Saturday, October 5, 2013

Art and life

Not much beats waking up to the tropical sounds of birds singing, palm fronds rustling in the breeze or the crash of waves on the beach as the morning sun starts to cook up some humidity. Except when you get all of that and the sounds of some smooth jazz, the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the realization that you are in Key West!

I’m not the first person to fall in love with the tiny island where the highway begins (or ends, depending on your point of view). Proof of this is the endless list of people who have called Key West home. From Jimmy Buffett to Ernest Hemingway, not to mention the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, Tennessee Williams and so many others.



Several U.S. Presidents have taken extended vacationed on the island including Harry Truman, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, JFK and Jimmy Carter.

Having said all of that, one thing about the island that attracts the rich and famous (and me) is the anonymity and equality that one feels while on-island. It doesn’t matter if you are worth millions or pennies, we all enjoy a drink and drink in the laid-back culture all the same.

If you get the opportunity to take the scenic rout to Key West, you should certainly soak in A1A from Key Largo and down. Check out RumShopRyan’s journey HERE.
We arrived by airplane, which is an experience in itself. The short runway and small planes make for an experience you’ll likely never forget!

Arriving on the tarmac and being greeted by such a beautiful airport, you’ll pick up your bags on one of the two baggage carrousels and out the door to catch a cab to the rest of your vacation.

Cab rides cost about $20 including tip and that gets you to nearly any hotel or resort on the island. Cab drivers tend to be friendly and chatty as do most conchs, so have a few questions about the local scene to ask.

Set aside the countless bars and T-Shirt shops that line Duval St. And I am most struck by the unreal amount of locally produced art!

There are, of course, the easy to find art outlets. Just wander down to 623 Duval and find the Wyland gallery and you’ve found art. But that’s nothing new to me. Every city has galleries where you can view and purchase outrageously priced art from world-famous artists.

But in Key West, you can find the galleries that feature art made by local artists with future and vision that is hard to describe in words. From hand blown glass sculptures to ocean-themed jewelry and paintings to the guy that makes sculptures out of silver wire while you watch. It is an endless path of artistic discovery that begins at bizarre and ends somewhere near enlightened.

Like music? Key West has plenty! With hundreds of bars to choose from, often it’s the tunes that lure you in, and they are not blind to that fact! Most of the bars have some sort of entertainment and most of it is local!

I simply cannot imagine being an aspiring artist and NOT having a presence in Key West!

As for the ocean and the wharf area, what better place to soak in the salt air than at Schooner’s Wharf? With seats right next to the boardwalk and spectacular views of the boats, fair food and decent drinks, Schooner’s is hard to beat!

Schooners is a few hundred feet from Shrimp Boat Recording studio, and serves up some of the freshest local artists on stage every night. Again with the art and entertainment.

So with that, I want to thank everyone that came down and made such a great weekend in Key West!

~Cheers

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The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
with the Buck Reilly series