Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour!

Here is LilaMeow posing with Robert the Doll. Of course, she did ask his permission for the photo!

Here is LilaMeow posing with Robert the Doll. Of course, she did ask his permission for the photo!

Last night I went on the Key West Ghosts & Gravestones tour with my friend, Kurt. The tour began at 501 Front Street, on the corner of Front and Duval Streets where we boarded the trolley, fittingly decorated to fit the “ghoulish” theme. There were dead vines on the ceiling, creepy flickering candles (fake, of course for safety sake!), and other fun decorations to add to the spooky experience. The tour guide, you guessed it, is DEAD! It took Kurt twenty minutes to figure this out even though our guide, Elsa, wore dated attire from the 1800’s and was extremely pale with dark, sunken eyes. By the way, Elsa had fallen down the steps of the Key West Lighthouse to her death.

During the course of the tour, your guide will share various ghost stories and tales from different historic landmarks here in Key West. Some of these sites include Captain Tony’s Saloon and St. Paul’s Church, to name just a couple.

My favorite part was stopping at the Fort East Martello, where the infamous Robert the Doll resides. We were met by Benjamin Jonah, our dead “hooker” from the 1800’s. Benjamin told us he collected corpses from the ocean when yellow fever struck Key West. He gave us a brief tour of the fort, then told us Robert’s rules. When entering Robert’s room, you must do the following: acknowledge him by saying hello, ask his permission to take a photo, and remember to say good bye. Supposedly, there have been numerous reports of strange and not-so-good things happening to individuals that do not follow these rules! Oh! And you also get a ghost radar to carry around with you as well! I followed all of the rules and had my photo taken with Robert while my radar went off the charts! It was terrifying but a lot of fun, nonetheless.

Try and lift this puppy!

Try and lift this puppy!

After the fort, we boarded the trolley again and continued the tour, driving by several more landmarks while listening to more stories. We finally ended up at the Shipwreck Museum at Mallory Square. We had access into the museum and were told of the most recent haunting there. It was very dim and reminded me of the haunted houses I had visited around Halloween while growing up.
Our guide was sarcastic, witty, enthusiastic, and very knowledgable. I loved the interactive aspect of the tour too; if someone yells, “you’re doomed!” as you drive by, you must yell back “YES! We are the doomed!”

My friend, Kurt, has resided in Key West for a number of years now; he had never done the trolley before. He was far more terrified than I was during the tour, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The entire experience was an hour and a half long. It was entertaining, informative, and downright fun! I highly recommend it to not only visitors but locals as well. My recommendation would be to go at night; the darkness adds to the tour! Maybe not the tour for the truly faint of heart though! Call 305-29-GHOST for more information and to make your reservations, which are required!

For more information about Key West, check out our Key West information site. Also, make sure to visit the restaurant review section of this blog to help you decide where to eat during your stay on our island!

Lila Meow

Easter in Key West – 2017

Island Genn and her sister Amy having Easter Day Brunch.

Island Genn and her sister Amy having Easter Day Brunch.

Easter Sunday is just around the corner now, and if you will be in Key West for this holiday, you are probably wondering where you can enjoy a nice Easter brunch or dinner. Below are a list of restaurants that will be open, some offering their regular menu and others offering holiday specials. Just make sure to call and make reservations!!

Restaurants
  • 2 Cents – 305-414-8626
  • A&B Lobster House – 305-294-5880
  • Antonia’s – 305-294-6565
  • Azur – 305-292-2987
  • Bagatelle – 305-296-6609
  • Banana Cafe – 305-294-7227
  • Benihana – 305-294-6400
  • Bistro 245 – 305-292-4320
  • Bliss Key West – 305-240-1281
  • Bruschetta Cucina Italiana – 305-517-6282
  • Cafe Marquesa – 305-292-1244
  • Cafe Sole – 305-294-0230
  • Doubletree Grand Key Resort – 305-307-9752 – Easter Brunch from Noon until 4:00PM. Menu items include eggs benedict, omelette station,bacon, sausage, pancakes, fruit, salad, Caribbean chicken, spiral ham, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and desserts. $25.95 plus tax per person with lower rates for children.
  • The Grand Cafe – 305-292-4740 – Offering a special Easter Sunday Dinner including a grand trio of smoked duck breast, beef carpaccio, and tuna tartare for $14.99, citrus baked ham with asparagus and mashed potatoes for $26.99, and chocolate mousse cake with whipped cream and a mango -raspberry coulis for $9.99.
  • Hot Tin Roof – 305-296-7701
  • Key West Harbour – 305-292-3121
  • La Te Da – 305-296-6706
  • La Trattoria – 305-296-1075 / 305-295-6789
  • Mangoes – 305-294-8002
  • Martin’s – 305-295-0111
  • Michael’s – 305-295-1300
  • Nine One Five – 305-296-0669
  • One Duval at the Pier House – 305-295-3255 – Eater Brunch will be served from 10am until 2pm. Cost is $42 per person and included a complimentary mimosa. Lower rates available for children.
  • Prime Steakhouse – 305-296-4000
  • Rooftop Cafe – 305-294-2042 – As an exceptional Key West restaurant, Roof Top Café is open during all major holidays, including Easter. Typically, our full dinner menu will be offered along with holiday specials. In addition to the regular menu, special multi-course menus are often available. Reservations on all major holidays are recommended.
  • Sarabeth’s – 305-293-8181
  • Senor Frogs – 305-404-8094
  • Southernmost Beach Cafe – 305-296-6550
  • Spencer’s by the Sea at the Casa Marina Resort – 305-296-3535
  • Casa Marina Resort – 305-296-3535 – Visit the Easter Bunny and join in the egg hunt at 11:00am! Brunch is served from noon until 4:00pm. Menu includes seafood, carving station, raw bar, mimosas, live music, and more! Price is $62 per adult and $30 per child under 12.
  • Tavern N Town at the Marriott Beachside Resort – 305-296-8100 – Offering an amazing East Brunch from 11:00AM until 2:00PM for just $45.95 per person.
  • Thai Life Floating Restaurant – 305-296-9907

In 2016, the following restaurants were also opened… We will keep updating for 2017 as the information comes in!

  • Hard Rock Cafe – 305-293-0230
  • Latitudes – 305-292-5394
  • SHOR at the Hyatt Resort will be serving Easter Brunch from 11am until 3pm. Enjoy bottomless mimosas along with fine cuisine. – 305-809-4000
Religious Services

If you are planning on attending mass or another a church service for the Easter holiday, we have many churches of different denominations that you could attend.

Activities
Fury Watersports is offering their special KEY WEST EASTER ULTIMATE ADVENTURE which includes reef snorkeling, jet skis, parasailing, and many other water sports. Leave all the work to the Easter Bunny, and enjoy your holiday with Fury Water Adventures! After an hour of snorkeling, we will head to Fury’s Island Playground for Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Kayaking and Water Park fun. When finished, cool down with complimentary beer and wine as we sail back to Key West. Our Easter Sunday Ultimate Adventure provides a special holiday menu and unlimited refreshments! This six hour adventure starts at 10:00AM and is priced at only $150 plus tax per person! Call us at 1-888-362-3474 to make reservations!
Happy Easter!

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.

And to see what is happening on Key West during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn

Key West Concierge

Ringing in the New Year in Key West! Welcome 2017!

ChampagneIt seems like everyone is ready for 2016 to be over! If you are ringing in the New Year in Key West, check out all of the New Year’s Eve holiday happenings below. Find out where you can go to enjoy a meal with a glass of champagne or two and where to find entertainment that can only be experienced here on our island! Let’s welcome 2017 with a party in Paradise!

Restaurants

Abbondanza is doing a 4 course classic Italian dinner for $41 per person. Please call 305-292-1199 for reservations.

Commodore Waterfront Restaurant is offering a special 3-course menu for $79 per person. Please call 305-294-9191 for reservations.

Duffy’s Steak and Lobster House is having a 4-course dinner for $39 per person. Please call 305-296-4900 for reservations.

The Grand Cafe located at 314 Duval Street has a special 4-course dinner for New Year’s Eve. The early seating is priced at $95 per person and the late seating is priced at $110 per person. For reservations call 305-292-4740.

Martin’s Key West at 917 Duval Street is offering a special 4-course meant for $125 per person. Check out the menu! Call 305-295-0111.

One Duval at the Pier House Resort and Spa will have a special new years eve menu featuring delicacies such as foie gras and grilled lobster tail. For reservation, call 305-296-4600.

Rooftop Cafe offers their full dinner menu along with holiday specials. In addition to the regular menu, special multi-course menus are often available. Reservations on all major holidays are recommended. Please contact the restaurant in advance for specific details or questions.

SHOR at the Hyatt Resort will have a special menu for New Year’s Eve! Please call 305-809-4000 for reservations.

Southernmost Beach Cafe located at 1405 Duval Street is open for dinner New Year’s Eve! Call 305-295-6550 for reservations.

Entertainment / Celebrations

New Year’s Eve: Pirate Wench Drop at Schooner Wharf – For piratical partiers, a New Year’s Eve salute to Key West’s rowdy seafaring roots is scheduled at the island’s Historic Seaport. At midnight, a winsome pirate wench is to descend from the top of the mast of the tall ship America 2.0 as cannon blasts welcome 2014. A dove release is to follow. Scallywags in attendance can expect live music, dancing and festivities until 4 a.m., without a cover charge, at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.

New Year’s Eve: Conch Shell Drop at Sloppy Joe’s – The arrival of 2014 is to be heralded on the island’s Duval Street with the “drop” of a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval. Thousands of spectators gather on Duval for the annual gala, emceed by a rooftop host starting at 10 p.m. and featuring dancing in the street and a countdown to midnight recorded on a huge clock. At midnight, the shell descends and cheers erupt. Stellar Mojo Band is to perform on Sloppy Joe’s indoor stage, rounding out the revelry. No reservations or tickets are taken, but a door charge is required to party inside the bar.

New Year’s Eve Shoe Drop Celebration – The Southernmost City celebrates with a descending 6-foot red high heel shoe carrying drag queen Sushi at the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St. Seconds before midnight, the high heel bearing a lavishly gowned and coiffed Sushi is to be lowered from the second-story balcony of the complex toward the cheering crowds below. As midnight strikes and the New Year officially begins, she will land and gleefully pop the cork on a ceremonial bottle of champagne.

Transportation

DON’T DRINK & DRIVE!!! With that in mind… The City of Key West Department of Transportation is offering transportation for the holiday so that you won’t drink and drive!

Two city buses will travel along Northside Drive, Flagler Avenue, Maloney Avenue, North Roosevelt Boulevard, and South Roosevelt Boulevard and Four Lower Keys buses with service between Marathon and Key West will be traveling southbound to Fausto’s Food Palace and returning as far as MM 52.5 across from Walgreen’s on 109th Street in Marathon. Designated pick up and drop off points in Old Town Key West is Fausto’s Food Palace at Bahama and Fleming Streets.

The New Year’s Eve shuttle begins service at 4:00PM in the Lower Keys and 6:00 pm in Key West and Stock Island. The Last trip from Key West at Fausto’s to Marathon will depart no later than 2:00AM. One way safe ride shuttle fares are $10 per person per trip for Lower Keys revelers and $5 per person per trip for city revelers. Exact change is required and no passes or discounts will be available for this shuttle. No alcohol, toys or weapons are allowed. For more information you can visit www.kwtransit.com or call 305-600-1455 or 305-809-3910.

See what else is happening on the island during your visit by checking out our Key West Events Calendar, and for other things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Before making your reservations for dinner reservations check out our restaurant reviews!

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!
Island Genn

Key West Concierge

Florida Keys Screwworm Inspection

Island  Genn and Indiana Bones at the Screwworm Checkpoint with Karen Rozensher, DVM.

Island Genn and Indiana Bones at the Screwworm Checkpoint with Karen Rozensher, DVM.

Perhaps you have heard that since screwworms have been found in the Florida Keys, all animals leaving the Florida Keys need to be examined at the Animal Health Check Station which is located at MM 106, off the shoulder of northbound lane of the Overseas Highway. This is just before the last Shell Station you come to before heading onto the 18 mile stretch and out of the Florida Keys.

The last thing people want to do when traveling is to make an unscheduled stop. But this process is so expedient, it was not a hassle at all when we recently took our dog, Indiana Bones, to the mainland with us. More about this in a minute!

So what the heck are screwworms? I had never heard of them before this emergency was reported. Simply, they are fly larvae or maggots that are able to infest animals through a wound and feed on their flesh. Sounds like a horror movie to me! Really, it is not that bad though. The whole reason for the examinations is simply to keep the screwworm out of other areas, protecting animals and livestock.

Recently, screwworms have been found in the Lower Florida Keys, specifically on Big Pine Key, No Name Key, Big Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe Key, Ramrod Key, Sugarloaf  Key, Summerland Key, and Munson Island. No screwworms have been found in the Upper Florida Keys, and none have been found in Key West either.

The Key Deer that have been found to be afflicted with screwworm are being treated by teams of experts with an antiparasitic medicine. In addition, state and federal agriculture workers are working to determine the extent of the infestation, releasing millions of sterile flies to eliminate the screwworm population, and monitoring cases in animals.

So, you were planning on bringing your four-legged friend on vacation to the Keys with you and now you are not sure what to do. There is no prohibition against visitors bringing their pets to the Florida Keys.  Still, caution is suggested. It is best to bring a healthy pet with no wounds down, especially if visiting the Lower Florida Keys.  And keeping your pet indoors as much as possible will also help safeguard him or her.

Back to our stop. We simply pulled off the road and into the inspection area. We lowered our window and Keren approached our vehicle and introduced herself. She briefly explained what screwworm was and visually inspected Indiana Bones as she asked me a few questions. That was it! It took less than 5 minutes!  Easy Peasy!

Over 7,500 animals have been inspected thus far; luckily, no cases of screwworm have been found!

For more information on screwworm in Florida, check out what the Florida Department of Agriculture has to say.

See what is happening on the island during your visit by checking out our Key West Events Calendar, and for other things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Before making your dining reservations for while in Key West check out our restaurant reviews!

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn

Key West Concierge