“Pic of the Week”, April 3, 2020: Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Key West

Key West, Florida (500)

Sloppy Joe’s Bar is located on Key West’s main business street, Duval Street.  The bar opened in 1933, the day prohibition ended.  It was to move locations and have a name change or two before it ended up being at its current site in Key West.  The name finally chosen was borrowed from the original Sloppy Joe’s bar in Havana, Cuba, although today the name has really stuck to the Key West location.

Local legend has it that Joe Russell, the original owner, was a friend of author Ernest Hemingway who lived in Key West at that time, and that Joe provided Mr. Hemingway with some illegal hooch during prohibition. It seems likely that Hemingway would have visited the bar when …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 28, 2020: The Hurricane Monument, Florida Keys

01 Hurricane monument

A quick stop worth your time when driving along the Overseas Highway (Highway 1) is to see the Hurricane Monument in the small island town of Islamorada, at mile marker 81.5.

The monument commemorates the more than 400 people killed in the severe hurricane which swept through the area on September 2, 1935.  The number of deceased is an estimate as an exactly count was not possible as many bodies had been washed out to sea.  Many of the perished were World War I veterans who had been working on the construction of the Overseas Highway as part of a Great Depression work project.

The Hurricane that hit the island was a Category Five storm and one of the strongest hurricanes ever …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Some Signs from Key West

03 Signs of Key West

It’s often said of cities people visit that there’s no other place quite like it.  Well, that’s definitely true of Key West, the most southern point in Florida.

Many cities have unique qualities — Vancouver BC and it’s beautiful harbor, New Orleans with its fascinating French Quarter, San Francisco and its Golden Gate — you get the idea.

I’ve often visited Florida, but this past trip marked my first visit to Key West.  I was delighted with what I found.  It’s an eclectic mix of history, the sea, grown up hippies, people who respect the military, partying, and a positive attitude about life.  The place is a lot of fun!

Regular readers of this website know that I like to collect photos of the …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A Few Photos of Life in the Everglades

07 Shark Valley 12-2018 (47)

The slowly flowing, warm, River of Grass is teaming with life, although at times it’s hard to see it.  A recommended place to spot wildlife within Everglades National Park is in Shark Valley.  There is a lengthy elevated bike path in the area, which is shared by a tram.  You can rent a bike and cycle around, stopping to see the alligators and birds, or you can sit back in the tram and let a biologist/guide educate you about what you’re seeing.  Both options are very rewarding.  There is no better place to immerse yourself in this UNESCO World Heritage ecosystem.

We visited Shark Valley a few months ago and had a wonderful experience.  I previously published a …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 27, 2019: Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale 12-2018 (13)

A few scenes of a nice warm day at the beach, on what for many of us is a cold winter’s day.  Generally about 80F in Fort Lauderdale today — and 20F in Calgary.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

 

 

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.All Trips / Florida / North America

(Still Another) Gallery of Gators

Shark Valley 12-2018 (104)

Several years ago I did a blog post on alligators, which featured photos of some fine specimens I’d encountered in the Everglades, as well as a brief discussion of their life history.  I’ve not a lot to add to that, but I did learn something interesting during my recent trip to the River of Grass.  Alligator mothers protect their young hatchlings for up to 2 years.  I had no idea that the maternal instinct was so strong in these reptiles.  It makes sense for the survival of the species, because baby alligators are at the bottom of the food chain.  The photo of a mother and her hatchlings below prove it.

Mother and baby alligators, Shark Valley

Mother and baby alligators, Shark Valley

You won’t see alligators at every stop in the Everglades, but …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A Moving Visit to the Holocaust Memorial of Miami Beach

06 Miami Holocost Memorial (19)

As with most visits to sites dedicated to remembrance of willfully destroyed human lives, a stop at the Miami Beach Holocaust memorial will likely leave you somewhat moved, disturbed and drained.  I guess that’s the point of it.  For example, my first reaction when I saw the memorial’s  imposing arm reaching up to the sky was that it was a sign of defiance and victory — the spirit of the Jewish people couldn’t be defeated by the Nazis.  Instead, I was saddened to learn the arm was symbolic of millions of tattooed arms that were grasping for help in their despair as they were dying, and there was no relief to be found.

It may seem a little odd that there …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 8, 2019: Hiding in plain sight, Everglades National Park

Shark Valley 12-2018 (173)

My brother and I were traveling down a remote road in Everglades National Park one evening.  We’d stopped frequently to enjoy views and take photos of the River of Grass and Cypress groves.  During our last stop, in the fading light, we noted this alligator nearby, well camouflaged by the low light and reflections of the cypress trees.  There was something primitive and primal about the scene that caused the hair on my neck to stand on end.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

 

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