Nation: The Key Compound

It has no sewage system and poor telephone service. After a hurricane, the roughly paved streets are often under water for days. The architecture might best be described as "Florida nondescript." Yet Key Biscayne, only 15 minutes from Miami's garish strip, is fondly billed as an "island paradise" by its chamber of commerce—and in many ways it is.

The kids (and many adults) go barefoot, the primary hobby is beach-walking, and almost everyone seems to know everyone else. As a former resident puts it, life there is casual and tropical, "exactly what you'd think...

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