Big Pine Key is the largest little island in the “upper” lower keys, though it is indeed in the lower keys. There is a lot of history in this area of diverse land that has gone through more than one metamorphosis yet has somehow stayed very much the same in many areas. As the scooter rides, Big Pine is about 3 miles long, and about 5 miles wide. The length you can easily measure from the mile markers. The width most people are not aware of, as they cruise on by on their way to Key West, or heading home to places north of the Monroe County line. In this area mostly unseen by the traveler, there are a surprising number of subdivisions, and each one is unique unto itself. The main subdivisions are listed as follows:
Pine Channel Estates, Tropical Key Colony, Pine Crest, Eden Pines Colony, Port Pine Heights, Koehn’s Subdivision, Big Pine Shores, Pine Heights, Palm Villas, Whispering Pines, Tropical Bay, Doctor’s Arm, Punta Brisa, Atlantis Estates, Sands Subdivision, Big Pine Cove, Cahill Pines & Palms, Piney Point, Big Pine Shores, Long Beach Estates
And…..there are smaller subdivisions within the some of the ones I’ve listed. These areas listed are each in fact distinctive. I’m going to take you on a ride with me to each subdivision in the following posts and show you each of these areas. My scooter has allowed me to explore as much as humanly possible on this exceptional island, the things I have discovered and the wildlife I’ve seen is pretty phenomenal. I tend to shy away from US1 on my little scooter, so I go the backroads, and it is a joyful experience to explore the woods and dirt roads – of which there are many – in Big Pine. On these rides I have seen so many turtles, iguanas, snakes, countless deer, cats & dogs, various birds, osprey, owls, eagles (yes, eagles), horses on trails and alligators (in their habitat like the Blue Hole) and loads of all of the Keys indigenous trees, often full of fruit such as mangoes, key limes, starfuit, oranges and grapefruit. I have been witness to little tiny baby key deer twin fawns learning how to walk, a tortoise just strolling down the path, an iguana with a mouthful of bougainvillea, and I have discovered areas I wasn’t familiar with. It is always a lovely experience to go exploring around this island, even when I get rained on. And when it plummets to below 80 with a wind chill of below 70, well, it’s just about paradise! I have called this island home for more than 30 years. When I first moved to the Keys from my hometown of Miami, I landed in Key West in 1982. There was a water shortage then, and the water was turned off daily from 4pm until 6pm – can you imagine?? And going to Big Pine Key was quite a jaunt, it was like going to the Wild Wild West. We have all evolved since that time, but fortunately the beauty of Big Pine has been wonderfully preserved, so you can still smell the flowers and enjoy the wildlife. The waterfront is superb. There is also a variety of commercial enterprises in Big Pine , including restaurants, a major chain grocery store, drug stores, doctors and dentists, several convenience stores, two liquor stores, marinas, dive shops, bait and tackle shops, a choice of beauty shops and clothing stores, a various other specialty shops. The access to the ocean or the back country is available and easy. The fishing, diving, swimming and boating is at your fingertips, and the water is beautiful and full. You can find any type of home you want here. There are lovely palacial oceanfront and bayfront homes, with 3, 4 or more bedrooms and as many baths, or compact, cozy homes on a single level. There are homes on land lots full of trees and flowers, as well as homes with a manicured landscape. There are lovely homes of all sizes on both on the water an inland. There is just about anything one would want in a home here. First subdivision stop – Pine Channel Estates! Stay tuned……..