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What’s New in the Florida Keys & Key West - July 2017

Keys Events: Powerboat P1 SuperStock USA Series – August 19-20, 2017
Nine race teams are to battle for first place in the 2017 Powerboat P1 SuperStock USA Series in Islamorada. The final race is to be staged just offshore of Islamorada Saturday and Sunday, August 19-20, in front of the Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina.

Posted on Fri, Jul 28th, 2017 11:40 am by news services

P1 SuperStock races typically are staged close to shore. The course is tight and fast, with speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Image provided by Powerboat P1 USA.

The Islamorada Grand Prix of the Sea is the last of five races held each season in the P1 SuperStock Championship, which is based on racing in two classes of identical Panther production boats, each 28 feet long and powered by a 300 horsepower Mercury racing engine. The schedule calls for four races to be staged Saturday and Sunday — two each day — as boats complete multiple laps over a 2-mile course between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. All races are free to watch, and best viewing spots are a half-mile offshore at the Islamorada sandbar or onshore along the beaches at Postcard Inn’s property. For more information, visit

Keys Spirits

The Key West Rum Distillery & Experience Center has been opened in the island city by Key West-based Hemingway Rum Co., makers of Papa's Pilar premium sipping rums with the motto, "Never a spectator." The 8,200-square-foot brick attraction, once a tobacco warehouse, houses Papa's Pilar Rum production facility, experience center, tasting room and trading post. Additionally, a 2,400-square-foot event center is planned. Its 350-gallon still is capable of producing up to 80 gallons of rum daily from molasses, yeast and water. An interactive scent display allows visitors to smell active rum ingredients. The facility is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and guided tours are offered hourly. The tour pays tribute to famed author Ernest "Papa" Hemingway, a Key West resident in the 1930s, and includes a replica of his boat Pilar affixed to ceiling rafters. Patrons 21 and older with a legal ID can explore a tasting room with Hemingway memorabilia for samples of Papa's Pilar dark and blonde rums blended from varieties in Florida, the Caribbean and Central America. For more information, visit

Keys Accommodations

On Geiger Key in the Lower Keys, Geiger Key Marina & RV Park, with 40 total sites, has new RV rentals available nightly, weekly or monthly. Seven travel trailer rental RVs, each with partial ocean views, are self-contained with full hookups and sleep two to 10 guests. The RVs are priced from $129 USD to $249 USD a night and include towels, linens, dishes, pots, pans and utensils. Geiger Key Marina, billed as an "old Florida fish camp," includes The Fish Camp restaurant and Tiki bar, popular among locals. A barbecue dinner on Sundays at 4 p.m. is a weekly favorite. For more information, visit

Keys Transportation

Silver Airways has launched nonstop service into Key West International Airport from Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida. Silver operates daily roundtrips, except Tuesday and Wednesday, on 34-seat Saab 340B Plus turboprop aircraft. One-way fares are priced from $89.98 USD, excluding baggage fees. On select flights, a 21-day advance purchase is required. The carrier also offers "Freedom Fares," providing passengers flexibility to change flights with no additional fees. Restrictions apply. For more information, visit

Keys Attractions

The entrance at the 63.5-acre Crane Point Hammock Museum & Nature Center in Marathon is soon to be enhanced by a red railroad car that's currently the Pigeon Key Visitor's Center on Knights Key. The railroad car is to be moved this summer from its current location at mile marker 47 on Knights Key, located at the north end of the famed Seven Mile Bridge, to near Crane Point's entrance at mile marker 50. The car originally transported passengers traveling the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad that operated from 1912 to 1935. Crane Point also has improved several attractions, adding lionfish to its aquarium, touch tanks with small marine life, new signage with a Cuban chug exhibit, a bee observation center and evening kayak and paddleboard tours. One of the Keys' most sensitive environmental and archaeological sites, Crane Point is preserved by the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust as a nature sanctuary and education center.

Keys Cuisine

Want to make an authentic Key lime pie? New classes at the Key West Key Lime Pie Co. teach participants to do just that on Fridays at 11 a.m. The tangy treat, linked to Key West’s history, is believed to have first been created by "Aunt Sally," a cook for Key West's first millionaire and ship salvager, William Curry, in the 1800s. Spongers and fishermen made it onboard their vessels with simple ingredients that didn't require refrigeration. Class participants create their mini-Key lime pies of graham cracker crust, Key lime filling and whipped topping in a live kitchen. Prices are $20 USD per person for "students" ages 5 and older. Children under age 15 must be accompanied by a paid adult for the hourlong classes. For more information, visit

Keys Parks

In Key West, the 56-acre Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park has unveiled new signature gates, brick entrance booths, an ornamental fence and entry access routes. The $1.7 million state-funded project includes a new ranger entry station for vehicles and a ticket booth for pedestrians and cyclists. A new road connects the booths with the park's interior. Also added were 140 new native trees, sidewalks, bike lanes, entry signs, fencing and lighting enhancements. Florida's southernmost state park in the continental United States is known as "Fort Zach" to locals and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. The park, known for its recreational opportunities and U.S. military history, includes a historic fort, one of a series built in the mid-1800s to defend the nation's southeastern coastline. It's open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset and guided Fort Taylor tours are offered at 11 a.m. For more information, visit

Keys Environment

On Summerland Key, Mote Marine Laboratory's new International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration, dubbed "IC2R3," has opened to scientists. The facility's 19,000 square feet more than doubles previous space for coral research and restoration at Mote's Lower Keys campus. IC2R3 includes the Alfred Goldstein Institute for Climate Change Studies, allowing research on climate change and coral reef ecosystems. Marine scientists have access to new seawater systems and experimental tanks for studying reef species facing climate change impacts such as rising ocean temperatures and acidification. Molecular equipment enables scientists to process and prepare samples for genetic sequencing and analyses. Additionally, IC2R3 expands Mote's ability to grow coral reef fragments in a lab and then plant them onto reefs. To date, Mote scientists have restored more than 20,000 corals on Florida's reefs. The scientific research facility is one of five sites operated by Mote, a nonprofit research institution. While the facility currently is open to scientists and researchers, Mote eventually hopes to schedule time for the public to tour the center and learn about research projects. For more information, visit