Legendary writer Ernst Hemmingway traveled far and wide during his storied life and left his mark on many different places around the globe. Diehard Hemmingway fans will eagerly tell you that no locale is as synonymous with Ernst Hemmingway as the island of Key West. In the 1930s, Ernst Hemingway and his wife Pauline Pfeiffer lived in a Key West house purchased for the couple by Pfeiffer’s wealthy uncle. During his time in Key West, Hemingway wrote several notable short stories and novels, hosted amateur boxing matches on his front lawn, and set off on countless deep sea fishing voyages.
Ernst Hemingway’s Key West home features hunting trophies from the author’s notorious safaris, one of Hemmingway’s typewriters, and a penny that Hemmingway angrily claimed was his last cent after his wife added a costly pool to the home while Hemmingway was traveling. The Hemingway House also features a breathtaking garden with abundant jasmine, angel’s trumpet, and hibiscus blooms.
One reason that the Hemingway House is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Key West is because it doubles as a cat sanctuary. Local legend states that a sea captain who was dear friends with Hemingway gifted the writer a 6-toed cat. Nearly a century later, the Hemingway House is populated by that single 6-toed cat’s many descendants. If you tour the Hemmingway House, expect to see several cats—many of them 6-toed—lounging on beds, chairs, and sofas.
Visitors can walk the grounds of the Hemingway House and tour virtually every room in the interior. Ernst Hemingway’s writing room can be viewed through a screen. If you love literary history, cats, and flowers—a visit to the Hemingway House in Key West is an absolute must. It is important to note that spontaneously boxing on the front lawn is no longer encouraged.