Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Key West
Key West , Florida
Tel: 305 294 1136
Concierge.com's insider take:
Ernest Hemingway is the most famous of the freshwater Conchs (the term of endearment for a Key Wester who wasn't born on the island), and he lived in this limestone mansion from 1931 to 1940. The house itself was built by a marine architect and salvage wrecker in 1851. The rooms all contain antiques and memorabilia from Hemingway's world travels. The chandelier collection was shipped from Paris by Pauline (the second of his four wives), and Hemingway wrote some of his best-known works (A Farewell to Arms, To Have and Have Not) in the surprisingly small study dominated by a large deer head. The best way to see the interior is by taking one of the organized tours that leave from the entrance every 15 minutes. The guides are salty fun, but their embellished stories should be taken with a shaker full of it: Hemingway's onetime secretary has questioned the authenticity of the house's current furnishings, and the much-repeated tale that the troop of 50 or so six-toed cats on-site are descendants of a pack of Papa's own pets has come under scrutiny as well. The extra digit must have made them extremely good swimmers, since Hemingway's own herd lived at his home in Havana.
Open daily 9 am to 5 pm.