HISTORY OF VILLA MARQUESA AND RAMROD KEY, FLORIDA
The Villa Marquesa vacation home is located on the Ocean Side of Ramrod Key, between Mile Marker mm 26 and 27.5. We call our Lower Keys Islands, the windy keys due to their favorable geographical position, which allows the flow of tropical trade winds to blow in all directions, delivering its cooling breezes and also reducing mosquitos. Luckily our average temperatures never dip below the 60’s in winter and never rise above the 90’s even in the hottest summers, making theses islands a true Tropical Caribbean Paradise all year around. We owe our great weather to the Carribean Tropical Trade Winds and the Gulf Stream, a super current of warm Caribbean water that constantly bathes our islands year round. That’s why you will see an abundance of Tropical plants, animals, fish and corals. The warm winter water temperatures also allows for year round snorkeling, fishing, diving , beach-going or other water-sports.
Long before our island was named Ramrod Key and officially charted, it was visited by Calusa Indians and they used our island as a refuge from the warlike Creek Indians, who were induced by English settlers to make slave raids on the Calusas. Finally, chased by the Creeks and decimated by European diseases, the remaining Calusas escaped to Cuba and were assimilated into the local population. Before the Calusas, there was probably a small population of other Native Americans occupying the various islands of the Florida Keys. The name Key West, is an anglicization the Spanish name “Cayo Hueso or Bone Key”; since spanish exporers found so many Native American bones covering the entire island, after the indian tribal wars.
After the native americans came the Spanish Explorers to whom we owe many of our island names such as Dry Tortugas; Islamorada or the “Purple Isles”, Key Largo “Cayo Largo or Long Key”; Key Rodriguez, Bahia Honda ” Deep Bay”and Vaca Key or Cow Key. The Spanish also gave us many of our local foods, like Key Limes, Conch Fitters, pineapples, tropical fruit trees and hundreds of sunken spanish cargo vessels and Galleons, who’s sunken treasures are world famous and can be seen at the Mel Fisher Atocha Musuem in Key West. On April 2, 1513 Ponce de Leon claimed Florida (La Florida) in the name of Spain. Indians right’s were never considered and Florida was owned and governed by the Spain from 1513 until 1821. Spain called Key West the Gibraltar of the Caribbean. Spain then sold the Florida to the United States in 1819 but kept the Florida Keys or “Cayos de los Martires or Islands of the Martyrs”, but kept the Keys for themselves. In 1821 a U.S. buisnessmen bought Key West and most of the keys from a Spaniard living in Cuba and it was officiay made part of Florida on February 22, 1821.
Since the time the Spanish discovered these islands and well past U.S. occupation of 1821, the Pirates of the Caribbean, used our islands as hideouts and bases of operations. This was time heroic villains who rose to fame and figures like Black Ceasar, Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Captain Avery, Captain Morgan and others became household names in the keys. They were the famous anti-heroes of their time. This was also a historical period from roughly 1680 – 1730 when large numbers of Anglo-American mariner’s also engaged in piracy and privateering, often against Spanish or other targets of opportunity in the Atlantic Ocean, and often used the Keys as their bases. The Pirates of the Keys would hide their shallow draft boats among the many islands and ambush any ship caught on the reef. Pirates would also attack any wreckers driving them from the treasure ships and seize their bounties. After all treasure was removed from the ship, it would often be set on fire, leaving nothing that would warn other ships of the dangers below the surface.
Black Caesar was an 18th century pirate who choose the Florida Keys for his home. Black Caesar, a former slave, preyed on boats throughout the Florida Keys, as well as Cuba, the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico. For nearly a decade, he raided ships in the Florida Keys and later served with Captain Blackbeard’s aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Caesar’s Rock, one of three islands located north of Key Largo, is the present-day site of his original headquarters and named in his honor.
The Florida Keys are also refered to as the Conch Republic as our islands declared a mock secession from the United States on April 23, 1982. It has been maintained as a tourism booster for the city of Key West and the Keys since. Since then, the term “Conch Republic” has been expanded to refer to “all of the Florida Keys or that geographic northward to ‘Skeeter’s Last Chance Saloon’ in Florida City to Key West as the nation’s capital and all territories north of Key West being referred to as ‘The Northern Territories’. The Conch is the large pinkish shell native to the keys and the Caribbean and the main ingredient in Conch Chowder and Conch Fritters; as must try dish when your visiting Villa Marquesa and the Florida Keys.
While the protest that sparked the creation of the Conch Republic (and others which have occurred since then) have been described by some as “tongue-in-cheek”, they were motivated by frustrations over genuine concerns, such as taxes, customs, and immigrations policies. The original protest event was motivated by a US Border Patrol roadblock and checkpoint which greatly inconvenienced residents and was detrimental to tourism in the area. Our island motto is “One Human Family” and ” a Change in Latitude a Change in Attitude”.
The Conch Republic celebrates its Independence Day every April 23 as part of a week-long festival of activities involving numerous businesses in Key West, and a mock water cannon and stale cuban bread naval battle. The organization – a “Sovereign State of Mind,” seeking only to bring more “Humor, Warmth, and Respect” to a world in sore need of all three according to its Secretary General, Peter Anderson – is a key tourism booster for the area. Other Festival not to miss are Goombay and Fantasy Fest which are are generally held the week prior to Halloween, New Years Eve, Mini-Lobster Season, Bike Week Poker Run, the Key West Literary Festival, and the Marathon Seafood Festival.
Ramrod Key got its name from a ship named “Ramrod” that was wrecked out on the coral reef the early 19th Century. see an areal view of Ramrod Key:L https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grgX9F8aqa4 It is now a popular tourist site due to the short three mile distance between the island and the world famous Looe Key Reef. The island has its own gasoline and conveincestores, several bars, and resturants like the famous 5 Brothers Cuban Restaurant, Looe Key Resort and a putt-putt course. Right offshore you have the Famous Little Palm Island Resorts and the famous Picnic Island Beaches.
Villa Marquesa was one of the first homes built on the Atlantic/ Ocean Side of Ramrod Key, in Breeze Swept Beach Estates, that’s why its architecture is very distinctive and unique. The home is built on a perfect east-west / north-south axis in order to take advantage of the Tropical Caribbean Trade winds. Rarley do visitors use the air-conditioning system in winter and we have never had to use the heater!! The home is decorated in authentic Caribbean Colonial style and filled with teak and mahogany furniture which give you the feeling of staying at one of the great Caribbean Beachside Villas. The house’s name is also unique and has alot of history behind it. The name “Villa Marquesa” means the “Grand Home of the Marquis” in Spanish. The Owner’s grandfather was a a Spanish Marquis and part of the Spanish Royalty and Nobility. Her family history in Spain goes back 750 years, to a time of chivalry, conquests and conquistadors.
In and around our island we have several places to eat, drink and be merry like: all within a short walking, biking or driving distance: Boondocks Grille, 5 Brothers Cuban Market and Cafe and the Looe Key Reef Tiki Bar are local favorites. They offer everything from Cuban Coffe “Bucci”, Cuban sandwhiches, great beers, elaborate fish entrees, miniature golf courses, a gift shops, dive tours, live daily music and weekly bar specials.
We are a few minutes by car, bike or bus to Little Torch Key: which was the famous resturants like the Little Palm Island Resort and Parrotdise; Big Pine Key: which has famous several bars and resturants like the No Name Pub, and a grocery store: Winn Dixie in the Deer Key Shopping Mall. On Summerland and Cudjoe Keys there are several fish markets, resturants, and bars to choose from, and the Square Group on Cudjoe Key is a must.
Also we can put your in contact with several deep water or flats fishing guides, kayak rentals, nature / history / ghost tour guides, massage studios, bike rentals or maid services.
Please see next page for Prices, Florida Keys and Weddings
FABULOUS KEYS, have your destination Florida KeysWedding at Villa Marquesa or any of our sister properties
The Waterfront Wedding You’ve Always Dreamed Of at Villa Marquesa or Casa Serenity, in Ramrod Key, Florida
If you ask just about any man or woman to define their idea of the perfect vacation, she might tell you about tropical sunsets, palm trees, ocean breezes, and white sandy beaches. Ask him or her to tell you their idea of the perfect wedding, and they could very well give you the exact same answer! So why not combine the perfect vacation with the perfect wedding and create a unique experience that you and your guests will never forget? Destination weddings are growing in popularity, and a great place to have one is the Florida Keys. With the help of VacationRentals.com, planning a Florida Keys Home Destination Wedding is easier than ever. We do tradition and gay marriges as well!
If you’re looking for a picturesque beach wedding at sunset with the sound of waves rolling under a cool ocean breeze, look no further than the Florida Keys. It has all the elements that make up a beautiful tropical vacation as well as the perfect beachfront wedding. With first-rate restaurants and wedding planners available as well, your ceremony and reception are sure to be the memorable experience of your dreams.
But if you’re looking for something just a little bit different, the Keys has you covered as well. You can recite your vows on a luxury yacht, on a dive boat, reef, the beach, boat docks, in kayaks, under-water or on a sailboat. You could also get married in a traditional, in an Old historical tropical Key West church. You can even get hitched under water, motioning your vows to each other among the tropical fish and coral. Many people like ot get married at Picnic island or Little Palm island jsut jsut a boat right off the docks.
Perhaps the best part of getting married in the Florida Keys near Key West, is that you’re already on your honeymoon immediately following the ceremony, and your loved ones are there to join you. Before and after your special day, your guests can explore the Keys at their leisure.
Your perfect destination wedding, Florida Keys style, is only a few clicks away!
The term “destination wedding” has never been more fitting. Escape to an intimate tropical getaway pairing stunning scenery with impeccable service. Every detail of your special day is bound to be charming with the help of our experienced staff who are ready to assist you every step of the way. Villa Marquesa, its Wedding Planners and our Caterers go beyond just a wedding venue and provides everything you need for a truly seamless occasion. Plan a cozy wedding on our dock, mini-beach or under th shade of our native trees with a close-knit group of family and friends or arrange an elaborate ceremony. We offer both Casa Serentiy and Villa Marquesa as venues and accomodations. After the ceremony, let the celebrations segue into a starlit reception on our sun decks, mini-beach, docks while surrounded by towering palms and orchids or at Little Palm island just a boat or ferry ride away. Our catering staff can put together a custom-tailored package that will take care of your every need, from cocktails to hors d’oeuvres to sit-down dinners.
Bring your loved ones together in a luxurious, carefree environment. While the focus is on your big day, your guests can still enjoy themselves while waiting for the main event. From bicycle rides to sunset cruises to golf, the activities at Villa Marquesa or its sister property Casa Serenity are sure to keep everyone entertained. Between the two properties we can accomodate 24 people and we have a nice and clean hotel on the Ramrod Key called the Looe Key Reef Resort that give you a discount when you stay at Villa Marquesa or Casa Serenity for large wedding parties.
Bring your loved ones together in a luxurious, carefree environment. While the focus is on your big day, your guests can still enjoy themselves while waiting for the main event. From bicycle rides to sunset cruises to golf, the activities at Villa Marquesa or its sister property Casa Serenity are sure to keep everyone entertained. Between the two properties we can accomodate 24 people and we have a nice and clean hotel on the Ramrod Key called the Looe Key Reef Resort that give you a discount when you stay at Villa Marquesa or Casa Serenity for large wedding parties, you can contact Tony our wedding planner and coordinator at: 786.547.2583 or renissancemiami.com
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