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Monday, September 17, 2012

Key West: The Opposite of Ohio

It was at the Key West Literary Seminar that poet Mark Doty said that, although “he was never actually here,” Hart Crane “loved Key West.” He loved Key West because it was, by all reports, the opposite of Ohio.*

 I watched HGTV's Urban Oasis giveaway on Friday night. I have to admit I got sucked in for a few minutes by the sleek lines of the Paramount Bay high rise condo.  I mused about winning the $900,000 condo and then thought to myself "Self, if you win, you will have to pay income tax on that thing. Do you really want to own a condo in Miami-a town where people are shot and killed daily for no reason? A place where most people don't speak English and have a culture that is alien to you? Do you really want to live up in the sky?" I admit that I filled out the online registration. I figured if I won I could sell the condo and make a few bucks because I really, truly would never want to live in Miami just as much as I would not want to live in Ohio.  

If you live in Ohio, please don't be offended. A lot of nice people live there. I sold houses to two different Ohio couples in the past couple of years.  They area really nice people who really didn't like living in Ohio in the winter when it was so cold and miserable. And they didn't like Ohio much more in the summer when it is so muggy. No, they dreamed of owning a little house in Key West where they could live a much easier environment in so many ways. One young couple bought a house I wrote about in my blog. They are raising their two little girls in a charming house in a quiet Key West neighborhood. I saw the mom and the two girls in their stroller on Sunday morning as I was taking photos for my blog. I asked how things are going, and she responded "I'll never leave Key West!" The other couple is older and don't have children. They bought a house maybe four blocks away from the first couple. A couple of months ago I saw them driving their Key West convertible with the top down.  They were in the turn lane at White and Truman. I asked how they were doing and they said something like "loving life". 

A couple from the northeast decided to buy a big lot in the Casa Marina area and build their dream home from scratch.  They hired a noted Key West architect, an accomplished landscape architect, and  very competent builder to turn their vision into reality.  The photos below show the view from their master bedroom and the new pool and gardens which are a dramatic alternative the HGTV Urban Oasis.  

My buyers could have bought a place in Miami and got a view similar to the one that some viewer will win in the HGTV Urban Oasis giveaway.  They chose the opposite of highrise living in a big city. I'll bet Hart Crane would agree with their decision.

If you have been dreaming of buying a place in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

ABOUT THE BEATS   Read this most interesting account of Hart Crane by Mark Howell of Key West.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gary,

Look forward to reading your blog every single day! So glad you throw in cool stories like this from time to time. Lately, I'm sure you've had to do so as the lack of new, exciting places coming up for sale have been few and far between. My wife and I are also a younger couple and purchased our first home there last year. We spent time fixing it up and some time enjoying it. The plan was to sell it and make some quick cash and do the same with another home there. However, it's looking more and more like it might be a better investment to hold it for a while longer and see what happens in this upcoming selling season. Also we are worried that nothing else "priced right" would become available anytime soon. Looks like it's turing into a sellers market in our little town. I'm not sure if prices will ever return to what they were prior to 2008, but if they can do that anywhere my money is that Key West would be one of the first places that happens. If you have a crystal ball your hiding somewhere down there please let your fans know what it's saying about the future:-)

Anonymous said...

I live in England, UK and read this blog often. I have visited a couple of times and would love to live there one day :)

Anonymous said...

As a lifetime Ohioan, you couldn't be more right. My wife and I work hard, save and dream of the day we can have our little eyebrow or cigar maker's cottage in old town (preferably near the bakery!).

We count the days between our semi-annual trips - only 16 days left to a hogfish sandwich!!!

Gary - thank you so much for your time and effort you give to this blog. I look forward to it everyday, even of the mls is a bit slow. And as most Ohioans love to say, especially this time of the year, GO BUCKS!!

Gary Thomas said...

Thanks for your kind comments, all.

Yes our market is very slow. The number of listings is down, the town is half-empty right now. A lot of people from my office are out of state or country on vacation. I'm where I want to be although I wouldn't mind being in Italy. It's near truffle season there.

So may know that I repost my blog on which has a lot of realtors and buyers who watch blogs. I got several comments from other realtors yesterday who thought I trashed Miami. That was not my point. People make choices in life as to where they want to live and who they want to work for, marry, have kids with, etc. I have walked away from a couple of jobs and a couple of relationships. I made a decision where I want to spend my life. It is not Miami, for sure. It's not in some high rise in the sky or in some place filled with people who think they are better than everyone else (like those BRAVO-lebrities who live in New Jersey. Orange County, Beverly Hiils, New York City, Atlanta, and now Miami). Key West is an open and welcoming place where we all tend to get along quite well. Most people here mind their own business and let others live their lives the way they want. There are self-important people everywhere. We do have some that live here. We tend to make fun of them. But we don't have highrises, super highways, or crime to speak of.


Anonymous said...

Look you don't have to live in Miami or anywhere to have English as a second language in the US (think the entire Southwest) or risk being shot (lets not talk about Key West and their recent crime rate - yes, Green Parrot bashing, Fantasy Fest shooting, etc.). Key West is far from perfect when it comes to both crime and language skills. Please don't make Key West to seem more than it really is - a laid back somewhat remote town that has seen better days (before you arrived) and will continue to be a tourist destination for a long time. It isn't Miami and never pretented to be. I've lived here my entire life and I know of which I speak. Signed an old Conch - far from perfect but stranger than most.


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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.