Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum

907 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Key West’s most famous literary resident, Ernest Hemingway, lived in this two-story Spanish-colonial villa for nearly a decade and composed several of his best-known works here. His second wife, Pauline, insisted they add a pool to the spacious grounds—the first inground pool in Key West. The cost ballooned to around $20,000, a fortune in the 1930s, and was said to have contributed to the breakup of their marriage. It’s just one of the fascinating stories guides will share on the half-hour tour of the home and gardens (included in the price of admission). And yes, you’re guaranteed to see plenty of six-toed cats, descendants of Hemingway’s original six-toed cat, Snow White.

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Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum illustrates Key West‘s deep literary history, with Hemingway at the forefront. Built in 1851, the two-story home with its decorated wraparound balconies is where the Nobel Prize winner lived and wrote some of his best works. The grounds are beautifully manicured, and the gardens are lined with blooming jasmines, hibiscus, and gardenias. There are daily tours of the home, which contains many historic artifacts from the author’s travels along with 18th-century Spanish furniture pieces. Among the highlights are a 17th-century Spanish chest-on-chest and a red leather cardinal’s chair that was used in a production of Hemingway’s Broadway play, The Fifth Column. The exterior includes a beautiful in-ground swimming pool, unusual for The Keys in the 1930s.

Hemingway Home & Museum Tour

Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West for more than 10 years. He was known to say that the Key West atmosphere helped him write. His home was a large estate on Whitehead street in Old Town Key West. When he bought the estate, a Spanish Colonial house built in 1851, it was in total disrepair. He spared no expense in rebuilding the home and added a swimming pool in 1937 which was the first in-ground pool in Key West and the only one around for 100 miles. Hemingway wrote in the early mornings and poked around town in the afternoon—unless he was fishing. The author and his friends would go big game sport fishing in his custom yacht, Pilar, for giant tuna and marlin around Bimini and Cuba. The tour guides are well versed in the history of Hemingway, his house, his writings, and his sport fishing days. Stroll the gardens and imagine Hemingway and his wife sitting beside the lovely pool with their many cats. Visit the book store and pick up a Hemingway novel. The Hemingway Home & Museum is a very popular attraction in Key West, especially if you are a writer. Don’t skip this wonderful tour through a historic venue.

Hidden Hemingway Cat Spotting!

While in Key West, the Hemingway House is a must do. Yes, its always buzzing with tourists but try to see how many of the famous polydactyl cats you can find. They rule the property and their are over 40 of them! Most of the famous felines simply ignore all the passersby but you might get lucky like we did and have one jump up on you lap to say hello!

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

The Ernest Hemingway house is an iconic landmark in Key West, and not just because of the house’s famous resident. Did you know that over 50 cats reside on the property, many of which have six toes on their front paws? Hemingway loved cats, and thanks to years of breeding, the property around the house is crawling with adorable six-toed felines. Technically, they are called polydactyl cats, but informally everyone knows them by their real name—Hemingway cats.

Key West Attractions

Key West is not only a place for laid-back island living, but it’s also filled with history. Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West from 1931 to 1961. While in Key West, he wrote many of his famous novels. Take one of the guided tours to learn all about Hemingway.

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