Key West: the allure of the sea, sunsets, art & literature, and cabaret

By Lucy Komisar

The Sea: sunset cruises

Taking a sunset cruise is a terrific way to get a sense of Key West as an island . You pick up a Sebago catamarin sailboat on the Harbor Walk in the north of town, and as it moves out, you see people lined up on shore to see the sunset from a less exotic angle. Later on the two-hour trip, you pass near Sunset Key, a private island you can visit if you reserve at the restaurant, Latitudes.

On the left of the Sebago see the open bar, middle is Spogga, guitar player and singer, right is the captain and passengers.

I like the Sebago sailboat cruises because they are small enough to make you feel you are on a real boat, you get to see the sails put up, and excellent food (Caprese skewers, shrimp cocktail, more) and wines are served. The terrific singer-guitarist Spogga entertained.

People on shore waiting for the sunset, and then it comes, seen best from a boat.

The pièce de resistance is experiencing the astonishing art of nature, the sun setting into the sea. A bright yellow ball turns orange as it descends, then seems to splatter its color over the water and the sky. Even better if you see a sailboat silhouette across the orb.

On shore: Museum of Art & History

Key West Museum of Art & History.

Before you board the Sebago, you can spent an hour or two at the close-by Museum of Art & History at the old Custom House. There’s a permanent collection on the history of Key West and also changing special shows.

This time it was about Ernest Hemingway, who spent 8 years from 1931 to 39 here writing and deep sea fishing. He lived at 907 Whitehead Street, across from the Key West Lighthouse. You can visit the house.

Guy Harvey panels for The Old Man and the Sea.

There’s always some Hemingway at the museum, but this exhibit was special: drawings by Guy Harvey to illustrate “The Old Man and the Sea,” with related sections of the text.

Larry Smith and Carmen Rodriguez at Viva Argentinian.

My favorite music is cabaret and jazz, and here is my favorite artist. Carmen Rodriguez does classic cabaret with often a jazzy inflection. Here she is at the Viva Argentinian outdoor patio. In summer, when it’s too hot outside, she’s at the Beachside Marriott Tavern ‘n Town Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5pm.

If you go:

Sebago Watersports, 205 Elizabeth Street, 305-294-5687. The premium trip with open bar, food and live music is called Land’s End.


Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front Street. Open daily 9:00 am – 5:00 pm – except Christmas.

Carmen Rodriquez.

Key West Attractions for more to do.

Photos by Lucy Komisar.

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