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From Our Corner

November 18, 2011

“Pheebs!  When looking for a house, make sure to stand on the front porch and take in the view!”

The admonition was given to my wife when selecting a place to live in Old Town.  When one is a tourist, one spends much time on the outside looking in.  When one lives here, one does the opposite and often forgets to take in the sights around them until after the deal is consummated.

It”s one of the reasons we ended up with this house, on this corner.  See the blue bench on the porch?

We are greeted with this view from that vantage point:

The Thompson House, dating back to the Civil War.  The owners (who prefer their privacy) consider the house a labor of love.  It is a joy to see, a vista we never tire of.

We live on a corner.  We’ve had two other corner homes in our 25 years together, and we like the bustle associated with corner life.

Key West is, at its most basic level, a real live functional small town.  People live, laugh, work and eat here.  With three grocery stores and at least 20 restaruants within five blocks, there really is no need for a car.

Old Town is rougly ten blocks by ten blocks square; approximately one square mile of 3000+ historic wood-framed homes and businesses set shoulder to shoulder.  A bike will whisk one to virtually any Old Town destination in five minutes time.

I can tell you from experience – it often takes longer than five minutes to find a parking space for a car.  We have a car on-island (a ratty old Geo Tracker) whose fuel economy is measured in months per tank.  We have been averaging about 3 months/tank of fuel, which is one-twentieth what we spent on gas up on the mainland.

What makes Old Town viable are tourists.  This is a tourist town – has been since the days of Julius Stone, the administrator brought in to revive Key West during the Depression.  While we wax poetic about wrecking, cigars, sponging and shrimping, the estimated 2.5 million visitors/year are the engine which keeps Key West humming.

We knew this to be the case when opting to live here.  While we get the occasional drunk-ass idiot tourist, the vast majority are decent folk.  We get a kick out of being on the Conch Train Tour route.  We play a role as part of a 360 degree, 24/7 theatre for visitors.

As a two-hour introduction to the history of Key West – it can’t be beat.  We do it at least once a year with friends and relatives who come to visit.

When we first moved here, I had difficulty spending much time just sitting at our little corner of Key West.

15 minutes was my upper limit.  This has changed; I can now spend hours on that little blue bench, watching the world go by.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2011 8:01 pm

    I already like your new blog.

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      November 18, 2011 8:34 pm

      Thanks.

      We needed a few years on-island to understand what living here is about. It would have been unfair to inveterate bloggers and residents of OTKW to jump in without seasoning, although in the scheme of things we are but sophomores (wise fools). Fortunately, this is considered an asset in many circles on Key West.

  2. November 19, 2011 2:05 am

    Me too:)

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      November 19, 2011 1:10 pm

      The corner is all the better for sharing it with you.

  3. November 21, 2011 6:27 pm

    Chuck–
    That blue bench beats the over-loving living hell out of the fake Adirondack chairs I have in my driveway.
    Do not ever tire of that blue bench. If you do, I will gladly buy the place and sit upon said blue bench until I expire. You are a lucky man.
    GregP In WV, who can’t see the corner today because we are literally blanketed in fog…

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      November 21, 2011 6:45 pm

      82. Breezy. Not a cloud in the sky.

      Lather. rinse. repeat.

      This is Key West at its finest.

  4. November 21, 2011 6:29 pm

    Sorry–
    Should have read “ever-loving living hell”. Too many words, so little time…
    GregP In WV, the walking typo…

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      November 21, 2011 6:45 pm

      No worries. I do the same.

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  1. Old Town Key West – From Our Corner « Guam and Beyond

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