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Historical charming "drinking village with a fishing problem"

Situated just south of Key Largo, about MM 95 to about MM 87 is Tavernier, probably named for the drinking establishments so popular with the "wreckers" of the 19th Century. No place outside of Key West has as many Monroe County designated historical structures as charming Tavernier. There are 59 historic structures in Tavernier's historic district and they are mostly simple wood-frame vernacular style of the "Ever Moor" Merlin Albury house (1932) (a testament to this homes survival of the 1935 Labor Day hurricane) and the Charles Albury house (1935). These simple frame style homes housed the towns' pioneers and they were built on small lots very close to each other and close to the streets creating a very tight knit community.

Tavernier sunset The uniqueness of historic Tavernier from Tavernier Creek north between Overseas Highway and the Atlantic Ocean reverberates with modern day businesses and residents. Legend has it that pirates and wreckers in the 19th Century asked the pioneer settlers if they had a "tavern near", hence the name. But it was also home to many churches, homes, schools, railroad stations, post offices, hospitals and fire departments, and farms lush with pineapples, Key limes, melons and tomatoes. The infrastructure began back then and today Tavernier has one of the largest modern day hospitals in the upper Keys Mariners Hospital at MM 91. Tavernier has a Cinema 5 and a modern day convenient shopping center.

A steady ocean breeze confirms the practicality of living in this sleepy little bedroom community. Multi-million dollar homes on the ocean are mixed with historic homes and nestled between old trees and lush landscaped streets echoing the Flagler railroad whistle. The community lives in harmony with nature as it did back in the pioneer times. Harry Harris Park is on of the largest community parks on the ocean in Tavernier. Rodriguez Key and Tavernier Key are uninhabited wildlife areas just off shore. World class diving is found in the waters around Tavernier at many reefs. Also great boating access to the ocean or bay provides fun fishing around Tavernier. Great lobster, shrimp and stone crab, habitats are waiting to be discovered.

In Tavernier, Old Settlers Park was built by the community for the community's enjoyment. Tavernier is home to the upper Keys Wild Bird Center at MM 92 and is a non-profit educational and rehabilitation center for sick or injured birds. Tavernier is also home to the Upper Keys Botanical Society and home to Coral Shores High School. People living in harmony with their neighbor and with nature, coupled with a water-oriented lifestyle is what makes Tavernier the nearby-far-away spot to live and call home.

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Islamorada   Key West   Big Pine   Marathon    Tavernier

Pat Ketchum

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