Sometimes, you just can’t catch a break.
The Fabulous Florida Keys were featured in a couple of big travel-oriented publications recently. When a destination gets written up in Conde Nast Traveler or the Travel section of the Miami Herald, it’s usually a good thing for the destination. Sadly, the recent media coverage did little to encourage their readers to visit our Middle Keys. One might even go so far as to claim a conspiracy against us exists… but that’s just silly paranoid talk (I say as I look over my shoulder).
For those who may not have seen, here is what Conde Nast Traveler published about Marathon and the Middle Keys:
“A half-hour drive from Islamorada is Marathon, a ten-mile long community that’s a tad grittier than its Key neighbors. It’s full of auto shops and abandoned storefronts, so there’s no need to spend the night.”
The article does mention the BLT at the Wooden Spoon quite favorably, and highlights Pigeon Key and a roadside coconut stand as the area’s only attractions worth seeing. Wow. Now that’s what I call accurate investigative travel journalism. Just because the writer didn’t take any time to search for what Marathon (and Duck Key and Key Colony Beach) really has to offer resulted in an absolute write-off of our entire destination. Thank you, CNT. Enjoy the sandwich.
And if this wasn’t bad publicity enough, consider Chelle Koster Walton’s total oversight of anything in the Middle Keys in her “Luxury Road Trip Through the Keys” article in the Herald. Yes, she did mention the Dolphin Research Center in the only sentence about anything Middle Keys. Unfortunately, however, in the print version of the article, she managed to relocate the Dolphin Research Center to the Upper Keys.
Sometimes we here in the Middle Keys feel a bit like Rodney Dangerfield. We have a great destination with accommodations ranging from classic Keysy to pure luxury. We have great fishing and diving. We have awesome beaches. We have attractions like DRC, the Turtle Hospital, Pigeon Key, and Crane Point. We have commercial fisheries that provide locals and visitors the freshest and best seafood, plus great restaurants in which to enjoy it. We have the Seven Mile Bridge, a century-old engineering wonder of the world. We have the Keys’ only real protected harbor that accommodates both cruisers and liveaboards, plus great shoreside marine services to boot. We have new resorts under construction with the promise of more to come. We have the largest destination resort in all the Keys at Hawks Cay. But we seemingly just can’t catch a break with some travel writers.
Yes, I freely admit to being biased. I love my community and it causes me to have less than pleasant feelings when I see my hometown dissed or ignored by travel writers. And there’s not much one can do except hope that future publications send us writers who want to see more of our islands than one can see from the highway. There really is a great tropical vacation destination here that so many have fallen in love with and visit year after year. That’s the Middle Keys I wish that the CNT and Herald writers saw when they were here. Then we might have gotten a bit better treatment by these allegedly important and significant travel publications.