|Hemingway's house. Photo from miamibeach411.com.|
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.
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.
- Brought scented votive candles, lit in hotel room for homey comfort.
- Good tooth care.
- Biked around Key West again.
- Lounged by pool; so restful.