Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Highway Guide: The Florida Keys

There is no way not to be awed when visiting the Florida Keys. The Keys are like nowhere else on earth in their beauty, peculiarity, their congeniality and their personality. It seems as though my body and mind instantly relax as I drive through Key Largo; just knowing I am going further down into the heaven called the Keys.

Route 1 is the only road from Key Largo to Key West and it is awesome. It passes through small villages, small hummocks of mangrove trees, intermixed with tiny beaches.

Fisherman, in shorts, cast for mangrove snapper and yellowtail, while boats with flat-bottoms and guides work their way through the flats in search of the elusive bonefish.

Everywhere, the water is a different and beautiful color: green, turquoise, sapphire, and beige.

On the left is the Atlantic Ocean, shallow and various shades of blue; on the right is Florida Bay and then the Gulf of Mexico; murky yet beautiful in shades of green, beige and tan. Islands dot the landscape in the Gulf, as do boats seeking pleasure or fish, or both.

The drive to Key West could not ever be described as bad. It is beautiful; something new around every bend or over every bridge, especially the seven-mile bridge.

Pelicans, ungainly yet graceful, glide beside your car as you speed along the highway. Islamorada and Marathon are the only places that slow traffic down on the way to Key West.

Just north of Marathon is a place where you can swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center.

Key West finally emerges. It is a bustling place with lots of people, lots of shops and lots of restaurants. Take a deep breath and plunge in!