Key West

Today’s tourist attractions started with catching the Old Town Tour Trolley.  oldtown trolley  Our first guide was energetic and really enthusiastic about his version of island history.  We got off at stop 5 so we did not hear his full tour spiel.  AND…I don’t know if he would still be as gung-ho at the end of the day, but we did enjoy him until we debarked at the Hemingway house.

The first photo is close to the way it appears today.  The second is how it was in the thirties. Ernest was quite a cad.  The lessons his wives should have learned was never to introduce him to their female friends.  It seems he thought the grass was greener with every introduction!  His first wife of 6 years was the “Paris” wife.  They lived there and developed quite a friendship with the “Lost Generation”.  Those artists included Isabelle Duncan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and so many others.  Hadley had a good friend named Pauline Pfieffer, who became wife number two (13 years).  Pauline’s uncle gifted the newlyweds with a house in Key West, where Hemingway wrote over 2/3rds of his novels/short stories/essays…  This is the house above.

A war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn, tracked Ernest down in the bar Sloppy Joe’s, and struck up a relationship with him.  She was to become #3, but this was a short 5 year marriage.  An aside – Sloppy Joe’s is where the version of sandwich enjoyed by all originated!  Hemingway enjoyed the company of the owner and the bar.

Wife # 4, Mary welsh, lasted the longest.  She enjoyed the same adventuresome activities that Hemingway did.  They were together for 15 years, until his death in 1961.

We did see several of the 53 resident 6-toed cats while on the tour.  There is a cat cemetery in the backyard, and a cafe next door.  6toe

After this, we had lunch at Sloppy Joe’s, with the famous sandwich.  This is a very lively and noisy place at lunch time.  One can only imagine what it is like when the sun goes down!                           sloppy joe's  Larry had lunch next to Gregory Peck:

larry

Jimmy Buffer’s Margaritaville is here, too, but we did not visit it.  We did see the outside of his recording studio, though!  Unmarked.  Maybe the guide was truthful…maybe not??

This is the southernmost city in the United States.  Many things are here to mark this.

We do have pictures taken at the marker designating it, as well as letting all know that Cuba is only 90 miles from that spot.     poem

What is cool is that so many people wanted a photo at that spot, that a line was formed and people were very polite waiting to have the photo taken. line

Chickens abound and help keep the bug population in check.  chicks

Literary figures made Key West their home in the past.  Besides Hemingway, there were Robert Frost, poet Elizabeth Bishop, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, and Ralph Ellison, to name a few.  Today’s authors still make Key West home.  Some include Judy Blume, Allison Lure, Ann Beattie, Annie Dillard and Meg Cabot.  Judy Blume owns a book store and is often found stocking shelves or waiting on customers.

This unique little town seems to inspire the creativity of those who wish to allow it to come forth. Although it bustles with activity and crowded streets, I wouldn’t mind coming back at some time to spend more time here.  I’ll just need to get a scooter or a bike to navigate!

 

 

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