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Key West
Old 01-21-2008, 09:27 AM   #1
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Key West

DW and I are going to Key West for a couple of weeks next month. We are taking our dogs and stopping in Savannah on the way down and possibly the way back. Any suggestions for must see/do activities in Key West? Any must stop locations on the way back to DC? (The trip down is planned, the trip back isn't.)

Also, we are taking bikes since Key West is ideal for biking rather than driving. We would like to do some longer rides while we are there if possible. Does anyone know whether Rt 1 between the Keys has a bike path or do you have to ride on the road?
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:45 AM   #2
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In Key West...the sunset at Mallory Square. Get there plenty early to watch the entertainment.....lots of performers wandering around. You might like to take the Conch Train to get a narrated tour of the area, and see the highlights.....then you can go back and explore anything that you found interesting. We only had one day there, so we did the above mentioned things, and would have liked to have had a lot more time to explore. It's an interesting place. Oh, and get your picture taken at the marker for the "Southernmost Point in the United States".

Enjoy your trip!!!
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:02 AM   #3
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On feb 7 there is a planned space shuttle launch,a memorable event if you catch it.NASA - NASA's Shuttle and Rocket Missions
My favorite viewing spot is on the causeway leading out to the cape on the northern side of Titusville.
Key West is a small town with parking problems so make sure your motel/hotel comes with parking.Couple of tiny beaches,a few tourist places,lots of bars and restaurants and boutiques. Chickens and cats roam free in abundance so walking your dogs might get a tad exciting,snorkeling,fishing and various local cruises abound.
For me Key West is all about the drive there rather than the actual destination which can be a bit of a bore after a few days.
On our way back from our trip to Florida over Xmas we stopped in Charleston SC and my wife and i loved the old style flavor of the city,might be worth a Google look,i really enjoyed our visit to Patriots Point Naval Museum Patriots Point - Tour Exhibits
Thats my $0.02
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:00 AM   #4
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What Goonie said. You might want to take in one of the parks on the other keys (Marathon, I think) while you're at it. LG4NB is a south Florida resident and may know more.

Let me know if your plans take you to my region. We have some travel planned but maybe a quick dinner will work.
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:21 PM   #5
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Also, we are taking bikes since Key West is ideal for biking rather than driving. We would like to do some longer rides while we are there if possible. Does anyone know whether Rt 1 between the Keys has a bike path or do you have to ride on the road?
Most of the time you will be riding on a marked shoulder on H1, although there are
a few bike paths on some of the islands. H1 is heavily travelled, but is considered
wide enough for safe cycling. It is a popular route for bike tours, both organized
and individuals. Googling "Florida Keys bicycle tour" will return a number of personal
accounts of cycling this route, along with organized tours.
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:09 PM   #6
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There are a couple of places you might like to visit (or not) on your way to or from Key West. The Kennedy Space Center is pretty neat. There are all sorts of exhibits and displays, and tours, as well as films, interactive things, rockets, missiles, a lunar module, one of the 'moon buggies', a Apollo Rocket "suspended" horizontally over your head in one of the buildings.......all kinds of neat stuff! You can easily spend a half a day there...or more! They even have some of the former astronauts giving talks and photo ops. We met one while were there a few years ago, though his name evades me at the moment.

Another thing you can do just to say you've done it, is take a drive on the beach in Daytona. It cost 3 or 4 bucks for a permit. You can drive the beach from International Speedway Boulevard, south to Amelia Ave. and north from Seabreeze Blvd. to Granada Blvd.

If you do go to Daytona Beach, take a ride down to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse, and they have a few restored buildings and a museum. After your climb at the lighthouse, take a break for a nice lunch or dinner at the Inlet Harbor Marina! Excellent food.....Reasonable prices!

There's also Bruce Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona at US 1 and I-95......Harley heaven. He has a HUGE H-D dealership, restaurants, bars, shops, hotel, etc.....the whole deal. I haven't made it there yet, although I've been past it several times......but plan on going next month while I'm down there.
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:31 AM   #7
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The dogs might be a draw back to many attractions as they wont be permitted,i also wouldnt bicycle on any bike path that is adjacent to traffic as the dogs may bolt into traffic,as for dogs and restaurants not sure they are allowed,and you have booked your stay in a pet friendly hotel? .
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:28 AM   #8
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Thanks Goonie, I may give Daytona a look on the way by. I am too spoiled to go back to the Cape. I got the best trip possible to see a launch at NASA when I was with the Government. My nephew was Chief of Staff at NASA and I got the privilege to fly down on a NASA jet with the Administrator, the mission scientist, and some staff. The big jet got diverted to California and we flew back on one of these little things:
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Old 01-22-2008, 12:10 PM   #9
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Thanks Goonie, I may give Daytona a look on the way by. I am too spoiled to go back to the Cape. I got the best trip possible to see a launch at NASA when I was with the Government. My nephew was Chief of Staff at NASA and I got the privilege to fly down on a NASA jet with the Administrator, the mission scientist, and some staff. The big jet got diverted to California and we flew back on one of these little things:
COOL!!!
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Old 01-22-2008, 12:58 PM   #10
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don give me a call when in area for lunch, dinner or biking around lauderdale. or i can pop bike on hitch and meet you someplace. private if you don't have my number.

my last time biking around key west i found some nice spots.

the boat basin here http://tinyurl.com/28o6ud has connecting walkways going around the perimeter. if i recall there were some restaurants there too. you could ride most of it but i'd probably walk the bikes with the dog there. at one point you'll come across some wonderfully restored schooners

i'm not sure because the island is set on a tilt and so i'm always a bit disoriented there (i swear that's the only reason), but here Google Maps by the truman annex you'll find some really wonderfully restored & what must be very expensive homes. grand scale gingerbread. just lovely. at least that is where i think it is. if not i'm sure you'll find something interesting at least.

and of course there is always my very favorite little ride here Google Maps though i don't know if dogs are allowed in the cemetery.

you can circumnavigate the island Google Maps, though i they might still be working on south roosevelt which would be a drag. last i saw areas there still had sidewalks but in some areas they were all torn up. don't know condition of it today. you could take flagler up i suppose though the houses are not as interesting as in the older section of town and then you miss riding along the water. either way it would be too much of a trip for the dogs.

you can ride the seven mile bridge Google Maps but i also would not do that with dogs. frankly, though it probably would be a great ride, drivers are so distracted by the scenery that i don't know how safe that might be.

according to the florida dog lover's companion, by sally deneen & robert mcclure, foghorn press, 1996 (keep that date in mind for following info), your key west dog friendly parks are bernstein park at mile marker 5 on stock island 305.292.4560; bayview park south on duval to truman, turn left (east) go one mile to jose marti drive 305.292.8155; and, duh, dog beach at waddell & vernon aves, south of south st same phone. also dog accessible are fort zachary taylor state historic site and higgs beach on s roosevelt west of reynolds but they only get a one paw rating.

dog friendly restaurants: (probably anything outdoors) blue heaven, bo's fish wagon, gato gordo cafe, loui's afterdeck , pepe's bar & schooner wharf (this looks like the one i was thinking of earlier).

doggie places to stay: casa alante, casa tropical, cetner court historic inn, chelsea house, courtney's place, cuban club suites, curry mansion, hampton inn, incentra carriage house, mahogany house, merlinn guest house, old customs house, ramada inn, travelers palm garden cottages, whisper b&b & william house.

dog friendly beaches on the way: (lower keys) bay point park at mile marker 15; boca chica beach (four paw rating) old boca chic rd mm 10.8 11 miles n of key west. turn right at the circle k convenience store 305.292.4560; (middle keys) coco plub beach mm 54 turn south on coco plum dr same phone number; long key state rec area mm 67.5; (upper keys) ann's beach mm 73.8; beach (hows that for a clever name for a beach) mm 76; john pennekamp coral reef state park mm 102.5 on key largo.

there is some really nice biking in the everglades but i would not bring your dogs there unless you plan to serve them for lunch. another really cool place and relatively safe from gators if you keep the poochies under control would be ontop the levee around lake okeechobee Google Maps in south central florida. not bad if not hot as there is zero shade up there but wonderful views. you would need lots of water for yourselves and the dogs.

if you get over to doc's coast of florida there is the Pinellas Trail which i intend to ride someday myself.

let me know if you have specific locations in florida if you want me to reference the dog book. i have the chewed up edition.
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:21 PM   #11
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Thanks for all that info Lazy. It looks like Key West is dog friendly. That is nice to know.
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:46 PM   #12
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Here is where we stayed in Key West About Cypress House and Cypress House Suites, Key West, Florida.
Quick walk to everything ,had a parking garage nearby ,happy hour went on forever and the owners were a hoot . I would definetely do a B&B in Key West .
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Old 01-22-2008, 04:55 PM   #13
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Great resource research lazygood4nothinbum
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:48 PM   #14
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Some of our recommendations from earlier Jan family trip to Key West:

Liesurely bike riding around town, particualrly Old Town and Truman Annex, best earlier in morning before traffic comes out. Chickens still wandering around, service guys out, very pleasant tooling around to look at older houses in old town and newer upscale stuff in Truman annex. Wonderful tropical landscaping.

Fort Zachary Taylor park beach. Very nice beach as Keys beaches go. Decent facilities. Good water for swiming. Drops off quickly so no sea grass, etc. Supposedly can snorkel from shore around the rocks there but water was unusually cloudly when we were there due to off shore conditions (or so we were told). $1.50 park admission for bikers and walkers. I liked it much better than Smathers. Not sure about dog rules in the park.

Restaurants: We liked Sarabeths - one block east of Duvall, I think at Southard St. (but I'm not absolutely sure of cross street). right on the corner so easy to find. good food, good service, welcoming host and pleasant garden atmosphere if you choose to eat outside. We've been there for lunch and dinner and both were good. Also Mangoes on Duvall (family said it was their favorite - only did dinner there). We also liked a sushi place in sort of an outdoor mini-mall area on east side of Duvall toward the southern end - forget the name but it was a pretty easy going place if you don't want make a big deal out of dinner.

I thought Publix on north east side of island was best for groceries and produce if you'll be cooking in at all.

Mallory square sunset celebration is fun since you gotta do it while you're there. Tip the street performers you like. It's nice that they're there. My fave was the crusty old guy with one man band contraption doing an acoustic rendition of Born to be Wild. Sort of a side act but can't say I've ever seen anything like him before.

There's a pier like thing you can walk out on on the south (ocean) side near casa marina and nearby park. It's a good place to watch sunrise if you're an early riser.

We did the Pennycamp snorkel boat outing last year (from Key Largo) and that was pretty good. Boats also go out from Key West and Bahia Honda state park (not too far up from key west), but haven't done either of those. I'm told the reef is different in the lower Keys (compared with up by Pennekamp) so someday I hope to do that. Just didn't work out this last time.

I wouldn't recommend the Custom House art museum. Not much there when we visited.

Have fun.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:57 AM   #15
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We are back and it was a great trip. The dogs traveled well and both Savannah and Key West were very dog friendly. Biking was also OK - not for long, high speed excursions but fine for clunking around town or gently cruising along the water on the Atlantic side of Key West. Restaurants and quirky residents were great. Here are a few mandatory pics:

The Mercer/Williams House in Savannah (Midnight in the Garden of Good an Evil) about a block from where we stayed:



The little side cottage at Courtney's Place where we stayed in Key West:



The beach where we spent a few afternoons. Note the kites TargaDave:

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Old 03-08-2008, 11:28 AM   #16
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Great thread!

DW has been asking to go to see Key West for some time. We are thinking, maybe next winter.

Cheers,

Gypsy
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:22 PM   #17
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We are back and it was a great trip.
Glad you had a good trip! Thanks for sharing the pix!
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:42 AM   #18
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Great pictures . Was Savannah interesting ?
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