(Not the island, silly)
The Pigeon Key Foundation of the Florida Keys now has new Marathon-based headquarters. It’s moved from Knight’s Key to the location of the former Pancho’s restaurant. The visibility from the highway, and its proximity to the Hyatt Place at Faro Blanco docks and historic lighthouse, make for a perfect fit, according to the foundation’s director.
“The Spottswood family and Hyatt Place have really gone out of their way to make this partnership a reality,” said Kelly McKinnon, director of Pigeon Key Foundation. “They recognize the importance of keeping the island open for all the enjoy.”
For visitors, the trip over to Pigeon Key in the middle of the Seven Mile Bridge span can only be accomplished by private boat or the foundation’s ferry as the Old Seven Mile Bridge is closed to foot traffic during construction. The $12 ticket ($9 for locals) leaves from the Hyatt Place docks and includes a tour and museum access.
“We are all very excited about having The Pigeon Key Foundation base their operations here at Faro Blanco,” said Karen Thurman of Hyatt Place. “We think starting their tours here at our historic lighthouse will be great for their passengers and, of course, having the excursions out to Pigeon Key departing from right here on property will be ideal for our hotel guests — and surely a highlight of their vacation.”
For now, the Pigeon Key Visitor’s Center is a temporary structure as the Foundation and Hyatt work on plans for a permanent structure. McKinnon said he envisions a “wrap” on the building — an aerial image of Pigeon Key — to advertise the headquarters sooner rather than later.
Right now, the little island is alive with activity during the peak of its “education season,” teaching summer campers all about the Keys ecosystem and watersports. Capital projects for the coming year include additions to the shark pool and new roofs. In other words, there’s lots to see and do while at the same time it’s a great place to relax on the outer edges of civilization.
“Visitors are welcome to come and stay all day, taking the last ferry home,” McKinnon said.
The former headquarters for the organization, the red caboose from Flagler’s Railroad, is moving to Crane Point Museum in Marathon where it will serve as an attraction and office space. The move makes way for construction of a new resort on Knight’s Key.