The ideal tour for all ages!
Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is not only a U.S. National Historic Landmark, it is a Literary Landmark, recognized by the Library of Congress for its importance in U.S. History. This icon should be on everyone’s itinerary when visiting Key West as there’s much to admire: the lush gardens, grand architecture, writer’s studio, educational tours, and the world famous Poly dactyl (six-toed cats).
The House: Tours are free – just sign up with staff at the front entrance. If you arrive early, take the time to wander the lush gardens and look for the 60+ cats wandering the premises. Our guide, Joanna, was an eloquent story-teller, offering bits and pieces of Hemingway’s life in Key West as well as his forays to bbbCuba. The walls and cabinets of this beautiful Spanish colonial home are filed with photographs and memorabilia. Take note of the original architectural features and furnishings.
The Writing Studio: Literary buffs will be enamored by Hemingway’s hideaway, as I was. The second-story studio is situated adjacent to the main house. At the top of the stairs, you’ll get a glimpse inside his studio, a dream space for any writer.
The Cats: Legend has it that Hemingway was given a white, six-toed cat by a ship’s captain. There are over 60 descendants of Snow White roaming inside and outside of the property. Many of the cats are so friendly that they walk right up to you for a little loving. They have free rein of the House; on a recent visit there were three cats snuggled together and sleeping on the bed in the master bedroom. Take note of the cats’ residences – cat kennels.
The Gardens: Think “tropical paradise” boasting with plants and flowers from around the world. Amid the grounds you fill find benches to relax, read a Hemingway novel, or play with the cats. The Bookstore: There’s an array of items available for sale. We opted for a compilation of Hemingway’s short stories.
The Venue Today: The gardens are often reserved for weddings and corporate events. Consider reserving the space for your next event.
* Visit: 907 Whitehead St., Key West; 305-294-1136, hemingwayhome.com
- Editor’s Note: It has been years since I visited Hemingway House; the charm of the house and grounds today is as strong as it was years ago. Following a 2020 visit with my husband and teenage grandchildren, we all agreed: No visit to Key West is complete without a tour of the Hemingway Home & Museum. It’s the perfect multi-generational tour.