Key West, Still groovy after all these years.


key west. fishing at fort zachary taylor


Talk to anyone who went to Key West in the 1970s or early 1980s and you will, without question, hear some version of, “Oh you should have seen it back when I first went down there! It was so cool back then. No chain restaurants, no Starbucks, no fast-food joints, everything was local and unique. Now it’s just a big tourist trap!”

Everyone laments the commercialization of their favorite vacation spots, it’s true. Its never fun to go back years later and discover the bar you thought was so choice, and that probably only you and a few locals even knew existed, is now an Au Bon Pain. Jimmy Buffett, one of the original troubadours of Key West, the man who many times in concert complained about the commercialization of this once funky, drunken town…even HE opened a cheesy restaurant/bar/gift shop down on Duval Street, naming it after one of his songs!

But in spite all of this, Key West is still Key West. It still has groovy, local-flavor joints to hang out in. Little hideaways. Quiet places that the large crowds never seem to find. Sure, the Weekend Warriors from Miami descend most Friday nights, turning Duval Street into The French Quarter during Mardi Gras for a couple days. But big deal. Who really wants to hang out on Duval Street anyway?

Go down for a week and do things when everyone else isn’t. Don’t go to Mallory Square for sunset. Don’t eat at Sloppy Joe’s. (Or worse, Cheeseburger In Paradise!) Don’t let the crowds coming in from cruise ships bother you. They’re only there for a while. The place will settle down again once they’re gone.

The unique and funky version of Key West is still there. You just need to dig a little deeper to find it. Guide books have their place, for sure, but the great thing about traveling is the exploring, searching and discovering. You never know what might be just around the corner.


key west. city signs on tree

key west. street artist.

key west. woman at butterfly and nature conservatory

key west. beer delivery to Green Parrot bar.

key west. Woman looking out Capt. Tony's doorway.

key west. shipwreck treasures museum.

key west. B.O.s fish wagon.

key west. Sunset at Simonton Street.

Above sunset not at Mallory Square.

Climate Action

Every other summer for almost 20 years my family has vacationed on the mid-Atlantic coast of Florida. We’ve regularly gathered down there to enjoy each others company and all the diversions the place has to offer: Early morning beach-combing, tracking loggerhead turtle nests, body surfing or boogie boarding, evening surf-fishing, photographing the great variety of shore birds (ok, that’s just me!), or just generally kicking back and letting it all wash over you for a week.

Romance at New Smyrna Beach, FL.

Now, I would like very much for this little cutie to be able to enjoy the same stretch of beach as that young couple above when she’s their age. But I’m not the least bit optimistic it will be the same place. Changes in our global climate are being ignored by far too many in our political class. And attention needs to be paid. These changes, which are well documented and easy to find, will grow significantly in size and in scope over the next 50-100 years if we take no action. The shores we have enjoyed will become unrecognizable if we take no action. In the future homes on the bayside will be beachfront property if we take no action.

It is now an almost daily occurrence that I read about a new climate record being set. I read about extreme weather events, coastline landscapes changing, Arctic ice disappearing, long term droughts… the list goes on. Here is the most recent: U.S. On Track for Warmest Year on Record.

Climate change is happening, it is bad and getting worse, and human activity is largely the cause. But our actions can also be the fix. We can make it possible for future generations to enjoy what past generations have enjoyed. It is still possible to leave a better world for them. But the climate clock is ticking. We have to act. Today.