We took a tour of the Hemingway House and really enjoyed the talk our guide gave. They will allow you to take pictures inside the house, which I did not find out until the end. Be sure to bring your camera. There are lots of cats at the house--descendants of Hemingway''s cats--so be mindful of this if you are an allergy sufferer. On weekdays, be sure to arrive early. We narrowly got in ahead of a school group of small children. I did see a number of advertisements for a ticket package including the Hemingway and Audubon houses. We did not take advantage of this, but it''s available. The gardens are just as lovely as the home, so be sure you plan enough time to stroll around. Once the guide is finished with your tour, you will be allowed to look around at your leisure. I do not think this would be a good activity for small children, who might be bored or get frustrated by not being allowed to touch.
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.