Virtuoso Traveler - August/September 2018 - 46
Key West, Florida
The Conch Republic rises again.
he U.S. held its breath when
Hurricane Irma made landfall
in South Florida last fall,
but fortunately, Key West,
a onetime pirate lair 90 miles north of
Cuba, bounced back in the same defiant
spirit that once drove its campaign to
secede from the country as the Conch
Republic in the early 1980s.
"The Keys rebounded in a way that
demonstrates the region's sense of
community and pride," says Bogard. "Key
West is a fun, high-energy tropical island
that offers a piece of the Caribbean in
the U.S. with a quirky, small-town vibe."
New attractions on the island include
the fall opening of Florida Keys
National Wildlife Refuges Nature
Center on nearby Big Pine Key (30587
Overseas Highway), home to elfin Key
deer. New butterfly and "perfume"
gardens, the latter devoted to fragrant
flowers, recently opened at the Key
West Garden Club at West Martello
Tower (1100 Atlantic Boulevard), a
National Historic site. The 28-acre
Truman Waterfront Park (21 East
Quay Road), adjacent to one of Key
West's best beaches, has added bike
lanes, a children's splash park, and a
Cheer Key West's resilience on the
new Cocktail Crawl walking tour,
fueled by signature local drinks such
as the Hemingway daiquiri, or take a
mojito-making class at the Key West
First Legal Rum Distillery (105
BE THERE: On a satellite isle a sevenminute ferry ride from Key West, Sunset
Key Cottages models escapism with
new beach yoga sessions, sunset
supper picnics, and ice cream delivery
to its 40 cottages via a classic conch
cruiser bike. Doubles from $795; Virtuoso
travelers receive breakfast daily and a
$100 resort credit.
(BEACH) JAMES SCHWABEL/AGE FOTOSTOCK,
(ICE-CREAM MAN) ANDREW HETHERINGTON/REDUX
Smathers Beach (also featured on
our cover) and (right) the ice-cream
man cometh at Sunset Key Cottages.
With its Cuban flair and colorful street art, Miami is an urban analogue to Key West. Azamara Club Cruises' five-day Key West and Havana
sailing aboard the 690-passenger Azamara Journey starts and ends in Miami, providing time to visit Little Havana, the Wynwood Walls to spy
its vibrant murals, and the South Beach strands. Departure: November 20, 2018; from $1,074.
46 V I R T U O S O T R A V E L E R