Best cities in America

Jimmy Skaaland, Staff Writer


Smithsonian Magazine set out to reveal the top 20 cities in the United States, and two of them are here in Florida. First, Naples came in 9th on the list due to its culturally rich appeal.  Originally visitors to Naples were sportsmen attracted to the abundant fish and game of Florida’s swamps; now such gamesmen would have trouble finding a hotel they could afford.  Naples has become the home for extravagant snowbirds wishing to escape the snow in luxurious mansions on the beach.  “A group of people wanted this little winter paradise to have the same cultural features as Northern cities do,” says Kathleen van Bergen, CEO of the Naples Philharmonic.  This gave rise not only to the Naples Philharmonic, but also the Naples Zoo and Naples Art Association.   Naples is a great place to visit if you’re just trying to relax and be left alone, but don’t expect much excitement.

            Then came Key West at 16th on the list.  Key West has long been known as home to hippies, artists, writers, and those just looking to escape the outside world.  Its beautiful beaches, tropical water and laid back atmosphere make it the perfect vacation spot.  Key West also has a treasure trove of history.  Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms while living above the showroom of a Key West Ford dealership.  Similarly Tennessee Williams wrote the first draft of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947 while staying at the La Concha Hotel.  It is also where Hemingway was introduced to deep-sea fishing by “Sloppy” Joe.   It has also served as home for other notable figures such as Shel Silverstein, Jimmy Buffet, Harry Truman, John Dewey, Mel Fisher, and Calvin Klein.  With all it has to offer Key West is sure to be a vacation spot for many East Lake students this summer.