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Top 10 Key West

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The must-sees in the Florida Keys

Lying at the southernmost point of the United States, just 90 miles north of Cuba, Key West rests at the end of a raffish string of islands that attracts all manner of souls whose hearts beat to a different drummer – fishermen, salvagers, ecologists, writers, poets, artists, and national leaders. Many of these folks are known only by their first name… which is exactly the way they want to keep it. After all, this is a place to escape to.

But you can’t escape these top 10 places to see and things to do in Key West.

1. Duval Street

The busy and eccentric thoroughfare of Key West draws people-watchers galore. Most head for Sloppy Joe’s which is one of the more celebrated (ie: touristy) Hemingway haunts. For a more authentic experience, head across the road to Rick’s, grab an outdoor stool, a pail of peanuts and get set to enjoy offbeat conversations with passers-by.

2. Sunset Celebration

About one hour before the crimson-orange sun sinks into the Caribbean waters, the waterfront promenade at Mallory Square becomes one ’60s-styled festive love-in of street performers, popcorn vendors, artsy displays and musicians. Go early to secure your spot to watch the sharpening silhouettes of ships, parasailers and starry eyed lovers create some stunning Kodak moments.

3. Peppers of Key West

It’s billed as the hottest spot on the island with good reason. Look for the red pepper-mobile parked outside and expect to find fire-inspired sauces, spices and pepper-related paraphernalia galore. Titles that tell the tale include  Dave’s Insanity, Capt Phil’s Wreck-Tum Fire, Colon Cleaner, and the house specialty, Goin’ Bananas , a terrific basting sauce made out of bananas, raisins, tamarinds, worcestershire sauce and, of course, dynamite chilli-peppers.

4. El Siboney

This unpretentious café is run by mammas as generous in size as the platters of Cuban food they serve. It’s one of the best values in town, for appetites that aren’t for the faint of heart.

5. Key West Seafood

Although Mark Phillips is one of the area’s best charter captains, he turned his fishing savvy into creating the best seafood restaurant in Key West. The modest entrance belies what you’ll find inside: a romantic, open-air garden with secluded café tables tucked into gorgeous greenery complete with fountains, stone angels and pagodas. Go for the seafood and stay for the Key Lime Pie which far outshines any other in the Keys. Little wonder that Mark has also parlayed his seafood offerings into a very successful online seafood shipping company, www.keywestseafood.

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