It’s almost the Christmas Season and Y’all know how much I love this time of the year. Sadly I am not a fan of cold, wet snow nor the frigid temperatures we face. Unlike many folks I am perfectly OK with a ” not white” Christmas. That is probably a residual benefit of living in the desert for seven years. Christmas can be just as pretty in the sun and the sand with the sound of waves undulating to the Christmas carols.
Christmas in the Keys
All of which brings me to the tip of Florida, just 90 miles north of Cuba where we find Key West, a tropical island famous for its laid-back lifestyle. The beautiful blue water, the relaxing beaches and of course the romantic appeal. While Key West is a great place to visit year-round, I have been told that these islanders take the holidays seriously – transforming the seascape into a wonderland of twinkling lights, trolley tours, boat parades and live music events.
I have been told this is the “it” place for the holidays. Well the place to be if you love sun, sand and Christmas served up on a platter of sunshine. Plus close your eyes and open them slowly at night the white sand looks like snow.
Why the Keys and what is Happening.
Although the world watched as the Keys’ were ripped apart during hurricane season, this resilient community has proven nothing will come between them and Christmas. Just a little hint of what one might experience if you decided to take a quick jaunt,
Harbor Walk of Lights – Honoring Key West’s maritime history, the annual Harbor Walk of Lights kicked off the holiday season last Wednesday, November 22. As you walk along the seawall past Green Street, William Street and Margaret Street to the Key West Ferry Terminal. This free event, which stretches through New Year’s Eve, is fun for the entire family. It features nautical theme light displays, shopping, dining and seasonal libations.
Next up Holiday Lights and Sights Trolley Tour – One of the best ways to experience Key West during the holidays is aboard Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Lights and Sights Tour. While there won’t be a white Christmas in Key West, that doesn’t stop the island from decking the halls with lights and decorations. This 60-minute trolley tour begins in Mallory Square and includes cider and cookies before departure. Tours are offered Friday, December 8-9 at 6 pm, 7 pm and 8 pm as well as December 15-16 and December 19-23 at 6 pm, 6:15 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:15 pm, 7:30 pm and 7:45 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 4 to 12 and children ages 3 and under ride free.
Lighted Boat Parade – Twinkling lights illuminate the waters at Key West’s Historic Seaport for the 27th annual Schooner Wharf Bar & Galley Lighted Boat Parade. Dozens of boats parade through the waters starting at 8 pm on Saturday, December 9, but come early to catch the children’s House of Pan Steel Drum Band of Bahama Village as they perform on the Schooner Wharf stage from 6 pm to 8 pm followed by more live music by Raven Cooper and Friends
Fury Water Adventures – A staple for outdoor activities in Key West for almost 30 years, the largest watersports company in South Florida hosts a variety of holiday-themed events during November and December. Offering special trips on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve as well as a unique Lighted Boat Parade viewing experience that is second to none. Check out their special events calendar for all the details.
And still More Christmas Adventure
Key West has hundreds of small, locally owned shops with one-of-a-kind items for everyone on your nice list. Art galleries dot the seascape featuring local artists creating everything from glass jewelry to handmade pottery and dozens of clothing boutiques and gift shops offer up everything from hammocks and seashells to vintage beach photos and eco-friendly treasures. It is a shopping paradise for those that love the unique. For me I am imagining Christmas Shopping at its best, flip flops and a sundress, OK yes and cool gifts for everyone.
Relax in Comfort
Inspiring guests like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams since it opened in 1926, La Concha Hotel & Spa is a National Historic Landmark in the heart of the vibrant downtown historic district. Located on Duval Street, the hotel was designed with comfort in mind and features contemporary accommodations with colorful ceilings, dark wood plantation furnishings and coastal inspired window shutters. Enjoy a cocktail by the pool, dine at 430 Duval, sip world-class wines at Wine-O or stop by La Concha’s full-service spa for signature treatments at their rooftop facilities.
Plus it doesn’t stop there, there is no shortage of beautiful inns, hotels and bed and breakfasts dotting the landscape of Key West’s downtown. Built in 1898, Key West Bed and Breakfast is located in the William Russell House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed by Bahamian shipbuilders, this three-story Victoria is located on a quiet, tree-shaded street in the heart of Old Town. With a short walk to the water and Caribbean-style guest rooms, you’ll find it easy to rest and relax at Key West Bed and Breakfast.
I am not sure about you but I am thinking this is the place to be. Key West has made it to the top of my Christmas Bucket List, heck not just for Christmas, I want to see the Keys.