Key West for Outdoor Vacations

Lucy Komisar
July 17, 2021

The America.2.

People are traveling again, and the best choices for destinations are outdoors. Be safe! Feel safe! Key West is perfect for that. Among my favorites things to do there are to take a sunset cruise and visit the Botanical Gardens.

One of the best sunset cruises is on the America.2 for two reasons. First, it’s a real 3-masted sailing ship.

“Guest” crew helps raise the sails.

And second, it does a terrific wine tasting, with excellent wines and hors d’oeuvres. You’ll even get a chance to help raise the sails.

America 2.0 is modeled after the Schooner America, winner of the first “America’s Cup” of 1851. But the old heavy wooden rig is replaced by carbon-fiber masts, booms and gaffs. So travelers can pull the sheets up without resort to old-fashioned muscles.

The pièce de résistance.

You get champagne, wine, beer, soft drinks, and water and hors d’oeuvres- veggie crudités, cheese and crackers, and shrimp cocktail. Crew seemed to know when I wanted repeats on the wine and shrimp!

I forgot about the victuals when the visuals turned a brilliant feast for the eyes, the gold of the sunset!

If you go, here’s the link.

Prickly Pear Cactus.

The Botanical Garden is just over a short bridge on adjacent Stock Island. It is “the only frost-free, sub-tropical, natural conservation habitat, native plant botanical garden in the continental United States.”

“Olive’s Spirit” by Perry Arnold.

It is serious and fun. With your phone, you can sign in via a QR scanner, then click on numbers at key sites to hear spiels, like you would at a museum. Most fascinating are the plants, especially the cactus collections.

There are also sculptures, some real, some jokey, set around the greenery. Here Key West sculptor Perry Arnold turned a National Champion Black Olive tree that was blown down in Hurricane Irma in 2017 into a stunning work of art.*

If you go, here’s the link.

The best tour in town.

If it’s your first time in Key West, take a Conch Tour train that will run you around the highlights of the island with a guide delivering informative patter. A conch is a local shellfish like abalone. Sometimes people call Key West The Conch Republic. Here’s the link.

Piano bar cocktails at Amsterdam’s Curry Mansion.

I love piano bars, but if you want a piano outside, opt for drinks poolside at Amsterdam’s Curry Mansion. It’s an historic bed and breakfast built in 1869 and gorgeous inside. Guests get a two-hour cocktail party with music along with open liquor bar, beer, wine and snacks.

Click the link.

The Olive Tree.

*National Champion according to criteria set by the American Forest Registry: size of trunk, size of canopy, and estimated total volume of wood. This tree had a 4-5 foot diameter trunk, 40-50 foot height and 40-50 foot diameter of canopy. Here’s what it looked like before Irma.

Photos by Lucy Komisar, except for the tree and the boat with full sails.

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One Response to "Key West for Outdoor Vacations"

  1. Pingback: Classic Harbor Sunset Jazz Cruise new way to enjoy isle & waters of Manhattan : The Komisar Scoop

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