This past April I spent a long weekend down in Key West for my cousin’s wedding and I kind of fell for the place. That is surprising considering how skeptical I was of the whole thing beforehand…
I had actually been once before but somehow it had failed to make a great impression on me which is why when she first told me she had decided to throw her nuptials there, I was shocked. Why hold the most important day of your life in some wacky pirate, micronation that claims they are not even a part of America? For real. They seceded from the United States in 1982. Who does that? Though not recognized by any other country, they even have their own Conch Republic passports. Kind of like Transnistria but with palm trees and no Russian military support. Plus, the last time I was there it was on a New Year’s Eve and instead of watching a ball drop at midnight, I saw a tranny being hoisted down the side of a building in a ginormous high heel.
The more I thought about all these peculiarities though, the more I realized…duh! Why would you NOT have your wedding there? The place gets absolutely wild!
There is always a party to be had and with 150 of your closest friends and family occupying it at one time, it almost becomes like your own private island. Inject a few crazy local characters into the equation and you are sure to have one of the best times of your life. And we truly did. It was hands down the best wedding I have ever been to and I know everyone else in attendance felt the same exact way.
Key West is now one of my favorite places in the USA and I only wish I had been able to stay longer. It has a total island feel to it that no other place in the country (except Hawaii) has and its declaration as an independent nation leaves it with a kind of “anything goes” mentality. I mean, if one of the most popular bars in town is a clothing optional one, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.
I also enjoy towns where I can stroll around with a cocktail in my hand at any time of the day and Key West is one of those places. Technically it is not legal, but no one seems to mind as long as you are drinking it out of a plastic cup. The best place to grab a roadie is The Tree Bar on Duval Street, for sure. They supposedly have the best Bloody Marys in town but what impressed me was that all the juices they serve with their cocktails are fresh, like squeezed by hand as soon as you order it.
The architecture around these parts is what I like to call Colonial Caribbeanism and I found it incredibly pleasant just cruising the streets and looking at the mishmash of buildings.
The best example of this Colonial Carribeanism in my opinion is Ernest Hemmingway’s old home – one of the most popular tourist attractions in Key West and where the World’s Best Wedding actually took place. It’s also where all those 6-toed (polydactyls) cats live and so yes, I actually got to spend some quality time with them.
By the way, want to see Key West’s most popular tourist attraction? Don’t get too excited…
Like I said, the only thing that really bummed me out about the place was just the fact that I had to leave so soon. I have come to the conclusion that I need to go back and I have already begun scheming ways to make it happen. I think it would be so much fun to rent a house in Key West with a huge group of friends and just dominate the entire place once again. In my opinion, renting a timeshare is a much better deal than booking multiple hotel rooms when traveling with a larger group because it can end up being much cheaper AND you have an entire place all to yourselves. In fact, if having a vacation home suddenly became something that I was interested in doing, I’d totally jump on the timeshare bandwagon. Being able to switch up your location all the time seems like a perfect solution for a gypsy like me.
Final verdict from me is that Key West is awesome and a definite must-visit. I would have never said that before, but I didn’t realize how truly unique of a place it was. Beautiful beaches, 6-toed cats, lax open container laws, and clothing optional bars…what more could anyone really want?