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A visit to Fort Zachary Taylor

sunny 90 °F

Good Morning!

Our day started in a leisurely manner with coffee sipping overlooking the beautiful water. Speaking of water, locals told us of their concern about abnormally high sea temperatures for this time of year, a dangerous indicator for the up-coming hurricane season. Being a history buff, we decided to visit Fort Zachary Taylor, a pre-civil war fortification built by the US Government as part of a 42 fort defense system to deter piracy and illegal entry (blockade) into the United States. These forts range from New Orleans to the west along the coastline up to New York in the north. Fort Taylor, now a Florida State Park, was an active facility with a garrison of about 300 troops until 1974 when it was decommissioned. It saw service as a Union-controlled fort during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WII, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the latter it served as a communications & radar center. In its early days it was armed with 140 cannons with a capability of firing projectiles with accuracy up to 3 miles. The original 3 story fort, later reduced to a single story to blend into the horizon, is completely surrounded by a moat with a draw-bridge single entry point. Fortunately, it was never fired upon but nevertheless holds an important place in the history of this area. An active US Naval Base is adjacent to the fort. The Naval port is home to naval vessels, submarines, aircraft, and a US Coast Guard station. Although our tour was enjoyed (?) in the sweltering heat we found it to be interesting.

Following the tour we went for lunch at a dive featured on the Food Channel's Drive-ins, Diners, & Dives. Named D.J.'s Crab Shack, and located on Duval Street in the heart of downtown Key West it is was truly a dive, but the food was great. We both had fish dishes, and dined (?) in an open courtyard with an interesting couple from Oklahoma. In their mid-50's they were spending their honeymoon in Key West, having ridden here on their Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A nice couple; he a cell tower communications tech, her a nurse supervisor. They told us of a place where the locals go, another dive, but with great food. As it turned out, it was not far from our campground. Located on a small commercial fishing harbor, the place was waterside so we enjoyed the view of boats coming & going and there was a school of dolfins just off the seawall to entertain us. Yes, the featured seafood was hogfish. Coincidentally, the dive is called the Hog Fish Bar & Grill on Stock Island Key. Great place!

Unfortunately, with the heat all our neighbors stay inside in their air-conditioned campers so there is not much visiting back & forth. Tomorrow we leave Key West for Homestead and then a day's exploring of Miami Beach.


Posted by dixter 05:45 Archived in USA Tagged in day west full last key

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