Sidewalk Poetry’ Unveiled in Key West.
The Florida Keys & Key West offer a variety of new and enhanced accommodations, flavorful diversions and outdoor activities to tempt visitors ranging from adventurers and relaxation seekers to meeting planners and business travelers. Explore the highlights here.
The first two of Key West's 17 concrete-etched “Sidewalk Poems” by local writers were unveiled April 25 by the city's Art in Public Places Board. They were inscribed into laser-cut forms and stamped into wet cement by city workers. The remaining 15 poems will be stamped as the city pours new sidewalks or replaces broken or cracked sections, creating additional moments of “plein-air reading” for island visitors and residents. For more information about the project, visit www.artinpublicplaceskw.com.
JetBlue and Silver Airways passengers can choose connecting flights to Key West between the airlines’ Florida network via Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers. The interline agreement brings new destinations including Key West within reach of JetBlue customers. Tickets are on sale now through www.silverairways.com, travel agencies, global distribution systems and www.jetblue.com.
Keys Accommodations and Meeting Facilities
Marathon's Tranquility Bay Resort recently added 16 new tropical garden guestrooms to the property located at 2600 Overseas Highway. Offering a blend of luxury accommodations, the resort is situated on 12 landscaped acres. With its new rooms, the waterfront property has further diversified its range of accommodations, which includes 87 two- and three-bedroom beach houses located on 1,100 feet of private shoreline. For more information, visit www.tranquilitybay.com.
Islamorada’s popular 139-unit Islander Resort has joined the Guy Harvey Outpost Resort family, named for the famed marine wildlife artist and conservationist. Accommodations include both the existing oceanside property and luxurious bayside townhomes. The Guy Harvey Outpost brand showcases destinations dedicated to marine research and conservation, as well as providing guests with a vacation experience that celebrates the outdoor lifestyle in a waterfront setting. For information, visit www.islanderfloridakeys.com.
Located on the same 25-acre oceanfront property, the Keys History & Discovery Center offers a premier meeting venue for corporate events. The 4,000-square-foot oceanfront space features three large meeting rooms and prefunction space with a two-story grand entrance. Other highlights include the Blue Marlin Ballroom, verandas with views of the Atlantic Ocean, a boardroom and library, and a state-of-the-art movie theater that seats 40. Catering facilities and audiovisual equipment also are available to enhance mid-size meetings or events. For more information or to reserve meeting space, visit www.keysdiscovery.com.
Lush Bar at the Green Pineapple in Key West is introducing guests to the world of chocolate and fine wines. Guests have the opportunity to grind organic cocoa nibs, cocoa butter and organic sugar to create their own chocolate bar. In addition, they learn about the history of cocoa and how it is made. Tasting sessions can be booked that offer combinations of beers or wines matched with fine chocolates. For more information, visit www.lushkw.com.
Conceived by renowned kiteboarder and chef Paul Menta, The Legal Rum Distillery has opened in Key West, recalling the days when alcohol was illegal but imbibed in 1920s Prohibition America. Visitors can enjoy private guided distillery tours and rum-tasting sessions that feature quirky stories about Key West’s rum-soaked past. For more information, visit www.keywestlegalrum.com.
Tour operator Largo Looker recently opened at Key Largo's Pilot House Marina. The company offers glass-bottom tours in its high-speed hydrofoil-design vessel that rides on the ocean surface. The ultramodern Largo Looker vessel features six-by-10-foot viewing glass so guests can enjoy the only living coral reef in the continental United States, which parallels the Keys. Passengers have plenty of room to view the area’s tropical fish, coral formations and marine life up close and in comfort. For details and booking information, visit www.largolooker.com.
Keys Virtual Assistance
Travel professionals seeking the education necessary to become certified Florida Keys destination specialists can find what they need at Key Lime Academy, a Web-based video-learning platform. Key Lime Academy targets U.S., Canadian and United Kingdom travel agents and tour operators. To learn more, visit www.fla-keys.com/keylimeacademy.
A “live chat” communications tool on the Florida Keys tourism council website, www.fla-keys.com, merges modern technology with visitor information services offered by the Keys’ five regional chambers of commerce, from Key Largo to Key West. Website visitors interact with live people with real-life knowledge, and can connect with and get assistance from travel professionals who live in the Keys. To access the live chat feature, site visitors simply click the “Chat With Us Live” button located at the top of each page of the www.fla-keys.com website.