I have had the good fortune to be associated with the Florida Keys for fifty-six years. I first visited there in 1965 as a college freshman. I fell in love with Florida and transferred from Villanova University in Philadelphia to the University of Miami. I've been a Florida boy ever since.
Recently I decided to write the story of the history of an iconic charter operation/marina in Islamorada. It is called Bud N' Mary's. This project has given me the opportunity to visit that area a half dozen times. I hate to think that I have wasted time, but I had forgotten just how alluring the Keys are. The abundance of fabulous nature, and the ocean related activities blow me away. And the people I have met are such down to earth, natural people. It is so refreshing after coming from the more densely populated counties of South Florida.
When I was a younger man I thought that living in the Keys would be stifling and present little opportunity for career advancement. As time wears on I can see how narrow my vision was. The people I encounter when I visit the Keys seem happy enough to me. They are pretty much laid back, easy going, and real. And now I get why the 50,000 or so people who live in that county are content. It's an area that screams "community." Everyone knows each other, they seem happy to do for one another, and for the most part I do not see people knocking themselves out to "get ahead."
Notice this: when you encounter people who have just come back from a vacation in the Keys, or even a weekend down there, notice how unwound they are. There's something magical about that place and I plan to spend a lot more time down there. I recommend it for everyone.