Results 11-19of 19 Reviews
July 2, 2004
Also the Key West lighthouse is nearby. Not only is it historic but it has a one-of-a-kind view! And it's located across the street from the Hemingway house! Save time, do both at once!
From journal Key West Sunsets
August 18, 2003
The building itself is very interesting because of the modern conveniences it boasts in a time and place where there were little. With working plumbing, via a cistern for rainwater on the roof, the Hemingway's enjoyed running water that the rest of the island did not. The pool on the grounds was built during 1937 and 1938, and was the first residential pool on the island. At the time, Ernest was serving in the Spanish Civil War. When he returned and learned that his wife had spent more building the pool than the entire house was worth at the time, he reportedly stuck a penny in the concrete and proclaimed "Well, you might as well take my last cent!". The penny is in the same spot today, preserved under glass.
Hemingway's studio is definitely a room to see on the tour. This is where he went to relax and write. Originally, he had a catwalk built into the studio directly from his bedroom so he could write immediately after he awoke. During a storm, the catwalk was destroyed. Today, stairs exist from the patio up so tourists can view the room much like it was when Ernest lived there. There are many other interesting facts that are explained during the tour.
One of the most interesting points are the six-toed cats that roam the property even today. These cats are direct descendants of Ernest's own pets. The original six-toed cat was given to him by a captain friend. There are about sixty cats present there today.
Overall, I would recommend the Hemingway House as something not to miss on a trip to Key West. The rich history is very worthwhile. The house itself is in a beautiful location, and is quite a relaxing retreat from the rest of downtown Key West. The tour guides were exceptional. Probably some of the most knowledgeable tour guides I have ever encountered. They answered many good questions throughout the tour.
From journal A quick weekend in Key West
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
June 17, 2003
As with many of the larger Victorian properties in Key West, the house is an impressive testament to a wealthy period in the City's history. The porches that encircle the two floors of the house and the lush gardens initiate a(nother) bout of "Why don't we live somewhere warm? . . ." "We could live here . . . "
The inside of the house is interesting with period and antique furniture that belonged to Ernest Hemingway and his wife Pauline (number two of four?). What makes the visit, however, is the tour guide with their informative and humourous commentary. A life like Hemingway's is rich material for such a tour - there's nothing like stories of excessive drinking and salacious gossip to bring life to an old house. You may have to wait a few minutes but it's the difference between "It's an old house with old stuff in it" and "Aaaah . . . now that Hemingway guy really lived!"
Don't miss the writer's studio or the cats (you'll have a job to miss those) . . . and toy around with the idea of having an old bar urinal in your garden - it'll make a great story.
From journal Key West - the best way to wind down
by Kim M.
Key West, Florida
January 8, 2003
While on the tour we were able to view what I would call "papabilia" on display inside the house. There are glass cases showing off such items as photos, letters, and a model of Hemingway''s boat, Pilar. The photos were very interesting, as they show Hemingway throughout his life. He looked quite a bit different in his youth from the rounder, bearded man we usually see.
The tour also includes a peek into the writing studio. This is in the upstairs of a carriage house and houses Hemingway''s typewriter. The guide told us that he rarely sat at the typewriter because it was uncomfortable. He usually laid down or paced a bit. The studio walls are decorated with some of Hemingway''s hunting trophies, and there are cases of books. I wish I could have read the titles; I''m very interested to see what he read.
The guides are pretty knowledgable and will tell stories of Hemingway''s life on Key West. For example, he once went into the restroom at the original Sloppy Joe''s in a drunken daze. Instead of pulling the chain to flush, he managed to pull the skylight down on himself and sustained a head injury. Yes, he was a colorful man.
The famous six-toed cats are still in residence at the Hemingway house, and they have their own special kitten house out back. They all have names, and the guides seem to know them all. The cats wander the property at whim, and don''t feel the need to pay attention to visitors. They will pretty much ignore you.
Over all, I enjoyed the tour and would like to go back again when my camera is working. It was an interesting glimpse into the life of one of our famous authors.
From journal Key West on the Cheap
, West Virginia
October 7, 2002
There is much of Pauline in the house: her tile collection, her custom-made cabinetry, her dressing-table porcelain. But the souvenirs of Ernest’s travels are more interesting. The headboard is from a monastery in Spain, originally a gate. There are also a 17-Century walnut Deacon’s Bench from a Spanish monastery, carved wooden African figures in the bedroom, Indian mirrors, Venetian hand-blown glass, an antique bottle safe (a bottle can be locked up in it), Cuban tile in one bathroom with a giant incense burner, a ceramic cat given to Ernest by Pablo Picasso, and the list goes on to describe a life on the inside of the art world. Hemingway is famous among literary critics for his knack for being in the right place at the right time. So were the others there, but Ernest seemed to gobble up the living with more flair. That’s the attraction of the house on Whitehead Street.
I had visited the home before in 1972, and I remembered that the tour guide then had mentioned that Ernest had brought from India the giant Banyan tree in the front yard. A ship’s captain gave him the first of his six-toed cats. And "Sloppy Joe," owner of his favorite bar, gave him the tiled urinal Ernest said he had put so much money down Joe ought to give it to him. (That’s what the cats drink from.) So, I got the picture that the writer didn’t like to have to let go of things familiar to him. The mementos of his remarkable living fill the house and the garden with interest. I left the home wondering how a man who loved living so much could shoot himself, and I remembered the
assessment of the biographer who knew him best. A. E. Hotchner in Papa
Hemingway suggests that dehydration drove him mad, a result of his being lost on the equator in Africa with nothing to drink but a bottle of gin. I subscribe to that argument.
From journal Cruising Key West on the Ship Fascination
July 27, 2001
Hemingway owned the home from 1931 until he died in 1961. The home is of the Spanish Colonial style and was constructed of native rock hewn from the grounds. It is also the first to have a pool built in Key West, an absolute necessity. The pool, built in the late 1930's, cost $20,000, a fortune back then. The price prompted Hemingway to take a penny from his pocket, press it into the wet cement of the surrounding patio, and announce jokingly, "Here, take the last penny I've got!" That penny is still there. :)
The house is gorgeous, and it's a great break from the beach and the shops of downtown.
The Museum is open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The admission is: adults $8.00 and children aged 6-12 $5.00.
From journal Key West - Pure Pleasure
by Maria F.
October 18, 2000
From journal Key West
September 27, 2000
From journal Key West - A Parrothead's Dream Come True
New York City, New York
June 7, 2000
From journal Unlocking Key West