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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hemingway's House

Hemingway's house. Photo from
Wow, it was fun to tour Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West. The cost was $13 per person for me and my Fig. H. declined, which I thought strange, because he is such a writer. Oh well. We loved it.

Things I didn't know about the master until the tour guide told us:
  • He lived in Key West about 9 years and produced more work there than anywhere else.
  • He habitually went to happy hour at a local place [I think daily?] but still rose at 6 and started working by 7 in his office in a small building behind the main house. He wrote 700 words per day, and then headed out to fish or otherwise cavort.
  • He battled with manic depression. 
  • He was married four times. The guide told us he met his second wife through his first wife [the women were friends] and his third wife when she came to Key West unannounced to interview him for a magazine article. [She waited at the bar he frequented until he showed up.] They had a long affair until his wife found out and divorced him. Then he married that writer. There was still one more wife after that, who survived him. 
  • He had at least three sons.
  • He was tall/big and wanted a big bed but they didn't make them back in the thirties. So they put together two twin beds and in their travels, found a carved wooden garden gate that was wide enough to be the headboard.
I loved seeing the typewriter, black typewriter case, old wood box on his desk. [Was it really his typewriter?, H. asked me. I don't know for sure.] Also loved: the dramatic Spanish-looking bathroom floor tile; the framed photos of all four wives; and the photo of Hemingway's son holding a cat. Figgy was fascinated by the six-toed cats, which are direct descendants of the author's cats. A cat was snoozing on the master bed, one was curled up by the gift shop register, they were lounging in the shrubbery. Fig checked out the cat graveyard on the property. Strange but true; Hemingway collected cats.

Other Key West bests:
  • Croissants de France.  OMG, I was hunting for an iced coffee and stumbled upon this place. The chocolate almond croissant was the best croissant I ever had. The dark chocolate was all melty, the croissant layers were tender and buttery. So soft to tear. I asked if the baker is from France. "Yes, our pastry chef is from Brittany," the man at the counter said. The place has been there 27 years. They also had tropical flavors, like pastry with guava filling and a coconut cream cheese croissant that looked really good...they even had Bûche de Noël!!!! Cost for iced coffee + croissant: about $7.25.
  • Mojito Wagon outside Westin Hotel, right near where everyone gathers nightly @ Mallory Square to watch the sunset. Jimmy is in the bar car making an unforgettable cocktail. The lime from some tourists' cups perfumed the air. "That smells so good," I said. The man told me, "This is the best mojito. And we've tried them all." He pointed us to the bar car. He was right. SO GOOD. So much freshly chopped mint and gorgeous lime. They were $9 each. I think they're strong, too. I had one and had to walk [or teeter] a bit before riding my bike back to the hotel.
  • Mattheessen's on Duval Street. They have four Key West shops. I just saw now that the giant cookies are half-pound cookies. Figgy and I shared a big chocolate chipper. They also have pretty pale green key lime fudge [alluring, but a little sweet]; key lime sorbet; key lime ice cream; key lime pie; and frozen key lime pie slices dunked in chocolate, on sticks. Our cookie and small piece of fudge cost close to $9.
Well, I better get to bed. Good night to the world's VERY WORST hair day. And I mean that sincerely. Don't ask. I had no conditioner, no blow dryer, and Key West was humid. Recipe for disaster. Will shampoo after pool tomorrow, and at least this Holiday Inn in Marathon has a blow dryer, so that's good.

  1. Brought scented votive candles, lit in hotel room for homey comfort.
  2. Good tooth care.
  3. Biked around Key West again.
  4. Lounged by pool; so restful.


  1. Hi Al. Thanks for posting this... so interesting. His house was/is beautiful. Love, Lin

  2. Hi would have liked it....when can we get together again? love al zozozo i can drive down to see Aunt Edith

    1. Whenever you want to visit and can spare the time! Always want to see you... Love, Lin

  3. Lin, i meant xoxox don't have my reading glasses!!!

  4. Very much enjoyed your post about Hemingway! His house was on our son's extra curriculum list of things to do one January and I have always hoped to see it for myself after seeing his photos.
    Les Croissants de Bretagne sounds delightful!
    Happy New Year Alice and all the best to you and yours,

  5. Hi Noelle....that's nice that you son saw the house and took photos...wishing a healthy, happy new year to you and your family. best, alice

  6. I want to go see those cats after reading about them in the Times recently and now hearing about them from you. It goes on the wish list...

  7. Yes, Celia, I think you will like it. I still have to hunt and read that Times article. Happy, healthy new year to the Vimonts. love, alice