"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We arrived back from The Keys today. Although I am not given to impetuous behavior, Susie's suggestion that we just take off on the trip sounded like a good idea. You also have to imagine something: anyone who gets a nosebleed just crossing the causeway to the mainland must be temporarily insane to agree to travel three hours in the back of a Volkswagen Beetle. Although I originally thought we would travel directly to Key West, Susie had, instead, made reservations at Palmer's Resort Lagoon on Little Torch Key thirty miles north. I don't like rural or backwater places, and this was one of those. It was a quiet hamlet of vacation homes, fishermen, and trailer parks.
Palmer's was a compound of quaint, tidy cottages on a lagoon of the Gulf of Mexico and was filled with people who were suspiciously friendly and greeted you as if they had known you all their life. It was way too quiet for me; on the first afternoon--while the gang was smoking pot, drinking beer, and frolicking in the pool--I holed myself up in our cottage and watched Law and Order (wondering why I had not brought some Xanax). The panic attack eventually faded away and we went on a disturbing adventure that I will post later about.
On the second day, we finally made it to Key West. It is much more to my liking: a town of kooks, tourists, and drag queens. One of my favorite buildings there is the "southernmost house" in the United States, the 1897 mansion built by Judge Vinning Harris for his wife; it originally only had one, very large bedroom so they did not have to deal with guests. It is at Southermost Point, the tip of Key West that is closer to Havana than Miami.

There is also the magnificent Episcopal Church, first built in 1837 and rebuilt after the 1909 Hurricane.
We had a glorious lunch at Alonzo's Oyster Bar...
...and made our way to The Bourban Pub on Duvall Street, where I truly was back in my element.
On our way to Mallory Square to paid homage to good and bad, and then good again, times.
The sunset in Key West is one of the greatest tourist attractions and the crowd claps when it gently sets.
This morning I left Mr. Astor in bed and left the cottage at seven AM to go down to Honeymoon Point...
...to sit in one of those chairs and watch the sun rise. It turned out to be a lovely, impetuous vacation.


At 11:34 PM, Blogger Tosca15 said...

The thought of you cooped up in that car for all those hours is a travesty! However, doing things on the spur of the moment can indeed be fun. Your narrative reminded me of when I spent 8 of the most horrifying years of my life, living an isolated existence on Long Key. I don't know if you remember driving through it, but it's at MM 68, right in the middle of the Keys. The tiny town of Layton is also part of it. When we lived there, the population was 82, and all the residents but my family were over age 82. All those people talked about was fishing and drinking. I thought I would die. My kids had to take a school bus 20 miles each way to their schools, I had to go to Miami to shop, there was no movie theater, no Publix, you get the idea. The Keys are truly a beautiful place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there, and you especially wouldn't want to raise kids there. On the good side, I divorced #1 and began my new life by getting out of there. Anywho, it's nice to know you and your lovely husband enjoyed yourselves!


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