U.S.A.

Mile Marker 0: Ending or Beginning?

Sunset Trilogy


Key West / Uluwatu  / Cabo da Roca

Im here! The southernmost point of the continental america #southernmost #keywest

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Key West is located at the tip of the Florida Keys and the southernmost point of the Continental United States. The archipelago is a far-stretched coral cay (key) that is comprised of many small, low-elevated, and sandy islands. It is about a 4-hour drive away from the city of Miami. Compared to the rest of the country, or even Miami, Key West seems much more like part of the Caribbean. For an area of merely 13.6 km2, I was pleasantly surprised that the island has quite a lot to offer.

7-mile Bridge

I have heard about Key West for a long time, but I never really understood this place. My impression was it’s just a tourist town somewhere in the Florida. Until I had a week in Miami and I joined a day tour by myself, I found out the island has some pretty unique and iconic highlights.

My day started in the city of Miami in the early morning. I was picked up at the Conrad Miami by a big coach bus (which was about 30-minute late) and I didn’t expect it was such a big group. Every seat in the coach bus was filled. It was then a long way down to Key West through the famous 42 bridges (including the famed “Seven Mile Bridge”). For a day trip, we had about 6-7 hours on the island and there are optional activities visitors could do.

As for me, I decided to rent a bike and travel around the island. I enjoyed the Caribbean vibe with Caribbean-style street performers, boutique and designer stores, tropical sceneries, and outdoor cafes and restaurants. Notable attractions include Ernest Hemingway’s House, the Southernmost Point of the continental US (“90 miles to Cuba” monument), the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, the Mel Fisher Museum, the Light House Museum, USCGC Ingham Maritime Museum, Key West Art & Historical Society, or Mallory Square. In fact, it would be a joy just strolling along in the Duval Street. The Old Town of Key West is part of the National Historical District with a lot of old houses, and architecture. One of my favorites would be the Tropic Cinema, an Art-deco style cinema still in operation – the cinema even features 3D movies like Star Beyond, Ben Hur 2016, or Finding Dory.

Regal Cinema Key West 6

Instead of walking or biking, visitors could join a Hop-on Hop-off Trolley tour to journey through the major attractions on the island, or Conch Train tour to visit the Old Town Key West in a historical train tour that operates since 1958. Active visitors could choose some excursions at a small fee to optimize their experience. The beaches at Key West are not necessarily the best in South Florida; watersport lovers could still see living coral reef and marvel at the dramatic natural habitat in the South Florida, either snorkeling or riding a glass bottom boat. More, I saw daredevils parasailing in the sky and they enjoyed an incredible aerial view of Key West!

 Southernmost of Everything

As mentioned, Key West is the southernmost point of the continental U.S. and the city is proud of it. Therefore, it only makes sense to find a lot ‘southernmost’ places and objects on the island: The Southernmost Point (“90 miles to Cuba monument”), the Southernmost Guest House, the Southernmost Beach Café, the Southernmost Restaurant, the Southernmost Hotel, and the Southernmost trash bin!

 What’s with the Chicken?

There are over 80 bars and a vibrant nightlife on a small island, so Key West is not short of strange things. Yet, to make it more interesting, it’s common to see lots of chicken roaming freely on the streets in Key West as if they were on a farm. Sometimes the chicken would even get into fights on the sidewalks…

Key West ChickenWhy are there chicken in Key West? A long time ago, there was a law against killing birds in Key West because of various voodoo practices that took place on the island. As a result, the chicken was freed from captive and its population continued to grow through the years. The population of Chicken grew so big that the city had to hire chicken catchers to control the amount 10 years ago.

Lunch @ Key West Local Pink shrimp omelette + whole wheat. #sunny #eat #lunch #keywest #itwasactuallytoosunnyandabithotforme…

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Key Lime Pie

Key West Key Lime RepublicIn case you are wondering, Key West is the birthplace of key lime pie! A key lime pie is made of a mixture of key lime juice, egg yolks, and milk sticking on a pie crust. The texture is tender with an interesting blend of sweet and sour. I was told the Key West Key Lime Pie Co and Key Lime Pie Bakery has the best key lime pie in Key West. What do you think?

Here’s a tip: a genuine key lime pie should be white, not lime green – The green was only artificial coloring to make it looks key lime-y.

The US 1 Mile Marker 0

Key West Mile 1The US Route 1 (US 1 ) is a major north-south U.S. highway that stretches over 3,800 km on the east coast. The highway ends in Key West and the stop sign has been an icon to the island since the establishment in the 1920s. Interestingly, the end of the Mile 1 in Key West is connected to Mile Zero. Although it’s just a road sign, it presents a deep meaning to me: In life there are times we are stuck in a crossroad, or we thought it is a dead-end. I always do. There’s always an ending of something spectacular, yet, it marks the beginning of something new. Stay hopeful, be optimistic, be brave, and move forward!

The souvenir shop at the crossroad is awesome. I recommend the key lime mix which is a great summer drink at parties. There is a post office on the other side of the road too, how great it is to post out postcards at the southernmost point of the U.S.?Key West Mile 0

Key West Mile 0 (2)

The Southernmost Sunset at the Mallory Square

There’s no better way to end the day (before hopping back on the bus to Miami) than celebrating the amazing sunset at the Mallory Square – 90 miles away from Cuba, a completely different world.

Yes, it is a celebration with lots of other visitors and street performers. So enjoy the moment and atmosphere. In Key West, it’s okay to walk along the Duval Street with open bottles. Buy a drink and head to the square a little bit earlier as you watch sailboats and catamarans heading out to catch the sunset from the water.

 (Sunset at the Malecon, Havana)

20 thoughts on “Mile Marker 0: Ending or Beginning?

  1. Pingback: My Lisboa Encounters: The Kids (Got left behind) | Knycx Journeying

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  3. I visited Florida number of times, but never went that far down to the Keys. In my experience, farther south you go in Sunshine state better it gets (unless, of course, one comes to Florida to visit Disney Parks): wilder, back-to-nature sort of experience. I can only imagine how beautiful the Keys are. Renting a bike sounds like an excellent idea – my favorite way of seeing new places. I enjoyed reading about your experiences.

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    • I agree and I would prefer to see the nature and the beaches. Places like the Everglades National Park worth a visit, too. I will share about that later!! 😊

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  4. I didn’t realise that these were lots of little islands. I’ve heard about Key West but we didn’t get the chance to visit when we were in Miami, hopefully next time!

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  5. I thought Key west is just another American town until I saw it’s position on the map. Whoa, Until now, I have not even zoomed under Florida on a map! Key West seems to be a fictional town. Thanks for introducing Key West and for the beautiful photos. I loved your interpretation of US Route number 1. It is true. Sometimes we feel it is a dead end, but usually something wonderful begins at a dead end. All we need is the courage to move on!

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    • Thanks Salini, yes the island is unique and symbolic in many ways. 🙂 Sometimes spending time away (like a trip) could clear my head to move forward, too! 😛

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  6. I love Key West. I’ve visited twice so far and have had such a great time. Was the cat guy still at the sunset Festival? It’s been awhile since I’ve been there.

    This post makes me want to go back again!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t know that Key West was the home town of the key lime pie. I enjoy a good refreshing one in a hot summer day. I remember when I was in Cuba that people were saying it is only 90 miles from Florida, and that a few times people tried to divert local ferries to escape to America. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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