Key West, Rain & All

The view from our hotel, Casa Marina Resort.

Last week, I headed to Florida, for what promised to be my niece’s very romantic, sun-kissed wedding by the ocean, on the beach, on the white, glistening sands of Key West, proudly known as the southernmost point of the continental U.S. I assumed we’d have warm, sultry days and plenty of time to bask in the sun.

Having made my travel arrangements months in advance, I started counting the days to this much-needed vacation and destination wedding, sometime last spring.ย  I couldn’t wait to be with family and friends for this joyous occasion. In fact, to make the most of the trip, I had decided to extend my stay by taking a few extra days off–before and after the wedding. I was eagerly looking forward to it all, including the chance to explore Key West’s famous haunts.

Well, the sunny portion of the vacation lasted for a total of 24 hours. After that, we had rain, rain, and more rain, often mixed with gusty, tropical storm-like winds. In other words, after one gorgeous day, the weather went south. Luckily, though, the good times stayed put.

There were 70 of us in all, many of whom hadn’t seen each other in years. A family reunion, a fabulous wedding, and buckets of rainfall. Flooding, too. What more could we want? So maybe, the ceremony didn’t take place on the beach as planned, but it was a magical wedding all the same.

Key West proved to be a most magical setting for a decidedly romantic wedding, rain and all.

Kudos to the mother of the bride and to Wedding Specialist, Erica Fuhrman of Simply You, for planning a superb, unforgettable wedding, right down to the scrumptious, elegant cake draped in orchids, and the fun photo booth, replete with costumes for the guests. And don’t even get me started on theย exquisite decor and gorgeous flowers!

Herewith, are just a few of the more than 600 photos I snapped during my stay. Rain or no rain, I can’t wait to go back!

I loved this sign, especially the quote from Tennessee Williams. With a little pluck, I can see myself enjoying a writer's life year-round in Key West.

Out for a stroll, before the rains, I came across this shop, which reminded me of my blogger pal, Bella (One Sister's Rant)

The rain was sporadic while visiting the Ernest Hemingway House. There's really so much to do--and see--in Key West!

Hemingway loved cats and there are currently 44 cats living in and around his home. They're special cats, too, with extra digits on their paws. These cats are commonly known as Hemingway's cats, or, by their scientific name, Polydactyl Cats.

On the wedding day, the rain arrived full throttle and stayed for the next three days. Yikes!

Even these terns didn't have much to do except stare at the gloomy weather.

On Mallory Square, stormy clouds hid what may have been a beautiful sunset.

Rain? What rain? On this day we had one hour free of rain.

Would you believe it's early afternoon in this photo? And to think, the locals kept telling us it never gets this bad.

40 thoughts on “Key West, Rain & All

  1. Pingback: I am haunted by Hadley: a review of The Paris Wife « the dust bunny chronicles

  2. I went to Key West for vacation when I was 15.. But, I think I would appreciate it a whole lot more now as an adult! Your pictures are beautiful! Maybe it was a nice change to see some tropical storm weather (we don’t have much of that out here!).

    • You would love it now. There are a lot of night clubs and great places to dine along the main drag, Duval Street. Great music, gorgeous sunsets, art gallerys and shopping. What more could you want?

  3. Pingback: From Orlando to Key West – 1- Part 8a’ | Key West Travel Deals

  4. Pingback: Key West Redux | Monica's Tangled Web

    • Hemingway’s house is well worth the trip. Do try to go. Btw, did you look at the cat’s paws? That’s no doubt the difference between this cat and yours. I bet yours doesn’t have any thumbs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I’m so glad your niece had a beautiful wedding. It was great seeing the pictures Regina posted. It was wonderful to see you siblings together enjoying yourselves. I hope your niece has a long and loving marriage.

  6. Oh, Monica, how sorry I am that the sun didn’t shine on your niece’s wedding day, but how fortunate for all of you that you were able to make the best of it anyway! Key West sounds lovely (when the sun’s out, of course!), but hey, even rainy days are important to writers — if we lived in sunshine and beauty every day, when would we write?!

    • It’s ok. My niece looked radiant. She had on the most exquisite dress that looked very much like a Vera Wang creation (though she swears it wasn’t). So tasteful. And my son got to be in the wedding party as a groomsman. So handsome if I say so myself!

  7. Mi’ja, these photos are fantastic! I loved this post! And that little shop called “Bella,” how cute is that! I’m so happy that in spite of the nasty weather you were still able to have a good time with family you hadn’t seen in a while. Weddings are always fun and eating wedding cake, even more fun! And what a spectacular cake that is! It’s too pretty to cut! I love, love that shot of the beach that shows the pier and the palm trees being attacked by the wind! Oh, and the shot of the birds, just amazing! You got skills, girl! You have to participate in Heidi’s Black and White Wednesday! See it as a way of tapping into yet another of your creative outlets!

    • Thanks so much, Bella, for your sweet words about my photos. Yes, I’m a total amateur but the fact of the matter is, I LOVE taking photos. I have a really cool camera, too. It’s a Nikon P500 in a brilliant, cherry red. No matter where I go, people stop me to tell me how much they admire the color of my camera (which I had to special order). Anyway, I’ll show you some more pix next week. And maybe I’ll have to check out Heidi’s B&W Wednesday. Gracias, mi’ja, como siempre! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Monica – the weather here in Florida was truly vile until about yesterday…we had 7 inches of rain in about 36 hours. We are still soggy, and it really was unusual for this time of year. Now, however, it is spectacular – cool enough to finally turn off the air conditioner.
    I love Hemingway’s Key West home. His bathroom with the ceiling to floor window is quite interesting. The cats are pretty sweet, too.
    I could see moving to Key West to just hang out and write.

    • Oh, goodness. Everyone kept telling us how unusual all this rain was, but, here’s the thing: If you’re only there for a week (and the last time you were there was 7 years ago) then it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s unusual. The fact of the matter is, it rained cats and dogs! I’m glad it’s cleared now, but that’s 48 hours too late for me, as I left Tuesday. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      But I’m not complaining, Key West is way too much fun to hold a little rain against it.

      As for Hemingway’s house–I think I loved the bathrooms the best. One had this beautiful art deco tile. Trust me, I took pictures. Look for some more next week!

  9. —Key West. I thought of โ€”Hemingway immediately.

    ANd you saw his CATS! How puuurfect.

    The wedding sounds amazing…and that cake looks dElish. It almost looks chocolate from where I’m sitting.


    • Hemingway’s Cats. I think it makes a great title for a book, don’t you think? Watching them saunter around his home, makes you feel as though any minute now, he’ll be walking through the front door. It’s so idyllic!

      As for the cake, no chocolate, but perfectly light, fluffy and creamy. The strawberries made it refreshing!

  10. I’d love to visit Key West, Monica! I think you should set up your writer’s life there and I’ll pay you a call :-). Of course, you know all about rain having lived in Seattle. Oh, well. You had a joyous occasion to celebrate. Best wishes to the bride & groom!

  11. Glad you had a great time, despite the rain. I’ve always wanted to visit Key West and Hemingway’s old haunts. Could be an Adventure by the Book :>) Welcome back!

  12. Great pics and great story! I especially love the photo of the terns sitting all in a row. And how fun to see the Bella store!! Even the sign looks like her signature! I’m sorry it rained but I really love your attitude about it. I’m not sure I would have been as gracious!

    • The terns were so cooperative, too, allowing me to take lots of pictures. And as for the Bella store, I kept passing it a lot, and also took other photos. I really did take lots of pix, if you ask me!

  13. Fun pix — I’m so glad you had a spectacular time!

    Key West was a port of call when my ex and I had our last vacation: We took the kids on a Disney Cruise. That stop was my absolutely favorite — loved the tiny town, its abundant character, the roosters all over and the writing lore.

    Thanks for reminding me how great it is. Now that I’m a full-time freelance writer, perhaps I’ll run off to Key West to channel Tennessee Williams and Hemingway. Right…


    • Well, you should try to go for a nice vacation, sit on the beach and write away! These days, freelance writers can write anywhere, you know.

      I always wanted to take a Disney Cruise. Now that, my kids are grown, doesn’t seem worth it, though. Was it fun, memorable and all that?

      • It was an INCREDIBLE cruise — highly, highly recommended for anyone with children. Of course, only a few months later I’d find out my marriage was over with a brick, so looking back, that taints the memory just a bit. But who knew? We had a spectacular time, after all, and it really was the best vacation time I had ever spent with my then-husband. That, though, was before the tumor… ๐Ÿ˜‰

        And yes, freelance writers can write anywhere, can’t we? I like knowing that.

  14. I had no idea the Ernest Hemingway house was in Key West, and also that he loved cats. What a fun fact and how wonderful that it houses so many cats now. I love Hemingway ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m going to Orlando in Dec. I hope the weather is good there. That cake with the beautiful Orchids is stunning. What a wonderful time for you to catch up with family.

    • Yes, he loved his cats, with extra digits on their paws which makes them truly fascinating. They have the run of the place, these cats. Yep, I’m going to post more of these photos next week so you can see. Definitely worth the trip. Oh, and the cake was delicious, too. A white cake, layered with strawberries.

  15. Beautiful pictures. The rain just makes them more dramatic. I’m sorry the beach wedding got rained out, but it looks like the ceremony was wonderful anyway. What a great way to catch up with friends and family. And to do a little writerly sight-seeing.

    • Thanks, Shary. I may post some of my other pix, that capture the charm of the place. Going there, you almost feel like you’re arriving at Casablanca, recapturing a moment at Rick’s Cafe or something. In fact, one night we went to a place where I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Humphrey Bogart stroll in. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I have always wanted to visit Key West! Rain and all looks wonderful and sounds like not just the perfect writer’s retreat but also great locale for family gathering.
    I am strangely fascinated by the life of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley and am reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain right now. I don’t think she ever got to be the Key West wife… too bad! Lovely photos – thanks for sharing!

    • Key West is truly not to be missed. I love the laid-back feel, its lush beauty and small-town charm. Everything is walking distance and generally, when it’s not stormy, the beach is fantastic. The water is warm, still and so inviting. If you loved The Paris Wife and learning about Hemingway, you’ll love visiting his home, seeing all the photos of him in his heyday, and learning about his strong connection to the Keys. It really is a perfect getaway for writers!

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