Key West has long attracted artists and artisans who have enjoyed the easy climate and laid-back attitude of the The Keys however, one individual in particular stands out as the most famous resident, writer Ernest Hemingway.
He actually only lived in the town with his second wife from 1931 until 1942 but almost every business claims 'Hemningway ate here' or 'Hemingway drank here', that is except the restaurant Bagatelle which proudly claims 'Hemingway never liked this place'. However, the house Hemingway lived in is now a museum and Key Wests number one tourist attraction so we decided we ought to check it out too.
The home was originally bought for $8,000. After Ernest and his second wife Pauline split up in 1942, Pauline continued to live in the home until 1951 when she sold it and moved away. The person who bought the house in 1951 paid $80,000 and lived in it for a year but were so frustrated by the number of people continually turning up at the door to see Hemingways old home she decided to move out and turn it into an exhibition of his home. Holding onto this piece of real estate might have been a sound business decision too, it is now the only privately owned parcel of property over 1 acre in the whole of Key West town. In a town where tiny 33ft wide lots sell for over $1m she is sat on a very expensive piece of property.
There are numerous cats living on and around the house. They are polydactyl cats and direct descendants of the cats owned by Ernest Hemingway. Some have six or seven digits (rather than the usual four).
Inside the house hangings a portrait of Hemingway, painted while he lived in the house
The kitchen, still preserved in its original format
Many items have been maintained since buying the home including this original little fridge
Upstairs the master bedroom was a lovely bright room with access out onto the wrap around balcony
Even a basic ensuite
The large covered balcony
View of the lighthouse from the balcony
Views across the lush gardens
Adrian on the porch
This is the upstairs of a detached building within the grounds of the main house and is the studio where Hemingway used to write. He wrote about 70% of his lifes work in this studio including For Whom The Bell Tolls, To Have and Have Not, A Farewell to Arms, Green Hills of Africa and Death in the Afternoon.
The swimming pool became quite a talking point in the Hemingway House as Pauline used $20,000 of Ernests money to have it built after she found out he was having an affair. Bearing in mind they had only paid $8,000 for the whole house a few years earlier this was a significant extravagance. It was so expensive for the same reason that they don't dig down in the cemetery - the water table is so high it makes the job vastly more difficult than normal.
The building in the background is where Ernests studio was located upstairs.
Flowers in the gardens
This is a cat-house built in the garden, built in the style of the house !