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Monday, March 10, 2008

Snow Place Like Home





When the weather up north makes the evening news I always thank God I moved to Key West. The snowstorm and tornadoes that hit the Midwest last week were devastating, and I make no joke about that.

I lived in Colorado for all of my life until I moved to Key West in December 1993. I remember many times when the thermometer hit 20 below zero and I would have to get up a couple of times during the night to start the car just to make sure it would start the next morning. I had a huge front sidewalk that I got to shovel. The heavy Denver snowstorms started to take their toll on me.

It started snowing like hell the afternoon before I left Denver to head to New York City in passage to Key West. (I had to be somewhere while my furniture was in transit to the Keys.) New York City was just as cold as Denver, but there wasn't any snow.

Three days after I left Denver and three days before Christmas I arrived in Key West. It was like 80 degrees and sunny. You know you're here when you get off the plane and walk into the humidity. Even if it isn't humid, the air smells different. And if you have ever been to Key West before you immediately feel "I'm back!" And you thank the Lord for Key West.

Key West has changed in the past 15 years, mostly for the better. Things have certainly got more expensive. Of course real estate has gone up, gone down, and gone sideways. The cost of rental housing has just gone up. The cost of a beer in the bars on Duval has zoomed way out of proportion. The cheap meals at Wendy's do not exist in Key West. But the cheap meals at TGI Fridays do exist. Gas costs way more here than it should, but the gas companies get away with it because they can. I hardly ever go shopping because stuff doesn't matter any more. I have what I need. Besides shopping at Ross isn't exactly like going to Bloomingdales or Macys. Heck, we don't even have Target or a GAP.

But in spite of the high prices and lack of shopping, life in Key West is much simpler and easier than it was up north. And when the need arises I can always get in a car or take an airplane back to reality.

And that reminds me that almost every night there is some story about some horrible event or odd thing that occurred somewhere in Florida. Thank God Key West is not part of Florida. Our weather is different than the weather in Miami. Our people are most certainly different. We don't have home invasions and murders at convenience stores. Most people don't lock their doors. Really.

My only regret about moving to Key West is that it took me so long to do it. So those of you coping with the bad weather up north just remember there's snow place like home. Want to move here, call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. CLICK HERE to checkout these single family homes in or near Old Town for under $699,000.

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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.