Magical Memories of Key West

Travel Photo Thursday

Last week I shared some photos of the vintage Florida attraction, Cypress Gardens, which has been swallowed up by Florida Legoland©.

This week I’m back to the same year,–1998, the same state–Florida. However, we’re visiting Key West, which never seems to change. Thank goodness. Same weirdness, same beautiful ocean, same graceful 1900’s homes,  same feral chickens, same Cuban food, same love of all things retro, and even Ernest Hemingway still hangs around. You’ll also find the spirit of President Harry Truman, a civil war fort and one of the more famous sunsets in the world.

Key West natives love to brag about being the southernmost point of the United States, closer to Havana than to Washington D.C.

We took dozens of pictures of the sunset at Key West, but the thing we will never forget, we could not catch on film. We saw the Green Flash. We had first heard about it in San Diego, where there is a restaurant called the Green Flash in Pacific Beach. But as much as we stared at sunsets, we had never seen it.

We sat on the pier in Key West, snapping pictures and watching the sun sink into the ocean. When it finally dipped below the inky waves, we simultaneously turned to each other and said, “Did you see it?” We did. We saw the green flash that appears just before the sun dips below the horizon. If you want the science, go here, but frankly, I’d rather just think it is a mystical moment visited on very special people.

Did you ever see a Green Flash?  Where?

This is my weekly Travel Photo Thursday contribution to the idea hosted by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox.  Go to that site to see many more travel pictures from around the world.

And do come back tomorrow for Brette Sember’s review of a Key West Cookbook!

I took these pictures  in 1998 and they are scanned from slides. Please respect my copyright.

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

21 thoughts on “Magical Memories of Key West

  1. My husband and I were just in Key West in December. (I have a very similar sunset photo on my Key West blog post.) If you have the time to check out my post, I\’d be very curious to know whether my description of Key West at the beginning of the post comports with your impressions. We both picked up on a \”weird\” vibe.I didn\’t see my green flash in Key West. I saw it in Honolulu, Hawaii. My husband missed it because he was busy taking a picture of the sunset. It\’s a nice photo, but he missed the green flash which I was pretty sure was apochrophyl after looking for it for years without success. We\’re heading back to Hawaii in two days, but I\’m thinking that the green flash is probably a once in a lifetime thing and I\’ve been there and done that.

  2. Oh, the green flash. People line the roads on Maui to blow their conch shells and watch for the green flash. It’s tamer here on the Big Island, but nonetheless, if you’ve got a view of the horizon, you always watch. Have I seen it? I thought so. But it wasn’t spectacular. Maybe I just imagined it. 😉

  3. I don’t think I’ve been to Key West, but do recall going to Cypress Gardens as a kid with my family. I didn’t realize it’d been swallowed up by Florida LegoLand! What the heck…

  4. since you seen the flash of green at susnet, makes me wonder if you’ve seen the movie Flash of Green? Ed Harris and Blair Borwn star in a story of land developers’ greed vs community good set in small town Florida — and mostly filmed there though in places far north of Key West.

      1. as I recall, it’s more of an analogy as there are quick moments of turning point/epiphany/chane in the characters’ lives, and green money and green ecology are part of the story, but it’s been a long time. the story is based on a 1960s John D. MacDonald novel, though, so maybe that would provide more information. I remember the film because the director, Victor Nunez, directed a couple of later films (Ruby in Paradise, Ulee’s Gold) that were filmed in north Florida and that friends of mine worked on.

  5. Well, I have been living under a rock! I have never heard of the green flash, and like Tonya, I want to see it. Sunsets will never be the same again:) Key West looks like a fun place to visit. Maybe I need to plan a vacation to North America (besides Nova Scotia).

  6. I’d love to visit Key West, it’s been recommended many times. I’ve never heard of the green flash, but now I want to see it too!

  7. The sunset at Key West looks beautiful…nearly as good as the sunsets we have off the West Australian coast! We spend a lot of the summer on a boat in one of the bays off Rottnest, an island off the coast, where we often go ashore to sit on the top of a nearby hill, drink in hand, and wait for the sun to set and the green flash to appear! It’s not often we see it but we have been lucky a few times!

    1. I’m impressed, Jenny–you casually say you’ve seen the Green Flash “a few times!” I’ll wager that’s quite a few more than most people have seen it.

  8. These vintage key West photos are beautiful especially the sunset ones. I have never heard of the Green Flash phenomenon and now I need to be more aware during sunsets. I live in San Diego so will try to head to Green Flash soon to check out the food. Thanks for the tip!

    1. The Green Flash restaurant has been around forever. It’s a rather typical beach-side restaurant, right on the sand. We enjoyed the food there, but its been many years, and things change, so let me know how you find it.

    1. So far, it’s a once in a lifetime experience, Johanna. I didn’t read the entire scientific explanation, I’m afraid, but I wonder if maybe it only happens over water, so we won’t see it here in the desert.

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