Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Road to Pigeon Key....2.2 Miles to Paradise

For those not familiar with the Florida Keys - they are an archipelago (a group of many islands in a large body of water) of 1700 islands...that begin at the southeastern tip of Florida...about 25 miles from Miami. The islands lie along the Florida Straits and divide the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico.

For many years, The Keys were only accessible by water....but that changed with the creation of Henry Flagler's Overseas Railway in 1910.  On Labor Day in 1935, a massive Category 5 Hurricane, one of only three that have have been recorded to hit land since 1850 (the other two were Camille in 1969 and Andrew in 1992), hit the Middle Keys around Islamorada.  This destroyed the railroad and the tracks were never rebuilt.  From then on - the Overseas Highway & the 7 mile bridge replaced the railroad as the main access to Key West.

The current seven mile bridge connects the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys...and it bypasses the original bridge and a little island called Pigeon Key..which housed workers that built the railroad in the early 1900's.  When the new bridge was built, the state kept 2.2 miles of the original 7 mile bridge..so that the island of  Pigeon Key remained connected to Marathon.  

Those 2.2 miles remain some of the most scenic in The Keys....bridging together the Atlantic and the Gulf. 



View to the right walking down the bridge.  
The old bridge.  It is so narrow - hard to imagine that this was the main access
for two way traffic to Key West until 1982.  It's replacement is to the left. 
Pigeon Key
The dock on Pigeon Key
The view to the left.  The new bridge built in the 1980's. 
No one's driving on this bridge again!
Most of The Keys do not have beaches.  This is a typical shoreline.  
One of the original cottages on Pigeon Key.  It is now a museum. 

Some of the scenes on Pigeon Key....


An old wagon filled with shells, bottles and other interesting items. 



The original dinner bell, perhaps?

This is the wall leading to the restrooms in the visitor center on Pigeon Key.
A nice assortment of coral.
What a gorgeous shell.  


The Visitors Center.





Lovin' life in The Keys.

16 comments:

Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea said...

thanks for sharing, very informative. It must be great to drive over that bridge.

Donna said...

Wow, what an amazing bridge! I've never been to the Keys before, and am surprised to learn that there are no beaches! The water is gorgeous! Sounds like lots of history here, and a good place to relax as well!!

Kaybe said...

That is the mother of all horse conchs! Looks like the weather is cooperating & starting to be more Key-like. Hope you & the Hubbs are having a great time.

Take good care,

Karen

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I just want to say WOW, too! Just amazing views! I've never been there...it's on my list of places I want to visit! Enjoy your time there....post of the pics you have time to post! I LOVE them! ♥

NanaDiana said...

Oh Debbie- It just makes me kinda homesick to see that old bridge. That was the one I traveled over the most in the 1970's. Some day I will share with you a story about my companion and I camping on Long Key...Is the tent still there where we left it? lol

I suppose you are thinking about heading home in a day or so? I do hope it warmed up a bit for you so that you were able to get some sun and outdoor fun! Hugs-Diana

jmac said...

Loved re-living my trip there thru these pics!! One yr, the boyfriend and I, decided to go visit. We flew to Miami, rented a mustang convertible (red)and began the drive! This was our first yr as empty nesters and decided it was time to start doing fun things. We drove across the bridge and stopped at each key, finding mom and pop places along the way to spend a night. We didn't make one reservation before we left. All of the places were so cool. and it was lobster season so we got to meet and watch some crazy lobstering! After 5 days of driving and stopping everywhere, we ended up in Key West for 3 days. Awesome trip! We had a blast and met some of the nicest people....you just allowed me to re-live that week. Thanks!!

Pam @ diy Design Fanatic said...

What a beautiful place! I really enjoyed your post and your photos! My husband has wanted to visit the keys for a long time!

becky at abbeystyle said...

I have't been to the Keys in five years...used to go there at least once a year. Had friends there who owned a resort on Marathon...a photographer with whom I worked. He and his wife have moved to Miami so the jobs have gone elsewhere.
It's time to board the fast ferry from Fort Meyers and get on down there again, don't you think?
Pidgeon Key...is that where you live year round?
becky (at beachsnaps)

Secret Garden Cottage said...

What a beautiful place to live by, Debbie! It's all so gorgeous! I LOVE that house on it's raised foundation (the downfall to living so close to the oacean)!! What a great porch and architecture!
I just saw your last post, too... how lucky you are to have a vacation home! What fun it will be to redecorate it!
I wish you all the best in 2011! Here's to some great inspiration and lots of laughs in the new year of blogging!! :)

Shellbelle said...

What a wonderful, informative post! Funny, I found a new blogger today who lives in Tavernier and works as a fishing mate in Islamorada. I commented that he needs to share more photos of that area and then I come here and you've posted about another place in the Keys. I've never been, but almost moved to Sugarloaf Key many years ago. Would've, should've, could've, same old story.

Love the plans you have for your home there, slipcovers are definitely the way to go!

Happy New Year!

becky at abbeystyle said...

Debbie,
My email is jerdee@comcast.net
becky (at beachsnaps)

Heaven's Walk - said...

What fun to see your photos today, Debbie!! I've never seen any pics of the Keys before, so this was was real treat! Thanks for the mini-vacation! lol! Happy New Year, friend!

xoxo laurie

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

Every time I see photos of the Keys I think I'd love to go there. Thank you so much for this close-up view of Pigeon Key.
Happy New Year to you and your family!
Blessings,
Marcia

Deb said...

Thanks for the great tour Debbie! We are hoping to visit the Keys one of these days...looks amazing! ~Deb~

beachhouse etc. said...

i ran that bridge hey come on over to my beachhouse...

Anonymous said...

My daughter made a "shell cake" for her own wedding! Carrot cake with special icing (at the groom's request), 3 tiers, and the shells she has seriously collected since growing up. Gorgeous. I'm sending her your page. Thanks for sharing your wonsderful talent.
Samantha Gray
Long Island, NY