We visited Crane Point Museum and Reserve which was a 65 hectare site of dense preserved mangroves.
We were able to follow trails around the reserve, which also had a bird sanctuary and an old settlers house on it, which gave an idea of the simplicity of life for early settlers, of what were then just a series of islands reachable only by boat.
Life was also made difficult by mosquitoes and 'no seem ums', which were tiny biting insects that couldn't be seen with the naked eye. The settler who lived in this dwelling came from the Bahamas and earned his living selling sea sponges and making charcoal.
We stopped off at the most beautiful white sandy beach at Bahia Honda State Park. Here the waters were crystal clear and there were lots of fish swimming alongside you.
We spent a couple of days travelling the 120 miles down the Keys, spending one night in Islamorada where a huge hurricane killed over 400 people in 1938, when a train evacuating them was blown off the tracks. We then spent one night in Key West at the southern most tip. It was quite expensive in Key West, especially for accommodation, but as it was late in the season and many American children were already back at school, you could get better prices.
Our hotel was lovely, a nice way to end the holiday. There were turtles in a pool in the hotel grounds. Not sure I liked to see them kept captive like this, it seemed a bit of a sad existence for them, but we did get to watch them.
This iguana kept making an appearance around the pool. He was pretty big and didn't seem at all phased by humans present. A real character.
We relaxed by the pool for a couple of hours and then headed out to Johnny Rockett's Burger Restaurant in town for dinner. The town was very lively with lots of bars and restaurants offering 'live' music entertainment.
The next day we were heading back to Miami to catch our plane in the evening, so before leaving we stopped off at writer Earnest Hemmingway's house in Key West. It was a beautiful house.
There were displays about his life and career and you could wander through the rooms and imagine life there in the 1930's.
I loved this pineapple lamp
and the floor tiles in this bathroom.
There were lovely porches and gardens all around the property and a lovely swimming pool which had to be dug out by hand.
There were some very special residents here, who seemed to be given priority, seeing as they could sit and sleep on the furniture and in places that other visitors were not allowed to touch.
There was even a cat cemetery. Most of the cats were named after famous Hollywood friends of Hemmingway's.
Apparently, they all had six toes and were bred from Hemmingway's original six-toed pet cat which was given to him by a sea captain friend.
There was a new generation being reared too.
I tried to get a picture of the infamous 6 toes, well 4 and a double one, if you can see from the photograph.
It was worth a visit here, although we did get a parking ticket when we got back to the car, as we'd parked it facing the wrong direction. We had to stop off at City Hall and pay it on the way out.
The streets around the museum gave a flavour of Key West. Clapboard houses, painted white or in pastel shades. Very pretty. Roosters wandering around the streets free range. There was lots more to do and we'd have loved to stay longer and explore more, but we had run out of time.
I'll leave you with a quote from the man himself.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to the US. Back to normal life now.