Once you’ve entered Monroe County, and have crossed over Jewfish Creek Bridge, you are officially off the “mainland”. You are now ready for your journey of island hopping. If traveling all the way to Key West, you will have 42 bridges to cross to get there. Each one has its own magical view. Going south, you will have the ocean on your left-hand side and the bay will be to your right. Which also means if your crossing a bridge during sunrise, the beauty of the sun coming up will be on your right side and if traveling during dusk, the sunset will be on your right, or bayside.
Of these 42 bridges, there’s one that stands out the most, the infamous “Seven Mile Bridge”. It connects the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys. Looking to the right, as you’re headed south, you’ll notice another older, rickety bridge that’s missing sections. That’s the original bridge built under the direction of Henry Flagler. It was Flagler’s idea to connect our islands with a train called The Overseas Railroad. Unfortunately, his railroad was damaged in the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, and the bridge was converted for motorized traffic. That bridge was shut down to traffic in the early 80’s and the new bridge was constructed. You will also notice an island off to the right. That would be Pigeon Key, it was used to house the construction workers during the construction of the railroad.
Of all these bridges, amazingly, only one is a drawbridge. It’s located right here in Islamorada at Snake Creek. To locals, it can be a pain to have to stop and wait as a vessel cruises through, but to those visiting, it can give you a chance to look around at the waters, boats and birds.
If traveling in the Keys and you say, “we’ll cross that bridge later”, it may be sooner than later!