Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ethan's Visit and Key West Conch Fritters

Apologies for the delay, this week has been very busy, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.  Ethan Johnson, Manager of Plant Records at the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, OH, stopped by for a visit this past Sunday.  I showed him around the grounds at Kona Kai, with which he was quite impressed, and then we drove down the Keys in the late afternoon so he could see as much of the Keys as possible before leaving.  Nearly 100 miles later, we found ourselves at the southernmost point of the continental U.S., which is in Key West.  It is pretty strange driving many miles through tiny islands with only sporadic evidence of civilization, and then coming abruptly upon the bustling city-like atmosphere of Key West.  We were able to find a parking spot pretty easily and strolled through parts of the historic Old Town on our way to the Southernmost Point monument.  After the requisite picture by the monument, we made our way to Duval Street and found a great outdoors restaurant, nearly covered in $1 bills, where we watched the final half of the Super Bowl.  I had my first taste of conch fritters there, and boy were they delicious.  The weather was fantastic and Key West is a great place to take the time to walk through.  Window-shopping on Duval is a lot of fun and the people who live in this place are as eccentric as the shops you’ll find there.  History is interspersed with modern culture and the feel of the place at night is very much college-town.  Overall, a great day in the Keys! 

Off to the Florida DMV to get a new license and plates!  I’ll fill you in on my trip up to Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in my next entry.

Rick Hederstrom
Associate Director

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