Nightly Ritual Is The Top ‘Must Things To Do’ In The Conch Republic
The timing was important.
I was loading up the Toyota Celica convertible with my buddy Hayney and he was as precise in the timing of our trip as he was about packing beers in the cooler.
(He had that down to a science; I watched in admiration as he meticulously placed the beers and ice in the cooler in perfect conjunction with each other. He was an artist; handing Hayney an empty cooler is like handing Rembrandt a blank canvas).
We had to depart his home in West Palm Beach, FL, at just the right time because we were headed to Key West and Hayney was adamant about arriving in time to catch the scene and sunset at Mallory Square.
Along the way, Hayney would zig-zag his way down the Overseas Highway, stopping at just the right places for the best conch fritters, the best Key Lime pie, the best Rum Runners (he was and still is a responsible driver) and so forth, and then, at just the precise moment, into Key West and onto Mallory Square.
This was my first experience and it’s one that has lasted with me forever. The only way to describe it is to see it. But I’ll try to describe it.
First of all, you’ll need a drink. That’s not a difficult task to accomplish in Key West. Pretty much anything you do in Key West requires a drink, by the way.
Secondly, you need to arrive well before sunset because it’s about a lot more more than just watching the sun drop into the ocean. Hundreds of people come from seemingly everywhere, vendors set up booths and street performers start their acts of doing things like eating fire while riding on a unicycle.
It did not take me long to realize this was a happening.
Finally, you simply soak in the atmosphere. I don’t remember the actual sunset but I remember being mesmerized by all the activity happening around me. I walked around in kind of a daze (which turned out to be good practice for being in Key West, haha) saying “this is so amazing!”
I glanced over at Hayney, for whom this was pretty much routine, and he was all smiles. Frankly, I think he was happy that I was enjoying it the way I get when I show a first-timer something new and cool in a destination.
By the next evening, I felt like a Key West sunset veteran.
Bottom line is that you’ve got to see the sunsets on Mallory Square. And not just once but every evening you’re in the Conch Republic.
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