First impressions: Key West is Charleston/Savannah meets the Caribbean. I’ve only been here for a few hours, but I can already tell that Key West has a personality all its own. It was 24 degrees when I left home at 3:30 this morning and a balmy 81 degrees when I landed in Key West a few hours later. Flying over the Caribbean blue-green waters and deplaning right onto the tarmac was reminiscent of my visits to Turks and Caicos, while the historic homes with rocking chairs on the front porch remind me of the deep south.
I encountered my first chicken in the airport garage. They seem to be everywhere here and are referred to as “gypsy chickens” by the locals. I saw my share of them wandering the streets of Key West during the rest of the day. My hotel is a short drive from the airport and I left the car there, quickly changed into shorts and flip flops, and boarded the hotel shuttle to Old Town Key West. I spent about an hour wandering around the seaport area (including my first manatee sighting) before settling into a waterside table at the Schooner Wharf Bar for lunch. A frozen mudslide and jerk chicken sandwich made for the perfect afternoon meal.
My plan for the day had included some time at the pool, so I suited and lathered up only to find all of the good chairs taken and the water a little warm for a hot day. It was a short visit. By this point, I was quickly losing steam. I wanted to pick up a few snacks and drinks at Publix and decided a small charcuterie plate and self-made Rum and Coke on the balcony would be a relaxing end to my first day in Key West.