me at 1-305-766-2642. I would be glad to help you find your little place in Paradise.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.