Have you ever been to Key West? If not, why not?
At the end of US 1, Key West is the gateway between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlanta Ocean. It is the southernmost point in the United States. Like the first or last entry in a phone book, Key West attracts many people for curiosity’s sake. Moreover, if you are curious about people, Key West provides many opportunities to … well … study the species.
There are many kinds of people in Key West at any given time. The makeup of the community includes a diverse array of humans. Primarily, they fall into three groups in Key West: the locals, the military, and the tourists.
Being a tourist in Key West is a lot of fun. While there have been many changes over the past years, one thing remains constant: the daily sunset at Mallory Square.
If you have not experienced the sunset at Mallory Square, you seriously need to think about going to Key West. Watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico with all the other tourists at Mallory Square is one of those checks in the box you must get before you die. Everyone has a list of things he or she would like to do before “permanently checking out.” The sunset at Mallory square should be very high on that list. It is understandable how one can skip climbing Mount Everest or sailing solo around the world, but never to see the sunset in Key West is unthinkable!
Getting to Key West is an experience in itself. The most common way is to drive down the island chain, or fly into Key West International. Henry Flagler’s railroad first connected Key West to the rest of the nation. Over the decades, the railway developed into a roadway giving access to the islands to the many tourists who drive there annually.
Driving to Key West, the last bridge before crossing into town is the famous Seven Mile Bridge. It is an impressive engineering feat. Built on what was left of Flagler’s railway following the devastating hurricane of 1933, tourists are able enjoy a unique view of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic at the same time.
Until Flagler built the railroad, Key West remained inaccessible for the most part. The only way to get there was by sea. Many of the permanent residents in Key West in the late 1800s and early 1900s probably preferred it that way. Life was probably a lot slower.
Now, there are tourists…