Streets for People / Key West Ruins Everything

“Nah, I don’t want to go. Key West ruins everything.” Mikey said in response to me reminiscing about past trips to Spring Training and inquiring if he wanted to decamp our home in Key West and head to Palm Beach and see our Washington Nationals play some exhibition baseball. He’s right. I got it immediately. Nah, I don’t really want to go either.

The allure of going to watch baseball on the mainland just doesn’t hold the same appeal now that we’ve lived in Key West since 2015. When we lived in the District, one would dream all dreary, cloudy, cold, dark winter of getting to Florida at the end of February and March to feel the sun on your face, breathe in the pollen filled air and see trees and flowers in glorious full bloom. 

Much as we love hearing the crack of the bat and having a cold beer in the sun while watching our favorite players in the cozy confines of Florida’s mini–Spring Training ballparks, baseball was almost second thought. Going south and getting a head start on spring and summer was what we really needed. And I must admit that after spending a little time traveling the Grapefruit League circuit watching our national pastime, we’d always find an opportunity to visit Key West.

But now that we live here, we get sunshine and warmth year-round. Now that we live car-free in a fun-filled little urban tropical oasis, where everything is close by and where we bike and walk everywhere, why would we want to subject ourselves to the drive-only, suburban splendor that is mainland Florida? All that motoring to get from one place to the next. All that traffic. All those people. All those endless strip malls, acres of parking and corporate retail chains. Yech.

No, now that we live in Paradise, the desire to travel to most any other place is fading. Especially places like the Florida mainland where you need a car to do everything. Yes, Key West does ruin everything. And that’s just the way we like it.

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You can find all the KONK Life Streets for People column articles here and here and the most recent 2022 stories below:

Chris Hamilton is founder of the local advocacy group Friends of Car-Free Key West & Duval Street/Historic Downtown. He’s a native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led nationally renowned efforts promoting transit, bike, walk and smart growth for Arlington County, VA’s DOT. Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives car-free downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits. Follow him on Twitter here and his blog here.

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