Matt and I recently took a vacation to Key West and the Bahamas, by way of a totally snazzy Groupon deal I got ($400 for two for a four night cruise to the Bahamas! Deal alert!). Before our cruise, we drove down to Key West so we could check out this quaint island town and the home of writer Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway saw this abandoned house in 1929 and fell in love with its unique stylings, having been built by a ship architect and captain in 1851. With Victorian touches and a plantation style wrap-around porch and shutters, this house is perfect to imagine sitting with a cool glass of lemonade, flipping the pages of a favorite book, and scratching a few wandering kittens.
While the house itself is gorgeous, I was most taken with Hemingway’s cats — all said to be descendants of his first cat, Snowball, that he got from the docks of Keywest. There are currently 50 cats that live on the property and receive medical attention and care through the Hemingway Foundation. There are truly cats everywhere — and in this picture, you can see our tour guide doling out some treats, which brought them all running. See Joe DiMaggio’s paw? (Yep, that’s his real name) He’s a polydactyl, which means he has five toes instead of four. Many of the cats at Hemingway house have five toes. (I at first wrote pterodactyl and then was like… wait, that’s not right.)
Because the cats are such an important part of the house, they even have their own graveyard. Hemingway liked to name his cats after famous people. Can you imagine if he was alive today? There would be Lady GaGa’s, Obamas, and Angelina Jolies.
The house still has much of Hemingways’ original furniture, like this gorgeous bed in the master bedroom.
To commemorate our visit, of course we had to get something for the cats… so lucky for them, the Hemingway Home Bookshop sells reproductions of 1940’s style Hemingway-esque cat bowls. Lucia and Ollie are loving slurping their water from this very fine literary vessel.
If you’re planning a trip to Key West, definitely stop by the Hemingway House. Even if you don’t love cats, you’ll love seeing where this tremendous writer set up shop and wrote many of his masterpieces.