Can I make a living from pickleball

Keys Traveler. Pure keys. Island wedding. The magazine. Hemingway's doppelganger. New accommodations in the Keys


1 s Traveler The magazine s pur New accommodations on the s Inselhochzeit Hemingways doppelganger Unusual cuisine on the s

2 Insta A Race Across the Water s Traveler Magazine ROB O NEAL ANDY NEWMAN Every April in Marathon on the Florida s, runners compete in a race between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico on the Seven Mile Bridge. The annual Seven Mile Bridge Run first took place in 1982 after 37 new bridges had been completed for Florida's Overseas Highway, one of which was the Seven Mile Bridge. Editor Andy Newman Managing Editor Carol Shaughnessy Copy Editor Buck Banks Production Assistant Ashley Serrate Authors Julie Botteri Katie Fraguela Laura Myers s Traveler is published by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the official tourist office of the Florida s & West management Harold Wheeler Sales Director Stacey Mitchell Florida visitor information s & West For more information, call: Fax: To receive the free monthly s Traveler newsletter, sign up at: New Resorts from Largo to West Say yes to a wedding on Florida s curtains for quality in West Theater Bloodline plays in Islamorada and Largo With the camper to the s unusual s kitchen s pure Thunderbolt the queen of marathons Shipwrecks In Islamorada fishing becomes an art serious is all activities and events for women at the s new club the nightlife in West on skydiving over the Lower s One Tour into the Past of West New Craft Breweries on the s Useful Tips for Your Trip to the Florida s Contents BOB CARE 2017 Monroe County Tourist Development Council 6 ANDY NEWMAN Cover image: Islamorada in the Upper Florida s, by Andy Newman

3 PLAYA LARGO OCEANS EDGE CARLOS ESTAPE New resorts from Largo to West Six new resorts on the Florida s bring luxury and 460 additional rooms to the subtropical island chain. In Largo two resorts offer luxurious locations and rooms for meetings, weddings and quiet days and in Islamorada holiday villas open their doors. In the old fishing village of Stock Island, just before West, there are two brand new resorts right on the harbor and a recently opened boutique hotel in West. The elegant Playa Largo Resort & Spa in Largo is the 100th hotel in the Autograph Collection Hotels, has 144 rooms and is the first newly built resort in the Upper s in 21 years. Playa Largo has a large beach, ten The Playa Largo Resort in Largo has a wonderful beach right on Florida. hidden bungalows, a three-bedroom beach house with a pool, numerous conference rooms, a spa, a fitness center, a harbor, two tennis courts and a basketball court and a leisure camp for children. A traditional steakhouse, a ceviche & sushi bar and a fish specialty restaurant await guests on the premises. Kosher dishes are also available. Largo is also a small resort with the Largo, where privacy is very important. Surrounded by mahogany trees, palm trees, plane trees and orchids, this place offers space for 15 to 30 guests. In addition to a spacious lodge, there are six bungalows. Up to 100 guests can gather on the resort's private pier and enjoy activities like paddleboarding and kayaking in the lagoon. The Little Basin Villas, which can be rented on a weekly basis, recently opened their doors in Islamorada's Arts District. All nine villas are equipped with three bedrooms, large kitchens and bathrooms, have WiFi connection, washing machine and dryer, as well as access to the community pool and the beach. On Stock Island, just before west, there are 175 rooms available in the Oceans Edge West Hotel & Marina. Described by the owners, Singh Investors as the largest luxury resort in West, the hotel boasts six pools, a park for dogs, numerous water sports, a restaurant and bar, a fitness center and even its own Starbucks. The suites and rooms with a direct view of the water are between 35 and 53 m² in size. The port offers around 160 berths and the boutique hotel The Hotel West at Stock Island Marina opens on Stock Island as well as another port with 220 berths. Rooms and suites with sea views have private balconies and accommodations on the first floor also have their own outdoor showers. On West itself, the H2O Suites Hotel will soon open with a sundeck and pool on the roof and eleven plunge pools. The 22 suites are each equipped with one bedroom. Laura Myers LITTLE BASIN VILLAS BILL HANSEN CATERING The rooms of the Ocean Edge all have a view of the Atlantic. The new lobby at the Amara Cay Resort. ANDY NEWMAN 4 s Traveler The Little Basin Villas in Islamorada's Arts District can be rented on a weekly basis. The Largo in Largo is suitable for small groups and wedding celebrations. s Traveler 5

4 What better place than the Florida S & West to say yes? The island chain is known for its ceremonies right on the water and offers numerous fantastic locations from historical sites to beaches, restaurants and tiki bars to elegant lodges - everything is there. The very special venues include the house of the author Ernest Hemingway, the restored White House for the vacation of former President Harry S. Truman, luxurious accommodations such as Playa Largo on Largo or Little Palm Island on the Lower s, and the historic Windley Fossil State Geological Site in Islamorada. Couples who want to tie the knot for life on the water can do so on board large ships, sailboats, glass-bottom boats or extravagant luxury yachts all around the world. Experienced divers have the option of saying yes underwater at the Christ of the Deep statue in front of Largo, and marine mammal lovers can marry at the Dolphin Research Center in the Middle s. The Florida s & West are not only a popular destination for saying yes to straight couples. More than 625 same-sex marriages have also been concluded on the island chain since the beginning of 2015. Katie Fraguela Say yes to a wedding in Florida s Beach balls are thrown at Marathon instead of rice at this wedding at Hawks Cay Resort & Marina on Duck. BOB CARE (2) Raise the curtain for quality in the West Theater The West Theater is known for its first-class musical program, theater productions, comedy programs and locally produced events. This year the focus of the varied program is on nationally known musical productions. The theater, formerly a Baptist church, showed a lively production called Flamingo Follies in the 1990s, before closing for more than 15 years. By Popular Demand was produced in the building then in need of renovation, which brought the theater much fame. Since then everything has gone by itself, says Michael Marrero, director of the theater. Today the newly renovated boutique theater has space for almost 300 spectators and offers them a whole new kind of entertainment. The reactions are consistently positive, says Marrero. Many people find that this type of entertainment has been absent from the cultural program for a long time. Together with The Studios of West, Tropic Cinema and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the theater forms a cultural hot spot on Eaton Street in the middle of West's historic old town. Both national and local artists perform in the theater throughout the year. 2017 highlights include shows with the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame newcomer Dave Mason, concerts by the legendary band Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and performances by country musician Phil Vassar. The theater also plays the stage program of a local musician with The Sunday Ramble and shows numerous innovative pieces, many of them penned by authors from the s.Katie Fraguela Kyle Chandler plays the cop John Rayburn in Bloodline. ROB O NEAL Bloodline plays in Islamorada and Largo In 2015, Netflix launched 13 episodes of the Bloodline series, which revolves around the life of a family from the Upper s. The cast of the series includes Oscar winner Sissy Spacek, Emmy winner Kyle Chandler, Emergency Room veteran Linda Cardellini and the Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, who won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Bloodline. Bloodline is about the Rayburns, a hard-working family whose secrets could reveal an unpleasant past and test sibling loyalty when the family's black sheep returns home. Picturesque aerial photos of bridges and dense mangrove forests are shown in Bloodline as well as well-known locations on Largo and Islamorada. For example, you can see Pierre's Restaurant, The Moorings Village, the beach in Founders Park and bars like the Green Turtle Inn and the Oceanview Pub. The third and final season consists of 10 episodes and is expected to be broadcast on Netflix in 2017. Julie Botteri SAEED AYANI / NETFLIX 6 fla-keys .be s Traveler s Traveler fla- 7

5 ANDY NEWMAN With the motorhome on the island - glamping at its best Camping with the motorhome is one of the most popular types of travel for many international visitors to the USA and is the subject of many Hollywood films, as the recently wacky film The Leisure Seeker shows. Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland play a 70-year-old married couple who defy the advice of their doctors and children and go on a road trip with an old Winnebago Leisure Seeker to visit Ernest Hemingway's West home. If you want to imitate the two, you will find not only numerous campsites in the Florida s, but also a variety of activities ranging from fishing to boat trips to diving, snorkeling and kayaking tours. The campsites of the s offer spectacular sunsets evening after evening and always a location directly on the sea, be it on the quiet Florida in the west or the deep blue Atlantic Ocean in the east of the islands. The traditional idea of ​​vacationing on the beach often has to do with relaxing on the beach, says Jennifer Ludovice, chief communications officer at Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. However, we are seeing more and more visitors to our RV resorts wanting to be very active. As the owner and operator of the Fiesta RV Resort & Marina and the Sunshine RV Resort & Marina near Big Pine, Equity Lifestyle knows what guests are looking for. For example, courts for sports such as basketball and pickleball have recently been added to both facilities. The brand new s Palms Luxury RV Resort will open its doors in autumn 2017 and offers EQUITY LIFESTYLE PROPERTIES electrical connections for all power classes as well as a clubhouse, pool, community center and fitness center. The Grassy RV Park & ​​Resort on Grassy has been very popular for years and has recently been renovated to provide more space for larger RVs. The highlight of the Lazy Lakes RV Resort on Sugarloaf is an almost three hectare saltwater lake. The Florida s state parks with their wonderful campsites are particularly popular. Caution: These places often have to be reserved months in advance! In the John Pennekamp Coral State Park, 47 fully equipped parking spaces await campers. In addition, the park offers numerous options for activities and excursions, such as tours with the glass-bottom boat out onto the coral reef right in front of the Florida s.The highlight in Long State Park are the numerous parking spaces right by the sea. There are also hiking trails and the possibility of renting kayaks. Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine has 48 RV sites, 32 additional tent sites, and six cabins that can be rented. The park is best known for its beautiful sandy beaches, both on the Atlantic and the Gulf side. The closest campground to the west is Boyd's West Campground, which is located on Stock Island, about 15 minutes drive from Downtown West, and has many amenities. Laura Myers EQUITY LIFESTYLE Fiesta RV Resort & Marina is located on Long. 8 s Traveler The Sunshine RV Resort & Marina offers its guests a dreamy beach backdrop under palm trees in the Lower s. S Traveler fla-keys .fr 9

6 IMAGE RIGHTS: FOOD PICTURES OF CASTAWAY WATERFRONT RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR, BLUE HEAVEN AND BURDINES WATERFRONT CHIKI TIKI. MRS. MAC S KITCHEN BY ANDY NEWMAN Lionfish sushi is one of the hits at the Castaway Waterfront Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Marathon. Unusual s cuisine The Florida s lifestyle is primarily characterized by two characteristics: relaxation and enjoyment. This is reflected above all in the many relaxed and rustic restaurants along the island chain, which are not only characterized by a lot of flair but also by fresh and delicious cuisine. In the Bahama Village in West, the popular Blue Heaven stands where there used to be a boxing ring, in which Ernest Hemingway was regularly active as a boxing referee. Today the cozy restaurant is known for its breakfast creations, one of which is the BLT Benedict, which contains bacon, fresh Florida lobster (for the L) and tomato. Poached egg, a grilled slice of tomato, juicy pieces of lobster tail and crispy bacon sit on a toasted English muffin, covered with fresh lime hollandaise - a treat! Shortly before west, on the neighboring island of Stock Island, you will find the quaint and slightly rickety Hogfish Bar & Grill, a pub located directly on the harbor and especially popular with locals. The undisputed star on the menu is the Killer Hogfish Sandwich: 250g breaded and baked hogfish, topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, melted cheese, lettuce and tomato. The whole thing is served on fresh Cuban bread with tartar sauce and crispy French fries. The distinctive-looking Pacific lionfish has become a real nuisance in the waters off the Florida s, but it has become a delicious delicacy on the menus of the s. When the poisonous spines are removed, the lionfish has very tasty and even healthy meat. John Mirabella, restaurant chef and hobby spearfisher, prefers to serve the lionfish he catches as a ceviche or cooked. The Lionfish Sushi Roll in Mirabella's Castaway Waterfront Restaurant and Sushibar in Marathon is also very popular. Also in Marathon you will find an insider tip for many residents, the Burdines Waterfront Chiki Tiki, which is somewhat hidden. The food here is simple, but prepared with a lot of love and you can taste it. The highlight here is the deep-fried lime pie, a wonderfully absurd, sweet and sour creation that is big enough. The BLT Benedict is the breakfast classic at Blue Heaven in West. Fried lime pie is the specialty on the menu at Burdine's Waterfront Chiki Tiki, an insider tip for many residents in Marathon. is to share it as a threesome. Incidentally, the lime pie is not only THE typical dessert of Florida s, but also the official state pie of Florida as it was officially decided by the parliament of the state. Former dive center boss Gloria Teague and pastry chef Robert Spencer Jr. are the masterminds behind Islamorada Restaurant & Bakery, a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant. They are known for their warm service and elegant holiday cakes, but the real stars are the huge cinnamon buns and sticky buns that Spencer creates. The shop has the affectionate nickname Bob s Bunz among the locals. Largo has been home to Mrs. Mac's Kitchen since 1976, where the World Famous Lime Pie sign is, for once, no exaggeration. The cake is the perfect mix of fruity sweetness and smart acidity in a thick, juicy crust made from wholemeal biscuits. You should also try the Lime Freeze milkshake here. The cozy restaurant was named after the mother of the first owner, Jeff MacFarland, to honor her recipes. Since 1987, Mrs. Macs has been run by the sister duo Angela and Paula Wittke, whose motto in life fits perfectly with the s: Eat well, laugh a lot, live long. Julie Botteri Mrs. Mac's Kitchen in Largo offers a lime freeze shake. 10 s Traveler s Traveler 11

7 A small fishing boat passes under the Lignumvitae Bridge on Islamorada. s pure By Carol Shaughnessy Pictures by Andy Newman In our fast-paced, stressful everyday life, we can be reached at any time, always on reception. What could be nicer than a quiet, relaxed vacation where we can, in the truest sense of the word, simply switch off? Enjoy delicious, freshly grilled fish.Marvel at the picturesque, red and purple glowing sunset. Feel the cool salt water of the Atlantic on your skin. Experience precious moments with loved ones. These are the moments you will find on the Florida s. When you glide over the shallow waters of the Lower s in a kayak and explore the shady, primeval-looking mangrove forests, you have the feeling that all the hustle and bustle of everyday life is light years away. In Crane Point, a small oasis in the heart of Marathon, hike the nature trails covered by a canopy of palm and deciduous trees and keep an eye out for native birds such as warblers and waders. Admire the creativity of artists in studios in West or Islamorada. Or learn the true meaning of breathtaking on a tour into the indescribably colorful and lively underwater world of Largo. What do all these adventures on the s have in common? They are real, up close and remembered. Whether alone, with friends, family or your partner, these experiences recharge your energy stores, rearrange your thoughts and let you enjoy the small and large miracles. From the northernmost island of Largo to the southernmost coast of the west, Florida s relaxation is capitalized and enjoying the moment and life to the fullest. If you like, you can become an environmentalist and support marine biologists from the Coral Restoration Foundation on Largo in the preservation of the third largest coral reef in the world, which runs parallel to the Florida s island chain. The region's waters are all protected by Florida's National Marine Sanctuary Act. Explore deep sea fishing for yourself and set off on a group excursion from Robbie's Marina in Islamorada. You can celebrate your newly acquired fishing skills with the consumption of freshly caught fish, which is prepared by a cook. In Robbie's Marina, you can also feed tarpon, which shoot out of the water to quickly catch the bait dangling in the air. Get up close and personal with sea turtles at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, the passionate keepers have already fostered more than just sick animals. On a guided tour you can go behind 12 s Traveler s Traveler fla-keys. be 13

8 BOB CARE 14 ROB O NEAL fla s Traveler Scouts and Turtle Hospital staff on marathon release sea turtle Bubbles on Sombrero Beach. Bahia Honda State Park on the Lower s boasts one of America's finest beaches and a historic scaffold pier viaduct built over 100 years ago for the Florida s Over-Sea Railroad. s Traveler ROB O NEAL Bridge, which towers up against a cloudless backdrop of this unique sky. The hospital overlooks and the West provides entertainment for permanent residents to meet. With all your senses and promises many new you can experience a little luck. Stroll the release of a turtle while witnessing an unforgettable and touching-famous Duval Street until the moment. What would a stay on the s be without a stop at Bahia Honda State Park? The beach has been awarded several times as one of the best in the USA and invites you to relax and unwind. Enjoy the clear, blue-green water, feel the gentle sea breeze on your sun-warmed face and admire the strollers strolling past the SoDu Gallery on Duval Street in West. old Bahia Honda Sharon Freed feeds a tarpon in Robbie s Marina on Islamorada. ANDY NEWMAN (2) Coral Restoration Foundation divers bring coral pupils to a reef off Largo. to the historic harbor, past galleries and boutiques and listen to the rhythmic sounds of reggae and island rock that emanate from the bars and restaurants. Pay a visit to the West Martello Tower, which was built during the Civil War, and discover the impressive native plants, rare palm species and a peace garden that lies at the rear of the weathered fortress at the West Garden Club. You can really be a child at a sand sculpture workshop at the Casa Marina Resort. Under the guidance of one of the experts at Sand-Isle Professional Sand Sculpting, you can dig your hands in the damp sand and let your imagination run wild. No matter where you are in the Florida s or what adventures you want to experience, always remember to relax and slow down and enjoy the important things in life with the important people in your life. For the vacation of a lifetime you just need one thing: pure. 15

9 STEPHEN FRINK A diver explores the Thunderbolt before marathon. ANDY NEWMAN (2) Handcraft is the name of the game when Randy Towe makes his first-class fishing rods. In Islamorada, fishing becomes an art. The queen of marathons Shipwrecks The waters off Marathon are home to a whole fleet of shipwrecks, the irrefutable queen of which is the Thunderbolt. The 58-meter-long cable-laying vessel was last used as a research vessel to measure the electrical energy of lightning strikes. In 1986, the Thunderbolt, originally named Major General Wallace F. Randolph, was deliberately sunk as a new diving attraction in the ocean prior to Marathon. It is now about 10 kilometers south of the Duck Channel at a depth of about 36 meters in Florida's National Marine Sanctuary. On June 2, 1942, the ship was launched as one of a total of 16 sister ships and had the primary task of equipping and guarding minefields off the coast on behalf of the US Army. The care of the Randolph was transferred from the Army to the Navy after the war, but the Navy had no use and the ship was first integrated into the reserve fleet. In the 1960s the Florida Power and Light Company acquired the ship, renamed it Thunderbolt and used it from then on as a cable ship and for lightning research until it was donated to the Florida s Artificial Association in the 1980s. Before the ship was sunk, it was necessary to thoroughly clean the T-Bolt and remove all loose and non-metallic items of equipment. The highlights of the wreck, which is easy to navigate for divers, are the huge cable drum on the front deck at a depth of around 24 meters and the viewing deck at a depth of around 22 meters. The rudder and propellers can be found aft at a depth of about 36 meters, and a view of the exposed engine room and the inside of the hull is also possible. The exterior of the Thunderbolt is now thickly overgrown with colorful sponges, corals and mosses that have given new homes to numerous species of fish, including mackerel, king fish, tarpon and many other ocean fish. One of the special features of this upright wreck is that divers are able to explore the entire ship in a single dive. In addition to advanced recreational divers, the wreck is also a magnet for spear fishermen. Large angelfish patrol the deck regularly, while barracudas prefer the bridge deck. Giant groupers can often be found in the engine room, and rumor has it that an 800-pound specimen is among them. Jackfish, boar wrasse, black grouper and the occasional reef shark are again preferred to be found around the oar and propeller. The Thunderbolt is part of the Florida s Trek program, which rewards experienced and wreck-certified divers who manage to dive a full series of shipwrecks along the s. Julie Botteri When Randy Towe was ten, he asked his mother to buy him a handcrafted fishing rod for $ 200. His mother did not see this, so they agreed on a much more cost-effective variant: She paid for the individual parts, the young fishing fan had to put together his dream rod himself. Today, 40 years later, Towe is still tinkering fishing himself, but no longer just for himself, but also for others in his own shop in the Florida s.At the age of 19, the great sport fishing fan Towe moved to the island chain in Islamorada to come here indulge in one's passion. To earn a living, he hired on a charter boat, he then received his own captain's license and from then on accompanied guests on their fishing trips in the backcountry of the s.He earned 350 US dollars per trip and was able to live his dream. But this alone didn't seem to fill him up, so he quickly rented a small shop and started his career as a professional fishing rod manufacturer. Simply because it offers him a therapeutic counterbalance to the exciting fishing, as he says with a laugh. His brand, Captain Randy Towe's Signature Series Handmade Rods, quickly became a household name in the sport fishing community. I produce everything from fly fishing rods to heavy offshore fishing, says Towe. I always do exactly what the customer wants. He gets the fishing rod he wants for the purpose he wants. Towe attaches particular importance to the quality of the individual parts, to the fact that they fit together perfectly and, of course, good finishing. Anyone who buys a Towe-Angel can be sure that the whole package was put together by just one person: Captain Randy Towe himself. The handwork is particularly important to Towe, regardless of whether it is about the construction of the fishing rods or the fishing rod itself. Because fishing in the s is still sacred to him: whether in the backcountry for tarpon or bonefish or in the Atlantic for black fin tuna or marlin. Towes handmade rods cost between $ 300 and US $ 300 each, but are also made for life. Everything I make is tested by me personally, explains Towe. And in the Florida s I have the best test area in the world right on my doorstep. Many of Towes' customers are very ambitious sport anglers, including some who hunt records because their reputations precede the angling. I once had to testify in a court of divorce proceedings, Towe recalls with a smile. The couple argued over who could keep the fishing rod. Ultimately, the woman received the good piece and gave me the order to remove the name of her ex-husband from the fishing rod. Andy Newman 16 fla- s Traveler s Traveler fla 17

10 ROB O NEAL ANDY NEWMAN (3) spectators at Sloppy Joe s film Gerrit Marshall, who shows the jury that he should win the Papa Hemingway Look-Alike competition. Serious is everything It helps to have a reddish complexion, a gray beard, a compact figure and a worn safari outfit or an ANDY NEWMAN good fisherman's sweater. Strictly speaking, every little accessory that somehow appeals to the author and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Frank Kramer is what convinces the jury to choose him as the winner. Charlie Boice (left) and Wally Collins (right) congratulate the 2016 Papa Hemingway Look-Alike competition winner, David Hemingway. Hemingway remembers, an advantage when Sloppy Joe's is called to the annual Papa Hemingway Look-Alike competition. Probably the most entertaining competition of the Hemingway Days, which take place every year in West, is the search for the perfect double Hemingway, which attracts competitors from all over the USA and has even had participants from Kazakhstan, Brazil, Hungary and Ireland. The competition is so popular that it attracts more than 120 participants each July. Many are repeat offenders who often even bring their own fan groups with them. The venue is of course the legendary Sloppy Joe s bar, where the real Hemingway loved to indulge in a few cocktails when he lived in West in the 1930s. Both preliminary rounds and the final will be held there, with the jury consisting of the winners from previous years. In addition to the great honor that the coveted title Papa brings with it, the main aim of the participants is to be able to exchange ideas with like-minded people who appreciate Hemingway's literary skills, but of course also his way of life. Over the years, contestants and winners have formed friendships that are reminiscent of Hemingway's literary and local friends, also known as the mob, and the Hemingway-Look-Alike Society was founded to give the bearded brotherhood a more formal setting. Former winners and new doppelgangers are equally welcome. Members appear on television and for charity, are ambassadors for Hemingway Days and Wests, or raise funds for students in their scholarship program. Papa Hemingway lookalike during Hemingway Days at the Running of the Bulls event. This program was launched in 2000. The chair was 1984 Look-Alike winner Bill Young, who met Hemingway on a visit to Zaragoza, Spain in 1956. To date, the foundation, now led by Fred Johnson (1986 winner), has donated more than US dollars to nursing and literature students at Florida s Community College. Just like the Hemingway Days, Charlie Boice is the winner of the Look-Alike competition in Sloppy Joe's, intended as a tribute to the author who called the Florida s home. Once affectionately referred to as the beauty pageant for plump old men with gray beards, its dedicated contestants have made the competition far more than just this. Carol Shaughnessy 18 fla s Traveler s Traveler 19

11 adventures and events for women on the s Thousands of women singles, couples and groups flock to West every September for the annual Womenfest. The popular festival for lesbians and their friends offers a wide variety of activities and events from water sports and flag football during the day to sweaty late night parties, live music and comedy shows in the evening. Much of what makes the Womenfest so popular can actually be enjoyed all year round in West, after all, it is known around the world for its open hospitality and as a popular LGBTQ travel destination. The range of interesting activities here ranges from snorkeling and diving on the only living coral reef in the USA to strolling through the numerous galleries of the tropical island to relaxing on the beautiful beaches. Enjoying a cocktail with a romantic view of the sunset in the sea is just as much a part of it as partying through the night in one of the clubs on West's legendary Duval Street. Like the lesbian poet Elizabeth Bishop, who lived here from 1930 to 1946, visitors can now enjoy a variety of cozy accommodations in a relaxed atmosphere. Popular options include Alexander s Guesthouse, for adults only, and the chic Silver Palms Inn with lots of island flair. A more unusual accommodation option is the Sugarloaf Women s Village in the Lower S. This unique lesbian community offers both camping and rental of a holiday cabin for women only. Carol Shaughnessy Diving on North America's only living coral reef is just one of many popular water sports on the S. New Club Mixes West Nightlife The Sidebar is a new dance club. Duval Street in West is notorious for its vibrant nightlife, which offers everything from cigar bars to drag queen shows. With the opening of Sidebar, there is now a high-quality club for dancing, which is right next to the legendary Aqua Nightclub. The sidebar describes itself as a casual urban space with a cozy seating area around the dance floor and a striking iron chandelier as a central decorative element. During the day, the sidebar offers drinks and space for relaxed conversations, and pizza can also be ordered here. At night the shop becomes a trendy hotspot for cocktails, drinks and dancing. Located right next to Duval Street on Angela Street, the sidebar belongs to the operators of the neighboring Aqua Nightclub, which is famous for its cocktails and its Reality is a Drag Show. According to the owner Kimball Ingram, the club should offer a mixture of house and disco, as well as dance music from the 80s and 90s, enriched of course by the music requests of the guests, which all the DJs will respond to. Special events and entertainment are of course planned, including an after tea event hosted by DJ Diva Vogue every Sunday. The exclusive sidebar offers space for around 75 guests and can also be rented in combination with the outdoor terrace of the adjacent Aqua as a new event location for groups and events. Carol Shaughnessy Skydiving over the Lower s Imagine jumping out of an airplane after enjoying great views for just 20 minutes in a climb.With a fall speed of almost 200 km / h, it then only takes ten minutes to reach the ground on the Florida s, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic from a height of three kilometers. Does that sound like an idea for your bucket list? The adrenaline experts at Skydive West have the know-how and expertise to bring visitors to the s safely from the ground to the sky and then back again and offer parachute jumps in one of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Certified instructors use rectangular and aerodynamic parachutes for easy handling and smooth landings. 40 KEY WEST HISTORIC MRKER TOURS The Oldest House is one of 120 places and buildings along the self-guided West Historic Marker Tour. Skydive instructor William Respess freefall with a guest over the Lower s. An exciting freefall for seconds before the glider is opened and the gentle and spectacular gliding phase begins. Skydive West is located at Mile Marker 17 on Sugarloaf and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Two visitors can jump at the same time, but arrangements can also be made for larger groups. Family and friends can also wait and watch in the landing area. Julie Botteri A tour of West's past With some buildings, West is home to one of the largest collections of historic wooden houses in the United States, making it a magnet for lovers of interesting history and Victorian architecture. Visitors can explore this aspect of the southernmost city in the United States on their own on the West Historic Marker Tour. In the course of the tour you will discover the diverse history of the island as well as beautifully restored buildings, from the small cigar turner hut to two-story villas with verandas and elaborate ornaments. As part of the tour, which was put together by historian Bruce Neff, a total of 120 different locations can be visited and explored. Each place is equipped with a plaque that reveals something about its historical significance.In addition, there is an audio guide, which visitors can access via the website (see below) or by telephone under the number There are insights into various aspects of the history of West : the cigar industry, literary past, Cuban heritage, churches and the history of shipwrecking. The various buildings range from former cigar factories and West's oldest house to military forts from the Civil War and of course the southernmost house in the continental USA. Carol Shaughnessy WILLIAM RESPESS / SKYDIVE KW 20 fla- s Traveler s Traveler fla 21

12 BOB CARE breweries are also on trend Brad Mullis taps a fresh lager at Florida s Brewing Company. Florida s Brewing Company brews a wide variety of beers in the middle of the Islamorada Arts District. The global trend towards good and locally brewed beer, craft beer, does not stop at s either. Four breweries are now based here and offer a holiday experience of a different kind for beer fans from all over the world. Florida s Brewing Company brews locally in the Upper s and supplies only selected local watering holes on the s and its own taproom at Morada Way 200, which is open daily from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Seasonal light, amber and brown beers are served, such as das Flas, a Belgian-style beer with limes, or Hogfish, which has a local citrus note. The Islamorada Beer Company is located at Overseas Highway and also serves craft beers inspired by the local lifestyle. These include beers with such unusual names as Tourist Season or Trust Me I m a Local, which are only served in the brewery's tasting room. This is open from Monday to Saturday between noon and 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Waterfront Brewery is located at 201 William Street, directly on West's historic harbor, and impresses with tasty beers such as Lime Witness and Crazy Lady Honey Blond Ale. The brewery, equipped with nautical motifs, offers a tasting room as well as a complete restaurant, its own bar, a playroom and a roof terrace. It is open daily from 11 a.m. until late at night. Bone Island Brewing's beers, ranging from pale ales to stouts, are only available in the Nano Brewery taproom at 1111 Eaton Street in West. For interested visitors, guided tours and tastings are offered here, where you can try the creations of Bone Island, such as the Calusa Pale Ale. The love for good beer has also led to the establishment of various festivals in the s. For example, during Labor Day weekend in early September, West Brew Fest will feature nearly 200 different beers, including some unique microbrews. The specialties are presented at various events, ranging from dinners with beer pairing in local restaurants to the big tasting festival right by the sea. Among other things, the Andygator from Abita, the Leviathan IPA from Harpoon, various ales from Dogfish Head and of course many specialties from the four local breweries will be presented. The highlight every year is the Brew-Fest Signature Tasting Festival, which usually takes place on Saturday afternoons. At the beginning of January, fans of barley juice will find what they are looking for at Brew on the, Largo's first craft beer festival, which takes place directly on Florida on the grounds of Roswell Marina. The weekend celebrations start with the traditional home brewing competition on Friday evening, in which amateur brewers can compete in four different categories. The central event of the festival takes place on Saturday afternoon, when visitors can try over 100 different regional and international beer specialties, with a direct view of the sea. In addition, seafood, stalls, raffles and, of course, a lot of live music beckon. Julie Botteri Pictures by Bob Care Brewmaster Justin Stine checks out the Honey Blonde Ale at the Waterfront Brewery. ROB O NEAL 22 fla-keys. cn s Traveler s Traveler fla-keys .cn 23

13 Alexander s Cottrell Western Dry Rocks Sand Fleming Rock 0 SOUTHERNMOST POINT KEY WEST, FL Dredger s Eastern Dry Rocks Cayman Salvor West Golf Course and CC West Intl. Airport Joe s Tug 5 Western Sambos Vandenberg Big Coppitt 10 Eastern Sambos Geiger Neustra Señora de Atocha Pelican Shoal 15 Maryland Shoals Summerland American Shoal Adolphus Busch Sr. S. Naval Island Air Station Boca Chica Marquesas s Boca Grande West National Wildlife Refuge Big Torch Barracuda Woman Cottrell Man Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge Archer Big Pine Crawfish Mule National Deer Middle Refuge Torch Sugarloaf Cudjoe Little Saddlebunch Torch 1 1s Ramrod Lower Sugarloaf Hawk Channel West Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge Old Seven Mile Bridge Bahia Honda State Park Seven Mile Bridge Cape Sable Florida s National Marine Sanctuary 1 Boot Straits of Florida Flamingo Marathon Hammock State Park Florida Layton 1 Everglades National Park Islamorada Lower Matecumbe Florida s National Marine Sanctuary Tavernier Atlantic Ocean To Florida Turnpike to Miami Straits of Florida 1 1 Plantation John Pennekamp Coral State Park Florida s National Marine Sanctuary Largo Fla The approximately 180 kilometer long chain of islands of the Florida s is connected to the mainland of Florida via US Highway 1, the so-called Overseas Highway. The nearest international airports for visitors are Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), from where the s can be reached by shuttle bus or rental car. Depending on traffic, visitors can get to Largo in just over an hour from Miami Airport, and from Fort Lauderdale it takes around an hour and 45 minutes. By plane to Florida s For an up-to-date overview of all flight connections to the airports in West and Marathon, please go to the following website: gettinghere / # air. Traveling by car From Miami International Airport (MIA), take LeJeune Road South to get to Highway 836. Head west on 836 until you turn onto the Florida Turnpike. Follow the turnpike to the end in Florida City where it turns into US 1. After approximately 35 kilometers on US 1. You will find yourself in Largo, the northernmost part of Florida S. From Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) you should follow the signs for Interstate 595 (West). The 595 will take you a few miles west to the Florida Turnpike, which you will then follow south to get to the Florida s. Please note that the Turnpike is subject to a toll and that this toll is ONLY collected electronically at Miami's level. The rental car providers offer different solutions for this, which you can see here: rentalcar. Only drive on the Turnpike if you have included a corresponding toll solution through your rental car company. Otherwise there is a risk of severe fines. Travel distance / duration to Largo FROM MILES KM HOURS Miami Fort Myers Tampa Orlando Distance from Miami REGION MILES KM MARKER Largo Islamorada Marathon Lower s West Arrival by bus Bus / shuttle connections from MIA and FLL exist, but are only conditionally practical. Arrival by ship West and Fort Myers as well as Marco Island are connected by a ferry service (Sea West Express). The journey takes about 3.5 hours each way, but is not offered daily. You can find detailed information and route descriptions for getting to the Florida s & West at: Weather / Climate Wherever you are: the chances that the weather is yours worse than on the Florida s are not minor. Even if it's summer for you right now. The Caribbean sun on the islands of the s and a light breeze from the sea create a pleasant subtropical climate. The water temperatures are constantly above 20 C, and yet the water of the Atlantic always remains fresh and pleasant for swimming, diving and snorkeling. The best times of the year to visit the s are late autumn and the winter months through April / May. In the summer months, the average maximum temperature is around 32 C. A constant light wind ensures permanent cooling. The following graph shows the average monthly temperatures over the last 30 years. The red columns represent the temperatures in Celsius, the blue ones show the corresponding temperatures in Fahrenheit. Help and further information Under the number: tourists can find help in German around the clock every day. The visitor center on the s can be reached at, our office in Germany at. You will also find a live chat on the official website and, where visitors can get help with vacation planning from experts on weekdays.