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Hemingway's House at Key West - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

During our last visit to Florida we decided to take a drive down to Key West, where we stayed for a couple of days.

This was our first trip to the keys and we thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the most interesting things we visited was Hemingway’s House.

We made it our first item on the agenda on our first day – and spent a lot longer there than we had anticipated. It was very interesting indeed!

Ernest Hemingway bought the house in the 1930’s with his second wife, Pauline. It was already some 80 years old. Pauline was American but had lived in Europe for some years and she had a lot of the furniture shipped form Europe. She also had all of the ceiling fans in the house replaced by ornate chandeliers – bizarre as the climate in southern Florida would have been far more suited to having ceiling fans!

The house is now a museum to Ernest Hemingway and the furniture is set in exactly the way it was when he lived there. There are many books and artefacts an Hemingway’s study, which is apart from the main house and set in the grounds, is exactly how it was when he worked in it, complete with typewriter! The kitchen is interesting too – in its day it was considered to be very modern, complete with refrigerator which of course now looks very dated!

There is a pool in the grounds which Pauline had built when Ernest Hemingway was away. It cost an exorbitant amount of money and when he returned, Hemingway was so angry with her for spending that mount of money that he threw a cent at her and said ‘Here, have my last cent! ’ That coin is preserved in the patio to this day!

In the grounds are many cats – they are all tame and well looked after by the trustees of the house! When Ernest Hemingway lived there he adopted a cat that had been bought ashore on a ship. It was unusual as it had an extra digit on its paws! The cats there today mostly have this too as they are descended from this original cat! If you go onto the Hemingway House website there is a web cam where you can see views of the house, gardens – and a special webcam focused on the cats!

A very interesting visit – do put it on your itinery if you are visiting Key West.

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