Cuban Coffee, the best way to wake up in Key West


We take our coffee seriously in Key West, especially our Cuban coffee. Want something to wake you up and keep you going during a full day of house shopping with me in Key West? A Cuban coffee will do just that. We can see as many homes as needed without getting tired. While there might be many imitations on the island, Cuban Coffee Queen is one spot where you can go for authentic Cuban coffee. One of our favorites in town, this little hole-in-the wall not only serves up one of the best cafés con leche, but also some delicious sandwiches. However, what’s even sweeter is its location. Cuban Coffee Queen is on the water at the Key West Historic Seaport. 

Made with Café Domino, the espresso from Cuban Coffee Queen is the real deal. Choose from Cuban specialties like the café con leche, prepared with steamed milk; the bucci, i.e. Cuban espresso; or the colada, which is espresso with pure cane sugar. Other concoctions by Cuban Coffee Queen include Cuban vanilla coffee, “gringo” coffee and caramel coffee. However, considering the Key West sunshine, most people opt for the café con leche over ice, which is especially good here. The secret?  They make their ice cubes with coffee – and it makes all the difference. No longer will you have to sacrifice caffeine in your iced coffee. 


If you’re stopping by in the morning, order the Key Wester, which is one of the spot’s most famous breakfast sandwiches. Made with eggs, American cheese, and your choice of mojo pork, bacon, ham or chorizo, the Key Wester doesn’t disappoint. However, there’s also breakfast burritos, croissants, Cuban toast and guava marmalade, and fruit smoothies. Although the original spot doesn’t have tables and chairs, it is next to the water, which translates to gorgeous views and quite possibly the best start to your morning. 

And then there are the sandwiches. These you have to try. Made with a generous helping of Cuban-style pork, these sandwiches are enough to feed two. Some favorites include the traditional Cuban Mix on sweet, pressed Cuban bread, filled with mojo pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mayo, mustard and lettuce. If you’re a bacon-lover, get the Cuban Queen Mix with three meats, American cheese and bacon, lettuce and tomato. However, if you like your sandwich with a kick, consider the José Martí or the Caliente Cuban Mix. The José Martí adds provolone and horseradish, while the Caliente Cuban Mix offers pepper jack cheese and jalepeños. Either way, they’re all mouth-watering.


But aside from the strong coffee and great sandwiches, there are several other reasons we keep coming back. Cuban Coffee Queen is consistently good.. No matter how long the lines are (and yes, there are lines in high season), the quality remains the same. It’s also quite the reasonably priced breakfast or lunch, which as you probably know, is not always the case in Key West. We also love that the portions are generous, which makes Cuban Coffee Queen ideal for sharing with friends and family. It’s a local’s spot in the heart of Old Town, and the perfect stop for breakfast or lunch in close proximity to 24 North Hotel.

For more menu options, consult the menu. There is a second location in downtown Key West at Key Lime Square, yet I tend to be fond of the original.


Authentic Cuban Coffee will become a regular staple in your new Florida Keys house you buy from me. I know I have a colada (The strongest of the Cuban coffees) every morning before going out to help another happy client buy their dream home.

Gary

The Foreclosure and Eviction Ban has been extended.


The Foreclosure and Eviction Ban has been extended. The article below was published today by the Florida Association of Realtors.

FHFA Extends Foreclosure and Eviction Bans to June 30
By Kerry Smith
Homeowners with mortgages held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac cannot be evicted through June 30, nor can renters in buildings acquired by the lending giants. Forbearance was also extended for three additional months, allowing some owners to skip mortgage payments for a total of 18 months.
WASHINGTON – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced extensions of several measures – foreclosures, evictions and forbearance – to “align COVID-19 mortgage relief policies across the federal government.”
Foreclosures
FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – two massive secondary mortgage lenders that own over half of all U.S. mortgages – have extended their moratorium on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until June 30, 2021.
The moratorium applies only to single-family mortgages held by Fannie and Freddie.
The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties acquired by Fannie and Freddie through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. The current moratoriums have been extended and, under the latest guidelines before this announcement, were set to expire on March 31, 2021.
Forbearance
FHFA also announced that borrowers with a Fannie- or Freddie-backed mortgage may be eligible for an additional three-month extension of COVID-19 forbearance, which allows homeowners to forego mortgage payments for a limited period of time. Once forbearance ends, the homeowner may be allowed to pay back the full amount owed, tack the missed payments onto the end of their mortgage period, or pay the money back when the house is sold, under FHFA’s COVID-19 Payment Deferral program.
With a dearth of for-sale homes currently on the market, some homebuyers have been hoping for a spike in foreclosure inventory. However, the forbearance extension makes that unlikely until at least July or later – and if the COVID-19 vaccine works as hoped by summer, more of those homeowners may be able to return to work and avoid foreclosure altogether.
The additional three-month extension now allows borrowers to be in forbearance for up to 18 months, though eligibility is limited to borrowers already in a COVID-19 forbearance plan as of Feb. 28, 2021. Other limits may apply.
“Borrowers and the housing finance market alike can benefit during the pandemic from the consistent treatment of mortgages regardless of who owns or backs them,” says FHFA Director Mark Calabria. “Today’s extensions of the COVID-19 forbearance period to 18 months, and foreclosure and eviction moratoriums through the end of June, will help align mortgage policies across the federal government.”
FHFA says it “continues to monitor the effect of the COVID-19 servicing policies” on borrowers, and the mortgage market, and it may “extend or sunset its policies based on updated data and health risks.” That suggests that FHFA reserves the right to cancel the moratoriums if the pandemic fades, but it could also extend them past June 30 if it thinks the move is justified.
Homeowners and renters can visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website for updated information on relief options, protections and key deadlines.
© 2021 Florida Realtors®

Rodriguez Cigar Factory, Key West


One of the most common non Real Estate related questions I am asked by people visiting Key West in search of a home is "Where can I find Cuban Cigars. Unfortunately that's a question I cannot answer. The only answer I can give them is Cuban Cigars are illegal in America. 

We do however have a lot of great locally rolled cigars in Key West. On a little side street off Duval, at 113 Fitzpatrick Street, you’ll find the only cigars in Key West worthy of a Cuban name. That’s because Rodriguez Cigars are, in fact, Cuban.


The story of these cigars begins in Siguaney, Cuba, with Angel and Daniella Rodriguez. It was 1947, and Angel and Daniella had just planted their first tobacco crop on their private plantation, La Finca de Carmencita. As time went along, more and more cigar manufacturers began to buy their tobacco, and the business boomed.

Then came the Cuban Revolution. The government nationalized the tobacco industry and La Finca de Carmencita with it, leaving Angel and Daniella without their business. However, that was not the end of the Rodrigues Tobacco Business. In 1971, the family moved to the United States, and by 1984, they had opened the Rodriguez Cigar Factory in Key West, revitalizing the family’s tobacco heritage.


Despite being based in Key West, the Rodriguez Cigar Factory still adheres to the same techniques practiced in the family’s native Cuba, making its cigars some of the finest cigars produced in the United States, if not the world. Although sourcing Cuban tobacco is still impossible in the United States, Rodriguez Cigars sources tobacco from Nicaragua, which has a climate and soil composition very similar to that of Cuba. By picking prime tobacco, carefully curing the leaves, and meticulously rolling each cigar by hand, Rodriguez Cigars are able to preserve the superb Cuban quality rarely found outside the island nation.

Yet the factory’s heritage isn’t the only thing Cuban about the cigars. The Rodriguez Cigar Factory storefront offers just the type of hospitality you would expect from a family-run business. Run by Danny DiFabio, grandson of Angel and Daniella, the Rodriguez Cigar Factory is welcoming and laid-back, reminiscent of the hospitality you encounter in Cuba. In fact, the Rodriguez Cigar Factory has made a name for itself on the island because of its personal attention.


Before you know it, Danny will have a Cuban coffee in your hand and a cigar in the other. As you browse the walls of cigars at the storefront, he’ll give you the personal tour, and he’ll explain the finer points of the cigar business. He’ll offer personal recommendations in the process, ensuring that you find the perfect cigar to suite your tastes. After all, there’s something to be said about a cigar that can make it through a revolution, and even more to be said about one that can thrive after one. And that’s Rodriguez Cigars, the oldest cigar factory in Key West.

Come on down to the Florida Keys to buy your Dream Home and celebrate the closing with a Microbrew Beer and a nice local cigar. You might even find that widely sought after Cuban Cigar you're looking for. Not that I would know where they are sold.

Enjoy,

Gary

Gary McAdams, PA
Realtor/Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Low cost Landscaping that can increase your house's value


As just about any Realtor will tell you, most buyers decide if they like or don't like a house before they even get out of the car. Curb appeal is very important when selling a house. Since we spend so much time outside in the Florida Keys curb appeal is even more so important. There are so many low cost but great looking plants and landscaping you can add to your house to make it "Pretty". A $200 investimet combined with a couple hours of your time could return $25,000 or more.

Being located on Florida’s southern-most tip, the Keys offer residents a taste of sun, sand, salt, and year-round warm temperatures, as well as a vast and varied assortment of plants hardy to the region. Whether you’re looking for a groundcover, plants that flower, or something that grows directly on the oceanfront, there’s a wealth of hardy choices.

The best plants for the Florida keys are plants that can withstand the tropical and salty climate. Some good examples of plants that will thrive in the keys are Bay Cider, Bougainvillea, Gumbo Limbo, Pigeon Plum, Sea Oats, Crinumum Lilly, and Saw Palmetto.

The best plants for residences located in the Keys need to be able to withstand conditions that are consistently hot, sunny, dry and with a dash of salt spray mixed in.

Fortunately, plant choices are many and include evergreens, flowering, deciduous, natives, and those that attract pollinators.

Whatever your design style or area’s conditions, there’s a hardy plant fulfilling those needs that will thrive in your environment. Continue reading because we outline some popular plants hardy to growing in your Keys landscape.


Plant Choices & Characteristics

When considering what type of plants will grow best in your location of the Keys, it’s best to know the environmental conditions of the proposed area where the plants will be growing. Familiarizing yourself with the area’s soil and light conditions helps in selecting appropriate plants for the area.

Additionally, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the growing conditions the particular plant prefers for healthy growth.

For example, you don’t want to plant something that grows best in full sun in a site that receives little sunlight. Planting the right plant in the right place goes a long way in promoting years of maintenance-free and problem-free growth.

Bay Cedar

Native to South Florida, bay cedar (Suriana maritima) thrives in wind, salt, drought and heat, making it a perfect choice for landscapes in the Keys.

Performing as a large shrub or pruned into a tree, bay cedar grows anywhere from 5 to 20 feet tall generally with multiple trunks with attractive brown bark. The arching branches fill with small, fleshy, grayish-green leaves covered in downy.

Inconspicuous clusters of cup-shaped, yellow flowers bloom year-round that attract butterflies. Bay cedar works well as a hedge, mass planting, specimen, or used in beachfront landscapes.

It prefers a sunny site with soil that drains well.


Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.) is one of my favorite bushes. They are low cost, come in a variety of bright colors, grow large enough to serve as a privacy wall and they are beautiful. A Bougainvillea adds flamboyant color to landscapes with its colorful flower bracts in hues of purple, white, red, pink and yellow.

They fill the evergreen and shrubby vine’s canopy with a riot of color year-round. Depending on the variety, bougainvillea can easily reach heights of over 20 feet with a spread of 40 feet.

Its size makes it useful as a screen and its heavily thorn lined branches add to its use of adding privacy. For the best performance, grow in a sunny site in a variety of well-drained soil. Bougainvillea has a high tolerance to drought and grows well in coastal areas.

Bleeding heart vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) thrives in the warm conditions of the Keys, but requires a sheltered location for protection from winds.

The evergreen, sprawling vine makes an attractive addition used on an arbor, pergola, trellis or fence area located in full sun to partial shade. However, the more shade the plant gets, the fuller and denser the leaf coverage.

The glossy, dark green foliage makes an attractive contrast against the clusters of white flower bracts with red tips that bloom year-round. As the red flower falls from the cluster, the bracts change to an eye-catching purplish-pink color. For the best performance, grow in fertile soil kept moist through regular water applications.

Frangipani

Those looking for a fragrant flowering small tree that gives a tropical appeal to coastal landscapes should look no further than frangipani (Plumeria spp.).

The sausage-like branches fill with foot long, green, deciduous leaves in late spring, followed by heavily fragrant blooms in shades of white, yellow, red, pink or a mix of several hues.

Trees have a high tolerance to salt and drought, growing best in full sun to partial shade and in a variety of well-drained soils. Frangipani makes an attractive addition to planters, used as a specimen or tropical gardens.


Gumbo Limbo

Native to the Keys and earning its nickname “The Tourist Tree” due to its red peeling bark, gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba) trees have a tough nature, standing up to salt, drought and strong winds.

The semi-evergreen tree quickly grows up to 40 feet tall with a similar spread, performing well in full sun to partial shade and in well-drained soils. Gumbo-limbo makes an attractive specimen, shade, or residential tree planted away from powerlines.

The only downside I see with a Cumbo Limbo is the roots grow very long and are very think. With a lot of the Florida Keys being on septic tank you want to keep a colse eye on the roots. They can hurt the septic tank and in some cases even cause them to crack.

Jamaican Dogwood

Jamaican dogwood (Piscidia piscipula) is a Keys native and forms into an attractive but underutilized residential tree. The deciduous tree averages around 45 feet tall and is covered in leaves topped in green with grayish-green undersides.

In late spring, pea-like clusters of white flowers tinged in red and pink bloom followed by long seedpods. The hardy tree is tolerant to salt, drought, and occasional brackish and seawater flooding. It grows best in full sun to partial shade and in well-drained soil.

West Indian Mahogany

Keys native West Indian mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) trees make fast-growing and attractive additions to landscapes used as a shade tree or for framing. However, its invasive roots mean the tree should be planted away from structures or walkways.

Averaging around 40 feet tall and wide, it forms a loose symmetrical canopy filled with 4-inch green, semi-deciduous leaves that cast light shade. The sturdy wood is wind-tolerant and the tree is drought- and salt-tolerant.

West Indian mahogany trees grow well in full sun to partial shade and in soils that drain well.


Buttonwood

Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), also called green buttonwood, is native to the Keys and thrives in windy and salty coastal conditions.

With its low-branching habit with multiple trunks, buttonwood makes an attractive large shrub or evergreen tree filled with bluish-green foliage. In spring, inconspicuous greenish flower bloom, followed by small reddish-brown, cone-like fruits.

Growing around 30 feet tall and with a 20 to 30-foot spread, it works well as a hedge, planted by a patio or deck, or utilized as a medium-sized tree. Hardy buttonwood grows well in sandy to brackish soil located in full sun to partial shade.


Pigeon Plum

Native to the Keys, pigeon plum (Coccoloba diversifolia) forms into an attractive evergreen tree with a symmetrical canopy filled with dense, glossy evergreen foliage that is green once mature but emerges as red.

Adding to the tree’s attractiveness are the panicles of white spring flowers followed by the small edible fruits that are purple. Additionally, the grayish-brown bark peels from the trunk exposing a dark purple, adding even more color.

Growing 15 to 25 feet tall with a similar width, this hardy tree tolerates wind, drought, and salt, thriving in well-drained soils located in full sun to partial shade. Pigeon plum makes an eye-catching shade tree or specimen.

Passion Flower

Although there are several species of passion flowers native to Florida, Maypop (Passiflora incarnate) is the showiest, producing exotic 3- to 5-inch blooms that are purple or lavender and with wavy fringes over the petals.

Flowers last for a day and green oval fruits form after the blooms fade(which are edible) but said to not taste too good.

The blooms attract a host of pollinators from bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats and other insects Grow passion flower in a sunny site in fertile well-drained soil and utilize on a fence, trellis or arbor.

Locust Berry

Locust berry (Byrsonima lucida) is a Florida native that is considered endangered. It has an irregular branching habit growing around a foot tall in sandy soils lacking nutrients but obtains a height of 8 feet in richer soils.

The evergreen shrub is covered in small green foliage and color-changing blooms form in springtime. The showy flower clusters start out as white, changing to pink and then a dark red and attract a host of beneficial pollinators.

Locust berry works well used in native or butterfly gardens, as well as a screen. It tolerates salt and drought and performs best in fertile soil located in partial sun or partial shade.


Golden Creeper

Golden creeper (Ernodea littoralis) is a South Florida native that thrives in hot, dry, and salty conditions, making it the perfect choice for planting directly on the dunes, oceanfront landscapes, or along brackish waters.

The succulent groundcover grows 1 o 3 feet tall, developing into spreading mounds filled with red succulent stems covered in tiny green leaves. It blooms year-round in pinkish-white, tubular flowers that are unnoticeable. Golden creeper grows best in a sunny location with sandy soil.

The tough and low-maintenance evergreen tolerates salt, heat, and drought and in fact, will fail to thrive and possibly die if irrigated too much.

Blanket Flower

Blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella), a Florida native guarantees a blast of brilliant eye-catching color whether used in containers or the garden. This salt- and heat-tolerant perennial fills with 2- to 3-inch daisy-like flowers with frilly petals and large centers in hues of orange, red, yellow, copper scarlet, and rose-purple.

Mounds grow over a foot tall and wide, making the plant a good border, filler, or ground cover plant. The flowers attract butterflies and spent seeds readily send up volunteers. Colorful and cheery blanket flower is a welcome addition to wildflower, native, seaside, and pollinator gardens. Grow in a sunny location in soil that drains well.

For a low-maintenance, easy to grow, year-round native bloomer that is both salt-, heat- and drought-tolerant, you cannot go wrong growing lantana (Lantana involucrate).

Perennial plants produce clusters of small flowers that are multi-colored, yellow or orange-red. Toothed green foliage is velvety and the shrub grows several feet tall and wide.

Plants attract butterflies and work well used in containers, hanging baskets, borders, filler plants or mixed gardens. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun.


Blue Porterweed

Native to South Florida, blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) is a small perennial shrub that produces a year-round display of blue flowers born on long spikes attached to the ends of the shrub’s stems.

The dark green, serrated, evergreen foliage highlights the attractive masses of blooms. Various beneficial pollinators are attracted to the flowers. Blue porterweed grows 4 to 8 feet tall and wide with a round habit and makes an attractive hedge, used on borders, or in butterfly gardens.

The heat-, salt- and drought-tolerant plant thrives in full sun to partial shade and in well-drained soils.

Coontie Palm

The only cycad native to Florida, coontie palm (Zamia floridana) is both tolerant to salt and drought, making it a good choice for landscapes in the Keys. The cycad grows slowly, reaching a mature height of 2 to 4 feet, with a spread of 3 to 5 feet.

The stiff, palm-like leaves grow 4 to 8 inches long and are evergreen, bringing a green appeal to gardens year-round. Although underutilized in landscapes, coontie palms make attractive additions to borders, mixed tropical gardens, shade gardens, used as specimens or accent plants.

It also grows well in containers and as an indoor plant. The native thrives in partial sun to partial shade and in soils that drain well.

Whether you're preparing your home to sell or just want to beautify your backyard, a small investment and a few hours of your time can make a world of difference. I have had to convince many of my sellers that $200 worth of landscaping is far more important than fresh paint in the master bedroom. Curb appeal is definitely something where a little bit goes a long way. Plus, designing your yard to make it yours is fun.

Gary

Cayo Hueso y Habana Historeum


Key West has a vast variety of cultures and ethnic backgrounds but the original Key Westers are mostly of Cuban decent. I always like to understand different cultures. As long as you're in town buying that Florida Keys home from me you might as well learn the local customs and culture.

If you’re looking for the Cuban experience in Key West, Cayo Hueso y Habana Historeum should be on your list. Located in Mallory Square, this attraction brings some of Cuba’s finest traditions to Key West. Inside this unassuming red brick building, you’ll find yourself transported to another world, one filled with art, history, cigars, spices, salsa, and authentic Cuban cuisine.

A reference to Key West’s Spanish name, Cayo Hueso y Habana Historeum is a tangible representation of the island’s Latin heritage. Led by conquistador Ponce de León, it was the Spanish who discovered Key West. And although Spanish Florida was eventually ceded to the United States, the island has always retained a distinctly Spanish influence, aided by its proximity to Havana and the island’s influx of Cuban residents in the mid-1800s. In fact, Key West’s owes its strong affinity for cigars to Cuba. When the Spanish Crown decided to increase taxes on cigar makers in Cuba, they set up shop in Key West and the rest was history. 


The Cayo Hueso y Habana Historeum is a reflection of that history. The walls of this cultural center are covered with photos of Cuba’s native sons and daughters, the stories of the island nation’s fight for independence, and the country’s legacy on Cayo Hueso. In the center of the historeum is El Meson de Pepe, a restaurant serving some of Key West’s most famous Cuban food and island cuisine. It’s not just tourist hype either; USA Today even rated the restaurant’s Cayo Hueso Cuban Mix sandwich as their 2016 Reader’s Choice. Yet people also rave about the lechón asado, a slow-roasted pork and the ropa vieja, a spiced, shredded beef, which are both traditional Cuban dishes. When you’re done eating you can drop by Abuela’s Bodega where you can stock up on Cuban and Caribbean ingredients for your pantry at home. 


On the restaurant’s outdoor patio there’s almost always a live band playing salsa. Expect to dance. Whether it’s the Latin beats or the rum in your mojitos, one of which is bound to catch up to you, and get you moving. Even if you don’t know how to dance salsa, just go with it. After all, it’s Key West – no judgment here. Also on the patio you’ll find the entrance to Cigar City, USA which boasts the biggest selection of cigars on the island. Stop in to watch the cigar-makers hand roll their cigars right in front of your eyes, and take some home with you as well. This is one spot that knows how to live the good life. 

Once you become a Florida Keys local and are living in that beautiful home I sold you, why not take your friends and visitors downtown to sample the Cuban cuisine and culture? Have Fun!!!!

Gary

A Kitchen upgrade can change your entire home


The three biggest selling points in a Florida Keys house are the yard, view and kitchen. The view is the view. There isn't much you can do about that. The yard can be customized with landscaping but there is nothing you can do about yard size or location of the house on the parcel of land. The kitchen however is a place you can change for the better as well as design it to your own liking. The National Association of Realtors named the eight upgrades below as the top desired kitchen features for 2021.

Of all the rooms in your house, your kitchen likely saw the most action in 2020. With so many people staying at home making artisanal pizza and using their countertops as an office or classroom, this room endured plenty of wear and tear. And that means it might just be the room that's most in need of a refresh. 

But where to start? For inspiration, we consulted with top designers from coast to coast to uncover the hottest kitchen trends in 2021—what you need and what you'll totally want. Some of these design changes were expected after a year of staying at home, while others might totally surprise you.

No matter what, 2021 will see the kitchen transformed into a space that can do the heavy lifting in a myriad of ways—with lots of comfort and a little fun thrown in. Without further ado, here's what's cooking designwise in the kitchen this year. Some of these I like and some I dislike but the end all decision is yours. Just because I like something doesn't mean it's right.


1. Larger kitchen islands

Islands are no longer just a place to slurp down cereal before heading out the door. Instead, homeowners are increasingly using their kitchen islands as a work, study, and leisure area—in addition to a place to prepare food.

"Larger kitchen islands are here to stay," says Ariana Lovato, owner and principal designer of Honeycomb Home Design in Shell Beach, CA. "People want to have as many workspaces as possible, with the kids now doing virtual school."

Large islands also make kitchens less transitional spaces and more of a central place to hang out in the home. A larger island might be tough with the smaller Florida Keys houses but if you can fit one they are great. I love the island in my kitchen.


2. Less open layouts

Open layouts have been beloved in recent years for eliminating barriers between the kitchen, living, and dining spaces in order to bring family members together and make entertaining easier. But now those large spaces are being rethought due to their lack of privacy.


"That doesn't necessarily mean that the traditionally walled-off spaces will return," says Costa. "But you can expect to see more privacy niches, sound dampening materials, kitchen desk/nook/workstation areas, and quiet corners in 2021."


3. A revival of wood finishes

It may be 2021, but there's a revival of natural wood happening that pays homage to vintage kitchens of the 1970s.

"For years, homeowners have been ripping out old wood paneling, but with a rise in affordable synthetic or engineered wood alternatives, the possibilities of adding wood are now endless," says Georgina Borneman-Street, CEO and principal designer at Cobalt Blue 1802 in Los Angeles. "It's a nice mix of retro meets modern." 

Look for upgraded wood veneer paneling with subtle or light grain finish to add that natural element in the kitchen. 


4. Handleless cabinetry

This falls under the category of things I dislike. To me these cabinets just have a cheap look. There is so much you can do with knobs and handles that are a low cost change that will make a huge difference but that is just my opinion. Here's another opinion, "We've all heard the suggestion that adding hardware to cabinetry is considered an upgrade, but when done right, handleless design feels high-end," says Borneman-Street. 

Handleless drawers and cabinet doors also lend a futuristic look, giving a kitchen a sleek feel with clean lines.

"The totally seamless design creates an effortless flow throughout the kitchen," adds Borneman-Street.

Bonus: Cabinetry without handles tends to be easier and quicker to clean and sanitize, too—a new essential feature in this pandemic era. 


5. Darker hues

This one is a feature I love. To me, it ads character and a personal touch. Be careful not to make it too personal. Overly bizzare colors will turn a buyer off fast. The all-white kitchen has been on its way out for the past several years, and we've collectively become more comfortable dipping our toe back into the color pool. Well, this year, expect to dive into the deep end.

"Deep blue, charcoal, and dark green are all big color stories for 2021," says Mark Cutler of Los Angeles' Mark Cutler Design. (Bonus: Darker colors are also more effective at hiding stains.)

Color is showing up in appliances, too, with a swing away from endless stainless steel into reds, blues, and custom colors.


6. Smart technology everywhere

The popularity of smart appliances has been steadily growing over the past few years, but the coronavirus pandemic has kicked that trend into overdrive. This is another one I do not like. I think of how many times my computer freezes up or how often I make an operator error and picture burning a prime rib because I entered a wrong letter on my computer. Not to mention the spoiled food if my refrigerator gets a virus.

"A refrigerator that can track what you're running low on and reorders for you feels less like a bells and whistles extra and more like a super useful feature when you're already using food delivery services," says KB Designers Network's Costa.

And since hygiene issues are top of mind, you can also expect to see smart kitchen features such as touchless faucets.


7. Secret scullery rooms

Looking to add a little mystery to your space? Try this one on for size.

"One kitchen design trend we've seen popping up is a secret scullery feature where you think you're opening a large cabinet door in the kitchen, but it leads to an entirely new room," says Ryan Fitzgerald, owner of uphomes in Charlotte, NC.

The scullery is an extremely versatile room for the kitchen, because it allows you to keep the room picture-perfect.

"The items you wish weren't always sitting on the kitchen counter but are, well, they can now be hidden away in the scullery," says Fitzgerald.


8. Alternative appliances

Here is one of my favorites. I like being different and I love the look. With gyms closed in many localities, people are scrutinizing their diets more carefully. And as a result, the interest in healthy cooking options such as steam, sous vide, and air fryer has exploded, says Costa.

Expect this trend to continue into 2021 and beyond, particularly as more ranges now offer multiple cooking capabilities that help to avoid the clutter of endless countertop appliances.

No matter what size your kitchen is there is always a variety of upgrades or changes you can do to make it more to your liking or to make your house ready to sell. If you're thinking of customizing your kitchen call me at 305-731-0501 and I will give you a list of reputable licensed contractors who specialize in kitchens. If you're redoing your kitchen to sell your home call me and together we can go over things that the buyers look for. Then I will sell your house for top dollar.

Gary


Gary McAdams, PA
Realtor/Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Florida Keys Hospital Locations


I know the last thing anyone wants to think of is needing a Hospital. Unfortunately, everyone needs one at some point in time. When I am out showing houses to future residents I make sure to also show them where the Hospital is located. Buying a house in the Florida Keys will make you a local. Local knowledge of things like Hospital locations will make you an informed local. Today's post is information that I hope you will never need to use but it's much better to know where the Hospitals are and not need one than to need a Hospital and not know where it is located. 


Key West, Lower Keys Medical Center, 5900 College Road, Key West, FL 33040, 305-294-5531

The Lower Keys facility was created in 1971, and serves the citizens of the Florida Keys living below the Seven Mile Bridge. It is the area�s sole hospital care provider. There are 75 physicians on the Lower Keys Medical Center (LKMC) medical staff. Our nursing staff numbers over 200. With a total staff of 500, LKMC is the largest employer in the City of Key West. Some of the services offered at the Lower Keys Medical Center are general surgery, ophthalmologic and orthopedic surgery, gynecological surgery, ear, nose and throat surgery, out-patient and ambulatory care, a full-service clinical laboratory, rehabilitative therapy, respiratory services, pharmacy, 24-hour emergency medicine, critical care, pathology, pediatrics, obstetrics and family birthing suites, continuing education classrooms, nutrition services, diagnostic radiology and radiology oncology, psychiatric in or out-patient care, and a chemical dependency program. Being a 30 year resident of Key West and having been in the Lower Keys Medical Center I say only go there if you must. We have several great walk in clinics in Key West that are much better than this Hospital. If you need a full Hospital and have any choice go up to one of the other Hospitals Marathon or Tavernier. My own Doctor will not admit patients to Lower Keys Medical Center and if they demand to go there he marks their Medical Records "Against Medical Advice" and requires them to sign it before he will admit them.


Marathon, Fisherman's Hospital, 3301 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050, 305-743-5533

The dream of Fishermen`s Hospital began in 1957 when a group of concerned citizens formed the Marathon Hospital Association, a nonprofit organization chartered by the State of Florida. Reorganization in 1959 converted the group to what is known as Fishermen`s Hospital. On March 25, 1961, ground breaking ceremonies were held under the chairmanship of Phil Sadowski. The combined efforts of the community were rewarded on August 23, 1962, when the building known as Fishermen`s Hospital was officially dedicated. The 36-bed health care facility admitted its first patient on September 3, 1962. Since the first patient was admitted, the hospital has grown tremendously in size and services rendered to the community. In March of 1973, the hospital opened the West Wing, expanding the bed capacity to a 74-bed health care facility. The closing of the East Wing in 1984, changed the bed capacity to its present day total of 58. Six of the beds are ICU beds with the latest monitoring equipment. Telemetry capabilities are available at all beds in the West Wing. In July 1986, the Board of Trustees of Fishermen`s Hospital signed a lease with Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA). Since that time, HMA has made good its promise to modernize Fishermen`s Hospital and broaden its services. Together with the Board of Trustees, Medical Staff and Administration, HMA has established and helped maintain Fishermen`s Hospital in its position at the forefront of technological care with the latest equipment and procedures. Fishermen`s Hospital remains committed to providing quality health care services to Marathon and the surrounding communities. I prefer Fisherman's over Lower Keys Medical Center. Fisherman's Hospital is part of Baptist Hospital in Miami which is one of the best Hospitals in Florida.


Tavernier (Key Largo) Mariners Hospital, 91500 Overseas Highway, 
Tavernier, FL 33070

Mariners Hospital Medical Staff Doctors in a variety of specialties make up the heart of Mariners Hospital. All our physicians, from internists to surgeons, are Board-certified or Board-eligible. Specialists on staff at Mariners Hospital include internal and family medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, gastroenterology, gynecology, otolaryngology (ENT), cardiology, general surgery and urology. Below, is a list of physicians on our medical staff. For a free, confidential referral to a physician at Mariners or other Baptist Health South Florida facility, call the Baptist Health Physician Referral Service at 1-800-228-6557, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Of the three Hospitals in the Keys Mariners is my favorite. Like Fisherman's Hospital, they are part of Baptist Hospital in Miami but Mariners is bigger than Fisherman's with more Specialists and more equipment.

I hope you have just wasted your time reading this information and never need to know where the Hospitals are located but I'd rather you know where they are and hope you never have to see the inside of any of them. Stay healthy, stay safe and enjoy your home in the Florida Keys that you bought from me.

Gary

Gary McAdams, PA
Realtor/Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden


Key West has a lot of talented local artists. I like having local artwork hanging in my house and office. A painting by a Key West local would look great on the wall of that new Florida Keys home you buy from me. It seems to have more character and appeal when I have actually met the artist and sometimes know him/her well.

A very hidden but very fun place on the island is the Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden. It pays is the place to buff up on your Key West history. Located next to Mallory Square and easily accessible from downtown, ays tribute to the island’s most influential residents. From well-known figures such as Ernest Hemingway and Harry S. Truman to lesser-known trailblazers such as Sandy Cornish and Eduardo Gato, the sculpture garden gives an unparalleled insight to Key West’s colorful past through 36 lifelike bustssculpted by acclaimed artist James Mastin.


Key West’s history is a varied one, with much of the island’s early success coming from shipwrecks and Cuban tobacco. These busts and their corresponding descriptions tell the story of Key West’s founding and growth despite the island’s isolation from the continental United States. For example, the main sculpture, “The Wreckers" commemorates Key West’s valint first-responders who saved countless lives from peril along the reef.

Starting in the early 19th century, “wrecking” became a popular and lucrative profession in Key West. Without detailed maps and modern technology, at least one ship wrecked each week in the “uncharted territory” along the Florida Reef. Wreckers would watch day and night, waiting for a shipwreck. And while the wreckers’ work was honorable – they saved numerous lives –the hefty profits they turned from shipwrecked cargo were also a major perk for many, making Key West the richest City in the United States during the first half of the 19th century.


While much of the garden is centered around the shared history of Key West and the wreckers, there are other stories to be told. The Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden takes a personal look at the individuals that impacted Key West and tells their own stories. One of the most compelling stories is that of Sandy Cornish, a former slave that became one of Key West richest residents.

Born a slave, Cornish worked over the span of nine years to save enough money to buy his freedom. Yet when his freedom papers were destroyed in a fire, it didn’t take long before several slave-catchers tried to sell him in New Orleans. Yet Cornish would not return to slavery. Instead, he mutilated himself so badly on the selling block that no one wanted to buy him. Once Cornish recuperated, he and his wife Lillah started farming on Key West, selling fruits and vegetables to the locals. Their business grew so well that they not only became one of the richest families on the island, but prominent figures in Key West and the local black community, as well. In fact, they founded the Cornish Chapel of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is still intact at 702 Whitehead Street.

Another Key West pioneer honored at the Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden is Eduardo Gato. A driving force behind the success of Key West’s tobacco industry, Gato revolutionized the cigar business on the island. Seeing a need for hard-working and loyal cigar rollers, Gato built comfortable houses near his factory to entice better employees. His strategy worked, and the Key West cigar industry took off, bringing Key West an economic prosperity unmatched in the United States at the time. Yet that wasn’t all Gato did for the Key West community. He also built the first fire-proof cigar factory and was a major financier of the Cuban fight for independence from Spain.


For more untold Key West stories, visit the sculpture garden. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the knowledge you pick up.

It is a lot of fun telling people who visit my home all about the artwork and sharing a story about the artist. It makes the artwork more interesting. You'll love it too when people visit you in that home you buy from me in Key West or another island of the Florida Keys.

Gary

Gary McAdams, PA
Realtor/Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park


Known as Key West’s best beach, the the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, (Or "Fort Zach" as the Key West locals call it) is as much of an outdoor excursion as it is a history lesson. Situated on the west tip of the island, this Florida state park is easily accessed by car from Roosevelt Boulevard and Old Town Key West. In fact, considering that Fort Zachary Taylor is 54 acres in total, it’s best to take a car to move around the park at your own convenience. I like to snorkel the rock formation at Fort Zack on days I don't have the time to go to the reef or don't have a full day to spend on the water but still need my underwater fix. There is a lot of good sealife out by those rocks and I just walk right in off the beach. Watch out for the Lionfish though. They are pretty common out there and can give you a nasty sting.


Although now a national historic landmark and state park, Fort Zachary Taylor was a US Military Fort and Naval Base throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Started in 1845, the fort faced various difficulties in construction and was not finished until 1866 – a construction period totaling over 20 years. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Captain John Brannan ensured that the fort remained under Union control. It was during that time that the fort played an influential role in thwarting Confederate advances, impeding rebel supply ships from reaching port with its long-range cannons. And although Fort Zachary did not see much combat during the Civil War, it was a major player a few years later during the Spanish-American War, with many of the battles taking place at sea.

Yet by 1947 the fort was out of military commission. However, in 1968, the fort was back in the spotlight after a major excavation revealed the largest collection of Civil War cannons ever discovered. In 1973, the fort was declared a national historic landmark, and today it’s best known as a state park - although it does get its fair share of tourists coming to see the cannons.


Once inside the park, one of the main attractions is the beach. Although Key West is known more for its snorkeling than its beaches, the Fort Zach beach is one that you will want to visit for both. Almost as if it were cut out of the rocks by nature itself, the Fort Zach beach is a little slice of heaven that’s still on the main island. Aquamarine waters and cerulean skies make for a picturesque compliment to the park’s rock-lined border.

Those rocky waters also make for ideal snorkeling conditions, with schools of rainbow-colored fish swimming through the crevices. Even better is that the Florida Park Service rents snorkels, fins and rafts at reasonable daily rates, making a trip to Fort Zach an excellent way to spend the day in nature without getting on a snorkel boat.


In addition to the beach at Fort Zachary, the state park also has bike paths and nature trails filled with the island’s native birds, wildlife and fauna. Guests can grill or picnic, or grab food from the Caya Heusa Cafe named after the Spaniards’ original name for Key West. Many people also choose to exercise on the park grounds, due to its serene atmosphere. It’s the perfect day trip in Key West, and no matter how close Fort Zach is to your hotel and Old Town Key West, it will always feel miles away. is as much of an outdoor excursion as it is a history lesson. Situated on the west tip of the island, this Florida state park is easily accessed by car from Roosevelt Boulevard and Old Town Key West. In fact, considering that Fort Zachary Taylor is 54 acres in total, it’s best to take a car to move around the park at your own convenience.


Would you like to be able to visit Fort Zach all year long? Does laying on the beach, snorkeling the rock formation, biking the nature paths and walking around the Fort sound appealing? You can do it. Call me to look at some homes for sale in the Florida Keys and become a snowbird or year round local.

Gary

Gary McAdams, PA
Realtor/Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

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