Welcome to my backyard--the Florida Keys! I'm a travel writer, blogger and photographer with a passion for all things Florida, especially the Florida Keys. These islands are so much more than Duval Street and Jimmy Buffet. They are rich in history, culture, cuisine, nature and events--all surrounded by pristine waters teeming with wildlife. Whether you're a local or a visitor, the Conch Republic has many surprises in store. Let me be your guide.
The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times to visit Key West. The historic architecture, featuring gingerbread millwork, wraparound porches, graceful columns and Victorian turrets, is truly enhanced by the miles of holiday lights. If you’ve ever wanted a chance to peek inside these stately buildings (and pick up a few decorating tips) join the annual Key West Historic Lighted Inn Tour from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17.
The Southermost City is known for its historic inns, many of which are well-preserved from the 1800s. On the tour, you’ll have the chance to see Westwinds Inn, Artist House on Eaton, Cypress House, Villas of Key West, Avalon B&B and Ocean Breeze Inn.
Each of the inns will be paired with a local restaurant for some delicious nibbles, and you have the option of walking or hopping on the Cityview Trolley at Cypress House for this self-guided holiday tour with stops at each property and complimentary caroling.
Past years I participated in the tour and loved exploring the homes, well-appointed with holiday décor. It was also a delight discover the expansive tropical gardens and pools that open up behind the smaller frontages of several inns.
By far, my favorite thing was chatting with the owners, like Dean Carlson of The Mermaid and the Alligator B&B, about their properties and the island.
“It’s so rewarding to open the inn to the community and visitors and share our joy celebrating this season,” he told me. “Key West is a great place to come before the holidays. The rates are low. The weather is beautiful, and the Old Town atmosphere of Key West gets you in the holiday spirit.”