Spend New Years in Key West, Florida – Part 4

Road Trip! One of my new, most favorite forms of travel.  This time we’re heading down the Keys to my ultimate destination, Key West, Florida, the home and retreat of Earnest Hemingway.

Whatever reason you like to “road-trip-it” … be it to visit a particular place in the United States or to avoid the hassles of air travel … you have to have some passion for or about your desired destination.  Why else would you go?

For me, it was the  desire to walk on Hemmingway’s sacred stomping grounds: to follow the path of his successes and to see where he lived, played, drank, and did all the crazy things that he’s been accused of doing over the years in his writing life.  (I’ve actually visited Paris for the exact same reasons).

Marriott, Key West

Pool area at the Marriott Key West, Florida

Leaving Miami Beach at the decent hour of nine o’clock in the morning gave us plenty of time on New Year’s Eve 2012, to get to our hotel, The Marriott Beach Resort, before noon. That allowed us to spend some time exploring Key West before resting up for the New Year’s Eve festivities on Duval Street.  My husband and I planned this New Year’s Eve bash selecting the number two on my bucket list.  Number one, being the Superbowl at the Meadowlands in New Jersey scheduled for 2014.  (Hello out there, I am actively seeking tickets).

The folks at the Marriott Key West aimed to please and allowed us to check into our room at noon when we first arrived, actually adding an extra half day to our sight-seeing without having to use our car.  A free van out front of the lobby area drops off guests in and around Duval Street, or at the marina, or in the shopping or bar district. It leaves and returns from the hotel every twenty minutes.

This is where we first met up with Kermit, the key lime king of Elizabeth Street in Key West, Florida.  If you like the tangy taste of key lime pie, you’ll definitely love your key lime pie dipped in chocolate, which you can eat off an ice cream stick.  That was my all-time favorite treat in Kermit’s shop, a shop that consists of key lime everything: cookies, jelly beans, ice cream, cake, doughnuts, sucking candy.  And of course, pie!

The Key West Lime Shope

Kermit of Elizabeth Street’s Key Lime Shop

After walking around for several hours, the time had come to get back to the Marriott and get ready for the New Year’s Eve big bash on Duval Street.  There were several places in the town of Key West that were counting down at midnight, allowing thick crowds to thin out and have options for gathering.  We took the hotel van back to Duval Street, fully knowing we’d have to find a taxi after midnight to get back to the hotel.  That was okay.  We were in it for the adventure.

Duval Street in Key West

Duval Street in Key West

Crowds started to gather around 11 PM.  I had my camera ready to capture it all.  At the Marina, a lime would drop into a Margarita glass at midnight.  Out in front of Margaritaville, people waited to see the slipper drop.  We waited on Duval Street to see the ball drop.

Waiting for the ball to drop

Midnight: waiting for the ball to usher in 2013

Continuing in Part 5, we’ll be going to Hemingway’s House to see where this famous writer drew his inspiration from.

Photos: Patricia Florio