Key West’s Conch Cottages
by Shayne Benowitz
Have you ever found yourself strolling down one of the charming side streets in Key West that are lined with palm trees, bougainvillea, and hibiscus? Those quaint pastel cottages are adorable, too, aren’t they? Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about what it would be like to live in one?
Key West possesses a lovely array of unique architecture that combines the style of the tropical Bahamas with Victorian New England. In Key West, many of the homes are referred to as conch homes, whether they are small cottages or large mansions. Some of these homes were even built in the Bahamas hundreds of years ago.
How do you know you’re looking at a conch cottage? They are typically homes with tin or metal pitched roofs with the rest of the house made of wood planks painted pastel shades of green, blue, pink, or yellow. You will see a large shaded porch or veranda on the front façade, as well as large windows with shutters. The homes are built in a simple rectangular shape with a main hallway leading down to the various rooms. Often, there is a backdoor at the other end of the hall. These homes are often positioned in compounds with other cottages, gardens, and even a pool.
In Key West, you can take a tour on the Conch Tour train where your friendly guide will point out many beautiful conch houses and other interesting homes. You’ll also learn more about the unique history of Key West. Hop aboard!
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer working on her debut novel. For more travel stories and a daily dose of what’s cool around the globe visit her Wanderlust Website at http://web.me.com/shaynebeth.