How Meeting of the Minds, Key West 2017 changed me.
Have you ever sat in class, wondering what on earth was going on, but didn’t dare raise your hand?
Well, that’s precisely how things were, the moment I’d learned of my assignment to my very first Meeting of the Minds at Key West. Jealous colleagues and friends clearly knew more about Key West than I did, but that didn’t stop me realizing that I was in for a busy, but fun, time as part of the Sponsoring team of 2017!
Margaritaville Resort Orlando would make its first-ever appearance in front of the fun-loving and faithful Parrotheads, and we were overwhelmed by the warmth of their welcome.
Parrotheads Snub their Beaks at Hurricane Season
There’s hardly a Trop Rock band that fails to mention a tropical storm or two in a set, and this year was no exception. Just months ahead of the meticulously planned annual gathering of devoted Margaritaville/Buffett fans, hurricane Irma did its best to loosen coconuts, roof tiles and more than a few sleek yachts from their homes. For the devoted Parrotheads though, winds of change are just that.
The show, however, did go on, and boy was it a spectacle to see and experience for the very first time! With lanyards emblazoned with ‘We’re Still Here – Key West 2017’ the determination to gather, have fun, drink Landshark, wear fun hats and plan future charitable events was clear.
The party was on, and that was that!
Key West – Where on Earth Am I?
So I knew one thing about Key West. It’s the most southern point of Continental USA. The rest of my knowledge was either pure imagination or a lucky guess, other than those charming cottage style homes that we were building here in sunny Orlando’s Margaritaville Resort.
What I hadn’t expected was the surreal blend of its energy and tranquility. I’m sure that regular visitors ‘get what I mean’ faster than the swoosh of a wave, but I’m willing to amuse you with my explanation! This sandy beached outpost makes great use of the southernmost extremity of Florida.
A blend of tropical tranquility creates an idyllic backdrop for those that want that. If an hour later, you change your mind, grab the flip flops and a hat and shuffle along the street for some of the coolest island-themed music on earth.
Want more? Wave down a rickshaw for a restful journey to the Duvall St area. There, you will experience a much, much more lively cocktail (or six!), but, even the bustle of the hotspot has its own, happy and mellow signature.
I’ve never been so enchanted by a city, ever.
The Only Jumbos Here are The Prawns
I’m not precisely sure what the largest ever aircraft could be to land at Key West Aerodrome, but I know my Orlando flight was on the ‘cute’ side of aviation standards! Traveling to Key West ‘in miniature’ was not as bad as I thought it would be. A smooth sub 90-minute flight from Orlando gave me a map view of Central and Southern Florida along the way as a lovely bonus!
Landsharks, Cocktails, Rum and Margaritas – Oh My!
Any other city, at this time of day, and I would be on the ‘guilt express’ to sobriety. Somehow, Key West is indeed a ‘5 o’clock somewhere’ paradise. Nobody cares, nobody frowns, nobody goes over the top, they simply enjoy paradise over the rim of a salted glass or a bottle top.
Margaritaville – Serving Drinks from Paradise Since 1985
You would hardly notice this exquisite hideaway somewhere along Duval St near the intersection of Fleming St. Although the music began in 1977, this is where the Margaritaville phenomena first broke into our lives in ’85. It’s a family-friendly restaurant, open each and every day of the year here in Key West. Open from 11 am, serving your favorite signature appetizers, entrees, Key Lime Pie and drinks for sure. I couldn’t resist the Landshark Lager Fish & Chips for lunch and Jimmy’s Jammin Jambalaya sometime afterward, later, much, much later that very same evening!
Parrotheads – My New Favorite Peeps
As a British family, now full time in the USA, we certainly know how to drink beer in a fire lit pub in the foggy hills of some remote village. It’s a way of life. Partying with ‘people from the Phlock’ was, however, one of the most enlightening experiences of my 54-year-old life.
There’s no pretense with these fun-loving people. They simply want YOU to enjoy yourselves. I held on to that thought throughout my entire experience at the Meeting of the Minds event. It truly seems that these fun-loving people, socialize, fundraise and ‘Party with A Purpose!’ as their thought-provoking Mantra states. Go on, join your regional chapter and fill your mind with sociable fun!
Music for Relaxing, Dancing, and Thinking About Life
Whatever you decide to call this dreamy, folky, tropical, steel drum and guitar vibe, it is delicious to the ears! You can switch off and dream, or pay attention and think. Your choice. It is best described as unique and offers unconditional love to your mind. Music is everywhere you turn, but in such a restful way. Whether you enjoy live country music, ‘trop rock’ or a medley of original work from talented performers, you can find your thing in Key West.
Island-Style Cuisine that Will Rock Your World
Forgive me, but I’m not a seafood lover. I am one of those people that loves fine dining, but dodges seafood with panic – until I went to Key West and Louie’s Backyard restaurant.
If my wife (a seafood lover seeking similar for nights out) sees this post, I am in a world of pain.
My Visit to Key West Changed My Life
So maybe that seems dramatic? But, I am certainly not alone with that thought. This highly unique destination has a special charm that is beyond explanation. The people that arrive there to relax are so special, so special in fact, that you are one of them my friend. Why not join us someday at the Meeting of the Minds, every November, tropical storms or not!