Personal-Everyday ChaosTravel

key west | travel photography

By March 16, 2013 4 Comments

So, I realize there are a LOT of photos in this post, but I have so many other things to share, I wanted to squeeze them into one post. Needless to say, we love to travel, and although the Key’s are part of the United States, I can’t help but feel that we were in a whole other country while we were there. Island life is so different and laid back than we are used to here in Southwestern, PA…..and going this time of the year when the skies are gray back home compared to the sun shining….I got just the vitamin D I needed. We arrived in Key West, a few days before the wedding and we spent that time both getting to meet Sandra + Troy’s family but also going out to explore. We were invited along on the Sunset Cruise one evening to sample wine and cheeses and to watch the sunset-hence the name. And although it WAS a work trip……we splurged a little as if we were on vacation….and it was so worth it. Gorgeous sights, sea breezes and sunshine….it makes me want to pick up my business and start over on an island. No I’m not kidding…..we may or may not have looked into some real-estate while we were down there-just sayin.

A lot of these photos were taken on the day we arrived. I always like to take my camera with me on the first day so that I can see everything with fresh eyes. After you’ve been there a day or two, you start not to notice things so much. Besides, my camera is like my 3rd arm, so it always travels with me. 🙂

It’s a face made out of sea sponges… you see it! tee he he!

I love old world charm.

WE loved this little area. #1 because it’s called “Mallory’s Square” and that’s my daughter’s name but #2 because it was set up with vendors selling little trinkets and souvenirs…. and #3, the colors were pretty! haha!

There is no shortage of shopping in Key West. Litterally every corner you turn, you can buy sun dresses, tank tops, flip flops and everything else you can image. They often convert old buildings into these little shops….

A cool little piece of history about “Mallory Square”. It’s world famous for the Key West Sunset Celebration. You can read about it in the link, but rumor has it that this is the very spot that the idea was thought up for Cirque du Soleil. Pretty cool-huh!

Why did the chicken cross the road? To go shopping…..duh!!!! These little guys were everywhere……..

We waited for the rest of our group to arrive and I was so excited. We were invited to go on the Sunset Cruise to sip wine and eat cheese……….WHAT WHAT! It was so much fun and I got to meet a lot of Sandra’s family and friends….they’re all just as crazy as my own family! <3

I saved ALLLLL my carbs for this!! It was so worth it! <3

Sandra, the Bride and I!

Sandra actually took these pix for us. She said it was time we got on the other side of the camera for once!

IT started to get a bit chilly towards the end of the cruise…..but as the sun started to set…….I think we all forgot about the chill!

I’ve decided….I could TOTALLY live on a house boat!

After the boat docked, we went out on the town and checked out a few of the local places. It’s a whole other place when the sun goes down!

The next morning, we slept in and then went out exploring again. During breakfast one of the locals was telling us that we could walk from the Gulf of Mexico (which is where we were eating) to the Atlantic Ocean. It was only a couple of miles and so we did…..just so we can say we did. Kind of like the time, I stood in two different states and two different time zones at the same time at the Hoover Damn…..just so I could say I did!

On our journey across the Island, we met up with some pretty cool characters! tee he he

I love exploring new areas. You know when you’re a photographer when you walk by something and try to think how you could use it in portrait session! haha! It’s a sickness I tell ya!

We finally made it to the other side of the Island and we sat at one of the beaches and just enjoyed the sunshine before exploring what was around.

Our next stop was the Southern Most Point of the Continental United States…..I’d say that this house some pretty awesome bragging rights!

90 Miles to Cuba!

On our walk BACK to the Gulf, we stopped for a beer or two to check out some of the local bars…..and to listen to a few tunes.

Isn’t it funny that Cuba is only 90 miles but Miami is 129 miles! I love all the tropical colors.

This awesome man was fishing. And we found ourselves having a little chat with him, mostly questions about himself and what he was doing. He told us about his fishing rod, which he found. We showed him some new fishing rod reviews, but he told us he loved the one he had, it had been with him for a long time. We found out after chatting with him for a little while, that he was actually homeless and that he fishes every day to help feed some of the other local homeless men and women in the area. He said, he’d rather be homeless in Key West than in debt with a mortgage in the main land. I gotta say…..I can totally see his point of view. He might be homeless…but is FREE. We really enjoyed our little chat with him. If we had more time we would definitely have booked a place on one of the FKF Fishing Charters, as we love being out on the water.

ohh….and this guy…well he was eavesdropping! haha!

More little nooks and crannies on the side streets. I love the character of all of these places.

If you know us in “real life”, you know that Greg is a HUGE fan on old cars/trucks. He has been purchasing pre-1960 vehicles and fixing them up-kinda like Gas Monkey (if you’ve ever seen that show) and although this one is in a little bit of rough shape…I think he got really excited when he saw it in the distance. So of COURSE, we had to stop in for a drink to check out the place and chat with the owners.

Turns out…the inside was just as awesome. Old license plates from all over, washed up boat memorabilia and awesome signs.

This is what I want my pool house to look and feel like!

That evening, I took a shot of what our resort looked like at night. We stayed at The Pier House…..and it was gorgeous! It even had it’s own little beach!

Back out after the sun went down! This time we were on our way to do a “Ghost Tour”. I didn’t know the history of Key West before I visited……but during the tour, we learned a ton of awesome info. For example, did you know, in pre-columbian times, Key West was inhabited by the Calusa people. The first European to visit was Juan Ponce de León in 1521. As Florida became a Spanish territory, a fishing and salvage village with a small garrison was established there.

Cayo Hueso is the original Spanish name for the island of Key West. Spanish-speaking people today also use the term Cayo Hueso when referring to Key West. It literally means “bone key”. It is said that the island was littered with the remains (bones) of prior native inhabitants, who used the isle as a communal graveyard or that the island was the westernmost Key with a reliable supply of water.

Our guide took us around to different areas of the island to show us the places and to tell us stories behind their hauntings. If you’re not into that kind of thing, this tour probably wouldn’t be for you….but I’m fascinated. The story that stuck out the most-and probably because I have seen it referenced on the History Channel, was that of “Robert” the doll. We visited the museum where this doll is located the next day, and you can see those images at the end of this post….it was really cool. And if you know the story…..yes, I did ask his permission (more on that later)

Our guide gets out the Dowsing Rods. Now trust me, I am not a “ghost hunter” and I realize that these have no plausible hypothesis suggeting that they might be an actual phenomenon….but they were really cool none the less. ……

SO…..I gave them a try and could NOT get them to stay in the middle. Mine kept going out the sides…what it means, I have NO CLUE, but everyone else’s were in the middle. So I like to think I’m different! haha!

After our tour…..we stopped at the World’s Smallest Bar……seriously, can you see it! Freakin Hilarious!

On the last day, we decided to rent an electric vehicle to see parts of the island that we didn’t have the time to walk to. Our flight was leaving later that day and we wanted to squeeze in everything we possible could before boarding the plan. Greg….the man who fixes old cars and knows his way around a garage (thankfully for me, b/c I never have to pay for oil changes, etc.) couldn’t figure out how to turn off the wiper blades. It was hilarious! haha!

With our Map in hand, we were off to explore the light house, Hemmingway’s house, the Cemetary that they referenced to why it was called “Bone Island” and a few of the beaches that were on the other side.

We finally made it to the cemetery…….and I don’t care who you are…..THIS is funny!!! haha

And our last stop….the East Martello Museum which was built in 1862 and houses Robert the doll.

There’s something awesome about being in a building with such historical significance. It’s a Civil War?era brick fort.

This is Robert! He’s over 100 years old. The Story goes a a little something like this……..Eugene was given the doll in 1906 by an Bahamian servant who, according to legend, was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Soon afterward, it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll. Eugene’s parents said they often heard him talking to the doll and that the doll appeared to be talking back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they later believed that the doll was actually speaking.

Neighbors claimed to see the doll moving from window to window when the family was out. The Otto family swore that sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle and that they caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Eugene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room, they would find furniture knocked over and Eugene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that “Robert did it!”. In addition, guests swore that they saw Robert’s expression change before their eyes.

When Eugene died in 1974, the doll was left in the attic until the house was bought again. The new family included a ten-year old girl, who became Robert’s new owner. It was not long before the girl began screaming out in the night, claiming that Robert moved about the room and even attempted to attack her on multiple occasions. More than thirty years later, she still tells interviewers that the doll was alive and wanted to kill her.

Robert is now in the Museum located next to the airport. After going on the tour, we thought it would be neat to see it in person. But we were told….we had to ask his permission first before snapping a photo, we weren’t aloud to mock him/make fun of him ..or he’d put a curse on us. There are letters from previous visitors on the wall apologizing for not asking for permission and asking him to remove the curse/bad luck that they encountered after visiting.

Soooo…just to be on the safe side…we asked his permission. Yes, I talked to a doll! tee he he!

That’s it folks……Key West in one jammed pack image blog!


  • Dee Boyle says:

    I have lived in Florida for almost 30 years and I have never been to Key West. Sad, I know. I will get there! 🙂 I LOVED seeing it through your lens and look forward to the days I get to see it in person. 😀

  • Jen McKen says:

    I went ghost hunting……well, among a million other things! BOO!

  • Cherie Larimer Livolsi says:

    Oh my goodness! So much I want to ask about! Hey wait! I see Cuba! Hemminway’s house? So cool! What beautiful colors! And, you even make the back of the stop sign, covered in stickers, look like a beautiful piece of art! Ok, the doll thing freaks me out a bit! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Cherie Larimer Livolsi says:

    Oh… The dollar bills. You’ve gotta tell me about that. And the door knobs. I love the door handles/knobs. Ever been to Williamsburg, VA. It’s so beautiful there. The doors reminded me of Wlmbg.

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