I recently went on a trip to Key West, and incidentally it was during bike week, otherwise known as Key West Florida Annual Poker Run… What is bike week, you ask? Bike week is where over 10,000 people take their motorcycles on the scenic drive to Key West. They ride over 100 miles of bridges, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge. The reason they call it the “Poker Run” is because along the way, each person stops at five places to draw cards. Whoever ends up with the best hand of cards at the end of the run wins. Then they can park their motorcycles on Duval, the main street of Key West, for a fee so everyone can see them. We saw all kinds of interesting bikes and people- body painting and jeweled pasties, leather and ponytails, jorts and jumpsuits… we didn’t exactly blend in with the crowd there.
Obviously, if you’re in Key West you HAVE to get key lime pie.
If you are interested in history and beaches, this is a perfect spot to travel for you. There’s wonderful snorkeling, scuba diving, and water sports all over Key West. We stayed on the water at the Westin, which has a lovely pool area as well. They will take you to their private beach too, but you can only get there by boat. We watched the sunset from their bar above the pool deck, and it was stunning. There was also a cat show, but that was just strange. Historical landmarks include the southernmost point in Florida, the Harry S. Truman Little White House, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, The Shipwreck Historeum, and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
We ate dinner on Duval each night, opting more for fish and seafood than anything else. They have no open container rules there either, so they offer up all sorts of margaritas and frozen delicacies that you can walk the strip carrying. There are a few nice Italian restaurants that I hear are delicious, such as La Trattoria. If you want a snack, I recommend stopping for conch fritters somewhere or as appetizer since they serve it pretty much everywhere. The seafood is fresh and delicious, so you really can’t go wrong. Obviously, if you’re in Key West you HAVE to get key lime pie. I highly recommend trying it, even if you don’t usually like pie. They serve it many different ways- frozen and covered in chocolate, with meringue, with whipped cream, and more. The Blond Giraffe is the best place to get key lime pie, and you can even take a frozen one home. In terms of nightlife, Key West is very casual and relaxed. There’s lots of live music, and there’s a nudist bar called Garden of Eden if you’re up for an, um, experience.
Whitney J. Manson