No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2020

“Our finger prints don't fade from the lives we touch.”- Judy Blume

February 13, 2020

George and Judy

Joan Osbourne

“Our finger prints don't fade from the lives we touch.”- Judy Blume

One of the coolest perks of having served for a dozen year’s on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar is all the amazing people that we have had the good fortune of getting to meet and befriend. All of them are truly fascinating and interesting people and a few are actually well-known. Such is the case with beloved writer Judy Blume who has been on the board with me the entire time that I have served. Kathy and I have had the good fortune to become friends with her and her husband George and it was our pleasure this week to join with hundreds of other friends and admirers of theirs to celebrate them being awarded the coveted Humanitarian of the Year Award presented by the Red Cross.

The Gala honoring George and Judy was held at the ballroom in the Marriott Beachside resort where the island of Key West turned up in force to honor and recognize the tremendous civic commitment that George and Judy have made to our island community. There are few causes on the island that they have not donated to, volunteered for or had a massive impact on. Often without fanfare, the couple has quietly worked hard to make the community that they call home a much better place and they are more than worthy of the recognition.


Carol, Nadene and Ginny

I know them mostly through Judy’s work with the Literary Seminar and George’s tremendous commitment to the Tropic Cinema (whose board I also recently joined) as well as their work at the wonderful bookstore that they founded, Books and Books at the Studios of Key West, but those amazing contributions represent only a small fraction of what they have done for Key West. The gala was tremendous fun and it seemed that a large portion of the community turned out to thank them.
It was just another amazing event in a long list of literary type events that have kept us incredibly busy this past month.

Nadene and Lori


This week also saw a major expansion in programming for the Key West Literary Seminar with a week- long celebration of our recent acquisition of the house at 624 White Street in Key West where famed poet Elizabeth Bishop resided in the 1930s and 40s. It is a major historical landmark and a huge investment by the Literary Seminar and we have been holding a capital campaign to raise the funds for the purchase and renovation of the property.

Elizabeth Bishop House

624 White Street

This past week, we hosted a number of noted scholars here in Key West including biographer Thomas Travisano, founding president of the Elizabeth Bishop Society and author of “Love Unknown: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop,” as well as Bishop scholars and poets Bethany Hicok, David Hoak, Barbara Page and Emily Schulten. The events included roundtable discussions, book readings and the showing of a film about Bishop’s life and homes at the Tropic Cinema by filmmaker Barbara Hammer, “Welcome to This House”.


There was also a terrific private party at the lovely home of board member Peyton Evans for all the visiting guests and the friends and board of the seminar who are assisting in trying to raise funding for and awareness of the Bishop House. The myriad of events had us out almost every night for more than a week and that was just for the seminar related events. There were also the normal full schedule of regularly scheduled activities and fun things happening.

Joan Osbourne

This week included another concert at the Key West Theater, this time by 90s songstress, Joan Osborne. I had seen her perform way back in the early 90s when she played along with the band War on a Duval Street stage erected to celebrate what was the grand opening of the Hard Rock Café. That show was a benefit for the organization that I was working for at the time Reef Relief and was the last time I had seen Osbourne in concert.

She played at the Theater last year as well, but Kathy and I were out of town, so I was excited by the chance to see her live again, though the show was somewhat disappointing. She sounded great and played a good selection of songs including a number from her recent album of Bob Dylan covers, and she played her ubiquitous hit “One of Us”, but overall the show lacked much of a spark and was not nearly as fun as I had hoped.

With Joan Osbourne

The Champagne Room

Trish and Landon

Finally my friend Trish opened a new bar here in town. She owns the popular Firefly restaurant and is expanding her Key West footprint with a new restaurant and bar called the Tiger Bar and Champagne Room. The Tiger bar part is not quite ready, but they hosted a grand opening for the beautiful new Champagne Room which is a small, beautiful intimate and upscale bar just off Duval Street. I meet my friends Breezy and Reverend Peyton there and we shared a few beverages before heading over to watch the band at the Green Parrot.

With Rev and Breezy

Elizabeth Bishop article 

Polar Bear Plunge

February 6, 2020


Polar Bear Plunge

The annual Polar Bear Plunge happens in many cities across the country. Generally they pick what is certainly one of the coldest days of the year and hearty souls leap into the frigid water as part of an annual ritual of silliness and craziness. Here in Key West, Samuels House, a nonprofit that provides safe haven to women and families has hosted an annual island version of the Polar Bear plunge each year as a fundraising effort for their good work.

Justine and Gil


For the past few years, it has been my pleasure to join a couple of hundred intrepid souls at Higgs Beach next to Salute restaurant for the annual Key West version. It may seem silly since Key West rarely sees anything approaching the frozen climes of the locales of the vast majority of polar bear plunges, but everything is relative and temperatures in the mid-sixties this year actually felt plenty cold to myself and the other brave or foolish souls who participated.

Held at the crack of noon every year on Super Bowl Sunday, the annual event attracts a decent crowd on the Sunday afternoon and though Sunny and seemingly beautiful, there was a chill in the air and a pretty stiff breeze that really did make it seem pretty polar. It is all for a good cause, as many of the most fun events in Key West are and I had a good time rushing into the Atlantic as the noon horn sounded.

This was really a great week all around, as I had friends in town both for the Mile 0 Festival, which concluded this week as well as our friends Reverend and Breezy who spend a month or so in Key West each year on vacation while taking a break from their near constant touring with their band Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. The crossover of friends visiting lead to a really special sunset sail aboard the catamaran,.”Argo Navis” which was captained by my friend Andy.

With Reverend Peyton and Kerry


After an afternoon show as part of the Mile 0 fest, our friend Carter Sampson and the band the Red Dirt Rangers as well my friends, visiting from Colorado, Kerry and Liz and Reverend and Breezy all gathered to take a wonderful sunset cruise about the massive and beautiful catamaran. It was a beautiful night for sailing and we had an amazing time. Andy let us take turns driving the boat, which was especially cool for our friends from landlocked Oklahoma.

Breezy, Reverend and Kerry

The Mile 0 Festival wrapped up with a set from one of our favorite performers and a frequent visitor to Key West, the iconic Texas bard, Robert Earl Keen. Keen has been playing every year for years at the Key West Songwriter’s Festival held early each May and he loves coming to play here in Key West. It was his first appearance at the Mile 0 Festival and his first at the Key West Amphitheater. Generally he plays here solo with just an acoustic guitar or as part of a showcase with other songwriters, so the chance to get to see a full headlining set with his full band was a welcome addition and a great way to close out the main stage at the festival.

The show was pretty damn good as Keen played a set full of most of his most beloved songs and many of my favorites. It was really the only set of the festival where we took full use of our VIP tickets, grabbing a spot close to the stage and enjoying what was a pretty much perfect weather night and a wonderful set of music. I am ready to renew my Mile 0 Festival tickets already, it is so cool to have such an awesome event right here in our own backyard.

Robert Earl Keen

Of all the amazing things this week, perhaps the best day of the week was when our good friends Kerry and Shanda spent an amazing afternoon just hanging out in our living room. I have known them each for almost 30 years and they have been in that time some of the closest and best friends that I have had the good fortune to have and the chance to just sit, hand out, recall amazing old memories while creating new ones was something that I truly treasure. We are so fortunate to live in a community with some amazing people and it is one of the reasons that I love living in Key West so much and these two incredible women are prime examples of what makes this place so special.

With Shanda and Kerry