Living in Key West

Two kinds of people live in Key West. Those who love it, warts and all. And those who hate it and plot everyday to get off the island. If you’re not in love at first sight, you’re not likely to shrug off the challenges the longer you’re here. In short, (cliche coming) love it or leave it.

7 ways to move here

How does one move to Key West? There are lots of toss-off answers, like “marry rich” or “rob a bank,” but I decided to take this seriously. Here’s how one prepares to move to Key West.

Why would you leave?

Everyone dreams of living in Key West, a place where everyone knows why you’d move there. What most folks rarely stop to think about: Why would anyone up and leave? And they do. Lots of them.

North to Miami? Nope

Did you know you head east when you drive to Miami? Not north. East-northeast. And mostly east. Trust your eyes at sunrise. Well, except for a couple of stretches like that right turn in Big Pine, which is due south.

The things no one tells Key West homeowners

 

Wow. You own (or rent) your personal piece of paradise. So how come you’ve got bugs, mold and mildew? How come the like-new air conditioning needs to be replaced? Home repairs and maintenance in a sub-tropical environment are not for the faint of heart.
Key West home repair
Florida anole on porch

Hidden charms and frustrating secrets

Lizards. Iguanas. ROACHES. Floods. Hurricanes. Power outages. Crashing cell service. No water. No parking. Traffic headaches. Neighbors so close you hear their toliets flush. And, yet we can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Locals’ tips for island homes

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Living in Key West | Part 1: The things no one tells you

Living in Key West | Part 1: The things no one tells you

Ranger Ed is on our roof playing whack-a-mole with the leaks in our solar panels. That's not a place people of a certain age ought be; yet, here we are. Living the dream of home ownership on a mystical, magical tropical island at the end of the road. A place where,...

Living in Key West | Part 2: Coping with grills and termites

Living in Key West | Part 2: Coping with grills and termites

Crikey! How could I forget the island's assault on our outdoor grills? But I did, as a dozen barbecuing cooks reminded me in short order. "Spot on," said a former Floridian, "but you didn't even get into the average lifespan of an outdoor grill." He wasn't alone in...

What’s it really like to live here?

5 (slightly) annoying Key West things and how to get over them

5 (slightly) annoying Key West things and how to get over them

Let's get this out of the way first. What with climate change, Covid-19, and a global plethora of crumbling cultures and governments, not to mention that Amazon Prime's two-day delivery guarantee is now akin to "someday, for sure, but definitely not today," I really...

Summer in Key West: Things no one wants newcomers to know

Summer in Key West: Things no one wants newcomers to know

Summer in Key West is not for the faint of heart. Unless you were born and raised on tropical summers, nothing much prepares you for that after-dark moment when you leave the house to walk the dog. Oh, you acclimate eventually, but I suspect for most of us, we look at...

Key West waters: Will sea level rise shut down the Keys?

Key West waters: Will sea level rise shut down the Keys?

Sometime in the next 50 years, I say only partially in jest, my Key West house will need a dock and a boat during King Tides. By the turn of the century, the house will be waterfront and pretty much useless. I mean, how many times can one repair after yet another...

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