“Pic of the Week”, April 30, 2021: Green Heron, Everglades National Park

00 Green Heron, Everglades

We spotted this pretty bird while hiking on a boardwalk in the Everglades. We almost passed by because it was absolutely motionless, watching for small fish in the shallow waters. A few seconds later its head darted below the surface of the water quicker than you could follow it, and it emerged with a small minnow, which it swallowed whole.
I’d never seen a green heron this close before and did a little research later. The bird is small for an heron (less than a half meter — about a foot and a half — long). Their range is quite extensive in North and Central America. They are characterized by a greenish-black cap and a greenish back. The bill is long, …

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A Visit to Florida’s Butterfly World

01 Butterfly World, Florida (1)

Situated in Coconut Creek, part of the greater Fort Lauderdale area, is the world’s largest butterfly park. If you have any interest in seeing large numbers of butterflies flitting about, this place should be on your list of destinations to visit when in Southern Florida.
Butterfly World is a large complex of connecting building and gardens, covering ten acres. It’s home to over 80 species and from 3,000 to 20,000 live butterflies from around the globe. As most butterflies are short lived (about a week in the wild, two weeks in captivity), a considerable effort is required to support their reproduction and repopulation. Butterfly World prides itself in having created conditions in which butterflies thrive.

Butterfly World, Florida

Butterfly World, Florida

Butterfly World is the product of the …

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The Unique Coral Castle, Florida

Coral Castle, Florida

I’ve seen a lot of strange places during my travels, and the Coral Castle — not far from Miami — certainly qualifies as strange.  Still, in its own way, it is beautiful and tells the tale of a man’s desire to create something unique. 
The Coral Castle was entirely constructed and carved by a single man, Edward Leedskalnin.  Ed was an immigrant from Latvia who migrated to the USA almost a hundred years ago.  A slight man, weighing only 100 pounds in a 5 foot tall frame, Ed was heart-broken.  He loved a 16 year old girl in Latvia and was set to marry her when she rejected him a day before the wedding.   Ed decided to emigrate to America …

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A Visit to Ernest Hemingway Home, Key West

00 Hemingway House, Key West

One of the most popular attractions in Old Key West is a stop at the Home and Museum of iconic author, Ernest Hemingway.  Hemingway was an adventurous man who lived in many places in his life including France, Spain, Cuba, Idaho and Florida.
The Hemingway home is lovely home and interesting to visit.  Hemingway only lived here from 1931 to 1939, although he retained ownership of it until he died.  Key West was Hemingway’s kind of town — eclectic, with lots of physical activity available to him in the form of deep-sea fishing (especially for marlin and tuna) and boxing, and good pubs for drinking and socializing.  Some of his most important works were written in Key West including “A Farewell …

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South of Broad, Charleston

03 Charleston South of Broad (8)

South of Broad is a novel by Pat Conroy, which I read years ago.  The book is set in Charleston, in the popular and historic part of the city situated south of Broad Street.  Like all of Conroy’s books it focuses on an interesting cast of characters, but the title of the book stuck with me.
The area south of Broad is located between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers and is a residential neighborhood filled with beautiful antebellum homes dating back as far as 1721.  The real estate of the neighborhood is pricy, it being unlikely you could purchase a home here for under a million dollars (repeated beatings by future hurricanes are thrown in for free).  It’s a charming area …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 25, 2020: Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Key West

Basilica of St. Mary’s, Key West 00

As we walked down Truman Avenue on our way to Duvall Street — around which you’ll find the main sites of interest in Key West — we came across this pretty church.  It’s the Basilica of St Mary Star of the Sea, one of the oldest parishes in Florida.
The first Catholic Church in Key West was constructed in 1851 and was dedicated as “Saint Mary Star of the Sea”.  That church was destroyed by fire in 1901.  Construction of the present church began in 1904 and was completed the following year.
The church is built directly onto the island’s coral limestone and is made of concrete blocks containing crushed limestone and sand.  It’s exterior design is considered “American Victorian”.  The church …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 21, 2020: Key West Memorial Sculpture Garden

Key West, Florida (446) – Copy

Late one afternoon while we were heading towards Mallory Square to enjoy Key West’s nightly celebration of the setting sun, my brother and I came upon this Memorial Sculpture Garden, which remembers and pays tribute to some of Key West’s most famous residents.
The Sculpture Garden opened in September 1997 and there are nicely made busts of 36 men and woman who lives impacted the history of Key West.  Most of these are of local people unknown to most of us, but there are several that are easily recognized.  These include Ernest Hemingway, President Harry S. Truman, and Tennessee Williams.
All of these busts were crafted by artist James Mastin.  The Sculpture Garden was privately funded (Friends of Mallory Square, Inc), and …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 12, 2020: Key West homes after dark

Key West, Florida (503)

We were walking the streets of Key West after dinner — a beautiful warm winter night — and I was impressed with how nicely lite many of the older homes were.  Admittedly it was December and this may have been something special for the Holidays, but I suspect it is part of the normal ambience of the city.
Yet another thing I enjoyed about our visit to Key West.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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