For roughly a decade of his life Ernest Hemingway called Key West, Florida his home. The influence of his time in Florida permeates his life and his writing. Though the city has a reputation for being a spring break destination nowadays, it was a quieter location when he arrived. Though Hemingway only lived in the house from 1931 to 1939, he retained the title of the home until he died. It was in this home that Hemingway wrote many of his best-known works including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “Death in the Afternoon.” It seems fitting that it is now a tourist spot where visitors can come to hear stories of Hemingway and his time on the island. William Bailey Travel reviews this great historic destination for travel.
When touring the property guests get a snapshot of what day-to-day life might have looked like for Hemingway. Visitors can see the tiled urinal that he brought home from the remodel at Sloppy Joes (the local bar) that he converted into a drinking fountain for his cats. They can also see the beautiful swimming pool that sits behind the house, something that was a bit of contention between Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline. The story goes that she had it built while he was away covering the Spanish Civil War. Upon his return he found she had spent $20,000 to have it the pool installed and in a fit of rage, threw a penny to the ground, insisting she had spent his last cent. Pauline took the penny and had it embedded in the edge of the pool where it can still be seen today.
For any fan of Hemingway, one of the most impactful spots on the tour is the writing studio above the garage. The space has been staged to look as it would have when Hemingway wrote all those years ago. Shelves are lined with aged books, mounted animal heads from his game hunting days adorn the wall, and a typewriter sits silently on a small wooden table where he may have imagined some of his greatest literary moments.
Information about hours of operation, tours, tickets, and possibility of renting the house for special events can all be found online at hemingwayhome.com or by calling 305-294-1136.