February 19, 2018

The Swank Vacation to Key West

The Swank Vacation to Key West
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 19, 2018

On Tuesday, we decided to escape from the sub-zero temperatures of Minnesota and head to one of our favorite states - Florida!  We wanted to try a place where we'd never stayed before and headed to Key West.

Miss Sheri and I were celebrating 24 years of marriage.  Hard to believe she's put up with me for so long.  I guess I'm just really, really lucky.  Thank God for that!

Our vacation-mates were Sue & Ron Korkowski.  They are a ton of fun to be around and help add to the excitement of exploring new places.  We have similar senses of humor and adventure so that makes us very compatible as travel companions.

After our flight arrived, we headed down Duval Street to explore the area.  What an incredibly vibrant community!  It's like an Adult Playground.  There's some kids around, but we really found ourselves hanging out with a bunch of fun people our age. 

Sloppy Joe's ended up being our first restaurant choice and was it ever a good one!  I never would have thought I'd enjoy ordering a sloppy Joe in a restaurant, but I guarantee if I ever end up going back there in my life...I'm gonna order another one!

I never had much of an appreciation for Ernest Hemingway, but that guy was a major Baller.  He spent a big chunk of his life in Key West and wrote most of his work while staying here.  We learned a lot about him and are finding ourselves now wanting to go back to read some of his stories.

After dinner, we rushed out of the restaurant and down to Mallory Square to see it's world famous sunsets.

We were not disappointed.  Holy Cow.  It truly was one of most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen in my life.  It's just amazing to track the sun as it scoots down it's last steps of the sky and then smacks into the horizon.  It's so mesmerizing and then in what seems like seconds, it disappears below the surface of the ocean.    And then about 24 hours later, it does it again.

After the sun went down, the street performers started to shine and were doing all sorts of interesting tricks to try to garner tips from the throngs of tourists.  It's gotta be a fun place to work.

We stayed at the Southermost Beach Resort.  It's about 90 miles north of Cuba and has beautiful trees strewn throughout the area.  People who worked here told me this club used to be pretty crazy back in the day.  Clothing optional and all that kind of stuff, but it appears the world has become a lot more conservative these days.  

There is a fabulous cafe on the beach where we awoke to bacon-laden Bloody Mary's and lobster omelettes before going on our first day adventures.

This marker for the southernmost point in the continental USA was a few blocks away.  It is also how I figured how far our hotel was away from Cuba.

My skin has been very white and sushi raw for a long time, so I went to the pool to add a collection of 3rd degree burns to my body before all of our long walking excursions.  I'm a pretty good thinker when it comes to that kind of stuff. 

I don't get the privilege of seeing Miss Sheri wear dresses very often so I'm really complimentary when she does.  I'm especially complimentary when she stands in front of the TV and won't move out of the way until I give her a compliment.

Eventually she gets me away from the TV, though.  I promise when that happens I'm much better at giving compliments without needing to be prompted.

We enjoyed a sunset cruise on our second night in town.  This was probably the night we let it loose the most.  It also probably explains why I have the most amount of pictures that Miss Sheri won't allow me to publish from this night either.

We had an incredible time with the captain and crew throughout our cruise.  They were pleasant, hard working, and played some of the best tunes I've heard in a long time.  Great work, Sebago Watersports!!

On our last day in town, we ate breakfast at an incredible little restaurant called Blue Heaven.  The food was great and the staff were very nice people.  Thanks for all the good Key West recommendations, Will Easton!

I debated going to the Hemingway House all morning.  When I found out it was going to be $14 each to tour some old house in the middle of the island, I nearly walked away.  I'm glad I didn't.  It actually ended up being one of the most inspirational parts of my trip.  I had no idea really who Ernest Hemingway was before we came here.  He was a rugged dude who loved to go deep sea fishing and party while writing stories about the people he met in life.  He won Nobel and Pulitzer prizes which led him to incredible success and hanging with the ultra elite in society.  

The house was owned by him and one of his wives.  It is beautiful and completely over-run by 54 cats who live on the premises.  Most of the cats have 6 toes.  I really appreciate a place where there's respect given to creatures who have a different number of digits than the norm. 

Next to the Hemingway House is a massive lighthouse where they let you go to the top to see incredible views of Key West.  The thing they don't tell you before you buy tickets, though, is that they don't have an elevator.  That's a lot of steps for a fat guy like me!   But I made it.

The view was worth the climb.

On our last day, we had to get up pretty early for our flights and learned that Key West has pretty incredible sunrises as well.