Find Jimmy Buffett in the Keys


Nothing and no one is more associated with the Florida Keys than the world’s most beloved island troubadour, Jimmy Buffett. While Margaritaville is more a state of mind than a real place, if we were to assign one point in the world with that name to visit during a Bluegreen Vacation, it would have to be Key West.

Jimmy Buffett grew up along the Gulf coast.  The men in his life were in the marine industry so from an early age, he was mesmerized by the sea.  His song “A Pirate Looks at 40” alludes to his salt-air childhood with these lyrics:

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call.  Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall .  You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all.  Watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam. And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen. Most of ’em dream, most of ’em dream.

Jimmy Buffett Brings Margaritaville To Life in the Florida Keys.

Jimmy-Buffett-Duval-StreetMost tours in Key West reference the man whose devoted fans are called Parrotheads.  The house where he lived is very near the Southernmost Point.  And the restaurant he still owns (the first in a chain) is on Duval Street.

When Jimmy Buffett was “living the dream” of laid-back, seaside island life – the life he’d dreamed of since his youth – he was far from being the superstar he is today . His signature Margaritaville tune became a hit years after he wrote it. With his repertoire of tropical tunes about the land of bikinis, sailboats, frozen drinks and permanent sunshine, Jimmy Buffett unwittingly identified a huge cultural component of life in America.

The one thing that most working people share – especially those in cold climates – is the desperate need to get away, get warm, unwind, and daydream of never having to go back to work or see another Monday.

The same feeling you get on a vacation at the Hammocks in Marathon is the feeling that Jimmy Buffett tapped into with his anthology of tropical tunes.

Jimmy-Buffett-MargaritavilleIt made him a hero in the Keys, where tourists now flock to live out the lyrics they’ve been singing, if only for a long weekend.  Tapping into a gigantic shared consciousness also made him a multi-millionaire.

Even if you’re had a cocktail at a Margaritaville restaurant in another city, or chowed down at Cheeseburger in Paradise in, say, Indianapolis, there’s no comparison to sauntering into Jimmy’s Duval Street establishment in your flip-flops, ordering a margarita, and posting a picture to Facebook to make the friends back in Sheboygan insanely jealous.

March of 2011 found Jimmy Buffett playing a surprise set at a wedding in Key West (two friends of his tied the knot and he surprised everyone with a couple of tunes). Despite being an international celebrity, Jimmy Buffett still owns a home in Key West, and comes back when he can. So keep your eyes open during your Florida Keys vacation – the fella next to you might be the leader of the world’s Parrotheads.