Bucket List Dreams- Key West

When you are in Key West, you will notice how time slows down and you are now officially on island time. When I think of Key West, I think of The Ernest Hemingway Home, Mallory Square, Duval Street, perfect cotton-candy colored sunsets and of course, Key Lime pie! The Island community of Key West is filled with charming conch houses and is divided into two sections: Old Town and New Town. Key West has a rich historical significance, a vibrant art, and cultural scene, a multitude of kitschy and quirky places, entertainment venues and street performers and so much more.

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Old Town is located downtown and is the historic heart of Key West. I love all of the sights of the quaint Old Town area. The renovated and preserved hotels and bed and breakfasts in Old Town are quite distinctive. Old Town offers charming cottages, bungalows, and b&bs.

New Town offers more modern and beach-style lodging. New Town consists of shopping centers, restaurants, and hotels. Many of the hotels are all lined up which provides the ease of selecting accommodations for guests. Key West is extremely pricey, and on holidays those prices skyrocket. I saw 2-star budget motels going for 300+ a night during a holiday. Many folks will drive out of Key West and get a room at one of the other neighboring islands.

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Key Lime Square is a nice area to get lunch at one of the sidewalk cafes or enjoy eating curb-side. The Cuban Coffee Queen is a favorite spot to grab a coffee or a quick bite. Key Lime Square is great for people watching, spotting iguanas, and seeing chickens cross the road.

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Duvall Street is the entertainment district of Key West. On Duvall Street, you will find all of the storefronts, restaurants, and boutiques. Many off-the-wall stores are offering unique novelties and gaudy souvenirs. There is live music, street parties, and festivities. Duvall Street can be sensory overload, and that’s really what makes it so much fun.

Mallory Square offers the most stunning sunset views of Key West. The sky and the waters are multi-colored splashes of pink, blue, yellow, and orange. The scenic, panoramic views are breathtaking. Everyone gathers here as night falls to witness the splendor of the sunset. We watched the sailboats and cruise boats roll by with tours as the sun went down in the evening. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera because the backdrop is tremendous.

Mallory Square is primarily a lively shopping district with boutiques, restaurants, and hotels. They have clean facilities here and paid parking in the garage. We spent an embarrassing amount of time watching this hilarious cat man put on a crazy cat show!

If you are visiting Key West, you must catch the famous Key West sunset here at Mallory Square then have a slice of the famous Key Lime pie of course.

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The Cafe is a favorite vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Key West. The atmosphere here is really zen. We decided to get a slice of vegan Key Lime pie because you can’t go to Key West and not get a slice of their famous Key Lime pie. It was presented beautifully and tasted delicious. You’ve got to try their veggie burgers also.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is famous to Key West! Hemingway’s Home holds tours throughout the day. A visit to the Hemingway Home and Museum was definitely on my bucket list and is a great attraction for all. Avid book lovers, emerging authors and novelists and all those who appreciate great literary works will love this place.

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Southernmost Point has a very iconic landmark, the giant red, black and yellow buoy. This massive marker signifies the southernmost point in the continental United States where the land and ocean meet. The land completely ends, and the Atlantic Ocean begins at this very marker. And we’re just 90 miles from Cuba!

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Hwy 1, Mile marker 0 is quite literally the end of the road! Or is the beginning? You will also find this marker near the Southernmost Point monument. Interestingly we are at the very end and even the very beginning at the same time! This actually made me feel very accomplished.

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And my bucket list dreams just keep coming true!

With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar.”

Bucket List Dreams- Wynwood Walls

Miami's Infectious Art Scene-

Wynwood Walls

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Miami’s art scene, Wynwood Walls, is completely arresting. It proves to be difficult for one to fathom just how massive the Wynwood Walls are. Wynwood Walls is an entire art district encompassing the whole neighborhood! Wynwood Walls, located in the old industrial warehouse district, is an open-air urban concrete jungle, or graffiti park, with colorful, diverse walls which showcase tremendous displays of labor and love from some of the most talented artists far and wide.

 

Outdoor Museum

The art on the warehouse buildings in Wynwood Walls is splattered on just about every inch of the district. The artsy displays are vibrant and electrifying. You will soon discover that there are more and more art pieces as you explore deeper. This art district has to be one of the coolest spots in Miami! My time was splintered between the massive outdoor graffiti park and the eclectic indoor art museum featuring paintings and other art mediums.

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Indoor museum

I was here for the Fearless exhibit which featured new work from over ten artists. I fell in love with the Arabian art. My favorite pieces were the Arabian Nights and Japanese Geishas. The art pieces evoke emotion and are mesmerizing. There is a lot of canvas prints for purchase inside the art rooms.

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Street Art

It’s easy to spend the entire day at the walls, and I could have easily spent additional time exploring more of the incredible artistic creations. You can get some fascinating images here, and there are plenty of opportunities for photo-ops. There are also various art galleries, barrooms, and boutiques in the area. They have several spots to get a bite to eat, plus ice cream trucks and fruit stands. You should grab yourself a fresh cut pineapple or coconut and with a fancy umbrella straw in it and get to exploring.

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This place is definitely a sensory overload but in a good way. One of my favorite outdoor murals is the Asian wall art depicting the 10,000 Buddha’s. I love the art scene at Wynwood Walls, and in actuality, I  love all graffiti parks- check out my previous post on Hope Graffiti Park. 

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Almost every inch of the Wynwood area is covered in graffiti, wall murals, and street art. I saw the most fascinating pieces of art that genuinely evoked emotions-laughter, awe, joy, contemplation, compassion, sorrow, and understanding. This place makes you feel something! The walls completely surpassed my expectations. If you don’t visit the walls, you will do yourself a great disservice, because this place begs to be explored and enjoyed.

 

And my bucket list dreams just keep coming true!

With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Miami Botanical Gardens and Holocaust Memorial

Discover and Explore- Miami

Florida is home to some of the most coveted destinations in the nation with some of the greatest attractions and activities housed in central and south Florida, specifically Orlando, Key West, and Miami. Of course, of all the cities in Florida, Miami is one of the most visited vacation destinations in the world. Miami is a tapestry woven together of culture, history, and people.

Miami Beach Botanical Gardens- Flora and Fauna

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The botanical gardens immerse visitors into a tropical and dreamy sanctuary amongst the palm trees and the oasis.

While the gardens are not massive, they are free, and they are a great place to stop in for a visit. They offer guided garden tours or self-guided. We did the self-guided tour, and one of the personable staff members who run the tours gave us some fascinating facts about flora and fauna at the gardens and information about the surrounding areas while we were visiting the city.

We were able to see several iguanas roaming about which completely startled me when I saw just how fast they run and how big they are. We also saw turtles, lizards, and butterflies.

The Asian gardens were my favorite part of the botanical gardens. In the Asian gardens, there is Koi fish, a lily pond, bamboo trees and butterflies. I loved the unusual winding trees and the red arched bridge.

I enjoyed all of the flowers and trees that covered the grounds. The Ylang-Ylang tree, Plumeria, and Honeysuckles are so aromatic as they blow in the wind.

Miami Beach Botanical Garden is located next to the Holocaust Memorial so you’ll definitely want to check out the memorial after.

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Miami Holocaust Memorial- Deeply Moving and Haunting

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Visiting the Holocaust Memorial is a deeply moving and deeply haunting experience. Stepping onto the grounds, I felt like I was whisked away in time to a place of great mourning and complete despair.

The four-story monument that erupts out of the ground encompasses hundreds of human bodies emerging, writhing in agony. There are statues of grieving mothers holding their children close to their heart, crying children and emaciated bodies. Everything placed is so detailed and important to educate us on the history that was the Holocaust, and it’s an emotional experience. The memorial elicits the raw human emotion in us all as you walk back through time.

Walking through the archway, you can hear music playing that really heightens the intensity of everything. You can see names and pictures and stories inscribed on the walls. In the circular memorial, they have heart-wrenching monuments and displays of families, men and women, and innocent children whose faces are twisted in agony and you can almost hear the screams. The memorial pays homage to the more than six million Jews who were held in concentration camps and massacred in Auschwitz.

I’ve always believed with all my heart that anguish is a universal language.

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With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”