Old Bahia Honda Bridge

yellow striped 50s style sundress

Bahia Honda Rail Bridge, Florida Keys

50s style sundress

Bahia Honda Rail Bridge, Florida

Bahia Honda Rail Bridge, Florida Keys

yellow 50s style retro sundress

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida

Me and Terry

Bahia Honda

So, it’s the summer I graduated from university: we go to Florida, and as a treat, my dad decides to hire a convertible. God, I loved that car. It was a Chrysler Sebring, in British Racing Green, with a soft top that I insisted on having down at all times, even although the wind tied my hair in knots and turned my mum’s face tomato-red.

We drove down from Orlando to Key West in that car, and although most of the road to the Keys is pretty boring, I loved every second of it. I’d just finished writing my dissertation on American Literature, and I’d focused particularly on the American Dream, as represented by the road. Or The Road, as I thought of it at the time.

Just outside Key West, we passed this old, broken bridge. It had been a rail bridge at one time – part of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad, which helped open up the South of Florida – and had later been converted to a road bridge, strung out over the Keys. Now it stood broken and forlorn in the middle of the ocean, a last reminder of those old days of steam trains and adventure, long before the Florida Keys filled up with Sandal Kings and strip malls, and long chains of traffic heading down Route 1.

I loved it. I’ve always been fascinated by abandoned things, and this old, disused bridge completely captured my imagination. Of course, what I didn’t realise on that trip was that the bridge isn’t TOTALLY abandoned. I didn’t know it had a name, or that you could actually walk along it, but it does, and you can: it’s the old Bahia Honda Bridge, and it sits next to Bahia Honda State Park – a small, but beautiful beach, surrounded by lush greenery and filled with all kinds of critters, from amazingly tame butterflies to… let’s not even think about what else, m’kay?

I didn’t find out all of this until a few years later, on another trip to Key West when we parked up next to the bridge and walked out along it, to where a section has been removed to prevent hapless tourists like us wandering too far. On that occasion, it was far too hot to do much more than stagger out to the end of the bridge (which felt like a hundred mile walk in the heat…) and stare listlessly over the edge. This time, though, the weather was a little kinder: as you can see from the photos, there was a storm off in the distance, and although it blew itself out by the time it reached us, allowing us to spend some time on the beach, and have a swim the sea, the breeze from it kept us cool enough to be comfortable on the bridge itself, which has this amazing, post-apocalyptic feel to it.

We spent a few hours at the beach before heading home, stopping at Key Largo on the way back for dinner, and the amazing sunset pictured in some of the photos on this post. There was also an incident in which Terry almost drowned himself while chasing a giant beach ball that had floated away on the current, but we don’t talk about that, no we don’t.

(He didn’t manage to catch it. It’s probably in Cuba by now.)

(I mean, it wasn’t even MY ball, but it was still the saddest thing ever.)

(Never chase beach balls, kids: swim responsibly!)

(I’ll stop with the parentheses now…)

Bahia Honda bridge

[Dress: local boutique years ago, c/o my mum | Wedges: Mango | Sunglasses: Gucci]

16 Comments

  • msveve says:

    Love the dress! It’s so pretty and suits you very well:))

    And I also love when you add stories like this one in your posts. As your other blogs seem to have less and less personal topics and photos, Forever Amber has become my favorite of your blogs:)

    That bridge is really amazing. I’m drawn to places and buildings that have a history and I can picture this bridge in McCarthy’s The Road :) I love how I can have adventures through you:) (As I’m only going to the mountains on vacation this year, I am very happy you went on your fabulous vacation and I get to live it through your pictures and stories.)

  • Kristian says:

    That dress is just a dream on you, isn’t it? It fits so perfectly and has perfectly placed pockets and a unique color of stripes! Lovely.

    • Amber says:

      I can never resist a dress with pockets – I was just looking back through the photos from my vacation and I realised I’m in almost exactly the same, hands-in-pockets, pose in all of them!

  • Erika says:

    A super cute dress WITH an abandoned bridge story, great post! And I know all about chasing beach balls to no avail, it is always better to just let them swim away. ;-)

  • Call me M says:

    I really missed you, even though I was reading all of your posts, and kept up with your Miami trip, through Instagram.
    I really liked reading the story behind this bridge. I like such places…there is something beautiful about them. And you looked amazing in that dress.

    • Amber says:

      Awww, I was actually still posting, but I think most people assumed I wasn’t – it was a bit tumbleweedy around here! Hopefully things will get back to normal soon, though!

  • Louise says:

    What a fabulous place. I love those abandoned places and things, built by man but no longer useful. They always seem a tad eerie. The dress is beautiful and you look fantastic. Xx

  • Katie says:

    That dress is stunning! What a gorgeous shape- it really suits you :)

  • Mana says:

    I love this dress, and I love that bridge and your story about it. I really love old abandoned areas too, especially when there’s a story behind it.

    Mana
    Fashion and Happy Things

  • qw says:

    Love the post! And sorry about Terry. I did once cut myself badly on the rocks running after an inflatable mattress, so there. Floaty things and the wind. -.-

    If I can offer the tiniest bit of criticism about the dress though, I think that with the low hem and low waist it sort of throws your figure off balance? it’s kind of annoying effect with the yellow print, I suppose, that elongates your bust. Anyhow. Amazing sunglasses! And hair. As always. :p

    • Amber says:

      I do have a stupidly long torso, unfortunately: I’m sorry it’s annoying! (It annoys me too, actually: makes it very hard to find dresses that fit sometimes, but hey!) And you don’t need to use a different name if you want to say something negative by the way: I don’t expect everyone to like everything :)

      • Fran says:

        Hi Amber! I didn’t change my name on purpose, it was a typo (hence why it’s a squiggle not a name :P). And frankly, I would never ever have said you have a long torso from your other dresses! I do really think it’s just this one. ;)

  • Elizabeth says:

    Lovely photographs darling, thanks so much for sharing – sounds like you had a fabulous time! And I just love the retro 50′s chic style dress you’re wearing.

    Elizabeth x

    http://www.candyflosscurlscupcakesandcouture.com

  • Virginie says:

    Amber you look gorgeous (Am I saying as usual? Yes I am…)

    Looking at the picture where the bridge’ stones are lying on the road, was thinking how post apocalyptic/drama/50s it would have been to see you in the middle of it, with no smile on your face and the picture having a black & white effect…Woooow

    Okay I know, looking too much old Hitchcock movies…

    • Amber says:

      Oh, I would’ve loved to have been able to do that! The first time I went up there I was so disappointed to not be allowed onto the abandoned part – it’s just so dramatic!

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